Tag Archives: cameras

A new D7000 review

Shutterfinger blog has posted an excellent, brief, two-part review of the Nikon D7000:

Part 1, Part 2

There are some particularly interesting tidbits of information in Part 1. For these, he’s talking about changes he’s made compared to the default camera settings:

Moving focus activation from the shutter button to the AE-L/AF-L button on the back of the camera.

This is very cool. Not only was I not aware that the D7000 had this capability, but it’s one of the key features I came up with a couple months ago when I was questioning whether a D300s body would be worth the extra few hundred dollars. Having autofocus separate from the shutter release button would come in very handy on landscapes and scenics—it means that, basically, the camera is in manual focus unless I press the button. The primary drawback of the D7000, with respect to my needs, is therefore eliminated. (I should also check and see if my D40 can do this. Who knows! Maybe I’ve been a dumbass all this time, wearing out the focus switch on the lens to accomplish the same thing!)

Changing the release priority from focus to shutter. In its default mode, the D7000 will allow the shutter to release only if something is in perfect focus.

Another little bit of trivia which may turn out to be very handy at some point.

Then, continuing on to part 2:

My experiments indicated that matrix metering tends to be overly influenced by heavy shadows, with the result that skies and clouds are overexposed.

This is unfortunate. I have the same problem with my D40. In fact, if I had to make a prioritized list of stuff I don’t like about the D40, this problem would be either #1 or #2 (with poor focusing performance being the other). However, it is possible that the D7000 does not exhibit the problem to the same degree as the D40, and the review also goes on to discuss ways to work around it. In practice, it doesn’t seem to be an insurmountable problem, but I’ll have to remember to keep an eye on other reviews to see if other people notice it as well.

One commenter also discusses the metering issue:

[T]he one thing I always hated about Nikon still remains, then: matrix-metering that doesn’t understand simple 1+2 or 1+4 sky:landscape compositions. It was for that reason I *always* shot my D200 in manual+spot mode.

I know there’ve been many Nikons passed under the bridge since then, so I’m surprised it’s still an issue.

So am I.

There’s more, of course. He’s particularly complimentary regarding the responsiveness of the camera.

It’s a good review, well worth reading for anyone interested in a D7000 body, and substantially more readable than, say, a Dpreview.com review. ;)

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D7000 or D300s?

I’ve been meaning for a while now to upgrade my camera body (a Nikon D40), and had pretty much decided on a Nikon D300s body. Then the D7000 body was announced, and the specs turned out to be so close to the D300s that it raised the question of whether the extra few hundred bucks for the D300s would be worth it. Prices on the D300s seem to have come down just a tad since then (or maybe that’s my imagination), and the D7000 body is still hard to get a hold of if you don’t want the kit lens. I had actually been leaning towards the D7000, since it does have some nice features that seem to improve on the older body, such as higher ISO capability, and better video function. This was in spite of the fact that right now I make do with a camera with a practical limit of ISO1600, and that I know nothing about video at all.

So it was a welcome development today when I encountered this review which is actually somewhat critical of the D7000. There’s a lot there worth reading, including the comments. In particular, this comment, does an excellent job of cutting through all the hype and bullshit surrounding the newer camera, taking it down to just a quick, simple summary of the advantages of each body.

What it boils down to is that the D300s is better built, has a better grip, a better autofocusing system (in fact, its CAM3500DX system, shared with the D700, is considered an industry leader at this point), “more professional buttons” (in particular, the AF-ON button, which I think would be useful for my purposes), and can use compact flash cards. The best points in favor of the D7000 are better metering, and better high-ISO capability. It’s also lighter. On the other hand, there has been some question surrounding the shutter release button on the D7000, with some claiming that it’s too sensitive, and can’t be used with gloves. This is important, due to the fact that I do a fair amount of outdoor shooting in the winter, and have no desire to freeze my fingertip off. :) Some have also criticized the grip, saying it’s too slippery, and smaller than earlier cameras like the D90.

Anyway, it’s some food for thought. I wonder how the D300s replacement (D400?) will stack up? Rumors are that it’s due for release sometime next year. In theory, it should blow the D300s out of the water, but things like ergonomics and button-pressure are precisely the sort of changes which really can’t be predicted. In those respects, the newer camera may not be as good as the old. (In general, technology is like that. “Upgrades” always focus on marketable characteristics, and not on vague, fuzzy concepts like “actual usability.” This is why I gave up being a gearhead. It was too frustrating.)

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