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Nikon D7000 Digital Camera Review$1,199.99
Lens & Sensor
Lenses designed for use with 35mm film cameras (such as Nikon’s own DX format lenses) will have a focal length multiplier of 1.5x when used with this camera, turning a 24mm lens into a 36mm, and a 300mm lens into a 450mm. That is a good thing for longer telephoto lenses, but is a bit of a pain with wide angles. The D7000 is sold as a kit with an 18-105mm zoom lens for $1499, but it can be bought without the lens for $1299.
The D7000 is built around a CMOS image sensor, which measures 23.6 by 15.6mm (0.92 by 0.61 inches) and which captures 16.9 megapixel images. That makes it an APS-C sized sensor, which means it is not a full frame camera. This also means that lenses designed for use with 35mm film cameras will have a focal length multiplier of 1.5x added. This sensor can also capture HD video at Full HD resolution (1920 by 1080 pixels) at 24fps, or 1280 by 720 resolution video at 30fps.
On the top of the camera is the viewfinder, an optical model that uses an eye-level pentaprism. Nikon claims that this offers a 100% preview of the captured image. We found it to be comfortable and easy to use, although the rubber seal around the edge of the viewfinder does leave a mark if you wear spectacles. Fortunately, it can be removed. A small wheel on the right side of the viewfinder provides for diopter adjustment if you have bad eyes and want to shoot without glasses.
The viewfinder shows a lot of information, including the focus points, battery and card status in the main viewing area and shooting information in a strip at the bottom. The guide to all this information from the manual is shown below, but the bottom line is that pretty much every shooting feature is shown there somewhere. With a bit of practice, you can change things like the ISO setting, shutter speed, aperture and focus point without looking away from the viewfinder. You do need to use the top LCD panel to change settings such as white balance, image size or color mode, though.
On the back of the camera is a 3-inch LCD screen with a resolution of 921k pixels. This is a fixed screen: it does not rotate or flip out like the Canon 60D.
We found that this screen was sharp and produced clean images, but they did look a little pale in direct sunlight. Menus and other text is very clean and sharp, and the LCD screen can show shooting information when it is not being used to show the live view. A clear plastic cover is included that protects the screen from being scratched, which is a definite plus for a camera like this that is going to be used out in the real world.
The LCD screen on the back of the camera can also act as a secondary information screen if you press the info button while shooting, as shown below.
On the top of the camera body is a secondary LCD screen that shows shooting information. This packs a lot of information into a relatively small area, but it is still easy to read. Below is an excerpt from the manual that shows the information on display.
The D7000 has two flash options: a small pop-up flash built into the viewfinder housing, and a hot shoe that allows you to connect an external flash. The built-in flash is small, but adequate for general use: we found that it could adequately illuminate objects out to about 12 feet in complete darkness.
The second option is to install a flash on the hot shoe on top of the camera body. Nikon used a standard flash shoe mount, so any type of standard flash will work. Nikon does claim that their own flashes work best, though and offers a range of flashes from the low cost SB-600 AF ($300) to the more powerful SB-900AF (approx $470). A variety of specialist flashes (such as macro and ring light models) can also be used with this camera.
The flash sync speed for this camera is 1/250 of a second, but this can be shortened to 1/320 if you don't mind loosing a bit of flash power. TTL (through the lens) flash metering is offered on all compatible flash guns, and several flash modes are offered, including front and rear curtain sync, red eye reduction and flash compensation of between -3 and +1 stops.
The D7000 has a selection of ports under a couple of covers on the left side of the camera body. Under the top cover is a USB port and a mini HDMI port. Under the bottom cover is a microphone input (which also provides phantom power for microphones that require it) and a GPS port. This proprietary port connects to the $195 GP-1 GPS receiver, which allows photos to be tagged with a GPS location and precise time.
The D7000 is powered by an EN-EL15 battery with a capacity of 1900 mAh. Nikon claims a battery life of 1050 shots, and we found that this is probably pretty close to the mark: the battery of our review model lasted through several days of intense shooting before we had to recharge it. A spare battery will cost you around $60.
Cameras with two memory card slots are not uncommon: cameras like the SLT-A55 offer support for both SD and Memory Stick cards. The D7000 is different, though: it has two SD/SDHC/SDXC card slots, which can be used simultaneously, providing it with an extra level of flexibility. These two cards can be used in a number of ways:
** **Backup* - Identical images are written to both cards, providing a backup or second copy for quick distribution.
** **Overflow* - The camera writes to the first slot until it is full, then writes to the second. Cards can be hot-swapped, so you can remove one while still writing to the other, so you can be almost continuously shooting.
** **RAW Slot1 – JPEG Slot 2* - The camera writes RAW images to the first card slot, and JPEG images to the second.
This provides a good level of flexibility for the user, especially those who shoot both RAW and JPEG files and want to use both separately, or event photographers who want to be able to keep shooting large numbers of images. These functions are not available when shooting movies, though: the only option available with movies is to choose which card slot the recorded file is written to.