Nikon D7000

The D7000 offers an excellent shooting experience with a professional feel and features for not too much money at all.


8.6
CNET Rating
9.3
User Rating

About The Author

CNET Editor

Lexy spent her formative years taking a lot of photos and dreaming in technicolour. Nothing much has changed now she's covering all things photography related for CNET.


If there ever was a camera to create a rush of excitement when unpacking it — through the arduous process of fitting the strap, adjusting custom-shooting settings and formatting a memory card — it would be the Nikon D7000.

It's a deceptive camera: it looks and feels more akin to a professional model in Nikon's range like the D300s or D700 even though it's clearly positioned below these two SLRs. The D7000 is also a dark horse in that it has the best (full) HD video recording of any of the Nikon SLR range to date — all for a street price around AU$1600 for the body only. We might be talking bargain of the century.

Design and features

Though it's not made of anything new in the construction ingredients department (all-metal chassis with magnesium alloy and polycarbonate covers) it feels really good in the hand. All grips are placed well, buttons are within easy reach and the finish is really refined for a camera of its class. Considering the D7000's main competitor is the Canon 60D, the Nikon is leaps and bounds ahead in build quality and overall look-and-feel.

The sensor is an overhauled 16.2-megapixel CMOS in Nikon's DX (APS-C size equivalent) format with improved analog-to-digital conversion with 14-bit processing, thanks to the new processor.

What's nice in the D7000's dial implementation is the dual-shooting mode and options dials placed one on top of the other. You can easily switch in and out of all your PASM modes and then just as quickly launch into single, continuous, quiet or timer shooting via the secondary dial. Screen specs are the standard 3-inch, 920,000-dot display we're used to seeing from Nikon's higher-end dSLR stable. The viewfinder is bright and clear and gives 100 per cent coverage, equivalent to that found in the higher-end D300s model.

Scene modes, normally found on entry-level SLRs, are now all contained in the one option on the top-mode dial, with selections triggered using the rear jog wheel and screen.

Nikon D7000Nikon D7000Nikon D7000Nikon D7000Nikon D7000Nikon D7000Nikon D7000Nikon D7000Nikon D7000Nikon D7000

Click through for a complete photo gallery. (Credit: Nikon)

Also at the back is a new switch borrowed from the D3100, that turns Live View shooting on and off. The instand video record button is situated in the middle of this too, which makes recording really simple. As for autofocus, that's taken care of thanks to a new 39-point system, of which 9 points are cross-type. The centre point is slightly outlined in the viewfinder and doesn't distract at all from the image presented through the viewfinder.

On the side is a whole host of connectivity options, including AV, mini-USB and HDMI out, plus microphone and GPS input. The D7000 adds another layer of interest above other cameras of its class too, with the provision of dual SDXC card slots which can be customised to perform a number of different functions like acting as an overflow buffer when the first card is full, backing up the contents of the first card or storing RAW shots on one side and JPEGs on the other.

Compared to

60D vs. D7000
Canon 60D Nikon D7000
18-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor (22x14mm) 16.2-megapixel APS-C/DX CMOS sensor (23x15mm)
3-inch, 1.04 million-dot articulating LCD screen 3-inch, 921,000-dot fixed LCD screen
5.3fps 6fps
Full HD video (1080p, 30/25/24fps) Full HD video (1080p, 25/24fps)
AU$1699 body only AU$1600 (approx.)

Performance

General shooting metrics (in seconds)

  • Time to first shot
  • JPEG shot-to-shot time
  • RAW shot-to-shot time
  • Shutter lag
  • Nikon D70000.30.20.30.1
  • Canon 60D0.30.40.40.1
  • Canon 550D0.30.60.60.2

Continuous shooting speed (longer bars indicate better performance)

  • Nikon D70006
  • Canon 60D5.3
  • Canon 550D3.4

The D7000 has a buffer of approximately 21 full resolution, highest quality JPEG shots. Nikon rates the battery at 1050 shots. The battery meter in the top LED panel has five increment levels to give a really clear indication of remaining battery life.

Image quality

Given the pedigree and the trickle-down features from the D300s, it's no surprise that the D7000 delivers excellent quality images using default settings, both in its RAW and JPEG forms. It's on par with the quality of shots from the D300s.

Automatic white balance is precise and does a good job of determining the ambient lighting, especially in darkened situations. Colour rendition on default and natural settings is very good. We tested the D7000 mostly with the new AF-S 35mm f/1.4 lens which produces excellent images in most situations.

As with the other Nikon SLRs, Active D-Lighting does a very good job of retaining highlight and shadow detail in tricky exposure situations (such as the backlit tree shot in our image samples below). In some situations, such as the low-light shots used in this review, the D7000 blew out highlights a little more than would be expected, but it doesn't present much of an issue in other conditions.

RAW vs. JPEG comparison

The D7000's RAW capture is very good, and in this side-by-side comparison with its JPEG image at high sensitivity, shows it's more than capable of producing usable shots at ISO 3200. The detail in the guitar player's shirt is even captured in the RAW shot, whereas in the JPEG image there's smoothing applied. Still, the JPEG images from the D7000 at ISO 1600 and above are very usable, especially with some post-processing applied.

Nikon D7000 RAW vs. JPEG

ISO 3200. (Credit: CBSi)

Video quality

The D7000 does allow full manual controls in movie mode (activated through the movie settings menu) though the frame rate options are limited to 24fps at full 1080p in high or normal quality. 25fps only becomes an option at 720p and below, and 30fps is nowhere to be seen, unless you change the video mode to NTSC.

Even though it offers full-time autofocus, like the D3100, in use it's not very practical, particularly if you mount a lens that's a little slow to seek focus. Plus, the lens noise is really obvious on the recordings (fortunately, the external microphone can help mitigate this a bit).

Overall, videos taken with the D7000 were clear, but lacked some of the clarity and precise sharpness found on the 60D. Sound from the built-in microphone is decent.

Just after publishing this review, Nikon issued a firmware upgrade for D7000 users, addressing the possibility of bright spots appearing on video shot with the camera, particularly in dark situations. While we couldn't replicate the issue during our testing period (and even when shooting in low-light situations and dark subjects), the firmware upgrade should resolve this issue.

Image samples

Click each image for full-sized samples from the D7000. No post-processing has been done to alter these photos.

Exposure: 1/320, f/13, ISO 200

Exposure: 1/250, f/7.1, ISO 200

Exposure: 1/640, f/1.4, ISO 200

Exposure: 1/60, f/4, ISO 3200

(Credit: CBSi)

Conclusion

The D7000 offers an excellent shooting experience with a professional feel and features for not too much money at all. Though it presents the strongest video offering in any Nikon SLR to date, it's still not quite as refined as the Canon implementation. Still, this would only be noticeable to videographers and serious amateur film-makers. For everyone else, the D7000 offers exceptional image quality and features.

Editor's note: Nikon does not provide "official" Australian RRPs, however the estimated price provided to retailers is AU$1599.99 for the body only configuration. The D7000 is available from selected retailers.



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Alidal posted a comment   

Hi everyone,i'm keen on buying my first dslr,having had an slr years ago.From what i read the d7000 is an excellent choice.I'm starting out on a budget and will only be able to get one lens initially. I would love some inputs on whether a 35mm f1.8 g will give me enough versatility to play around with and get to know the camera or whether i should opt for a kit lens 18-105mm 3.5-5.6 VR?My consideration is image quality with a fast lens vs flexibility.I guess i'm a bit uncertain as to what quality images i'll be able to take with this kit lens. Any inputs will be much appreciated....thanx in advance

 

SiljiV posted a comment   

nice in the D7000's dial implementation is the dual-shooting mode and options dials placed one on top of the other. You can easily switch in and out of all your PASM modes and then just as quickly launch into single, continuous, quiet or timer shooting via the secondary dial. Screen specs are the standard 3-inch, 920,000-dot display we're used to seeing from Nikon's higher-end dSLR stable. The viewfinder is bright and clear and gives 100 per cent coverage, equivalent to that found in the higher-end D300s model.

 

"Very good DSLR that your great grandmother could get along with."

BennyBoy posted a comment   
Australia

The Good:Price, image quality, user intuitive, fun to use, settings.

The Bad:You will bocome a serial shooter.

I originally purchased this camera for work, shooting still things of a botanic nature, but I soon found myself indulging in sports and wedding photography. I have to say, I love this camera.

There are many reasons to buy this camera over Canons and Nikons own offerings of similar price. This DSLR is simply light-years ahead of the competition when you consider the massive list of features. What I really love though is the following:

1) Massive battery life, I mean nothing has the right to be this frugal!
2) Dual SD card slot: save one image as JPEG the other as RAW
3) User intuitive: learn to use the camera in 20 seconds
4) User friendliness: light weight, buttons where they should be, compact for DSLR
5) Professional and idiot proof = excellent camera to learn with
6) Manual buttons: easily override auto settings
7) Auto settings = your great grandma could be a pro photographer
8) Lenses: massive range of Nikkor lenses are stupid good and stupid cheap. Eg, Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G is yours for AU$240!
9) Price: body can be found for AU$1000.00. Dang!
10) Image quality: simply amazing. If you can, shoot in RAW and convert after. The fine detail of each image will leave you breathless.

You also have HD video (make a movie), instant settings recall (appear to be an awesome pro), weather proofing design (when your drunk at a wedding), awesome new sensor, list goes on and on!

Don't listen to Zazen below: what the heck is a "semi-pro" or "professional" DLSR anyway? Isn't this just a camera that professional photographers use? I can tell you that plenty of professional photographers out there are using d7000's. Ever heard of Bob Krist?

In addition, many people out there with so-called pro-DLSR's barely scratch the surface of they're camera's capabilities and would be better off buying a cheaper body and investing in decent glass and some lessons! I have personally seen this body used with top-end lenses and the results speak for themselves.

So to conclude, the D7000 is an investment and a bargain at $1000.00. It rulz!

Ausbod
10
Rating
 

Ausbod posted a review   

The Good:Everything

The Bad:Australian price

Great camera, full of options and very usable

SL
10
Rating
 

SL posted a review   

The Good:Excellent

The Bad:Movie mode sort of limited

This is an excellent camera. After owning D50 then D80 and now D7000, it is a welcome upgrade. I have absolutely no reason to complain about. Hi ISO shoots are far better than what I have experienced in my other cameras so far. Up till 1100 ISO, I have not noticed any noise whilst pixel peeping. Images are clean and beautiful. I mostly shoot stills and I have no complains here.

Some people complain about 24 fps at 1080p. I find this fantastic. I watch blue-ray movies in my home theater system in 1080p at 24fps. It brings me closer to original movie watching as meant in cinema halls. Hence, I don't see this as a draw back. The only limitation I find is that after 20 minutes or so you have to re-shoot as it stops, possibly for the sensor to cool. If shooting at longer length you simply have to combine the clips. A 16Gb card can hold about 240 min of movie make sure to get class 10 or higher. I use Transcend and it works well. You can also assign where to save your sills and movies given there are 2 SD cards.

Another thing I think worth mentioning is that with one of my lenses (Nikkor 70-300VR) I recently purchased a Sigma 1.4X EX DG Teleconvertor. I have been reading that with this particular lens no teleconvertor works BUT this is incorrect. Not only Sigma 1.4x works but auto focus and VR works well too and can shoot at F5.6 at full focal length. I find this lens light enough to travel with and with a TC 1.4X it is all good. However, there is a very slight drop in contrast and detail, nothing that you cant correct if you shoot RAW or JPGs.

 

slowmo posted a comment   

Just after a some clarification about the lens in the review. I heard that as a '35mm f/1.4 lens? Would anyone have advice as to how this stacks up against the AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G?

LatinoQLD
9
Rating
 

LatinoQLD posted a review   

The Good:Great to work with

The Bad:nothing

Well guys I have both the D90 and now the D7000, and love them both, a freind of mine has the canon 550 and it has nothing on the older D90 so imagen what it has on the D7000 (yeah less than nothing)

Zazen
8
Rating
 

Zazen posted a review   

The Good:Performance, Speed, Image Quality

The Bad:All the rant around this camera...or any camera in general...people don't experience things & develop prejudices...they are lying to themselves.

The D7000: Designed to Perform i'd say..coz it has done it so well up till now. After having carried it to few winter treks around, there's a lot that this camera proves for itself. It hasn't let me down till now, been nearly a month & a half its been with me and it has often managed to surprize me.
D7000 defenitely has some pro quality specs, but it is not a pro or semi pro camera. Infact D7000 is the best DX camera in the market at the moment.
It has the ability to lead the new dslr user to creative heights and to continuously inspire the old one's.


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User Reviews / Comments  Nikon D7000

  • Alidal

    Alidal

    "Hi everyone,i'm keen on buying my first dslr,having had an slr years ago.From what i read the d7000 is an excellent choice.I'm starting out on a budget and will only be able to get one lens initial..."

  • SiljiV

    SiljiV

    "nice in the D7000's dial implementation is the dual-shooting mode and options dials placed one on top of the other. You can easily switch in and out of all your PASM modes and then just as quickly ..."

  • BennyBoy

    BennyBoy

    "I originally purchased this camera for work, shooting still things of a botanic nature, but I soon found myself indulging in sports and wedding photography. I have to say, I love this camera.
    ..."

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