By Laurie Excell
With the introduction of the US$1,199.95 Nikon D7000, a new level of camera comes to the Nikon line. The D7000 fits between the D90 and the D300s in product lineup and features.
Nikon (http://www.nikonusa.com) has taken some of the best features of its higher-end cameras and incorporated them in the D7000. Among these features are dual SD memory card slots that enable you to shoot more images without having to change cards, which is a real plus with its rapid-fire six frames-per-second shooting speed.
You can also use one card for stills and one for movies, which leads to another groundbreaking feature for Nikon: 1080p HD video with full-time autofocus (AF) to produce up to 20 minutes of high-quality movie clips. There’s even a microphone jack to plug in an external microphone.
That alone would make many people happy, but Nikon didn’t stop there. The body is made out of magnesium alloy for extra strength and durability, previously only used in the higher-end bodies. They also added extra weather sealing against the elements, and a 150,000-cycle shutter.
The D7000 now sits at the top of the line in resolution for DX bodies with its 16.2-megapixel CMOS sensor and the new 39-point AF with nine center cross-type sensors. This enables you to compose the image to your liking and still use the powerful AF capabilities with any of the AF lenses in the Nikon line, plus any AI (manual focus) lens in aperture priority or manual modes with very little loss of functionality.
The 2,016-pixel RGB 3D Color Matrix metering system (now, that’s a mouthful), along with Nikon’s Scene Recognition System, provides accurate metering in even the most difficult light. Additionally, Nikon improved white balance, focus tracking, and iTTL flash output, allowing you to concentrate on the subject and not worry so much about the mechanics of shooting. This is a real plus when the action picks up or for those spontaneous, once-in-a-lifetime moments.
While we’re on the subject of iTTL flash, I’d be remiss not to mention the fact that the built-in flash not only provides a decent range, but it can also be used as a commander so you can take an additional Nikon Speedlight and use it wirelessly off camera in full TTL mode.
The D7000 has Nikon’s EXPEED 2 image processor and 14-bit Analog/Digital conversion for rich colors, smooth tones, and fast performance. Nikon also added two user-definable settings on the Mode Selector Dial, so you can store your favorite camera settings and quickly access them without having to wade through the menu settings, which is a real benefit for those who make use of the many capabilities of the camera.
Both Virtual Horizon and Live View, with the addition of a grid overlay, help you to keep your subjects on the level, and with the dynamic ISO range from 100–6400, you can confidently shoot in low-light situations. The 3-inch, 921,000-dot super-density LCD screen with 170 degree viewing delivers a high-quality playback and improves your Live View and video filming experience. A worthwhile option is Nikon’s MB-D11 multipower pack that increases shooting time and includes a vertical shutter release and control dials.
I’m definitely impressed with Nikon’s newest entry into the DSLR market.
Rating: 10 out of 10
(This review is brought to you courtesy of "Layers Magazine": http://layersmagazine.com).