Nikon D7000 review at

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by photo5, Dec 1, 2010.

  1. An impressive camera but I'm keeping my D300!
    Here is the review.
  2. I've yet to see a review thoroughly cover the video autofocus, but it certainly is an impressive camera. It's on my Christmas list... :)
  3. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    The D7000's video AF works quite well. I mounted it on my 500mm/f4 AF-S and followed a duck swimming on a pond, and the D7000 contrast-detect AF (not the regular AF for still capture) has little trouble following it. I have proof because the D7000 built-in microphone captures the sound from the AF motor very well and through out that video, you can hear the AF-S motor tracking the movement of the duck. In fact, that pretty much was the only sound it captured.
    Unfortunately, the build-in microphone did not capture any sound from the scene. That is why I think that microphone is next to useless and for serious video capture, an external directional microphone is a must for the D7000.
    I wouldn't expect the D7000's video AF to be able to follow an athlete on a 100 meter dash or something demanding like that, but for capturing everyday video, it does a fine job. I also like its human face-detection capability. Those contrast-detect AF capabilities have been greatly improved since the days of the D3S, D300S, and D700. As DPReview correctly points out, traditionally, that area has not been a strong point for Nikon, but the D7000 demonstrates that Nikon has made major improvements in that area.
  4. Thanks Dave. Another review indicating overexposure in bright conditions, although this does seem to be consistent and, therefore, more easily compensated for than the D80's approach. I don't recall seeing how the meter does in bright conditions with ADR set to 'Auto' though - I'd expect a little more highlight headroom from what was said earlier about dynamic range.
    I think my D300 will be a keeper for a while yet.
  5. It's funny how DPReview staff are getting hammered for giving the D7000 silver and not gold (and for giving it only a 1 pt advantage over the 60D).
  6. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I have had my D7000 for a month and as far as I am concerned, it is an excellent camera. It is a bit puzzling that DPReview gives it the silver grade instead of gold, although I wouldn't get too hung up on that. Apparently DPReview is reporting exposure metering issues. That is one observation I do not share; I have used my D7000 under various bright sunlight and night dim light suituations; for me, the exposure is spot on, as it is on all Nikon SLRs I have used in the last 20 years. (I have never used the D80.)
    One thing you need to give DPReview credit is that they are very thorough and always provide a lot of information, perhaps way too much information. That is why I have never read any one of their reviews from beginning to end. Typically I only pay attention to the conclusion and maybe look at 1 or 2 other things I am interested in. Their observations are mostly good, although I don't find exposure issues in this case.
  7. Shun, your metering observations mirror those of KR. It would be nice to build up a clear picture over the next few weeks and months as we get real user reports.
  8. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Shun, your metering observations mirror those of KR.​
    So is that good or bad? :)
    In the last few weeks, I have been scanning DPReview's Nikon Forum on user experience on the D7000. There are indeed a lot of complaints as it is usually the case on new models, but they are mainly on hot pixels. E.g., we have this thread on D7000 Problems:
    I am not aware of any complaints about exposure and metering.
  9. I also like how DPReview's articles are very thorough but I agree that the conclusion is very puzzling.
    I agree with DPR's assessment that the ISO button is in a funny place. Nikon has never gotten that right with any of its non-pro bodies. It was usually ok however, since you could assign it to the FN button, but puzzingly on the D7000, it isn't there.
    I disagree with all the other ergonomics comments.
    As for the overexposure issue, sadly I've been stuck indoors (shooting lots of pictures of my new kid), so I don't know what to say about that. It's definately an issue with evaluations, not an issue in actual use though. I'm very accustomed to toying with E.C. and exposure values in post production.
    DPR forums also had a lot of comments regarding backfocusing. I yanked out a tape measure and shot it with a 50 1.4 at 45 degrees wide open... seemed fine to me (at least for a quick dirty informal test).
    EDIT: That said... I think the DPR article said the overexposure was with matrix metering. I almost always use spot or center-weighted metering. I don't trust the damn camera!
  10. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I know that I have no back focus issues with my D7000, and I use matrix metering most of the time myself.
    Related to focusing, I continue to get super sharp images from my 300mm/f2.8 AF-S and 200-400mm/f4 AF-S VR (both without VR) on the D7000. However, I am not able to get really sharp results from my 500mm/f4 AF-S. Eventually I put it on a heavy tripod and use live view to manufally fine tune focus (hence the AF system, the mirror, etc. are no longer factors), the result is still a bit soft. I am afraid that given how dense the D7000's pixels are, it may be exceeding the 500mm/f4 AF-S' capability.
    My 500mm/f4 AF-S works much better on the D300.
  11. hmm, very thorough review, as usual. i'm glad they spent a lot of time detailing the specific differences between the d300s and the d7000.
    metering/exposure issues aside, the d7000 looks like a very capable camera. the feature set is impressive at that price point. it's kind of looking like a no-brainer upgrade for anyone with a d90 or lower-level model--or anyone who wants to do 1080p video (which the D3s doesnt even have).of course, you can also do HD video with a $700 d3100, but i digress...
    the review confirms what i had suspected, that the ergonomics are slightly cramped. in real-world shooting situations, the ISO button placement on the top dial is a big plus. but c'mon, nikon can't give away ALL the goodies for $1199 (body only), can they?
    for current d300 and d300s users, the logical upgrade,however, is a d700--which is problematic, as the d700 is a bit outmoded (no video, only one card slot), and the long-rumored d700s never arrived and probably won't now--i'll wager we see a d800/d4/d400 trio instead. so that's a bit of a pickle.
    the choices are looking like a) soldier through with the current body and suffer the shame and humiliation of being bested at high-ISO by a camera at a lower price point--which also happened to d2h, d2x and d200 users--while you wait for the 400 or 800 to arrive; b) buy pro FX glass instead (always a wise choice); or c) bite the bullet and sort-of-upgrade, kind of-downgrade to a d7000, then go through the same NAS-aided confusion again next summer (or fall).
    i personally like the fact that the d90, 300, and 700 all share the same battery, which could be a huge plus on extended field outings, travel/vacation/assignment, and/or with significant use of VR-equipped lenses and live view. but that nice symmetry ends with the d7000, which only shares the M3-L3 remote with the d90 as far as accessories go.
    i predict the d7000 will be a big hit --not just with advanced amateurs and enthusiasts, but also with photojournalists, however, who will definitely be intrigued by the multimedia capabilities, though action shooters are better served for now by the bigger guns--d300, d300s, d3, d3s, etc.
    it's also clear that there's a more defined demarcation taking place in nikon's line; the d300 was a semi-pro/pro camera which was lapped up by a lot of prosumers. the d400 will clearly be more pro than semi, since for many people, the d7000 will be all the camera they need, realistically.
    another question is, what will the 800 look like? will it be the affordable full frame folks want (but may not realistically get)? a new iteration of the d3s sensor (unlikely, since the d3s was "only" 12mp)? or a new FF sensor altogether, perhaps 18mp--not quite a d3x, but respectable next to the 21mp 5dmk II (which should also get an overhaul in the next 12-18 months)? or will we see a d700-sized body with the d3x sensor? (probably not for a while).
    bottom line, i think, is decide what you need now to shoot and get it--don't worry too much about tomorrow or next year. the good thing is that nikon makes fantastic cameras.
  12. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Eric, I don't find the D7000 cramped at all, but even though I am 6'1", my hands are not huge; that may be the difference. Now that I am used to the D7000, when I switch back to the D700, it really feels big. I am sure that is a matter of getting used to a camera. At least I should have no problem switching back and forth.
    However, since the D7000 is small, there is not enough room for all the buttons so that the controls are not as convenient; that is a given.
    Concerning the EN-EL15 battery, I expect that to be the standard battery in the D90-D7000-D300-D700 grade DSLRs by the end of 2011. Therefore, the EN-EL15 may seem odd right now, and it is expensive at $60 each, in another year, still having a DSLR that uses the EN-EL3e may seem out of place instead.
  13. My D80 had the metering issue, but it was only for around 5% of images I took so it didn't bother me very much. But I do like the D300 metering much better overall than the D80 metering. The D7000 seems to be more D80 than D300 anyway, in imaging. Higher contrast, colors that "pop" more. A camera designed for people coming from a point and shoot, who are buying their "first DSLR".
  14. good points, shun. you're probably right about the batteries, but if you have en-el3e cameras, having symmetrical redundancy is a plus in the field right now.
    but here's something for the OP to consider. after my d300 was stolen, i got a d90 before a d300s. moving from the d300's relatively expansive-like real estate to the condo-like quarters of the d90 was definitely an ergonomic jolt. not that it ultimately affected my shooting all that much, since i had previously owned a d80, but it was definitely an adjustment. a bigger issue was moving from the d300 AF system and 15 cross type-AF sensors to the d90's 11/1 array. i do like the d90's size, though, especially for casual shooting. and, obviously, AF wouldn't be a big deal with a d7000, which has 39/9.
    i'm not trying to convince the OP to get a d300s or a d7000, just weighing the relative merits of each. to me, comfortability with ergonomics/button placement/overall feel is important in actual shooting, as opposed to oohing and aahing over specs on paper.
    that said, had the DPReview article been out when i got the d300s, i might have opted for the d7000 instead, since i do prioritize high-ISO performance. you seem to be tickled pink by it, so that says a lot for it.
  15. I have read that review. I do not care of video, but I noticed when shooting JPEG, D7000 produces somewhat soft images - they just lack sharpness or detailization. What is the reason? - The lens, or its AA-filter? The pictue under is out of that review.
    I considered D7000 to switch from my current SLR, but now I am confused.
  16. The high ISO capabilities of my D7000 blow me away - it does tend to overexpose in matrix mode in bright light, but not like my D80. The only case I could make for a D300s vs the 7k is the buffer, otherwise, i can't see it - better sensor, amazing images. My Sigma 30 1.4 is not a sharp as i thought it was, tho :)
  17. too late to edit now, but i got confused with the other post where the OP had a d200 and was trying to choose between d300s and d7000.
    also, ruslan, that sample does seem a bit soft--DPReview recommends punching up sharpness and saturation, shooting in RAW, or getting a better lens than the 18-105 to make the d7000 stand out. still, kinda makes you wonder...
  18. Shun -
    A quick question - you mentioned AF motor noise that gets recorded on video through microphone. Is it possible to focus manually ? In that case is it possible to avoid that AF motor noise ?
    Thank you in advance.
  19. Shun, your metering observations mirror those of KR.
    So is that good or bad? :)
    It's a coincidence. Sometimes, by sheer serendipity, KR will get the same result as those who know what they're doing.
  20. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    A quick question - you mentioned AF motor noise that gets recorded on video through microphone. Is it possible to focus manually ? In that case is it possible to avoid that AF motor noise ?​
    We need to keep in mind that the way Nikon DSLRs captures video, the camera is in live view mode and you look into the back LCD while panning the camera to follow the action. Even for still images, it is very difficult to look at a live view image without magnification to focus; when we fine tune the focus with live view, we typically magnify a tiny portion of the frame and then carefully check focus. Trying to focus while keeping the video composition is totally out of the question, at least for me.
    And even without the AF motor sound, the built-in mic will mainly capture the sound of the wind outdoors. You really haven't solved any problem.
    Again, a dedicated external microphone, especially a directional one that you can point at your subject, is the answer. However, I don't particularly like to have yet another attachment on my camera.
  21. I agree with DPR's assessment that the ISO button is in a funny place. Nikon has never gotten that right with any of its non-pro bodies. It was usually ok however, since you could assign it to the FN button, but puzzingly on the D7000, it isn't there.​
    You can't move it on the D700 or D3 either (I've not looked on the D300). Its absence is very annoying, and I requested that it be added to the FN options soon after I got my D700.
    in real-world shooting situations, the ISO button placement on the top dial is a big plus. but c'mon, nikon can't give away ALL the goodies for $1199 (body only), can they?​
    The top plate (D3/D700) is better than "under your cheek" like the D7000, but for those of us who use their left hands to hold a largish lens and/or control zoom, it's still about a foot away from my hand. Hopping over the camera with the right hand is precarious. The D7000's position is arguably worse (for short lenses the "on the top" version is better), but it really should be assignable to Fn/Prev so you can change it without dropping the camera. Maybe on the D4/D800.
  22. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Come on, merely a few years ago, changing ISO used to mean you need to replace the roll of film inside the camera or switch to a different camera body/film back. The ISO switch being a few more centermeters away really is not that big a deal.
  23. Shun: No kidding about that changing film to change ISO, or dealing w/ push + pulls, snip tests, etc.. So that's where they put the ISO button. No big deal; learn & cope. For me, much more troubling is the mode dial that doesn't lock in place. Mine keeps slipping out of A when taking in and out of my chest pouch or pulling out of a partially opened camera bag.
  24. Oops - thought I'd replied to this, but clearly I forgot to hit Submit.

    Shun: I'm very grateful to have a range of useful ISO values. and to have a usable auto-ISO function, both of which were missing on my Eos 300D (noisy above ISO 400, auto-ISO only in the scene modes). I just think that Nikon's interface hasn't caught up with its sensor technology: it ought to be possible to change any combination of shutter speed, aperture, ISO and exposure, and have the camera adjust a combination of the rest. On a digital camera, ISO is as fundamental as aperture and shutter speed - yet there's no "auto ISO to keep the aperture below f/8" (only a shutter speed limit - which you have to adjust through a menu, not a scroll-wheel interface) and, unless you have both hands free, it's not as easy to adjust ISO as it is to adjust shutter speed or aperture. Being able to map ISO to the Fn button would make a huge difference in that. I appreciate that you can't cover the right hand side of the camera with buttons, but this ought to be a simple sofware fix, and I'm surprised it hasn't turned up in a BIOS update - I even asked Nikon UK if there was any way I could contribute volunteer coding time to fixing up the interfaces...

    ISO on a digital camera is much more convenient than changing film, no argument. That doesn't mean that I can't give usability feedback to the design team when there's something I think could be done better, especially when it's a relatively simple fix. If nobody improved interfaces we'd not have aperture or shutter priority modes, we wouldn't have autofocus, and we'd have to stop-down meter.

    Back on topic, I was just trying to stop anyone who was put off by the D7000's ISO button location from imagining that the "high end bodies" had a niggle-free ISO interface. At least if you do take the camera away from your face it's easier to find the ISO button on a D7000, compared with having to peer down on the camera to see the top plate, as on the D3/D700 (not an issue if you can find it by feel, but if you can't...) Both the D7000 and the D3/D700 solutions are reasonable if you're using a tripod, but not if you're hand-holding a big bit of glass trying to get candid photos in changing conditions. It wouldn't take much to improve matters.

    I've plenty of other niggles about the D700, most of which still apply to the D7000; I'm only bringing this one up because the difference between the cameras was mentioned. My D700 probably still has the best interface of the cameras I might have considered, and I can still take photos that I like with it (and the limitations are definitely me, not the camera) - I'm generally very happy with it, and don't particularly want a D7000 for example. There's no harm in striving for improvement, though.
  25. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Andrew, you have a good point. Perhaps I am old school, as I don't change my ISO setting nearly as often as aperture and shutter speed, but with digital, ISO is merely one of three equally important variables. Therefore, changing ISO should be as simple as changing aperture and shutter speed.
    On the D7000, I program the Fn key to vertial horizon so that I can easily check whether the camera is straight from within the viewfinder.
  26. I admit I don't fiddle with the ISO on the D700 as much as I would on the Eos 300D (partly an issue of vintage and sensor size, before anyone accuses me of picking on Canon) - this is partly because the difference between ISO 400 and ISO 800 is less catastrophic on the D700, and partly because there's an auto-ISO mode. For a prime lens, I tend to fiddle in the menus (which is annoying) to set it to an appropriate shutter speed for the focal length - assuming my primary interest in shutter speed is avoiding camera shake - and leave it there while I mess with the aperture. It's annoying for a zoom lens, though - I either end up at a higher ISO than I need, or I forget that I've set the ISO lower and end up with a blurred image. Canon's solution with the variation of auto-ISO by lens focal length is only a partial improvement - I'd like to "program shift" the compensation it to compensate for vibration reduction or caffeine intake. I emailed both Canon and Nikon about this (before the feature appeared in Canon bodies) in the hope they might implement it.

    If the ISO was easier to change - particularly if it was on the right hand, and holding Fn while scrolling a wheel would allow it to be changed without moving the eye - I'd be far more involved in its setting.

    Admittedly, I also use the Fn key for virtual horizon on my D700. I think between the three configurable buttons there ought to be more options available for chording them for extra options. :)

    Gary: It's not that I'm not used to where the ISO button is, it's that it's physically difficult to press it while controlling the camera. If the centre of gravity is a foot or so in front of the body (as with, say, a hand-held and extended 150-500 Sigma) the left hand can't easily be moved if you don't want to bend your lens mount. You can hop the right hand across to the ISO button if you don't mind the whole camera-lens combination being precariously balanced on your left hand and relying on nobody walking into you, but even if you can grip the camera to press the ISO button without flipping it onto the floor, you're then stuck in the mode where button presses persist until the shutter is pressed - and that's not my preferred interface. Short of a fing-longer, it's a pain. It ought to be an easy fix in a BIOS update, so I reserve my right to whinge - there is a genuine usability issue. Some have said the D7000 is worse because, as you look through the viewfinder, your face is in the way of the button. Arguably it has some benefits: if you have a very pointy noise, you could press the button that way, while keeping your right hand on the grip.

    Nikon seem to have the expectation that the left hand is available to reach the camera body when shooting - there's the same issue for selecting between autofocus modes, for example. In my experience, that's far from true, and it'd be nice if future Nikons allowed slightly more for the "walkaround telephoto" market. It may be that Nikon's interface design team still haven't caught up with the idea of VR, as well as high ISO - if all you're shooting is Velvia (and I was, over the weekend) then hand-holding a non-VR 500mm lens isn't an option it's worth designing cameras around. With VR and a usable ISO 6400, it's much more likely.

    Apologies for wandering off-topic.
  27. I can't say I've ever thought about the placement of the ISO button before today. It's in a different place on my D80 and D1h (I just checked) but never really thought much more about it until now.
  28. Shun -
    I think my question was not worded properly.
    Is it possible to do manual focusing while doing video at all or does it have to be auto focus ?
  29. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Anand, of course it is possible to manually focus while capturing video. It is like it is also possible to hit the lotto. Are you going to do a good job adjusting the focus manually tracking a moving subject while the video capture is on going? Most likely you won't do a very good job.
  30. I think you are right, Dave. With all the hype about the D7000 smoking everything except a D3x for resolution, its nice to read a pretty objective review. High ISO performance is not everything. I was tempted by the U1 and U2 hard switches for different shooting modes, though. But its not brilliant enough for me to reconsider my decision to move up to FX.
    I liked the D300 and to me I can put up with the same plethora of menu's on the D700. After all, I took the time to do the 4 way setup that Nikonians provide.
  31. @Anand Dhupkar - You can manually focus in video mode, in fact, you almost have to in low light situations.
  32. Is a camera with good high iso capabilities like the D7000 better at low light focusing than a camera with poor high iso capabilities like the D80? Or are they not related?
  33. I actually find these days that I change ISO and aperture far more than I change shutter speed. I let the camera decide shutter speed often, unless I'm shooting something moving fast. I usually tweak ISO to get the shutter speed I want at a given aperture.
    For the D7000, you can hobble a 1 handed ISO change in 1 way: you can assign ISO to My Menu, and assign the FN (or the preview) button to the first item in My menu. That'll bring up a list of ISO that you can change with the multi-selector (but not the command dial).
    I hear you can set it via Easy-ISO settings but I havne't tried that.
  34. Ofer - except in contrast-detect live view autofocus mode, the sensitivity of the image sensor is unrelated to the autofocus performance (there are separate autofocus sensors that aren't attached to the main image sensor). However, newer and higher-end cameras tend to have better autofocus modules as well as better sensors - they're related only in that the technology behind both tends to be improved over time, and be better in more expensive models.

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