It's been a long time coming, but Nikon has finally unveiled its new midrange model, the D7000, in one of the most eagerly anticipated announcements of the year. The D7000 doesn't replace the D90; it's launching at a higher price than the D90 did, and the D90 is still widely available. Instead, the D7000 takes on the Canon 60D in the price class up from the D90, with a host of improvements that portend well for the new camera.
What's new? Lots. The D7000 incorporates a new Nikon-designed 16.2-megapixel sensor coupled with its Expeed 2 processor; with this pairing Nikon ups its analog-to-digital conversion to 14-bit processing, which has the potential to produce a noticeably better dynamic range. There's also a new (presumably better) metering sensor, more sophisticated autofocus system that falls somewhere between the D90 and D300s in sensitivity, and a viewfinder with 100 percent scene coverage.
It's also Nikon's first dSLR to rise to 1080p HD video, with the added bonus (for whatever it's worth) of full-time autofocus during video capture. And the body's construction, though not quite as tanklike as the D300s, incorporates an all-metal chassis with magnesium-alloy covers (the rest is polycarbonate), and is sealed against dust and moisture like the D300s.
There are also some changes from the traditional Nikon body design that I think are great. The D7000 has custom settings available via the mode dial (rather than just through a powerful but confusing menu interface) and a dedicated movie record button. It also provides two card slots in a category that generally only offers one, and uses a new battery grip that supports AA batteries.
Here's where it sits in the product line and the competitive field:… Read more