Nikon D7000 Review
22 Conclusion & Samples
Conclusion - Pros
- Good detail and dynamic range (even better in RAW)
- Exceptionally low shadow noise in RAW files
- Arguably the best high ISO performance of any current APS-C DSLR
- Good build quality and handling
- Maximum ISO of 25,600 st full resolution
- 1080p HD video mode with basic editing built-in
- Efficient Active D-Lighting
- Comprehensive customization options
- Large, bright viewfinder with 100% coverage
- Fast contrast detect Auto Focus in Live View
- Useful electronic horizon
- Comprehensive feature set
- AE metering support for up to 9 'non-CPU' Ai lenses (in A, M modes)
- Twin SD-card slots
Conclusion - Cons
- Tendency to overexpose in bright sunshine/high contrast situations
- ISO button is poorly positioned, and cannot be assigned to any other control point.
- Ditto white balance: poorly positioned, cannot be re-assigned
- Exposure mode dial slightly loose, and easily knocked
- Shooting mode dial can be awkward to manipulate
- AF can be hesitant in poor light
- Auto ISO function is confusing and poorly implemented (but no worse than any other Nikon DSLR)
- Aperture not adjustable in manual mode in live view (and won't stop up/down in any mode until exposure).
- No live histogram or exposure indicator in live view/movie shooting.
Generally camera manufacturers tend to follow a well-defined update path and it's usually pretty clear which model is meant to be replaced by a new one. With the announcement of the D7000 Nikon has - to a degree - broken with this pattern. The new camera is located somewhere between the enthusiast D300S and the (still current) upper entry-level D90.
In some areas such as build quality, sensor resolution and video quality it even overtakes the (nominally) semi-pro D300S, but as we've seen in this review, it's much closer to the D90 in terms of ergonomics and general handling. Whilst the jump from D90 up to D7000 might appear to make more sense than that from the D300S down a rung, the D7000 could be considered an upgrade option for both existing D90 and D300S owners alike. The D90 user gets an upgraded body shell, a better, higher-resolution sensor, vastly improved AF system and video modes, whilst the D300S owner gets... well, almost all of that, the only penalties being slightly less advanced ergonomics, a smaller buffer, and reduced AF versatility.
The Nikon D7000 produces high quality output in almost any shooting situation. Default JPEGs are clean of artifacts and with natural colors and tonality. At a pixel level low ISO images are very slightly soft but still show very good detail which can be further increased by shooting in RAW (you'll have to look at a 100% magnification though to see the difference). If you'd like your images to be a little crisper out of the camera you can play a little with the Picture Control parameters and dial in some extra sharpening and/or contrast. The camera's JPEGs also respond well to a touch of extra sharpening in post processing. In any case you should make sure you put some decent glass in front of the D7000's sensor. The 18-105mm kit lens scores points for versatility but it doesn't make the most of the sensor's capabilities.
While at base ISO there is very little between the latest DSLRs, at higher sensitivities the Nikon D7000 arguably offers the best performance of all APS-C cameras that we have seen so far, thanks to its combination of low noise, and sensible noise reduction, which retains an impressive amount of detail. The two highest ISO settings should probably be reserved for emergency situations or web use but we're confident in saying that up to ISO 6400 the D7000's output is perfectly usable at normal print sizes of letter size and smaller, plus of course web use.
At 9.3EV the D7000's JPEG dynamic range gives no cause for complaint either but working with the D7000's RAW files not only gains you some extra detail, but crucially also helps to significantly increase dynamic range. This is thanks to the new generation imaging sensor which produces exceptionally low read noise at base ISO. This lowers the noise floor that usually limits DR and means that you can pull much more dynamic range out of the shadows when processing RAW files. The benefits can be seen in day to day shooting in JPEG mode, especially when using active D-Lighting at higher ISO sensitivity settings, but to get the absolute best out of the D7000's sensor you'll need to spend some time at a computer working on its .NEF files.
All in all the D7000 delivers very good image quality, but there is one negative that we've mentioned in previous pages and have to stress again here. In bright, high-contrast conditions the camera has a tendency to overexpose - unfortunately by quite a large degree. For the past five years we've seen midtones from Nikon DSLRs getting progressively brighter, but overexposures of between between 0.5 and 1.0EV are serious, and can result in missed shooting opportunities. In most cases the exposure can be brought back into line by shooting in RAW mode and spending a little time in post-capure, but nevertheless, when shooting in bright sunshine and/or high contrast conditions we would urge you to keep an eye on the histogram and apply some negative exposure compensation when necessary.
Despite its magnesium alloy bodyshell, the D7000 is very close to the Nikon D90 in terms of handling. Having said that, the thick rubber coating on the grip, the lockable drive mode dial and the higher weight give it more of a quality feel than the all-plastic D90. The D90's control layout has been refined for the new model in some areas (direct video shooting button, Live View switch) and overall, we really like the way the camera handles. It feels solid and comfortably weighty in the hand. The user interface also offers more than enough customization option to make it suitable for even the most extravagant shooting habits.
There's one control though we would like the Nikon UI designers to have another look at: the placement of the ISO button. In its position in the middle of the row of buttons to the left of the LCD screen the 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. A location on the left hand side of the top plate - like on the D300S - would be better, but ideally we'd like to see ISO sitting just behind the shutter button, as it does on the Canon EOS-series and other cameras including the Pentax K-7/K-5 and Olympus E-5.
It is also a shame that the D7000 offers the slightly less sophisticated implementation of live view which is traditionally found in Nikon's lower-end DSLRs. Aperture cannot be adjusted in manual exposure mode in live view mode at all. Although you can adjust the aperture value in aperture priority mode, the actual aperture itself stays locked where it was when you initiated live view until the moment of exposure, where it stops up/down to your desired value. This makes stopping the lens open for critical manual focus more annoying than it needs to be, and means that if you initiate live view with the lens stopped down, to go 'wide open' you have to exit, reset the aperture, then initiate live view again. The lack of a live histogram is also annoying, and means that exposure in 'manual control' live view and video shooting is essentially a matter of trial and error, since the on-screen exposure simulation is hard to judge in bright ambient lighting.
The Final Word
In most respects, the Nikon D7000 is an excellent enthusiast's DSLR. The camera produces great image quality in most shooting situations, and it shines in low light, providing (just about) useable images right up to its ISO ceiling of 25,600 (equivalent). It feels swift and positive in general use, even in live view mode, thanks to greatly improved contrast-detection AF - not a traditional strength of Nikon's DSLRs. The D7000's buffer is decent, especially considering the large size of its files, but not in the same league as the D300S. However, although potentially irritating to a D300S user considering a second body, this shouldn't stand as a serious criticism of a camera aimed essentially at the upper end of the enthusiasts' market.
Ultimately, the D7000's specification is hard to argue with. A newly developed, 16.3 MP resolution sensor, 6 frames per second continuous shooting, 1080p full HD video and an abundance of customization options place this camera firmly into the upper regions of the mid-range market segment. In the final analysis, the Nikon D7000 is a very good DSLR which only just falls short of greatness. Nevertheless, the Nikon D7000 earns our second highest award and will make a great addition to the kit bags of current D90 users, D300(S) users and ambitious photographers that are new to the Nikon brand alike.
Scoring is relative only to the other cameras in the same category.
Click here to learn about the changes to our scoring system and what these numbers mean.
Category: Mid Range Interchangeable Lens Camera / DSLR
Ergonomics & handling
Metering & focus accuracy
Image quality (raw)
Image quality (jpeg)
Low light / high ISO performance
Viewfinder / screen rating
Movie / video mode
The D7000 produces great image quality and feels very responsive in most shooting situations. It shines, especially in low light. From a specification point of view, a 16.2 MP resolution sensor, 6 frames per second continuous shooting, 1080p Full HD video, and an abundance of customization options place this camera at the upper end of the mid-range segment of the market.
There are 37 images in the samples gallery. Please do not reproduce any of these images on a website or any newsletter / magazine without prior permission (see our copyright page). We make the originals available for private users to download to their own machines for personal examination or printing (in conjunction with this review), we do so in good faith, please don't abuse it.
Unless otherwise noted images taken with no particular settings at full resolution. A reduced size image (within 1024 x 1024 bounds) is provided to be more easily viewed in your browser. As always the original untouched image is available by clicking on this reduced image.
Nikon D7000 Review Samples
Nov 28, 2013
Apr 25, 2011
Dec 22, 2010
Dec 1, 2010
|scrum break away by al booth|
from Sport competition
|Parking Deck by Olaf R|
from Your City - Parking Garage
|Communication Tech by alberto_b|
|With & without by OBellini|
from Empty - Full
A recent vacation gave Richard a chance to think about the needs of travel photography – and how our reviews might recognize the perfect travel camera.
Need more evidence that 2017 is the year analog begins its comeback? Well, welcome another new film stock to the world.
The winners of the 10th annual iPhone Photography Awards have been announced, and they're striking.
If you were disappointed by reports that the Sony a9 struggles with adapted Canon glass, you might be able to take some comfort from Metabones' latest update.
Blackmagic Design has dropped the prices of its Video Assist external monitor/recorders for a limited time. Prices of the SD card-based recorders will be reduced in all markets, while supplies last.
Instagram has started testing a new feature called 'favorites' that enables users to share photos with only certain people. Only a small number of users have access to the feature at this time, though it may roll out to everyone in the future.
Lensbaby has announced the Velvet 85 F1.8 for interchangeable lens cameras. The lens is available in Canon, Nikon, Sony E, Sony A, Pentax K, Samsung NX, Fuji X and Micro 4/3 mounts.
It's the end of an era. Parent company Micron has announced that they are discontinuing the Lexar retail brand. This includes 'memory cards, USB flash drives, readers, and storage drives.'
Youthful trainspotter turned adult photographer, John Sanderson has traveled across the United States, documenting the country's railroads. But you won't find any trains in his pictures.
Sony's new CMOS sensor is backside-illuminated and offers an all-pixel global reset function which should drastically reduce rolling shutter effect when panning.
Shoulderpod has converted its offerings into a lego-like modular system by offering all individual parts of existing products separately, allowing users to build exactly the rig they need for a specific project or simply replace a damaged part.
Photographer Felix AAA has spent the past ten years touring the world with a variety of musicians, capturing behind the scenes shots and portraits. He talks about some of his favorite images on the FujiFilm Blog.
A roll of film discovered in an Argus C2 from an Oregon Goodwill turned out to contain some incredible images – and has been re-united with the original owner's family.
Nikon's 28mm F1.4E ED appears to roundly complete the company's updated lineup of fast, professional prime lenses. We've already seen some initial images from a Nikon ambassador, but we've worked through a gallery of our own, with a lens of our own over the past week. Take a look.
Google is holding a competition that could see your Pixel photos gracing millions of screens.
Nikon's 100th birthday party continues worldwide as a distributor in Italy organized a one-of-a-kind feat: assembling the world's largest 'human camera' from over a thousand volunteers.
Ricoh has dropped the price of its Theta SC 360 spherical camera by to $199, a reduction of roughly $50. The camera features two 12MP sensors and can record Full HD video in addition to stills.
Photojournalist Pete Souza served as the presidential photographer for both Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama. In an interview with fellow photographer Marcia Nighswander, he discusses several of his most noteworthy images.
Photographer Michael Wolf has been documenting the crowded conditions of Tokyo's subway trains since the 1990s. The photos have gone viral regularly in the years since he started the project, and he just published the final edition in the series.
The just-launched OnePlus 5 is getting a minor update that should improve camera function.
A Belgian camera shop is showing off an extremely rare, limited 'Rex Edition' Nikon D500. The cosmetic alterations were provided by a customer's German Shepherd Rex, who got ahold of the camera within a day of its purchase.
Adobe says that many of its users have been relying on SkyBox for VR editing and it therefore made sense to make the plug-ins available to all subscribers through Creative Cloud.
The Pictar grip provides a number of customizable physical controls for your iPhone camera, but at its price point we would like to see better materials and build quality.
Peak Design's 'consider every detail' approach shines in the Everyday Backpack. While expensive, it's one of the best options out there for a photographer who needs to pack a lot of stuff in addition to gear.
If you're thinking of using Canon's sports glass on the Sony a9, think again. The ultra-fast camera slows way down when you attach off-brand glass.
The Polish town of Katowice is not famed as an area of beauty, but as all photographers know, that doesn't mean that beauty can't be found if you look in the right places. Mariusz Pietranek used a drone to look down on the colorful sedimentation tanks at an ironworks.
New York Times video journalist Ben Solomon spent a harrowing three weeks accompanying Iraqi Major Sajjad al-Hour as he and his men fought to retake Mosul from I.S. forces.
The 3D VR camera launched through a crowdfunding campaign in 2015 goes on sale beginning June 26.
Noctilucent clouds, a crescent moon and Venus were visible in the pre-dawn sky over Budapest yesterday. Photographer György Soponyai captured NASA's astronomy picture of the day.
Squirming pets won't sit still for photos? A Kickstarter campaign is looking to help.