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Nikon D7000 Review and Impressions

by Robert Bromfield on October 15, 2010

This review not to go over the specs, movies, AI metering, FPS of the Nikon D7000; instead we will talk about the camera handling, auto focus, image quality, etc. I am not here to bash or stop you from getting the Nikon D7000. In fact you can order the kit here and the body only here.
My reason for getting a D7000 was for me to have a backup to my D700; in case of an emergency or just for casual use. I originally had a Nikon D90, however I found the auto focus lacking especially after using the D700. I know it’s not a fair comparison between those two, but once you get spoiled by the 51 point auto focus system it’s hard to go back. Furthermore the D90 had a huge front focusing issue with some of my lenses that drove me crazy.

Nikon D7000 in it's box

D7000 on box front view

D7000 on box rear view

Handling

After taking the D7000 out of it’s box; the camera did not feel heavy to me, instead it felt solid like my D700. I attached various Nikon f2.8 zoom lenses on the D7000 and the camera mount felt secure without feeling stressed. With a few heavy lenses on the D7000 my hands did not feel cramped like on my D90 but it still wasn’t the most comfortable for extended amounts of time.

Button Placement

The button placement is mostly identical to the D90 with the exception of a few new additions. The way to enter Live View is just the flip of the switch on the back by the red record button, I found this a lot easier to work with. The button on top of the AF/MF switch by the lens mount now acts as the way to change AF modes. Press the button on the switch and rotate the dials to change the modes and behaviors. This had me tricked for a few minutes since I was used to the button on top of the D90.

I am however extremely happy Nikon has removed the sliver covering from the shutter release button but I am disappointed that the shutter release button is a bit mushy. The D700 has a stiffer feel to it which helps me to get sharper shots at slower shutter speeds. The knob to change the camera modes are like the D90 with the addition of the User Modes. Now I am happy that they have a dial under the knob for changing the shooting  and trigger modes.

Shutter

The shutter is a lot quieter than the D700, especially when you use the Q mode to slowing release the mirror after the shot. As I stated before I genuinely wish the shutter release button was a bit stiffer for me to get sharper images at slower shutter speeds. To be more specific, with a mushy shutter release button you need to push down further in order to take an image. I roll my finger onto the shutter release but with the additional pressure I apply causes the D7000 to move more than I would want it.

Auto Focus

The auto focus is definitely a step above the D90 however, please do not expect CAM 3500DX/FX performance from it. You will be disappointed! The auto focus is fast in good light but it does not have the speed of the more expensive Nikon bodies in terms of tracking. Specifically meaning that it does not readjust focus as fast to you and/or your subject’s movements. The D7000 finally has the option for changing the “focus tracking with lock-on,” how long it takes to readjust focus after something comes in the way of what you were tracking. Another plus would be the option to select AF-C priority selection to focus now instead of only release like on the D90.

I tested the D700 and D7000 on the same dimly lit scene to see the differences between the two. The D700 was able to pick up the my selection easily with both the outermost AF points and the central points. On the other hand the D7000 was able to follow the D700′s feat using the central points but not using the outer most points. The lens hunting a lot using the outermost points, please do not mistake this for never being able to lock focus because it was able to when you know how to work around it’s shortcomings. In this regard, it’s better than the D90.

Image Quality

This is a tough one. The D7000 comes with more pixels than a D700 and it even has more pixels than the D90. In fact it has the most pixels of any Nikon DX camera available on the market now. So with that said, let’s start with the good:

I strongly believe that the dynamic range of the D7000 is a step above other Nikon DX cameras. I am getting much fewer blown highlights and the shadows have details in them; this could also be attributed to the new metering system but even in manual mode I was getting fewer blown highlights yet the image still had a lot of contrast. I always thought the contrast on the D90 was low, especially compared to the D700. The D7000 also captures a lot of details within the scene. That is the good part.

Nikon D7000 sceneclick image for full resolution file.
ISO 100
Aperture Priority
Nikon 24-70mm at f8
Shutter: 1/60

Now the bad. At this point I am generally not satisfied with the sharpness of the images from the D7000, the files tend to be mushy when looking at the details up close. In order to get files that are acceptably sharp, you need really good technique with fast shutter speeds. I think a lot of people will be complaining about this very soon. The slightest shift will become obvious when reviewing your files, you do not need to zoom into 100% to see these imperfections. A mystery to me is; I put the D7000 on a tripod using the self timer, exposure delay mode, manual mode, all noise reduction off and I shot from ISO 100 up to 6400. Even at ISO 100 I didn’t feel I was getting the proper sharpness. Keep in mind I was using the Standard Picture Control with sharpening increase to 5 out of 9. I just found the details to not be acceptably sharp as I am used to with the D700 or D90.

ISO 100 Night Shot.Click image for full resolution file.
ISO 100
Manual
Nikon 14-24mm at f8
Shutter: 1.6

Nikon D7000 ISO 6400 Night SceneClick image for full resolution file.
ISO 6400
Manual
Nikon 14-24mm at f8
Shutter: 1/40

Nikon D7000 StairwayClick image for full resolution file.
ISO 100
Manual
Nikon 14-24mm at f8
Shutter: 4

I was not expecting much from the ISO 6400 image, I was expecting a lot from the ISO 100 file. The sharpness is just not there. I am sure there will always be people complaining about how I did my test, but this is the way I do my long exposures and I have extremely sharp files from the D700 to back it up. I am happy that the ISO 100 files kept the blacks black and not grainy.

Here is a sample image from the Nikon D700, this is not a comparison between the two cameras:

Biscayne Bay Miami

Click image for full resolution file.
ISO 200
Manual
Nikon 70-200mm VRII at f13
Shutter: 25s

High ISO

You can view full resolution samples of the shots above from ISO 100 to ISO 6400. Please do not expect D700/D3 like high ISO performance from the D7000, but do expect it to be better than the D90 throughout the ISO range.

Pros

  • The D7000 does deliver in a being a better auto focus performer than the D90.
  • The D7000 has a much needed contrast boost in the images.
  • The high ISO performance is better than the D90 but less than the D700, a good compromise.
  • Increased dynamic range versus other Nikon DX cameras.
  • Definitely better auto exposure metering compared to the D90.

Cons

  • The sharpness of images are definitely an issue.
  • Mushy shutter release button.
  • Peripheral auto focus points that are not the most sensitive in low light situations.

You can buy Nikon lenses and the D700, D7000 or D90 by clicking the links from Amazon.

Just released for preorder is the Nikon D800 and D800E with 36 Megapixels.

If you do buy through Amazon, drop me a line! I’d love to hear about what you picked up.

Nikon just released a firmware update to the D7000 June 30, 2011.

{ 244 comments… read them below or add one }

kevin December 11, 2010 at 12:31 PM

I rented this camera as a back up to my D700 for a shoot this week and also as a possible backup camera for my weddings.
I was surprised by the noise after all the rave reviews it had regarding its amazing iso range
even at 1000 iso i found the noise to be very obvious and unacceptable for my needs.
Too many pixels methinks!
I know its a lot cheaper by comparison but with my d700 thats now 2 years old i figured with the rapid advancements in tech that we’d be closer with our prosumer cameras than this.
Not a gripe so much as I wish I could have had less noise
Otherwise the camera looks, feels and operates in a very cohesive and very Nikon way(which is a good thing)

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Rafael Montilla December 14, 2010 at 11:59 AM

Hi,

Which one, do you think is a better camera, D300s or D7000?

Thanks for your reviews.

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Sue Wohlford December 17, 2010 at 5:53 PM

I very much appreiate the reviews. I’m looking for a new camera. I have the Nikon d90 and I’m trying to learn about the 7000 and the what
I would like to know is: what is the best Nikon camera for auto focus? I do lots of outdoor photography – animals,birds, plus scenery and people. I’m fortunate to get to travel a fair amount and I want a very good, fast, auto focus Nikon camer as I’ve got a couple of Nikon lenses now and don’t want to change brands in cameras.

I also would be interested to know if you have heard anything about when a new Tameron 200mm -500mm VR lens will be on the market for
Nikon. We were if Africa last May and we met a person testing the lens for Tameron. I tried to find an addess for Tameron but can’t come up with one to write to them directly. I very much want a large lens that is not as expensive or as heavy as the Nikon 600mm. My previous
DSLR was a very nice Konica Minolta and I used a Tameron 200-500mm lens that worked very well for me. The only one that I can find is
by Sigma and the reviews are not wonderful. I had a Sigma lens with my Pentax (film) and got some good results but it was very slow to focus and hard to get it not to focus on a bush instead of the animal. Still, for the price, I got a lot of nice pictures that would have been lost
if not for the larger lens.

I would very much appreciate your thoughts and if there is a charge please let me know.

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Kent December 25, 2010 at 10:46 AM

You have a typo on the name Tamron..

Here is a link to the B&H page for the Tamron 200-500
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/335381-REG/Tamron_AF08N700_200_500mm_f_5_6_3_Di_LD.html

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Bob GlickSmith December 21, 2010 at 10:17 PM

Nice job, Robert. My pleasure meeting you and hopefully will be able to assist you in any way I can. . . bgs.

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Gene Black December 23, 2010 at 2:04 PM

Hi Robert.
I have been finding that the D7000 is generally softer than my D 90, and as you said, it is very hard to get the required sharpness with this shutter. I’ve never had this trouble with my D 90 with VR or non Vr lenses. I did some side by side comparisons with the same lens, subject and settings, and the D90 was noticeably sharper. Needless to say, I’m disappointed.
Maybe I should just get a Pentax K-5 or the Nikon d 700..?

Thanks, GB

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Lou degennaro December 26, 2010 at 8:38 AM

I was surprised by your comments about the sharpness of the d7000 files. I think the files from the d7000 equal those from my d3 and are close to my d3x. I had trouble with sharpness until l started to use the central focus point only. I think the color balance in mixed lighting is the best I have ever seen from nikon.

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Gene Black December 27, 2010 at 3:40 AM

Thanks Lou,
I agree with you on the color balance. Just superb. It’s possible my problem was caused by mirror slap, as someone mentioned in n earlier post. The shutter seemed to fire way too easily as well. I most likely will try a second unit though, or maybe just get a D300 S.

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Dmitry Krasitsky May 25, 2011 at 4:46 PM

Fully agree ! I shoot portraits in studio and can say that pictures from D7000 as sharp as from my D700 if not sharper ! I always use central focus point. Great camera ! Tried it in journalist session and it was just amazing even in bad environment.

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David January 1, 2011 at 6:39 PM

I’ve had my D7000 for almost 2 week and I’ve been doing image sharpness tests using the Nikkor 105mm VR Micro lens. I’ve come to conclude that the D7000 is capable of producing sharp images, at least sharp enough for my purposes.

Here is an example of an image, pulled straight out of camera (sorry I didn’t rotate, I just uploaded the image as is):

http://www.brilliantboy.com/images/_DSC0254.JPG

Comparing image sharpness of the 16MP D7000 to that of a 12MP camera like the D700 (or 12.3 MP of D300s) is kind of an unfair comparison. The D7000 has 33% more pixels than the D700 or the D300s. That means if you take picture with the D700 or D300s, and then take the same picture with the D7000, the D7000′s image will contain 33% more information, or resolution. So you really can’t expect the D7000′s image to have the same crispness as the lesser MP cameras because at 100% view, you’re looking at 33% more information. Therefore, a 1 pixel-wide edge on the D700/D300s image will appear as a 1.5 pixel-wide edge on the D7000 image (with anti-aliasing).

Thus, lens quality and technique become more important than ever as every optical flaw and photographic mistake are magnified.

I also own the 10MP D80, and it’s so easy to take sharp images because of the lower resolution. But in the time I’ve spent with my D7000, I’ve grown to really love it. Feed it good glass, and it’ll yield great images.

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Torshi January 4, 2011 at 2:04 PM

Thanks for the clear review , and nice pictures indeed

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alan McKenzie January 13, 2011 at 7:23 PM

Hi Robert;
Great review, a year plus ago I moved up to D700 with 16-35,24-70 and 70-200 fx. With my ole trusty 300 now my backup. The 7000 has my interest with access to video and a lighter camera for my event coverage and still have the quality I am use to with 700. You are the first to mention soft images. So my q is would 7000 be a good replacement for the D300 as a back up to 700 ?
Thank you
alan

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Robert Bromfield January 13, 2011 at 7:31 PM

Alan,
I believe the best thing to do, would be to rent a D7000 for the weekend and give it a full test run. I do not know the type of photography you do, it may be sports or wildlife. You would definitely appreciate the better auto focus of the D300/D700 series.
Let me know how things turn out.

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wiretail January 15, 2011 at 1:18 PM

hi, i’m in the league to buy myself a d 7000, after reading some reviews on the product, all is well except the sharpness factor in the images produced direct from camera and should be corrected by some sharpness correction software as you and a few other reviewers including the Washington post pointed out. non of the other pro reviewers cared to mentioned on this crucial subject. i know people who read the reviews before buying one will be a little confused like myself whether this camera is worth it because sharpness really matters in my line of photography namely bird photography.i would like you to clarify making a comparative photo analysis of a common subject and explain what make you think that the images from the d7000 has less sharpness compared to cameras like d700 etc. and i would like you to please post the pictures here to help us guys to make our own judgement too. thank you so much

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Robert Bromfield January 18, 2011 at 10:55 PM

I do not have the D7000 anymore. However I would suggest to also test it for yourself, you could rent a D7000 and put it through the paces.
Could you please email me some links to the other reviews that mention the D7000 sharpness?

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Reinhard Metz February 20, 2011 at 10:08 PM

I’m stunned at your appraisal of the D7000 as a bit soft. I bought mine speculatively as a possible successor to my D300, even though it would be a move from semi-pro to enthusiast in the Nikon line-up, because of what I’d read about it’s performance. I’ve tested it carefully, and as far as sharpness is concerned, I find it exceptionally sharp. What I have noticed is that the sharpness performance is highly dependent on the lens – my old manual Nikkor 50mm f1.4 runs circles around my 18-200mm VR. Therefore I would suggest you revisit your softness judgement and consider that it may be the result of either the lens choice or the particular sample of D7000 you had.

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Robert Bromfield April 5, 2011 at 10:24 AM

Reinhard,
Could you please post a link to a full sized image from your D7000?

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Mike Brown April 10, 2011 at 5:04 PM

It is definitely a glass issue. I also believe, as on another post, that it has a lot to do with using multiple focus points (manual focus is always best), light, and aperture you are using.

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bob April 14, 2011 at 4:07 PM

Reinhard,

I have to agree with you. on my d80 the best lens i had was my tamron 17-50 f2.8. when i bought my d7000 i was shocked to find that my 50 f1.4 became my best lens. the d7000 is definitely finicky about lens and focus choice. i have re-shot some macro shots of some antiques and am impressed with what the d7000 can deliver when all is setup correctly.

I have traded a number of shots with my father who has a d700. i find the d7000 is sharper at iso 100 but by iso 400 the d700 is the clear winner.

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Dmitry Krasitsky May 25, 2011 at 4:53 PM
David March 28, 2011 at 12:39 AM

I completely agree with you about the mushy images. I to had a D700 and its hard hard work trying to get decent images out of this camera. I have tried tripod mounted on a 16-35 f4 a 70-200 vr2 and both give me soft images. I set everything to manual and switch the vr off a.nd still the same. Im not a happy chappy so much so im now trying to get a D700 second hand.

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Robert Bromfield April 5, 2011 at 10:25 AM

David,
Did you have any luck in getting sharper images on the D7000 and did you get another D700?

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David April 6, 2011 at 12:55 AM

Hi Robert
I think it could be down to a lens 16-35 nikon. my 70-200 is razor sharp on the D7000. At this moment I am seriously thinking of going over to canon (5d mk2) that resolution would be all I need and I know some people who have made the change to that camera and been very hapy they made the change. the D700 is a awesome camera but I just couldnt go back and have to pay more for the same camera I recently sold. I am surfing the net to try and get more information on both systems to help me decide. Hope that helped Robert

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Chris Armer April 15, 2011 at 10:10 PM

I thought the D7000 had soft images as well compared to my D700. Then I happened to be looking at my images on a different computer with higher resolution.
I had a Macbook Pro and for some reason it would compress the D7000 images but not the 12MP images.
I got a high-res Macbook replacement and I am blown away by the sharpness of the D7000.

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Jack April 16, 2011 at 6:27 PM

Chris, what exactly does the “MacBook Pro… would compress the D7000 images but not the 12MP” mean? The MBP doesn’t do anything to any of your images–software does. Which leads naturally to the next question: which software are you using that allegedly compresses images – Lightroom, Aperture, Photoshop, iPhoto? The HR monitor doesn’t change sharpness, but the apparent sharpness to your eyes. The files sharpness is the files sharpness regardless of your monitor. It seems clear that some are confused with what exactly image resolution and pixel count does to our perception. The D7000 is clearly showing what many of us did not see on smaller pixel sensors.

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beeveedee June 21, 2011 at 8:40 PM

As a side-note to your comment, I’ve learned that I can’t trust the sharpness of an image that I view in Adobe Bridge—I have to open the image in Photoshop to properly view and assess the image’s sharpness.

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Vern Rogers April 26, 2011 at 9:08 PM

Thank you for the honest and frank appraisal, Robert. I have been torn between getting a D7000 or D300s. Some of your conclusions, especially about sharpness, confirm some of what I have concluded. It is difficult to sift through the reviews of some that are available online. I feel they are glossing over some of the issues a person needs to consider when making a decision. Though they will comment on the superior build and ergonomics of the D300s, that it is finicky about lenses, and that it is small and uses different battery and battery grip than the other semi-pro Nikons, and even have shown that noise reduction and dynamic range throughout the whole ISO range isn’t all that different, they still rave about it as a better camera than the D300s. I see problems with higher resolution in a DX sensor, personally.

But my biggest reason for leaning toward the D300s is its compatibility with the D700 that I also have. Closer matching of colors and less tendency to overexpose highlights, results similar to what I get with my D700 are some of the reasons I am thinking more about getting the D300s. I see where one reviewer’s comment about your review was that you had a lens problem. This seems to be how some are dismissing problems that do come up. From what I see, you are using high quality professional lenses and so the lens used should not be the problem. But still I wanted to ask you if you have reviewed or tested the D300s, or even used it, and whether you have any thoughts on a comparison between the D300s and the D7000. From what I have read from a few reviewers who rave about the D7000, it would appear that a camera that many have been getting such great results with is suddenly obsolete and not recommended. This makes me very suspicious of their recommendations. I would very much appreciate what you have to say, whether in favor of D7000 or D300s. It would be helpful in making a good choice based on practicality and usefulness.

Thank you so much for any response.

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Robert Bromfield May 3, 2011 at 3:27 PM

Vern,
I have only used a D300 once. If I were to choose between the two for serious photography; I would go with the D300s. I just don’t feel the D7000′s autofocus is up to the same standard. I’ve read other many posts from wildlife photographers where they rave about the D7000′s autofocus but when you check back with them in a few months, they sold the D7000 and went back to what they were using before.

For everything else, I would take the D7000 for more casual use. Furthermore from my own reading it seems that people upgrading from consumer DSLRs are happy with the D7000 but people who have professional DSLRs are turned off from the D7000 after using it.

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Rob Ochsen May 20, 2011 at 7:58 AM

This camera is better than anything I have used so far. The images it produces are amazing right out of the camera, and I’m very picky. I find it hard to believe anyone would have sharpness issues with it. They must be using a cheap kit lenses or have an issue with camera settings. My images are tack sharp straight from the camera. I use a 17-55 2.8, 24-85 2.8-4 and a 35mm 1.8 DX most of the time. I shot my first wedding with mine two weeks ago and the pictures look as good as anything I’ve ever taken including my 2 1/4 Hasselbad film cameras.
I couldn’t be happier.

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Dmitry Krasitsky May 25, 2011 at 4:56 PM

Can I see your site please? Thanks

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Mike Donovan August 16, 2011 at 1:52 AM

Hi Rob I would also be interested to see some of your photos, if I knew there was going to be a significant improvement I would upgrade some glass. Cheers

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Peter May 26, 2011 at 3:48 AM

Hi,
I am using D90 with lenses 17-55mm F /2,8 and 35 mm F/1,8 . Now I want upgrade, but I still made not a decision between D7000 and D300s (I read a lof od reviews and discusions). Video and price are not important (950€ – D7000, 1050€ – D300s). I shoot weddingphotography and concerts. Have you any advice?
Tahnks, Peter

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Tony_ Wedding Photography Braintree May 29, 2011 at 6:46 PM

I actually own and love a D700 but have just ordered a D7000 as my back up camera, can’t wait to get it and play with it.

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Rob Smit (Leiden, The Netherlands) June 13, 2011 at 6:01 AM

I bought a D7000 two days ago, and after one afternoon of photography I found the images straight out of the camera lacking in contrast and sharpness, so I’m now experimenting with the camera’s picture controls and other settings to improve that. However, I seem to agree with one of the comments on this website that the quality of photos of different resolutions differs when shown on your computer screen. I have a similar experience when viewing my photos in Aperture on my 21-inch iMac. Apparently, or maybe, not all resizing is equal? It also seems that different programs show the same photo in different ways. In my experience, Photoshop Elements shows a photo sharper, while Aperture shows it more ‘beautiful’, while Preview seems to show it ‘as is’. Even more confusingly, when I transfer my photos to my iPad, they somehow look ‘better’ on my iPad. Apparently the synchronization includes some pretty nifty optimizing, because on my iPad even photos with issues (graininess, lack of sharpness) look quite acceptable most of the time. I’m writing all this just to indicate that it’s not so easy to figure out what might be the cause of a perceived lack of sharpness in, for example, the D7000. (Lenses may also be a cause, but I cannot judge myself as so far I’ve been using only one lens). I’m afraid I will have to do many more sessions and experiments before I even can begin to have a serious opinion about my new camera. Anyway Robert, thanks for your D7000 review and your comments on other people’s comments, it is appreciated!

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Robert Bromfield June 13, 2011 at 11:20 AM

Rob,
One thing I have noticed about different RAW programs apart from Capture NX2 is that they do a best guess as to how the NEF should look. This causes photos to look and render differently in different programs. Capture NX2 and ViewNX have access to all the proprietary information within the NEF and show the image as is.
Although Capture NX2 is lacking, I personally use it for NEF conversions.

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John June 30, 2011 at 6:28 AM

I have both the D700 and the D7000 and at 3200 ISO I can see a difference in noise. At iso 800 or less the D7000 is amazing. I have mated it with my 70-200 2.8 and my 500 f4 and even an old 28-105 that I had from film days. The images are sharp on my MBP and on my 27 inch Mac. The iPad is simply amazing. It s technique and good glass. You can find that issue in the MF world of digital right now too, the sensor out resolving the lens.

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Jim Gemmel July 26, 2011 at 12:45 PM

I have owned a D80 for 4 years and upgraded to a D7000 one week ago. There are things I like and things I don’t like about the D7000. When you get WB, AF and everything right the D7000 photos are great, however when you make a mistake the pictures look horrible. I may end up returning mine and staying for my sharper but noisy D80 for the time being.

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Mike Donovan August 15, 2011 at 4:18 AM

I had a Canon EOS-5D Mk2 until a while ago and sold it due to a neck injury so could no longer lug a huge kit around with me. Anyway I never ended up getting an operation and after a short time with a point and shoot decided I needed another DLSR. The D7000 had great reviews and the kit lens looked like a useful range. So I got one, I can not believe how soft the photos are and just how much noise there is at base ISO. If you process raws with View NX then I guess it automatically removes the noise for you, but use capture NX or Lightroom and the noise just jumps at you. I have tried doing tests for Front/ back focussing but can not find any consistant results to say there is a definite fault but it does seem to be doing both on occasions. I got a Sigma 120 -400 lens and have to say that although still nothing like the 5DM2 for sharpness (with zero sharpness added in DPP), it gives a substantial improvment in sharpness over the kit lens. To be honest at base ISO and in well lit conditions I get at least as good images from my DMC-LX5. I do like the Nikon’s colour though it is a lot better than the 5D 2′s I feel. Cheers all.

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Paul W August 18, 2011 at 1:51 AM

I currently use a D80 with a Nikkor 50mm 1.4 and have reached the point where it’s time to upgrade the body. Wanting a Hasselblad, but not being able to afford it just yet, I thought I would look at getting the D7000 as a stop-gap after reading all the great reviews. I’ve just spent a day playing with a D7000 I hired and am so far not impressed enough to drop the money – I think the D80 holds up well against it with the style of shooting I do. I shoot studio portraits with strobes and have never really been over excited by the way Nikon cameras render skin tones, and the D7000, so far, is no exception. While it’s early days I’ve been playing with all the “picture control” settings, which I’m not a fan of, and find that skin never looks natural and even less natural than the D80 – it always looks like a “digital interpretation” of skin (which of course it is). And yes, I find the images to be a little soft as well. Anyways, I just thought I’d add my thoughts to what I found to be a very interesting discussion. I’m glad I stumbled across this thread.

My final thoughts – I probably won’t be getting the D7000. I think I’ll keep going with my D80 until I can get the Hass I would love.

Cheers.

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Nikos September 8, 2011 at 5:55 PM

Hi all.
I consider myself as an amateur/enthusiast photographer.
I bought D7000 in order to replace my 4 years Nikon D80.
The superiority of D7000 is visible from the first…click.
Grab, weight, build quality, great viewfinder, AF, noise, resolution, capabilities, menus, video, live view, active D-lighting, in camera retouch capabilities….this camera is a major upgrade to D80. M A J O R!!
After shooting 2.000 pictures I ‘m definitely sure about this.
I expected a better exposure metering behavior though.
Being better by far from D80 ( overexposed badly and the worst without a clear pattern), D7000 has a tendency to overexpose in high contrast scenes.
Something that an experienced photographer can easily address. Using EV compensation at will or shooting raw and compensate after wards.
Apart from this, D7000 is an excellent camera for the price tag. Maybe the best of its category.
I recommend it undoubtedly as an upgrade to D80-90.

PS. D90 never convinced me to give the money…D7000 did and I ‘m very happy for this.

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Michael September 14, 2011 at 9:37 AM

Nice review Robert. I’m glad I read it, as I’ve had a D7000 now for 5 months and I’ve never been very happy with the sharpness. Now I know it’s not just me.

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Christian September 24, 2011 at 8:57 PM

Hi robert, i like your review, but comparing the sharpness pics from your nikon d7000 to my canon 5d mk2 thrust me… they are the same,
btw, try to see the pics from canon 5d mk2 and nikon d7000 on an apple cinema display 27 inch, you will see the sharpness quality are the same!!!

christian.photolives@gmail.com
Orlando florida

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Dave Bennett October 10, 2011 at 10:33 AM

I have had a D7000 since January 2011. What I found is that the sharpness issues are usually readily addressed by two things.

First is to look at the the sharpness setting in Picture Controls. Mine had to be set 2 clicks higher than the factory setting in each of the profiles to be pleasing to me. Otherwise the images appeared to be too soft.

Second is that, at least with my D7000 body, I had a backfocus problem with almost all lenses that required an autofocus finetuning to correct. It did not matter whether I used Nikkor, Sigma, or other lenses. All had some variation that needed correction in order to be spot-on. I have a Nikkor 50mm f1.8D, a Sigma 50mm f1.4, a Sigma 85mm f1.4, and a Sigma 70-200 OS lens. I also had a Nikkor 85mm f1.4D that I sold after getting the Sigma 85. All needed an adjustment to give the sharpest images. I have a default correction that applies to all lenses and then additional correction that varies with each particular lens on the camera.

I think that many of the softness complaints may really be the result of the image being out of focus. Even if a given lens is spot-on with no correction on a camera body, it is highly likely that any other will need adjustment on that body. This was probably not a problem with earlier cameras with lesser resolution. Autofocus accuracy seems to have become an issue as the megapixels increase. For example, my wife’s D5000 – a 12 megapixel camera – gave very nice, sharp images with my Sigma 85mm f1.4 lens. When I put that lens on the D7000 I had to make an autofocus finetuning adjustment in order to get equally nice images.

I used the SpyderLensCal as a gauge when doing my finetuning but there are several similar devices on the market. After finetuning I now get excellent, sharp images from my D7000.

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robyn October 11, 2011 at 12:26 AM

ok so get it or don’t! lol. i have a nikon d60 and am upgrading…everyone on a facebook forum said nikon d7000 was the best….i shoot in manual only in the studio so would the sharpness really be an issue? could it not be fixed with photoshop? i can barely afford the d7000…what should i get..the d700 i might as well get the canon and just switch cameras..lol. its crazy expensive so what do yall suggest? d3100? d90? thanks.

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Robert Bromfield October 11, 2011 at 9:12 AM

Your best bet would be to rent the camera first and try it for yourself.

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cccunningham October 23, 2011 at 8:54 AM

Do you think that some of the sharpness issues could be related to diffraction, maybe combined with other factors? I was surprised to learn that diffraction can be an issue on dx sized sensors even at f8, which I noticed was the aperture used on some of the test images.

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Carrie December 7, 2011 at 6:22 PM

I bought a D7000a little under 2months ago as a backup to my d700 and because it could do video. It is without a doubt the worst camera I have ever used images are soft constantly, the settings are nowhere near as handy to change as the d700 though maybe that’s because I’m used to it, the raw files only open in cs5 which meant not only spending the money on the camera but then having to upgrade photoshop too and the video is poor with slow focus on both prime and telephoto lenses. I don’t know if I got a dud but honestly it’s going on eBay pretty soon if anybody wants a cheap one I just want rid of it

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Robert Bromfield December 7, 2011 at 6:26 PM

Wow Carrie. I took a look at your portfolio and I’m impressed.
I believe the D700 is THE camera.

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mEHMET TUNCEL December 23, 2011 at 2:12 PM

I dont like d7000 focus system it isnt working true many measure many light position. D7000′s picture isnt sharpness (very soft and ….) I clean d7000 sensor every months because mirror mechanism cause oil drops…. D7000 mirror mechanic is very hard and this reason caused sharpness defect. d7000 focus work very problem… I dont like nikon d7000 … D7000 is defect machine….

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Andrei December 25, 2011 at 10:49 PM

I have owned the D7000 for almost 1 year. The shots can be soft especially with the kit lens. To get tack sharp I use remote with mirror up, on a tripod or just add flash.
It is a superb camera but I agree in low light without flash you are not going to get consistent results in terms of sharpness, especially if you do not have a steady hand. I also can attest to the fact the camera will refuse to take a shot sometimes if it thinks the focus is not right. Restarting fixes the issue most of the time. For critical timing jobs such as weddings or other events I would think the D700 is preferable if you can afford it. Other than that, it simply does not get any better than this in DX.

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TobyNYC January 2, 2012 at 9:28 PM

A good way to test camera is to take a pic with AF. Turn off AF. Switch to live view and zoom all the way in with the + button. Take the second pic of the same subject and exposure/ISO as the first pic. Transfer the photos to your Mac and see if the AF needs calibration. As discussed earlier by Dave Bennett, one can adjust front/back focus for individual lenses and store the settings in the camera. I use mostly manual focus lenses and cannot fault my year old 15,000+ shutter count D7000. I have to second David in January 2011, (at the beginning of this discussion) Direct Quote:

Comparing image sharpness of the 16MP D7000 to that of a 12MP camera like the D700 (or 12.3 MP of D300s) is kind of an unfair comparison. The D7000 has 33% more pixels than the D700 or the D300s. That means if you take picture with the D700 or D300s, and then take the same picture with the D7000, the D7000′s image will contain 33% more information, or resolution. So you really can’t expect the D7000′s image to have the same crispness as the lesser MP cameras because at 100% view, you’re looking at 33% more information. Therefore, a 1 pixel-wide edge on the D700/D300s image will appear as a 1.5 pixel-wide edge on the D7000 image (with anti-aliasing).

Thus, lens quality and technique become more important than ever as every optical flaw and photographic mistake are magnified.

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Sudhakar March 30, 2012 at 5:36 PM

Yes absolutely agree TobyNYC!

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Sean February 11, 2012 at 7:07 AM

“I genuinely wish the shutter release button was a bit stiffer for me to get sharper images at slower shutter speeds. To be more specific, with a mushy shutter release button you need to push down further in order to take an image. I roll my finger onto the shutter release but with the additional pressure I apply causes the D7000 to move more than I would want it.”

I completely agree. The mushy release cannot be overstated.

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maroofs February 15, 2012 at 8:13 AM

Hi Robert,

I fully agree with your observation on the image softness. I bought my D7000 recently and was surprised to see that the images were much softer than my old D40x. I had ruled out the possiblity of the lenses by trying on various ones on both cameras. D7000 consistently turned out to be softer. I had also tested with charts to rule out the possibility of back/front focus errors. There was no such errors.

I then tried the contrast detection on live-view and voila the image quality was flawless. So it is certain that the softness problem is restricted to only the Phase focus. No amount of increasing the sharpness corrects this.

I would like to know what may be the cause for such a problem and if it can be fixed. I have seen some comments on forums that it could be due to mirror slap. But does that claim hold steam because the using same shutter speed causes no blur in live-view mode?

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Sudhakar March 30, 2012 at 2:13 PM

Hi Robert,

Thank you for your review. I was very interested to buy Nikon D7000 from last 5-6 months. I read your review more than 2-3 times, just to make sure I understand your perspective and others one as well. To be honest, I was very confused after I understand your review, I started to think should I go for Nikon D7000 or not! Later I read another reviews more than 30 websites and came to conclusion, I should go for Nikon D7000. I bought it one month ago. After over a month test photography and video shoots, I will surely say that its great camera. I didnt face any issue you were talking about. Well, my recommendation is, to go for this camera! Its great camera!

Sudhakar

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Sudhakar March 31, 2012 at 4:34 PM

But I your review is highly appreciated!!! Well done!

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Brian Tan July 6, 2012 at 6:22 AM

I am an intermediate user with a lot of film experience. I grew up on a fully manual Minolta (still love this camera) but I never purchased a DSLR. I made the jump to the D7000 and I am very happy. Learning to use the D7000 has improved my understanding of all of the extra features on my Canon Powershot S95 (another great camera.)

Jumping to the bottom line, I love the features. I ultimately selected this model for the dual memory card slots. The programmable user settings give you what amounts to three different manual configurations. The VR lenses are very impressive (I am no longer a skeptic.) I got the camera about a week ago and already have my personal settings configured and one user setting programmed. This may not sound like a big deal but it is when you want to try out the differences and effect of some relatively minor adjustments.

I agree with a lot of the other reviewers that the camera does seam to overexpose. I find myself going a little below the meter a lot and setting up the bracket for -1EV. I am still experimenting with the video but my first impression is that this camera will never replace my Sony HDR-SR11 but it is nice to be able to toggle back and forth. The auto-focus is clearly audible in playback. The focus tracking works but you will probably turn it off for sensitive recording.

The pictures are great. I think before going up to 24mp I would look into better glass in front of the sensor.The camera is a little big for my 7 year old but she is still able to use it and make great photos. Exactly what I was looking for.

buy this camera on Amazon, D7000 Body and save $100.95.

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de Haan (Holland) October 1, 2012 at 7:19 AM

@ Dave Bannett,

Hi there, maybe a late response but still.
Dave, you’ve adjusted your AF fine tune values for your back focus problem.
So how did you programmed it now; minus 5 or more like minus 20?
Thanks

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Vivian Bedoya November 25, 2012 at 10:20 AM

Thank you for writing this review. I knew, before I ordered it, that SOME of the D7000s have a focus problem. I thought it might be user error or inexperience, consulted with friends who own the same model and was assured theirs were perfect (and they are). Not mine. From the first photo I realized that there was a problem – the camera would not lock on the spot I focused on and I got soft photos lacking detail. I shoot nature and that is unacceptable! Along with the complaints, I found many “fixes” and adjustments and implement them to no avail. I shot test patterns using a remote release with the camera on a tripod and still got photos that looked as if the camera needed eyeglasses! One week of frustration and I returned it for a refund. I could have exchanged it in the hopes that a replacement would work but I did not want to run the risk. Nikon seems to be getting sloppy and complacent. There’s nothing worse than a tool that makes us waste more time on IT than on the photos we want to take!

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