Operation and Controls

The D7000 might be a new model, but in terms of its operation and controls it is very similar in many respects to the D90. A summary of the main design differences between the D90 and D7000 follows below:

  • Live View 'switch' (rather than button) and dedicated movie record button
  • Playback button moved to left of viewfinder (like D300S/D3S/D3X)
  • Slightly larger buttons on left of LCD
  • Thicker rubber on hand grip
  • Smaller rubber area on rear (limited to thumbrest area)
  • AF and Drive buttons deleted from top plate
  • AF mode button now situated at hub of AF/M switch near lens mount
  • New lockable drive mode dial on left of top plate
  • Raised white dot on front of body to aid lens alignment when mounting/removing lenses
  • Twin SD card slots under 'full height' card door

Rear controls

Viewed from the rear, the D7000's control layout is all but identical to that of the D90. Some of the controls have changed shape (live view, for example, which has gone from a simple button to a sprung switch surrounding the new movie record button, a la D3100) and the playback button has leapt up to join delete, on the top-left, but otherwise, we're looking at the same controls in pretty much the same position.

Like the D90, the D7000 has a rear control dial and a customizable AE-L/AF-L button to the right of where your thumb naturally rests when the camera is held. The LCD screen is the same too - 3 inches and 921k dots, and like the D90 the D7000 comes with a clip-in screen protector as standard (the BM 11 - not pictured). Unfortunately, the D7000 also inherits the D90's ISO button, which is inconveniently-positioned for use with the camera to your eye.

Top right controls

On the top right of the D7000 are the shutter release with on/off/LCD illumination collar switch, the top status LCD and dedicated metering and exposure compensation buttons. When pressed and held simultaneously, the metering and delete buttons (on the rear of the camera) act as a shortcut to format either/both memory cards. From this position you can also clearly see the rear control dial, and the six small holes to its left cover a built-in speaker for playing back sound on movie footage. On the D90, drive and AF mode buttons were positioned to the right of the status LCD - in the D7000 these functions are taken care of via the shooting mode dial on the right of the top plate (see below) and the new AF mode button on the AF switch, adjacent to the lens throat.

Top left controls

The biggest changes compared to the D7000's stablemates are on the top-left of the camera. As well as a conventional exposure mode dial, the D7000 also features a second drive-mode dial which resembles those on higher-end Nikons. It deals with frame advance modes, timers, and the like, adding 'Quiet' mode plus true mirror lock-up to the selection available on the D90. Like the similar dial on the D300S, D700 and D3-series, this is lockable, and is released by depressing the small button on the lower left.

The dial is knurled on its front edge, which aids grip, but we still find it rather narrow and as a consequence, quite fiddly to manipulate. It is a little disappointing, too, that whilst this dial is impossible to shift accidentally, the more exposed exposure mode dial above it is all too easy to inadvertently knock when taking the camera in or out of a bag, or if it brushes against your hip when the D7000 is held over one shoulder.