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Posts Tagged ‘Nikon D7000 Camera Review’

Last week I upgraded my 18 month old Nikon D90 with its’ D7000 replacement upgrade, paid for out of my own pocket ($1,199 direct from Amazon).

Having used it for a week, these are my first impressions.

One of the other things that I purchased along with it is the matching Nikon MDB-11 vertical grip along with a 2nd battery and two, 32 GB SDHC cards.

Together, these produce one incredible APS-C sensor sized camera system.

The ‘feel’ of holding this camera is radically better than the D90 due to the D7000’s internal magnesium frame.

Though all of the reviewers seem to play this down, the D7000’s grip is slightly longer than the grip on the D90. With my D90, my little finger had nothing to grasp onto but the D7000 has exactly enough more grip so that I can grasp the camera with all four fingers!

Most of the controls are very close to the same position on both cameras making the transition quite easy. The same is true for the vast majority of the menu settings although there are a couple of wonderful new additions that I will describe, below.

Gone is the original, D70 style of the top shooting mode knob. All of the mode pictograms have been replaced by a single word … “mode”. This freed up space for two additional mode settings that are incredibly useful … U1 and U2. Basically, you can setup the camera the way you like to use it and then store ALL settings in either of these two modes. Even resetting the camera will not erase these two user settings.

Then there is the new 14-bit and uncompressed RAW file settings. Previously, all of the consumer DSLRs captured data from the sensors in only 12-bits of data. What this means, from a practical standpoint is that instead of a maximum less than 4,000 color tonalities possible in 12-bits, the new setting lets it collect more than 14,000 color tonalities in 14-bit mode! This really improves fine details in the lower, shadow tonalities.

The viewfinder is the best digital viewfinder that I’ve ever used! It is 100 percent accurate and shows, right to the very edge, exactly what will be included and excluded in each shot. The displays in the finder are easy to see, as well. Because it appears larger than the D90 finder, my DK-21 magnifying eye piece fills my field of view with only the image, cropping out the data which surrounds it. So, I added a DK-16 magnifier to my kit which only magnifies the image by a factor of 1.6x instead of the 2.1x so, I can now have a more ‘up close’ view while still seeing all of the appropriate data at the same time.

One other noticeable additon was the 6 fps shutter. It may not sound like much but for fast moving objects such as the butterfies that I enjoy shooting in the air as they fly, this higher frame rate is fantastic.

There are many more new improvements such as the incredible ISO 25,600, low noise sensor and the nearly instant, autofocus array or the 16.2 megapixels, etc.. However great these are, they won’t improve what I’m shooting as much as the other things that I’ve mentioned, here.

I currently use the 2011 MacBook Pro 15″ with quad core i7 processors along with a free (donation ware) program named Sofortbild to remotely tether my Nikon cameras so that I can see (using LiveView) and control all functions via USB cable. I’ve added a 30′ amplified USB cable (from Amazon for less than $15). This extends the camera’s limited HDR sequence from 3 frames to as many as you wish to shoot at any interval you desire. It also extends it’s time laps function and for those of us with less than perfect vision, using LiveView on a 15″ screen to really ‘see’ the composition prior to shooting, makes this a terrific addition for this wonderful camera!

I use the latest Aperture 3.1 for the vast majority of my photo editing along with Nik’s pluggins suite. Perfect Layers has now extended Aperture’s capabillities enough to reduce my need to upgrade to the latest Photoshop CS 5x. My previous Photoshop CS 3 still does everything else that i need it to do, such as perspective adjustments, etc.

Nikon’s own Capture NX2 remains somewhat of an inigma. I do still use it for many shots but I’ve discovered that Apple’s own Aperture has equalled it’s RAW conversion and if I need more, I turn to DxO Optics Pro 6 which now has lens profiles for my 50 f/1.8 Nikkor, 10-24 Nikkor, 18-105 VR Nikkor and the 70-300 VR Nikkor which is still my favorite lens for many things. DxO now does the best combination of lens corrections for all of my Nikkor lenses, even though they are Nikon’s consumer grade lenses.

I started using film Nikon’s back with the Nikon F in the early 70’s. My first digital Nikon was the CoolPix 990 followed by the Coolpix 4500 which I still own and use with it’s incredible 8mm fish eye auxillary lens! My first DSLR was the Nikon D70 in January 2005 followed by a pro, Nikon D200 which I replaced last year with the D90.

In the last week, all of my funk (fear and confusion) about upgrading has faded away. The Nikon D7000 is the finest Nikon, bar none, that I’ve ever used! i haven’t got a single regret. My venerable D90, after only 6,220 shutter activtions goes on ebay, next week.

Please feel free to ask me any questions about my recent experience using this amazing camera.

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