Nikon D7000


The champion of the SLRs

A well designed and very efficient SLR, the new Nikon D7000 could be the champion of its class. But let’s see the test !


It seems to be the era of the SLR and the new D7000 makes a good impression at first view. After the D90 and the D300 that were launched a few years and few months ago, respectively, a new king has arrived. The product is Nikon’s new SLR expert. However, the history does not leave the field open for Canon (EOS 60D) and Pentax (K-5). We must see if the this digital camera is the new champion of the SLR class.

The reality

nikon-d7000Until now, to make a photo with an SLR it was necessary to glue your eye to a viewfinder. That makes the gadget a successful device with its coverage of 100% that allows a rigorous framework. Almost all full-size cameras are large and easy to use but the new camera takes a step forward. It’s one of the best of its class. But is it really the best ?

Dual SD slot for a lot of memory

A memory card full of info and able to change memory in the time of shooting can be a decisive advantage in some situations. That’s the reason why professional photo equipment, like Canon EOS 1D Mark IV or Nikon D3s, for example, is equipped with a dual slot SD. A good point is that we find the same technical solution on the D7000. This can be a real pro, especially when the memory controller can take advantage of SDHC cards from SanDisk UHS-I, which can empty the buffer of memory more efficiently in a short time.

Good pictures in low light

The Nikon producer has taken its time before passing the milestone of 12 megapixels. However it was worth the wait: the new 16 Mpix sensor that powers the D7000 is perfectly mastered and correct. We believe it is now the benchmark for consumer SLR (APS-C). Indeed, it is naturally better than the Canon 60D and the excellent camera that is the Pentax K-5. Nikon has always had an advantage in this segment and Canon offers more pixels.
This sensor can climb up to 3200 ISO without any problem but the 6400 ISO has a limit of publishable pics. However, the ISO 25 600 will only serve to take photos in very low light. However, for superior low light performance, we must go on the other side of the D700.

Burst mode

Because it is situated between the D90 and the D300 models, the reviewed model provides a logical intermediate finishing. Less “brick” than the D300 model is, it requires a magnesium case. This product is better than the D90 and it offers a real pleasure when used, because it seems solid (for its price range). And if we add its burst to six frames per second we have all the reasons to be completely satisfied.

Limited by the SHDC card

The pictures were taken very fast, so we were very impressed with the speed of the camera. However, a real problem seems to be the passing of 20 images in the buffer. We could see that the LED couldn’t blink so many times while the camera wrote the photos to the card. In the test we used SDHC cards featuring the new standard UHS-I (which takes advantage of the UDMA controller). The problem is that only one manufacturer – SanDisk – produces this type of memory cards.

Nikon has proven that they’ve made good progress. But their cameras are still less efficient than Canon’s expertise in video. When you are filming in 1080p mode (1920 x 1080 pixels / progressive), the D7000 is able to take beautiful images. However, a weak point is its autofocus which is too slow compared to a camcorder or with Panasonic’s GH2. Another bad thing: it only has one mode at 24 frames per second – no 720p at 60 fps, not 25p or 30p mode.

Fast autofocus capability

A very good point regarding this model: the autofocus of the D7000 is excellent if you have a lot of light when you take the picture. It can effectively track the race of a subject or the path of a car without concern that the light is provided from another source. The camera continues to hang the respect for a split second, even if it is outside the scope. In medium and low light, the camera loses all its advantages and the autofocus doesn’t seems to be as good as when you compare it to what you get in good light.

Impressive image quality

On the digital negative format (RAW) we have nothing negative to say: besides the excellent management of digital noise, the pictures are very good at dynamic range. However, the D-Lightning can recover a lot of light from the shadows, but the shots are soft and the colors are sluggish. You can customize the rendering of the images to obtain more mixed pictures. However, if you want to develop the RAW files on a computer, you will appreciate the great amount of detail provided by the excellent sensor of the camera.

Review conclusion

The Nikon D7000 is definitely a great gadget. This device will obtain four stars out of five: the quality of the materials is excellent, the camera takes very good shots in the RAW format and the video encoding is good. This model is a little bit frustrating: the burst of two generous doubled memory card slots reached high-level performance, but the buffer is too low. The absence of the settings in video mode, the auto-focus and the disappointing LiveView mode easily removed our initial fifth star. Nikon did not want to sacrifice its D300 by making this model very powerful. We cannot rate at the end of this review the D7000 with five stars.

Positive points (pros)

* All time viewfinder (when you take pictures, too);
* Good full HD 24p mode;
* Dual memory card slot (compatible SDXC);
* up to 6 frames per second in video mode;
* A good and powerful sensor with 16Mpixels.

Negative points (c0ns)

* The video is limited to 24p full HD (without any 25 and 30p setting);

Technical specifications

Sensor resolution16.2 MP
Sensor sizeAPS-C
Sensor TypeCMOS
ISO min100
ISO Max25600
Definition sensor width in pixels4928
Definition sensor height in pixels3264