Nikon D7000 Review
Overall handling and operation
In terms of its operational handling, the D7000 is very close to the older Nikon D90. It might have a similar body shell to the D300S, but despite this and some other 'pro' touches, like a thicker rubber coating on the grip and the lockable drive mode dial, it will probably be a lot easier for a long-time D90 user to upgrade to the D7000 than it will be for a D300S user going in the opposite direction.
This is no bad thing - the D7000 is, after all, aimed at the upper end of the enthusiast market - and overall, we really like the way it handles. The D90 is a popular model for very good reasons, and in coming up with the design of the D7000, Nikon has not attempted to meddle too much with the formula. The few changes which have been made (like the addition of a direct video shooting button on the Live View switch), mostly make sense, and improve the camera's handling. We like the 'business-like' metal body and we don't mind the slight increase in weight, although with a fast-aperture lens attached, the D7000 does make its presence felt.
Specific handling issues
In general the D7000 handles well, as we'd expect from a camera which is essentially a hybrid (in ergonomic terms) of the D90 and D300S. There are a couple of issues though, which make using the D7000 less pleasurable than we think it should be.
One of the few serious problems with the D7000 from an ergonomic point of view is the placement of the ISO button, in the middle of the row of buttons to the left of the LCD screen on the rear of the camera. Although preferable to having no direct-access ISO button at all, this button cannot easily be located by touch, and is in entirely the wrong position to be accessed with your eye to the camera's viewfinder. In the D300S, the ISO button is located on the left hand side of the top plate - still the wrong side for easy 'blind' reach - but on the D7000 we'd really like to be able to swap the metering button, which is bizarrely prominent, just behind the shutter release - with ISO.
Maybe Nikon thinks that the majority of D7000 users will just stick with Auto-ISO, but quite apart from this we can't fathom why metering should be given such prominence. Surely more photographers adjust ISO 'on the fly' than metering mode? Likewise white balance, which languishes with ISO right over on the left-hand side of the camera, out of easy reach. This wouldn't be so much of an issue if the 'Fn' button on the front of the camera by the lens mount could be assigned to either function, but unfortunately it can't. There is a workaround though - the 'quick ISO' option in the shooting/display custom menu tab assigns ISO to whichever control dial is unused in aperture priority, shutter priority and program modes respectively. This is handy if you habitually work in a single one of these modes, but there is no escaping the fact that it is a workaround, rather than a fully satisfying solution to the problem. The unused dial is different from mode to mode, and it doesn't work in manual. It is also incompatible with the (arguably more useful) easy exposure compensation custom function.
Speaking of ISO, by default, ISO is not visible in the viewfinder unless you're in the process of changing it. Whilst not a major annoyance most of the time, this means is that in auto ISO mode, you have no idea at which sensitivity setting you're currently shooting. Custom option d3 in the shooting/display custom menu tab allows you to show ISO sensitivity in the frame counter display of the viewfinder, but annoyingly, as soon as you depress your finger on the shutter button, the ISO display reverts to showing frame count.
Actually, the D7000's auto ISO functionality - like all current Nikon DSLRs - feels a little half-baked in general. Within this dialog is an ISO selection window, the purpose of which is somewhat obscure unless you happen to have the user manual to hand. Contrary to appearances (and what the on-screen help dialog tells you), selecting an ISO setting here actually defines the lowest ISO setting that the camera will use in auto-ISO mode. This is simply confusing, but we'd question the logic of having a single 'minimum shutter speed' option (which in P and A modes raises ISO sensitivity if the shutter speed required for exposure falls below the selected value). A single shutter speed makes sense if you're shooting on a long telephoto prime lens, but since the majority of D7000 users are arguably more likely to shoot zooms (probably stabilized) than long telephoto primes, this is - to say the least - something of a blunt instrument. A 'set minimum shutter speed according to focal length' option would be more useful, and something that we hope Nikon will address in the next generation, because for now, auto-ISO is something of a kludge.
Also irritating, but of less importance overall is the design of the drive mode dial on the extreme left of the D7000's top plate. We like the idea of the lockable drive mode dial, but as we've already mentioned in the body pages of this test, it can be rather awkward to manipulate. Positioned beneath the relatively loose exposure mode dial, it seems more like a gimmick than a serious attempt to 'professionalize' the camera.
We were expecting the D7000 to be a fast and responsive camera, and in general it doesn't disappoint. We have no serious complaints about operational speed (we'd like the D7000 to have the D300S's buffer, but that's about it), and as we'd expect from a modern camera in this class, the D7000 feels swift and positive in general use. Even in live view mode, AF is reasonably fast, and very accurate. We stress this point because contrast-detection in live view mode is an area where DSLRs traditionally lag some way behind mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras. The D7000 still isn't as quick as the likes of the Panasonic G series or Sony NEX, but Nikon has narrowed the gap considerably. Detailed timings can be found in 'Autofocus speed / accuracy', below.
Continuous Shooting and BufferingThe continuous shooting performance of the D7000 is midway between the D90 and D300S. The D7000 can manage 6fps maximum shooting speed, and can capture images continuously up to 100 JPEG frames (but not necessarily all at the same frame rate - see below). This is 1.5fps faster than the D90, but still some way off the maximum 8fps achievable with the D300S and MB-D10 grip. The D7000's buffer is smaller than the D300S as well. We found that even with a fast card, no more than 32 pictures can be taken in a burst at the maximum frame rate before the camera has to slow to clear the buffer. In JPEG (Fine) mode this drops to 22 frames before the frame rate slows.
Compared to the competition, the D7000 is pretty fast, but not class-leading. The Canon EOS 60D can manage a maximum frame rate of 5.3fps, but the Pentax K5 beats both cameras in terms of absolute speed, at a maximum frame rate of 7fps for an impressive 20-30 shots (depending on JPEG quality). The following figures are the result of our own timings - all operations are performed and timed three times, with the average given.
- JPEG (Fine): 6 fps for 22 frames, then 2 frames at 3fps captured every second (approx) up to 100 frames in total. Approx 10 seconds to recover.
- JPEG (Normal): 6fps for 32 frames, then 4 frames at 4fps (approx) followed by 2-3 frames at 5fps (approx) up to 100 frames. Approx 10 seconds to recover.
- RAW: 6 fps for 10 frames, then 2 frames at 2fps captured every 2-3 seconds. 16 seconds to recover.
- RAW+ JPEG (Fine): 6 fps for 10 frames, then around 0.5 fps. Approx 22 seconds to recover.
All tests conducted at 1/250 sec in AF-S mode with a 16GB Lexar Professional 133x Class 10 SDHC card.
Autofocus speed / accuracy
The D7000's 39-point AF system is new, and in use, it feels extremely similar to the 51-point system of its 'big brother' the D300S - we certainly didn't notice the 12 missing points. Nine of the 39 points are cross-type, which allows more accurate AF using wide-aperture lenses, especially in poor light. Compared to the D300S, the coverage of the AF array is very slightly smaller, but this difference is noticeable only by direct comparison.
In everyday photography, our experience of shooting with the D7000 almost exactly matches our experience of using the D300S. With a 'kit' lens mounted, like the AF-S 18-105mm, the D7000's AF system is reasonably quick and perfectly accurate, but with a faster lens like the AF-S 16-35mm f/4 or the 24-70mm f/2.8, the D7000 comes alive. The only niggling concern that we have with the D7000's AF system (and one which is by no means limited to this camera) is an occasional tendency in very poor light to decide that it has achieved focus, when actually it has not, irrespective of whether the AF assist lamp has fired.
In general though, AF accuracy is very high, in both AF-S and AF-C modes. We do not have any specific tests for AF tracking accuracy (although we are looking into it for the future) but in the shooting which we have done with the D7000, it is able to accurately track moving objects around its 39-point AF frame, with the same accuracy that we would expect of the D300S and D700. Autofocus tracking accuracy is helped of course by the new 2016-pixel RGB metering sensor for scene recognition, which facilitates 3D tracking by subject color/contrast, as well as aiding metering and white balance accuracy.
We have found however that autofocus speed is highly dependant on the lens used. Whilst beginners with no immediate ambitions to upgrade their kit lenses will be perfectly happy with the speed of the 18-105mm, more advanced users will be pleased at how much more responsive the D7000 becomes when paired with a lens with a faster AF motor. This is not a problem restricted to the D7000 - it is always the case that the AF speed of Nikon's D/SLRs is at least partly limited by the AF motor in the lens. In the case of AF-S motors, the designation alone is no guarantee of speed. Some (like the AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8) are quick, and others (like the kit lenses and the AF-S 50mm f/1.4) are relatively slow. It is worth noting that older, D-series AF lenses achieve focus almost as quickly as the fastest AF-S models.
The D7000's contrast detection AF system, which is used in live view and video modes, is not as fast as the class-leading (in terms of CD-AF performance) Panasonic Lumix DMC-G2 and GH2, but it is a lot better than the previous-generation D90, and Nikon's current APS-C flagship, the D300S. We tested contrast-detection AF speed on two lenses which are representative of the 'fast and slow' models mentioned above - the AF-S 18-105mm kit zoom, and the AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8.
With the 18-105mm at 105mm, the D7000's contrast-detection AF can move it from its closest focusing setting to infinity in 1.4-1.5 seconds (approx). This is only 20% longer than the time it takes for the same operation in phase-detection AF mode. Impressive performance. However, with the faster 24-70mm f/2.8 mounted, the D7000's phase-detection AF system essentially doubles in speed, achieving focus in 0.5-0.6 seconds (at any focal length). Live view (contrast-detection) AF is no quicker though, which means that it takes roughly twice as long as phase-detection AF with this lens.
Either way, it is certainly true that Nikon has made significant improvements to the D7000's contrast-detection AF system compared to its predecessors, and we're confident that the D7000 offers the fastest CD-AF of any current Nikon DSLR. It is also worth noting that its CD-AF is noticeably faster than the Canon EOS 60D.
|Dubai by Nilesh Trivedi|
|Hummingbird Tight by Dennis Bayer|
from -Vivid Purple- (in Full Colours Only)
After shaking up the Lightroom ecosystem with Lightroom CC last year, Adobe has released version 2.0 of the cloud-centric photo organizer and editor. We look at new features like People View, how far Lightroom CC has come in its first year, and where Lightroom is headed.
Today, at Adobe MAX 2018, Adobe previewed Photoshop CC on iPad, a full-featured, desktop-class version of Photoshop for iOS.
The weather and has most definitely taken a turn toward fall here, and our shooting opportunities have followed suit. We brought the Canon RF 35mm F1.8 along to a harvest festival of sorts and a few of our usual haunts.
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf has signed House Bill 1346 into effect, which imposes a fine upwards of $300 to drone operators who invade the privacy or harm the physical wellbeing of citizens.
Sigma is a company in flux, but CEO Kazuto Yamaki is undaunted by the upcoming prospect of developing lenses for eight lens mounts. The challenge will be keeping the company's identity along the way.
If you've been meaning to convert all of your old photos, video, and audio to digital formats, but simply lack the time or willpower to get through it all, a new service from Kodak will help you get the job done.
Almost all new cameras include impressive video features, but for the best results you'll often need an off-camera recorder. Chris and Jordan take a look at the brand new Ninja V from Atomos, and explain why it might just be one of the most useful tools you can add to your camera.
Collect allows you to transform 360-degree into a more easily digestible format by transforming it into directed traditional videos.
Sick of using your plain ol' keyboard to edit your photos in Lightroom and Photoshop? TourBox is hoping to expedite your post-production workflow using a clever combination of dials, buttons, and knobs.
Bag and accessory manufacturer Hex has launched two bags as part of its latest collection: the Clamshell Backpack and DSLR Sling.
Crank out instant photos with Holga Digital's new analog printer, currently being funded on Kickstarter.
We got some hands-on time with Leica's new S3 medium format camera, which boasts a new higher-res sensor as well as other improvements.
Luna Display started its life as a crowdfunding project on Kickstarter. Now, it's available to purchase directly online.
We sat down with the Google Pixel camera team to learn about key new camera features on the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, and an explanation of the sophisticated software advancements that power them.
A lawsuit filed on Tuesday claims the cameras in Apple's iPhone 7 Plus and newer dual-camera models infringe on a patent that was granted in 2003.
Nikon's Coolpix P1000 has moved the zoom needle from 'absurd' to 'ludicrous,' with an equivalent focal length of 24-3000mm. So far, it's a fun camera to shoot with – if a bit over the top.
Like the LG V40 ThinQ the A9 combines a super-wide-angle, regular wide-angle and tele camera, but adds a depth-sensor to the mix as well.
The FAA has issued a warning to drone pilots in anticipation of disaster response following Hurricane Michael, noting that fines for interfering with emergency operations can exceed $20,000.
According to a report from Fortune, Apple acquired Danish masking technology startup Spektral in December 2017 for "more than $30 million."
Insta360's latest model comes with a range of features that allow for the creation of unique action cam footage.
The Photogrip can be used as a camera grip, mini tripod or phone stand and comes with a detachable remote.
At a time when manufacturers are adding triple and even quad-cameras to their flagship smartphones, Google is sticking with one main camera. But given the sophistication of the company's computational efforts, we think it's the right approach for now.
DPReview is hiring! We're seeking three Software Development Engineers at a range of experience levels to join our Seattle-based team.
The University of Dayton Research Institute created a video detailing what damage is caused when a drone strikes the wing of an airplane.
Lenovo's upcoming high-end smartphone will be the first model to feature four cameras on the back.
The Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL offer a second front-facing camera and a host of improved computational features such as digital zoom based on super-resolution capture, better depth mapping and a fill-light effect for low light portraits.
Canon has ported a large chunk of its Digital Photo Professional (DPP) Raw processing software's feature set to iOS and launched the DPP Express app.
The Panasonic LX100 II offers a higher-resolution sensor over its predecessor, but it's the addition of a touchscreen that makes the Mark II so gosh-darn enjoyable to shoot with. We've got some fresh samples from Panasonic's new premium compact camera.
Sony has announced a new "Alpha Female" program, a creator-in-residence opportunity that will award six-month grants to five female filmmakers and photographers.
The new 490, 492 and 492LCD are targeted at amateur photographers and come with a 4kg/8.82lbs payload.