Customer Review

1,238 of 1,303 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Camera -- A perspective from a D300/700 Owner, October 20, 2010
This review is from: Nikon D7000 DSLR (Body Only) (OLD MODEL) (Camera)
This is very simple, if you are a Nikon shooter looking for a new camera then stop reading and buy this camera. It's that good.
Handling

This camera is brilliant to hold and use. Nikon has done it again and has made the user interface more usable and streamlined. What to change flash modes. Press the flash pop-up button and rotate the control wheel. Sweet. Want to change create and use a User defined mode? There are two. Set your mode up. Go to the menu and save it. To use it rotate the shooting mode dial to U1 or U2. Presto you are there. In the D300 and D700 you to have to setup things in the menu and switch in the menu. Also, there were 2 sets of things you could change and they were not all inclusive. It was all horribly confusing and I never used it. Speaking of shooting modes. There is now one position on the shooting mode dial for scene mode shooting. You change through the different scene modes with the control wheel and the type scene shows up on the back screen. Sweet. I can go on and on but needless to say Nikon have really improved their interface. One caveat, I don't think it is quite up to par with the GH1 to change exposure compensation (IMO the most important control) but still a huge step in the correct direction in handling. I like the handling of the D7000 better than either the D700/300.

Low Light Shooting

The D300 wasn't that great for Hi ISO. It shoots clean at 400 ISO and usable up to 1600. (The D90 and D300s were better) The D700 was fantastic. Clean at 1600 ISO and usable up to 6400. It opened up new worlds. The D7000 is close to the equal of the D700. Enough said. Just to give you an example. The bouquet toss at a reception is often done in poor light. By using 1600 instead of 400 you get the equivalent of 4 times more light. At ISO400 you flash may need to use 1/4 power and you can get 1 maybe 2 shots of the toss and catch before the flash needs to recharge. At ISO1600 your flash would only need to use 1/16th power and now you can get 5-6 shots. This is huge.

Picture Quality

Like all modern DSLRs it takes great pictures. I don't pixel peep so I can't really say that I notice a difference between the pictures from the D7000 and any of my 12mp cameras. It makes really nice pictures and that is all I care about.

Useful Photography Features (Not Marketing Features)

--100% view finder! Big bright with 100% coverage. No more guessing of your framing. (It is not as bright as the D700. However, it is 100% vice 95%)
--2 SD slots - When your getting paid to shoot a wedding or any gig, my card broke is not an excuse. Very useful feature. For the home user put two smaller cards rather than one big card and save some money.
--Smaller and lighter than D300, D700, D3s, D3x- When you stand on your feet for 9 hours shooting the wedding and reception, you start to feel every ounce you are carrying. Often you will be carrying two bodies with a fast tele zoom and fast wide zoom. That starts to get heavy. Light weight here we come.
--2016-Segment RGB Meter- for spot on exposure and white balance--No one touches Nikon on this and this one is fantastic.
--1/8000th -- Very useful for shooting into the sun wide open with a bright lens
--1/250 -- Could be better (1/500th for D40) but could be much worse. Auto FP helps.
--Magnesium body and better sealing -- Shoot in dusty environments without messing up the inside your camera.
--Uses the ML-L3 infra red remote -- Small and cheap. IR sensor on the front and back of the camera.
--Autofocus focus motor for non-AF-S lenses

Marketing Features that will sometimes be Useful

--16Mp -- Nikon was obviously getting creamed in the marketing wars on this. This is going to lead to bigger files requiring larger hard drives and faster computers. Occasionally it will be useful if you can't frame as close as you would like and you need to crop or you need to print big. Alien Skin Blow Up 2, Image Resizing Plug-in Software for Photoshop, Macintosh & Windows and Genuine Fractals 6 Professional Edition 1-user Full are two very nice programs that can increase the size of your photos for printing large. 16 MP is nice by not necessary.
--39 Point Auto Focus -- To me in some ways this is better than the 51 point of the D300 and D700 as that gets too unwieldy. However, you really don't even need 39. However, still useful on occasion.
--6 frames per second-- I very rarely ever put my camera in 3 frames per second. When I do so it fills the card quickly. If you are shooting the big game then 6 is nice. Or it is nice for some cool special effects shots. Other than that you won't really find yourself using it that much.

Video
The other thing I am not really going to dwell on is the video capabilities. In my opinion all the various video options are mostly marketing hype really targeted at a niche market. Shallow depth of field video is difficult and time consuming to shoot and edit properly. The average family home user has neither the time nor inclination to do this. With that said, it is nice to only have to carry one device to take still pictures and video. So I do enjoy that feature, however 1080 is not really necessary. In fact with up converting DVD players standard def is still very usable and takes up far less space. Suffice it to say that the video capabilities are very good and should do anything a home user would need it to do. Can be used for pro Videos as demonstrated by Chase Jarvis.

Intangibles

This is a very nice camera and it feels very solid in your hands. It feels far more substantial than the D40/D90 without feeling like a brick the way the D300/D700 do. I am sure the D300 has more marketing features than the D7000 but I would have to research them to figure out what they are.

Conclusion

In the end it all comes down to what is important to you. Smaller weight and size is becoming much more important to me and this camera is a very good trade off of features for size and weight. Anything that is missing I don't even use so I am not sure what it may be. My D700 was recently stolen and while I miss it, the D7000 is a worthy replacement for it. I opted to get the D7000 and Panasonic GH2 and save the $300 difference for a lens.

Pros

--100% view finder!
--6 fps (7D is 8. However, I think this number is overhyped in most cases. Even shooting at 3 FPS will fill up you card with photos that look remarkably similar) 8+ is needed for professionals shooting professional sports. Not enthusiast shooting High School etc.
--16mp sensor (a marketing increase but still nice to allow some room for cropping)
--14 bit photos
--39 point auto focus sensors (19 cross point) this is a bit of a marketing thing but it is still nice and it does not matter about the 51 on D300s and above. Still very nice.
--2016 scene meter - compares against data base for WB setting and color settings
--Excellent battery life
--MD-11 Optional Battery Grip
--2 SD card slots for back up redundancy or double the card space! Outstanding
--Magnesium used to make camera stronger

Cons
--16mp senor (takes up more storage on your hard drive) (12mp JPG 3mb 12 mp RAW = 12 mb 16mp JPEG = 5 mb 16 mp RAW = 16 mb. This is for 12 bit. 14 bit would require more)
--Camera heavier than it used to be
--No swivel screen - after using the GH1 extensively you really miss this when shooting at weird angles. You especially miss it for macro photography.
--No full time live view - Ditto from above. Live view is what you see is what you get. Forgot to change white balance-- you will see that when people are yellow, blue or green. Have it set in manual and blowing everything out-- you'll see that as a white screen.

Decision Matrix

Nikon
For the Nikon shooter this is a no brainer. If you are in the market for a camera, then skip the D300s. The D700 is getting long in the tooth and many people are buying the D7000 while waiting for D800. If you already own a D700 then this camera is a very good complement to it. Use the money you saved over the more expensive camera to buy a nice lens.

Here is a breakdown vs other Nikon DSLRs

D3100-- Two completely different classes with the D7000 being worth the difference in many. However at the end of the day they will both make nice pictures. Also, the lenses are more important than the camera. You can get the D3100 and 18-200mm for the same price. Something to think about.
D5000-- Good sensor and nice camera. D3100 comments also apply here.
D90--Tough choice. The best DX sensor of its generation and still better than most. If you can't quite stretch to the D7000, this is a very tempting proposition.
D300S-- Irrelevant. The D7000 has a much better sensor, is smaller, lighter, cheaper, and better metering.
Nikon D700-- Would be a good complement to the D7000. Use D7000 when you need the 1.5x crop on the long end and a deeper depth of field due to the smaller chip (about 1 stop deeper) and D700 for when you want to isolate a subject with a shallow depth of field or you want to use the full width of a wide angle such as the 14-24mm. If you don't need the shallower depth of field of a FX sensor and you have the lenses to cover the 1.5x crop then the D7000 should suit just fine. D3s and D3x -- Different leagues altogether. However, the D7000 is 90% of the camera for 1/4 to 1/6th the money.

Canon

The 7D is an outstanding camera and while I think the D7000 is a better camera (better sensor, 2 SD card slots, 2016 RGB metering, Price) it is not that much better to warrant switching if you are already invested in lenses.

Sony

The Sony SLT-A55 is a great camera but not in the league of the D7000. However it is $350 less and does have so unique properties. It is rumored to have the same sensor as the D7000 but Nikon always does their magic and makes it better (D3x vs A900). The translucent mirror allows for fast shooting but loses 1/3 a stop of light. Still a very nice camera.

Non-DSLR Owner or DSLR owner with just the Kit Lens

When you are buying a DSLR, you are really buying into the lens system. So factor that into you decision making matrix. For that reason, if you have not spent a fortune on lenses yet then I recommend the m4/3 as in my opinion that is the future. The sensor of the top m4/3(GH2) is every bit as good if not better than the current crop of DX sensors and almost as good as the D7000. It is getting to the point, the sensor doesn't matter as much. At this point handling, size and weight start to become more important.

With this in mind I would recommend the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 16.05 MP Live MOS Interchangeable Lens Camera with 3-inch Free-Angle Touch Screen LCD and 14-42mm Hybrid Lens (Black) to anyone not invested in a lens system. It is smaller, lighter, more capable on the video side and in many ways better on the stills side. It needs a faster flash sync speed, faster shutter speed and the construction is not up to Nikon or Canon standards (In all fairness this cuts down on weight and I have not had a failure with my GH1.) It is probably not quite as good at the high ISO. On the positive side it has a multi-aspect sensor as it is actually an 18mp sensor (16:9, 2:3, and 4:3 will all be 16mp not crops of one aspect ratio) It sells for $899 body only, $999 with the 14-42mm and $1499 with the fantastic 14-140mm 10x zoom. The lack of a mirror flipping up is a benefit in all cases. Also, you can use just about any lens ever made on this camera. Nikon, Leica, Canon, Pentax, C Lenses. You lose auto focus on any auto focus lenses and there is no accurate way to adjust your aperture on G series lenses. While the GH1 sensor was by far the best M4/3 sensor and equaled most DX sensors of its generation, it did not quite stand up to the D90 sensor. I expect the D7000 to have a higher Dynamic Range and be an overall better sensor. However, that difference will not be noticeable to the lay users. What you get is a noticeably smaller and lighter camera that out handles any DSLR on the market and has the best video capabilities. In my opinion the GH2 will be the best all-around camera of its generation. The GH1 is the camera I reach for 90% of the time when I shoot for pleasure. When Panasonic puts out a full Pro line of lenses, I will use it more in the Pro situations. I am sure the GH2 will be my new go to camera.
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Comments

Tracked by 13 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 109 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 20, 2010 5:49:44 PM PDT
Craig Luna says:
Fantastic! Many thanks for taking the time to write such a thorough and insightful review on the D7000.

Posted on Oct 20, 2010 7:33:45 PM PDT
Rick Alan says:
Mr. Fuller -- Thanks for taking the time to write your comprehensive review. One statement you made really piqued my interest. The information you shared about the Lumix/Panasonic GH2. You seem to be quite intelligent regarding photography and cameras. I am very interested in either the GH2 or the D7000. I plan on printing images around 24" x 30" or so. Understanding that the bigger sensor would normally yield a larger print (I think) I also would like to know that the camera is capable of high-quality video (so I don't need to purchase a video camera, too) as well as high-quality stills. Sharpness, clarity and accurate color are my main criteria. So, the bottom line is this: Do you think it would be a good decision to purchase the GH2 (I really like the size)? Thanks for any input you can offer.
Rick

Posted on Oct 20, 2010 9:27:41 PM PDT
B. liu says:
some people are reporting a dead pixel while shooting either picture/video - did you have the same experience?

Posted on Oct 21, 2010 6:16:58 AM PDT
Becka says:
When you say "No full time live view" does that mean you can't turn live view on to take pictures via the 3" screen? Not something I used a lot since using live view always took forever to lock focus on the D90, but it was handy when needing to take a shot when it wasn't convenient to use the viewfinder.

Posted on Oct 21, 2010 6:24:25 AM PDT
JM says:
You received a body only set? When did you order it? Did you have special priority as a top 100 reviewer?

Posted on Oct 21, 2010 7:23:07 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 21, 2010 7:26:42 AM PDT
ZTT Fan says:
No offense, but how can you have such experience with it given it was just released, as of when I'm writing this, four days ago?

I also find it hard to believe anyone would give up the FX format D700 to move to the DX D7000 only to move back to FX when a D800 appears, and the D300s still beats the D7000 in other ways like the speed of its auto focus system, maximum FPS rate and build quality/weight.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 21, 2010 3:08:17 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 21, 2010 3:10:46 PM PDT
Someone says:
When you use a camera all day, four days is plenty for a review. I got mine last Thursday, so it's been a week already. Maybe you don't use your camera as much...

The DX vs. FX debate only matters if you consider the application. It seems that for the reviewer needs, it doesn't matter or the difference is too small, if the camera he's using is DX or FX. Both formats have their pros and cons. It depends on what your using the camera for.

Also, no offense here, but do you have a D7000 in hand to compare with the D300 on the build quality? The D300s offers little above the D7000. The D7000 is the top DX at this moment. Of course if the extra 1fps (6fps vs. 7fps) is worth to you more than all the pros for the D7000 then go for it...

Posted on Oct 21, 2010 8:29:11 PM PDT
Carol Stee says:
If you could only choose one camera which would it be, the Nikon D7000 or the Panasonic GH2?

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 22, 2010 3:55:39 AM PDT
ZTT Fan says:
Given the Nikon release date for the D7000 was Oct. 17, sounds like some dealers broke street date. :-(

I also wonder how many of the D7000 owners here have the stuck pixel issues that are rapidly becoming common; many who have returned their D7000s purchased at other retailers have reported the few remaining units their dealers had exhibited the problem as badly or even worse in many cases.

Sounds like Nikon has a few build quality issues with the D7000 at present. :-(

Posted on Oct 24, 2010 9:42:40 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 24, 2010 9:45:03 AM PDT
Gatorowl says:
You mentioned that you think the D7000 is better than the Canon 7D? On what basis do you draw this conclusion? My primary concern is IQ. It has a newer sensor, but that doesn't make it a better camera.

Note, I'm not trying to start an argument. I shoot with both a D90 and a 7D and I find the IQ differences between the two cameras very minor. I've taken fantastic (and horrid) shots with both cameras and had come to the conclusion that new cameras are providing very minor, or no, improvements in IQ.

I just would like to know if you have any objective support for your conclusion. I saw one person review on Dpreview asserting that the D7000's IQ rivals the D700. If true it would be the first time that an APS-C camera is able to challenge a modern FF camera on that dimension.
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