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Raw

Supplied software

The D7000's software suite is fairly limited, although at its core is ViewNX 2 - a capable raw conversion platform, slightly improved over the previous generation View NX and vastly superior to Nikon's Picture Project, which shipped with earlier generation Nikon DSLRs. View NX 2 is not as sophisticated as Nikon's Capture NX 2 (available separately for �160/$180), but it offers most of the key functionality that a beginner will require when starting out on the DSLR road, including the ability to edit white balance and exposure in NEF files, and highlight/shadow recovery sliders as well as basic video editing functionality. In a nice touch, many of these parameters can be built into presets using the Picture Control Utility, meaning that presets you find yourself regularly applying can be uploaded to the camera. There's even an option to reduce axial chromatic aberration. Inexplicably absent, however, is any control over noise reduction.

As well as being free, ViewNX 2 has another advantage over Capture NX 2 in that it is a small program that does not require a huge amount of computing power to run. It's far from being as slick as Adobe's Camera Raw plug in for Photoshop, but much more forgiving of older, slower computers than NX2. As well as raw conversion, ViewNX 2 also allows you to geotag photographs using Google Maps, and to rate and label images with stars or colors for ease of organization. You can even modify the names of the color tags so that they show up as 'Work,' 'Holiday,' 'Portraits' or whatever best suits your needs.

Although it doesn't give anything like the flexibility or functionality offered by Nikon's Capture NX 2, the bundled ViewNX 2 software is a huge improvement over the earlier generation Picture Project, and it easy to make basic adjustments to both raw and JPEG files from the D7000. A thumbnail view does exactly what it sounds like it should - it arranges all of the images in a particular folder as thumbnails, for easy navigation.
When adjusting raw files, you can either apply an existing Picture Control preset (Standard, Vivid, etc.) or create and modify your own, which can be uploaded onto the camera for JPEG shots. ViewNX 2 allows you to geotag your images by using Google Maps to find and record where you took your your photos. If you use Nikon's GP-1 GPS unit with the D7000, geotagging is automatic.
Creating video projects is a simple matter of opening the new video editor program, and importing clips into a playlist. From here you can add transitions between clips, and audio files.

When you're ready to export your video project you can name it and specify the precise type of output that you want.

 

RAW conversion

As is normal in our digital SLR reviews we like to compare the supplied RAW conversion software, any optional manufacturer RAW conversion software and some third party RAW converter. In the case of the D7000 we used the supplied View NX as well as Adobe Camera RAW 6.3 (release candidate).

  • JPEG - Large/Fine, Default settings
  • VNX - View NX 2.0.3
  • ACR - Adobe Camera RAW6.3 (at default 'Adobe Standard' setting)

Color reproduction

Place your mouse over the label below the image to see the color from a GretagMacbeth ColorChecker chart produced using each RAW converter. There are subtle differences between the color response of the camera's JPEG engine and View NX, even though they're theoretically using the same Picture Control Styles. Adobe Camera RAW's default settings take a slightly more vivid approach to color response and has a more contrasty tone curve.

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Sharpness and Detail

As expected more detail can be brought out of raw files from the Nikon D7000 compared to its JPEG output, but difference isn't enormous. Of the two raw conversion engines that we've used (support for the D7000's NEF files is currently very limited), Adobe's Camera RAW does a better job of resolving very fine detail,and gives slightly higher contrast results at its default parameters. In contrast, View NX 2 delivers a slightly softer, less contrasty image that stands up very well to further sharpening. As we'd expect, View NX 2 gives almost identical color and contrast rendering to the D7000's JPEG engine.

Adobe ACR 6.3 RAW -> TIFF (Default output settings)
ISO 100 studio scene 100% crops
Nikon View NX 2 RAW -> TIFF (Default output settings)
ISO 100 studio scene 100% crops
JPEG out of camera, High quality setting, manual WB (all other settings default)
ISO 100 studio scene 100% crop

Resolution

The differences between ACR and Nikon's View NX 2 are minimal when resolution shots are compared, as you can see. We'd stick our necks out and say that ACR gives fractionally better detail rendition than View NX 2 as the lines on our chart approach Nyquist, but there's very little in it. Both raw conversion engines have produced slightly better resolution than is possible from in-camera JPEGs, and both describe some lines up to and after Nyquist (although this is not 'genuine' detail).

Adobe Camera RAW 6.3 View NX 2
 
JPEG Large/Fine

RAW files for download

Here we provide RAW files from the sample shots we take, to allow you to apply your own workflow techniques and see whether your experiences match ours.

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Comments

Total comments: 2
GEDERA GUY
By GEDERA GUY (8 months ago)

As an upgrade to the D80 , the D7000 is a definite improvement , but build quality is still lacking , next to say, the D300S .

That being sad , the camera handles well ,even if the video function is still an option I scorn .

The main problem I have, is the slow flash sync speed with my SB 600 flashgun - a pathetic 1/60 sec .To utilise the full potential of the D7000 , I need to upgrade my flash gun - not easy when finances are tight .

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Duncan Dimanche
By Duncan Dimanche (8 months ago)

You never tell us what ISO settings you shoot at in low light mode so how is that helpful ?

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Total comments: 2