Nikon announced the D7000 today. Seen as a replacement for the D90, it has a higher resolution sensor (16.2MP), 1080p video recording and more autofocus points (39 to be exact). The D7000 also has a magnesium alloy body which is usually only found in higher end cameras.
The D7000 will come with the AF-S DX 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, which is the same kit lens offered with the D90. The kit lens is a well-rounded and nice walkabout lens. It has a nice zoom range which will easily cover all your photography needs on a holiday. An upgrade from this would be the Nikon 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S ED VR II Telephoto Zoom Lens. Nothing else beats the Nikon 18-200mm in terms of coverage. It’s the only lens you will need to bring on a holiday.
Button layouts are very similar to the D90, except for the extra drive mode select dial on the left and a dedicated video recording button. The D7000 sports the same 3 inch high-resolution LCD as the D90, with up to 170 deg viewing angle.
A list of new features are as follows:
- Higher resolution sensor (16.2MP vs. 12.3MP)
- Choice of 12-bit or 14-bit NEF (RAW)
- 1080p HD movie mode
- Limited movie editing functionality
- AF possible during video shooting (but we’re not over-optimistic on this score)
- Live View switch (basically the same as D3100)
- Faster AF in live view mode.
- Twin SD card slots
- Non-CPU lens data function (allows registration of up to 9 non-G lenses with manual apertures)
- Magnesium alloy body shell
- Wider ISO span (100-25,600 including ‘H1′ and ‘H2′)
- Newly developed 39-point AF system
- ‘Quiet’ single frame advance mode
- ‘Proper’ mirror lock-up (as distinct from ‘exposure delay mode’)
- Lockable drive mode dial
- Higher maximum frame rate (6fps) with a Continuous Lo shooting option (1-5fps)
- 100% viewfinder
- Choice of 12-bit or 14-bit NEF (RAW) recording in compressed or lossless compressed formats
- Up to 9 ‘non-CPU’ lenses can be registered (same as D300s/D3s/D3X)
- New EN-EL15 lithium-ion battery
- New MB-D11 battery pack (magnesium alloy construction)
Notable features include the ability to shoot up to ISO25,600, in-camera video editing, twin SD card slots, support for non-CPU lenses, and the higher continuous shooting speed (6fps). Personally I would love to be able to shoot at a higher ISO for those low light conditions. Other new features such as the 39-point AF is useless to me. With 11-AF points on my D90, I only use 3 of them; center, left and right. For subjects that are not within those focus points, I just do a focus-lock and recompose.
Also I won’t feel the difference between 12-bit and 14-bit RAW because I never shot RAW. RAW are for people who have too much time in the studio and can’t spend a little more time on the field to get the exposure and white balance right. And it takes up too much space and processing time. I only shoot JPEG Large, Normal or Fine.
Megapixels and video functions are not too important unless you shoot for a magazine or if you’re a video producer.
It is interesting to note that the D7000 uses a new battery and a new battery grip, different from the D90. The battery grip is of magnesium alloy construction too.
Twin SD card slots gives you the flexibility on how you want to store your photos and videos.
While the D7000 may look similar to the D90, but that’s where the similarity ends. The D7000 has been cleverly designed to sit in between the D90 and the D300s. Now comes the dilemma in choosing between the D90 or the D7000.
If the D7000 is within your budget, the choice is obvious. A newer camera incorporates newer technologies and newer features which is almost always better than its predecessor.
However if you are budget-conscious, the D90 is certain to drop in price and it will serve you well for many years to come.