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Nikon D7000

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MikeScone

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I'd been looking at reviews and specs on the top-of-the line Nikons recently - the $5,200+ D3s and the $2,400+ D700. They had features I really wanted, but the price... forget it. Even if I could justify spending that much, I know I'd never be comfortable wearing $6,000 worth of camera and lens around my neck.

Then, I read Ken Rockwell's review of the D7000, and he said "The D7000 is Nikon's most advanced camera at any price". I looked at the features, and found that the D7000 basically started with the D300 and added everything the D3s had that I would have wanted, at less than I paid for the D300 three years ago. That was all it took... it arrived this morning.

The best new features are:
  • two memory card slots - you can set the second slot to mirror the first, so that every picture is backed up in-camera, automatically. No more concerns about memory card failure after you've taken thousands of pictures on vacation!
  • high ISO (sensor sensitivity) for low light photography - the D300 topped out at ISO6400, and was noisy at that. The D7000 goes to an incredible ISO25,600 - and images are clean right up to 6400. Ken Rockwell says that the D7000 is the cleanest camera available anywhere at ISO 25,600. OK, it's still noisy at 25,600, but if the choice is noise or no picture, I'll take noise...
  • in-viewfinder "virtual horizon", so I can tell if the camera's level
  • better, faster autofocus and autoexposure even than the D300, which was pretty good to start with - I don't know what they did, but the flash pictures I took of Natasha tonight were perfectly exposed and "snappier" than the D300's, without much need for PhotoShop adjustments.
  • improved battery with up to 3000 shots per charge (and I thought the 700+ I got from the D300 was amazing!)
The D7000 also has a few features I don't see using much, if at all, but there they are:
  • a dozen or more "scene modes" plus full "PhD" ("Push here, Dummy") Auto - I suppose Nikon got tired of explaining why their most capable cameras lacked the modes all point-and-shoots have.
  • 1080i HD movies
  • face recognition mode on playback, so you can find someone's face in one picture, and the camera finds them in other pictures as you page through - why?
Enough of that - I'm sure I'll have more comments later as I figure out what the camera will do, but for now, how about a few pictures?







I think I'm going to really like this camera...
 

Pet_Bunny

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Congratulations on the new camera.

The D7000 is amazing. The technology is so far advanced since the D300 (which I have). It was good timing that you got your D7000 when you did. I haven't had a chance to seeone yet, but they should be in our stores. I wonder if other new cameras and lens would be delayed from Japan.

Did you get a new lens with the camera?
 

MikeScone

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Pet_Bunny wrote:
Did you get a new lens with the camera?
No, I only bought the body. At this point, I've got all the lenses I need.

The D7000 is pretty hard to find. Adorama was out of stock, and with the earthquake problems, it'll probably be a while before they get more. I got mine through Amazon, who had a few left.

After another day's experience, I've got a few more thoughts:
  • the D7000 is quiet - much quieter than the D300, and that's not even using the "quiet mode".
  • Ken Rockwell has a setup file you can download, save to the camera's SD card, and load. That changes the settings to Ken's recommended ones, which saves a lot of time and fiddling. I reset some, but by and large they were very good.
  • The performance of the D7000 at high ISO is very good. Here are some examples from tonight, Natasha under regular tungsten room light at ISO 1600, 12800 and 25600:
ISO 1600


ISO 12,800


ISO 25,600


Pretty impressive, I think!
 

Pet_Bunny

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I was at the store and saw the D7000. You certainly have to get use to the compact size. I have been using my D300 with the battery grip, so you know how big and heavy that can get.
The Nikon D5100 is about to announced soon that might appeal to the new entry level photographers.
 

MikeScone

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I got the remote control for the D7000 today. It seems like every time I upgrade, Nikon has decided it needs a new sort of remote - the Fujis (Nikon N80-based) used a four-pin wired remote, the D300 used a ten-pin remote, and the D7000 uses an IR wireless remote (and a fancy, expensive wired one, too, with yet another incompatible connection). At least, the IR remote is relatively inexpensive at $15.

It seems to work pretty well. You have to point it right at the camera, though, and the sensor's on the left side of the lens in front so it can be shaded by the lens if you're sitting on the wrong side. There's a rear sensor, too, if you want to use the remote from behind the camera.

Here's a sample picture I took with the remote:


That's the remote in my left hand (squirmy bunny in right). It's really tiny - I kept it in the original box in my camera bag just so I won't lose it. Although you can see the remote pointed right at the camera in the picture, because of where I was sitting the remote was blocked by the lens, so it was a little bit erratic used this way. By experimenting I found that it worked better to point the remote at the wall behind me or at the TV behind the camera, letting the IR light bounce into the camera sensor.

I found that you want to change two menu settings from the defaults to make the remote more practical:
  • On the Shooting Menu, change the Remote Control Mode to Quick Response mode. Otherwise, there's a two-second delay between pushing the remote button and taking the picture. That's Not Good if you're trying to time pictures of a moving rabbit.
  • On Custom Settings Menu item c5, set the Remote On Duration to five minutes or longer. The default is one minute, which means that if you don't take a picture every minute the camera goes to sleep, and you have to tap the trigger button on the camera to wake it up - which sort of defeats the purpose of having a remote. I set mine to fifteen minutes, which seemed to work well with Natasha.
 

TinysMom

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Hey....I love that PHD button...I use it a lot!

I want the camera - and the bunny.
 

MikeScone

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Camera update: I used the D7000 on my trip to Ireland in June, and it performed very well. You can see some of the results in the thread forty shades of green here in the Camera Corner.

I did have one problem, and the in-camera backup feature came through to save the day - one of my new SD cards developed a write problem a few days into the trip. Because of the two memory cards, I didn't lose any pictures at all, just swapped out the bad card and kept on shooting. That was worth the price of admission right there.

I used the virtual horizon more than I'd thought I would, in a few situations where there wasn't a good level horizon in the shot, and while I didn't do a lot of low-light photography, in a few instances it was useful to have the high ISO when I needed it.
 

Boz

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Hey Mike!
This post has been very helpful and I know you are probably busy and such so if you don't really have time to help, no worries! But I wanted to ask your opinion on what I should do...

I currently have the D5000 with the 35mm f/1.8 lens, the 18-55mm VR "kit" lens, and the 55-200mm lens.

I either want to upgrade to the D7000 (with the 18-105mm lens included) or just invest in a new lens.

The kit lens is not the greatest so I really want to upgrade from that. I was thinking of buying the 18-105mm lens. Would it be a good lens to get? I use the kit lens mostly outdoors with dogs so I want something better for that. I love my 35mm lens but for outdoors it is limited with no zoom (and you know dogs, they love to "zoom" all over!) That's why I was considering the 18-105mm. It'd be perfect.

But, I also am considering upgrading to the D7000. It's been an idea lingering in the back of my mind for several months now. The D5000 has been great but it is limited in it's abilities. Plus, I'd love a camera with better low-light quality. Those high ISO shots you took look great! The 1080p video recording with focusing would be an added bonus for me. I record video a lot and trying to manually focus all the time is a huge pain!

I am just stuck on what to do. Do I just wait to get the D7000 and just get a new lens? Or is it worth getting the D7000 now?

Any suggestions would be amazing!
 

MikeScone

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Boz wrote:
Do I just wait to get the D7000 and just get a new lens? Or is it worth getting the D7000 now?
It's a personal issue, of course.

Ken Rockwell once wrote that the biggest job a camera system has is not to get in the way of your getting the images you want (or words to that effect). Which of the elements in your system is most getting in the way of what you want to do?

On the camera, the D7000 is a major step up from the D5000 - Ken Rockwell's D5000 page has a comparison of the D5000 to the other cameras which were current at that time (not the D7000, unfortunately, but you can use the D300 for comparison, as the features are similar). There are a number of features in the D7000 which the D5000 lacked - whether or not you find them useful is an open question, but I do. I think the most important in day to day shooting are:
  • the features I listed at the start of this thread which the D7000 improved upon the D300 are all, obviously, also added relative to the lower-price D5000. As I've said, the second memory card for backup was the deal-maker for me, as well as the high ISO capability.
  • You'll find the autofocus on the D7000 much better than the D5000 - 39 focus sensors vs 11, automatic choice of sensor combinations with an indication in the viewfinder of which sensors were chosen, and an "auto-autofocus" mode which chooses continuous or static autofocus depending on whether or not the subject is moving in the frame.
  • The D7000 has the next-size larger body, with the top LCD screen. I find that to be very useful, as you don't need to use the large rear screen to see how the camera's set (think battery) and the top screen is much more convenient to use.
  • The rear LCD screen is much larger and better, with a really good display of pictures - it's a true VGA display (640x480), as opposed to 320x240 in the D5000.
  • If you just have the newest sort of autofocus lenses, this is less important, but the autofocus in the D5000 is limited to just AF-S lenses (the ones with built-in focus motors). Many older Nikon lenses and lenses from second-tier manufacturers, and many current Nikon professional series lenses, lack the in-lens motor and need a focus motor in the camera. The D7000 has that motor and will autofocus with any AF lens. That makes your lens choice much wider down the road - and the D7000 goes one step further, and will work with manual focus Nikon lenses and those which lack the built-in CPU as well (obviously, the autofocus doesn't work, but the metering does - which isn't true of the lower-price Nikons).
If any of these features are things which you feel are holding you back in the D5000, then a camera upgrade is worth it. You can get just the D7000 body and it would work just fine with all your lenses, then upgrade the lenses later.

In terms of upgrading the lenses first, you'd have to ask what you'd be buying. Why do you find the kit lenses limiting?

In terms of image quality, the 18-55 is listed on Ken Rockwell's Nikon's 10 Best Lenses page (along with the 18-200, which I have). The widest f-stop on most affordable zooms is f/3/5-f/5.6, so you won't be getting much improvement on the low-light end unless you move up to the professional lenses at many thousands of dollars each.

If you find the upper end of the 18-55 limiting, and you're constantly switching between the two zooms, upgrading from the 18-55 might make sense. At one point I had the 18-135, which I did like very much, but I think it's been obsoleted by newer lenses. Personally, I wouldn't go to the 18-105 - yes, it gives you a bit better range than the 18-55, but you'll still need to carry both lenses if you use the 100-200mm range. Of course, you could update to the 18-105 and later on get a 70-300VR if you need the extra focal length (see my thread It's for the birds...).

Rather, I'd upgrade all the way to the 18-200mm (which I have, and love, and use almost exclusively). That would give you the full range in one lens (and a better lens to boot). Then you could sell the two kit lenses - I don't know what you could get for the two lenses on Craigslist or eBay, but it would defray the cost of upgrade a bit.

That's my two cents, anyway.
 

Boz

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Thank you SOO much! That was so so helpful! :D You have no idea!

MikeScone
As I've said, the second memory card for backup was the deal-maker for me, as well as the high ISO capability.
Those are two of the biggest features for me. I always try to shoot in low ISO (800 as a max for quality shots, 1600 as a max for snapshots) otherwise, to me, they are too grainy. And the auto backup? How awesome!! It would be SO nice not to worry about losing pictures somewhere between taking them and putting them on the computer.

And about the lenses... I do take good shots with the 18-55 I just wanted more zoom and less lenses to have to switch. The reason I don't use the 70-200 as my "main" lens for dog shots because when they move up close to you, it's really hard to get! So I end up switching lenses a lot. I rather just have a nice "all in one" lens. lol I think what you said about holding off on the lens and getting the D7000 body and then later invest in the 18-200 is a better idea! Then I could sell my other two lenses.

Thank you SO much!
 

Boz

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oh of course, on Amazon if you buy the Nikon D7000 you can get $250 off the 18-200mm! Would be great! But I don't really know about buying both atm!
 

Boz

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One more quick question...
What do you think of buying refurbished or used in terms of cameras? I bought my labtop refurbished and I've had no problems! Saved a good chuck of money as well. On the nikon store I can get the D7000 for $100 cheaper refurbished. The only thing is I think it has a shorter warranty (90 days I think?). Is the longer warranty worth the extra $100?
 

MikeScone

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Boz wrote:
What do you think of buying refurbished or used in terms of cameras?
If it's a Nikon factory refurb, it should be fine. They do a good job. Over the years I've bought many used cameras, and my experience with them has been basically the same as with the new ones.

On the other hand, you're talking about $100 on a $1,200 camera - and at Adorama, the difference between new and refurb on the D7000 body is only $30. Whether or not saving less than 10% in price to get a warranty which is one-quarter that of a new camera is a matter of personal choice and comfort. For $100, I might do it - for $30, I'd get new.

Personally, I don't worry much about the length of warranties on electronics - most electronic equipment, if it's going to fail, is going to do so in the first few months. If you use the camera much, the only thing the warranty's going to get you is protection against manufacturing defects, and they'll show up quickly. The D7000 isn't going to wear out in normal use before it becomes obsolete, so the incremental value of months 4-12 of warranty is a lot less than that of months 1-3.
 

Boz

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Thanks for the help!

One more quick question. What is your thought on UV filters to protect your lens? Right now I have cheap-o ones from ebay but I've heard those cheap ones can do more harm than good when it comes to pictures.
 

Watermelons

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Boz wrote:
Thanks for the help!

One more quick question. What is your thought on UV filters to protect your lens? Right now I have cheap-o ones from ebay but I've heard those cheap ones can do more harm than good when it comes to pictures.
Worth every penny! The ones I buy are about $20 each, they work great, cant really go wrong with even a cheapy at least is protecting your lense, just make sure you dont have dust or crap between your lens and the filter otherwise yes it will harm your shot.
I've already had my lens saved by 1 UV, and I have one stuck on every lens I own.
Especially when youre paying hundreds to over 1000 for a lens... yikes!
 

BunniBee

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Nice camera. I love it and need a new one (mines broke) but I think this might be a bit outa my pricerange. It takes awesome pictures though! Congrats on the new camera.
 

MikeScone

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Boz wrote:
One more quick question. What is your thought on UV filters to protect your lens? Right now I have cheap-o ones from ebay but I've heard those cheap ones can do more harm than good when it comes to pictures.
The purists say not to use them, but I agree with Watermelon's post above - having broken a few UV filters over the years, each time saving a lens, I wouldn't leave home without one. I wouldn't get the very cheapest plastic filters, but as long as it's a real brand coated glass filter it should be optically more than good enough.

The last time I broke a UV filter was in Scotland last summer, and I found a camera store in Perth to replace it as soon as I could. The salesman was very insistent that because I had a DSLR I needed "a digital filter, the analog ones just won't work". I didn't have the heart to tell him that there's no difference between DLSR's and film cameras as far as filters go - but I did buy the "digital" filter because it was coated and a real brand, and the "analog" one wasn't.

The only thing you need to watch out for is on very short lenses. I can't use a UV filter on my 12-24 zoom because at the shortest focal length it causes vignetting (dark corners). They do make low-profile UV filters, but they're very expensive, so I just have to be careful and do without.
 

Boz

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Thanks Mike!

I have Zeikos brand now and it works but there is a glare/ghost in photos sometimes. Its caused by the filter. From what I'm reading it's because it's cheap.

I was thinking of getting this filter:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000HGHMF8/?tag=skimlinks_replacement-20

I just hate spending $30 on a filter when I can get one for $5. haha!
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B001LMQM3U/?tag=skimlinks_replacement-20

But I know that the $5 filter has the ghosting problem at times... but that is it. I really can't see a difference in image quality over all.

Deciding what to do is so hard! lol
 
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MikeScone

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Boz wrote:
I was thinking of getting this filter:
http://www.amazon.com/Hoya-HMC-Haze-UV-Filter/dp/B000HGHMF8/ref=sr_1_29?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1313518675&sr=1-29

I just hate spending $30 on a filter when I can get one for $5. haha!
It's $30 well spent. There's not much point in spending money for a high quality DSLR, and then ruining the picture with a cheap filter. Hoya is a "real" brand, so even their least expensive filter should be acceptable.

If it were me, though, I'd probably spend a few dollars more and get the multi-coated version of the Hoya filter -
http://www.amazon.com/Hoya-72mm-HMC-Multicoated-Filter/dp/B002L7DSZY/ref=pd_cp_p_4

The multi-coating is designed specifically to reduce the internal reflections in the filter. Whether or not it will make a big difference, I can't say, but it's usually worth it.
 
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Boz

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Thanks! Should probably go with that! Didn't realize that one wasn't. I'm surprised that that person is offering for only $35. on BHphoto and elsewhere it's 43.35.
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/652133-REG/Hoya_A72UVC_72mm_Ultraviolet_UV_0_Haze.html
http://www.adorama.com/HY72UVM.html

EDIT:
ahh wait! Looking at that one I first posted, it says HMC. I looked that up and it means Hoya Multi-Coated. Is that the same thing?
http://www.hoyafilter.com/products/hoya/coatings.html


Thanks for all your help by the way!




 
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