Body & Design
The D7000's overall dimensions are very similar to those of the D90, which it now sits above in Nikon's DSLR lineup. The 'feel' of the new camera is far closer to the D300S though, thanks to its heavy-duty magnesium alloy construction. Notice the 'full height' memory card door, which might look like it houses a Compact Flash card but in fact conceals two SD slots, and the D300S-styled playback and delete button 'pairing' on the top left of the rear. Also, on the side of the camera, below the 'BKT' button you can see the new raised white 'blob' of plastic which is designed to aid location when mounting/removing lenses in poor light.
Side by side
The D7000 is a similar size to its obvious competitors, the Canon EOS 60D and Pentax K-5, but noticeably more 'chunky'. The D7000 feels a lot more substantial than something like the Canon EOS 550D, and to a lesser extent the 60D, although some will prefer the lighter, more portable bodies of either Canon. The Pentax K5 combines handling qualities of both the D7000 and the 550D/60D, and is arguably one of the most pleasant DSLRs of its type to hold and use.
In your hand
The D7000 is one of the more substantial DSLRs in its class. A magnesium alloy chassis and 'proper' rubber hand grip (as opposed to just rubberized coating) give it a reassuring heft which is closer to the experience of holding and using a camera like the Canon EOS 7D, or Nikon D300S. In terms of its control placement, however, the D7000 is very similar to the D90. This makes it an easy upgrade for D90 users that want a more 'serious' camera, but don't have the inclination to relearn a whole new ergonomics.
Viewfinder specs and view
One figure hidden away in every SLR's spec is the size of the viewfinder (often in a format that makes comparison between competing models impossible). The size of the viewfinder is a key factor in the usability of an SLR - the bigger it is, the easier it is to frame and focus your shots, and the more enjoyable and involving process it is.
Because of the way viewfinders are measured (using a fixed lens, rather than a lens of equivalent magnification), you also need to take the sensor size into account, so the numbers in the diagram below are the manufacturer's specified magnifications divided by the respective 'crop factors'. The D7000 has an excellent viewfinder for its class - offering 100% coverage and a magnification of 0.94x. The D90 offers the same magnification but a lower coverage, of 96%.
|The D7000's viewfinder is excellent considering its nominally 'sub professional' classification. As you can see it gives a larger view than both the D90 and Canon's EOS 60D.|
Most cameras at this level crop the frame slightly when you look through the viewfinder - in other words you get slightly more in the final picture than you see through the viewfinder. The D7000, in contrast, offers a 100% view (approx) of the scene to be captured.
|Nikon D7000: 100% viewfinder.|