The D7000 is Nikon’s new 16.2mps APS-C camera. Like the 18mps Canon EOS 7D, which impressed me a year or so ago, it has a fully sealed, weather-tight, magnesium body. Beyond its higher-resolution sensor and bullet-proof chassis, the D7000 also boasts a new 2016-pixel metering system, two (count ’em) SD slots, 14-bit RAW processing, a new 39-point auto-focus system (and an astonishingly accurate manual-focus system), a “quiet” mode that really is quieter, mirror lock-up, a 6fps frame-rate, a registration system that allows long-time Nikonians to “register” up to nine non-CPU (AI or AIs) lenses and then to record EXIF data from shots taken with these lenses, a 100% frame-coverage pentaprism viewfinder, and most amazingly (to me) the capacity to take incredibly sharp, virtually noise-free pictures not just at the lower ISOs where the Canon 7D and other APS-C cameras thrive but out to 6400 ISO. (Though I wouldn’t recommend using this capability save in an emergency, the D7000 actually works out to 25,600 ISO in its “Hi” mode, and it doesn’t down-rez or downsize the images at these starlight levels.)
The D7000 has already been highly praised by various on-line outfits (see www.dpreview.com/reviews/nikond7000/, for instance). But the review that really captures the remarkable spirit of this camera (and my own experience with it) is Nikon-addict Ken Rockwell’s giddy piece at http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/d7000.htm.
Rockwell outright says that this is the best digital camera that Nikon has ever made: “The D7000 is Nikon's most advanced camera at any price. The fact that it sells for $1200 makes it a no-brainer, which is why it's sold out. [It isn’t anymore.] The D7000 is Nikon's best DSLR ever.
While I have limited experience with Nikon’s top-line digital camera, the D3x, I can say that compared to its APS-C competition from Canon, Panasonic, Leica, and Pentax, the D7000 outright rules. It is not only appreciably sharper than these others (Rockwell claims “the D7000 has more linear resolution than any Nikon DSLR, including the [24mps, full-frame] D3x”), it does something that I never thought an APS-C camera could do this well: It virtually sees in the dark without adding hellacious noise.
Take a look at these images:
All of these were taken hand-held! Without flash! At 6400 ISO or 3200 ISO! I have never had a camera—film or digital—that could do this. (I strongly urge you to visit my Zenfolio site at jlvalin.zenfolio.com/p688535067 to examine much larger versions of these images, lest you think their small size is reducing the prominence of artifacts. And also to see how much better—sharper, more natural, lower in noise—than the competition this camera is at the lower ISOs at which all APS-C cameras are good.)<o p="">
The Nikon D7000 is the best digital camera I’ve ever used. It is so good—and so versatile—that I’m beginning to waver about my full-time commitment to film. The thing actually makes images that look more like film. (See my Zenfolio Web site for examples and keep checking back, if you're interested, as I will be posting more D7000 images.)
No, I’m not going to sell my 4x5 or my medium-format cameras, but I’m not going to be using either one of those in dark bars or dim tattoo parlors or inside churches or hand-held on nighttime city streets. Moreover, the D7000 allows me to use my superb legacy Nikon AIs lenses (like my 28mm f2.8, my 35mm f2.0, my 100mm f2.5) without any penalty in focus precision, shooting speed, or high-ISO performance. I cannot recommend this SLR highly enough.