D7000 vs. T2i and 1Ds2 results

Started Mar 14, 2011 | Discussions thread
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D7000 vs. T2i and 1Ds2 results
Mar 14, 2011

I've spent the last couple weeks doing A-B comparisons of the 16MP D7000 against the 18MP T2i, and most recently the 16.7MP 1Ds2. The T2i is current technology from Canon, and the 1Ds2 is 2005 technology.

Although many elements such as AF, modes/styles, I'm mostly concerned with image quality, meaning accurate color, resolution and fine detail recording.

I was impressed with the T2i's ability to record fine detail and the accuracy of it color rendering, topping the D7000 in those areas. The D7000 does have some advantages such as the expanded dynamic range and ADL, but seems a bit over-hyped in outdoor uses for my needs. Color on the D7000 is somewhat "tarted-up" slightly over-vivid and shifted (I know the color can be adjusted, and have done so, so it's not to be considered a fatal flaw) -- sometimes this works better for the subject, sometimes not. The Canon was a bit more realistic and less vivid, especially in the sky color -- more blue-violet than cyan of the Nikon.

I also found the Nikon more coarse in its detail rendering, somewhat similar to the Canon's performace if the Unsharp Mask of DPP was adjusted away from Fine towards Coarse, but still not quite matching the Nikon. The Nikon coarseness, combined with micro contrast, seems to boost fine detail, but at 100% obviously has less information than the smoother toned Canon.

Even in the comparison against the 1Ds2, the Nikon had less sharpness and fine detail, which was kind of a surprise, both being 16MP and the Canon being six years older! Granted the Canon is full frame, and it's not a direct pixel-to-pixel comparison.

Anyway, the upshot is that I was encouraged enough by the performance of both Canon models that I ordered the 60D along with the 16-35/2.8L to take advantage of the current sale/rebate, which saved $340. I'll offload the T2i and use the 60D as my "new tech" model and the 1Ds2 as my "old tech" model for assignments.

I also found the new lenses I was interested in were more reasonably priced or no Nikon equivalent that suited my needs.

I'll be keeping the D7000 for the time being, and it has performed very well in these tests. Overall color balance has been very nice and I've had no focusing issues since it was repaired, other than occasional unexplained focus lock (no doubt operator error). I just haven't had the confidence to be able to use the body for assignments, so possibly it will be a personal camera until I can feel confident in it. Or perhaps sell it and concentrate more on Canon for serious work.

My D1x is still in my possesion and not being considered for mothballing or sale (can't get anything for it, which is a shame!) -- this is an awesome body and can always support my dozen or so Nikon lenses.

The lenses are staying too, at least for the most part, pending the disposition of the D7000, keeping it or selling it.

My final analysis is that the D7000 does not quite live up to its hype of low noise (particularly at lower ISO), reliability, revolutionary new AF and exposure, and its deployment was a terrific fiasco and letdown for me (waiting with mounting excitement for over three months from initial pre-order to completion of order with BG and SB700, AND a trip to Nikon to fix the AF back-focus). A very good camera, but not a great camera. Certainly not a bad camera -- and has a number of wonderful features, most notably its DR and support of AI/AIS lenses. But the whole affair with it since November has certainly been the most annoying camera purchase I've ever made! I may just keep it until I can afford a used D3 series, which is probably the type of model I would be most happy with.

The 16MP D7000 is certainly a strong step in the right direction and does a lot to try to close the resolution gap with Canon (Nikon finally getting off that 12MP impasse), but isn't quite there. Close, but no prize in that department. I realize that for many owners, this isn't an area of interest, any more than including features like HD video.

This isn't intended as a bash on Nikon or even the D7000, as I haven't given up on either! This just an update on what I've been finding. I'll probably publish something on the comparison of the 60D and the D7000.

And before anyone gets too upset with me -- I've spent a fair amount of money on Nikon products in the last 3-4 months, giving it the best opportunity I could. I've also invested more time testing the D7000 than any single camera body I've ever owned. Just saying it's not for lack of trying that I've finally pumped some money back into the Canon side of things.

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