Be Not Afraid Of Greatness* (Nikon D7000 Review Pt. 2)

As of now, the Nikon D7000 is the top-of-the-line APS-C DSLR

As of now, the Nikon D7000 is the top-of-the-line APS-C DSLR


Ok, a weekend of intensive but practical tests with the new Nikon D7000 is over, time to draw some conclusions.
November 17th, 2010: some corrected impressions added, especially regarding RAW file conversion!

As always, all pictures are clickable to reveal full-size JPEGs.

Pros:

  • Active D-Lighting compensates for one of digital’s weaknesses by compressing the luminosities of the subject to fit the latitude of the sensor. I have set it to Auto.
    D7000, AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED, f/5.6 , 1/60 sec., ISO 560, Nik Color Efex Pro filters "Sunshine" and "Polaroid Transfer" modified

    D7000, AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED, f/5.6 , 1/60 sec., ISO 560, Nik Color Efex Pro filters "Sunshine" and "Polaroid Transfer" modified

  • Resolution and extractability of detail through sharpening comes so close to the files from a Canon 1Ds Mark II I once had. Remarkably, the pixel count is the same, but the Nikon has an APS-C sensor and therefore a much higher pixel density.
    D7000, Zeiss ZF 25 mm, f/8 , 1/200 sec., -1EV, ISO 100, Nik Color Efex Pro filter "Polaroid Transfer" modified

    D7000, Zeiss ZF 25 mm, f/8 , 1/200 sec., -1EV, ISO 100, Nik Color Efex Pro filter "Polaroid Transfer" modified


    So close that, once sharpened, the files are indistinguishable to me.
    Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II, EF-L f/2.8 24-70 mm at 24 mm, f/8, 1/200 sec., ISO 100, Nik Color Efex Pro filter "Polaroid Transfer" modified

    Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II, EF-L f/2.8 24-70 mm at 24 mm, f/8, 1/200 sec., ISO 100, Nik Color Efex Pro filter "Polaroid Transfer" modified

  • User settings to U1 and U2 Modes on the mode dial have proven a boon!
    I have set U1 to manual metering, ISO 100, spot metering, Auto Active D-Lighting. This is my considered photography mode, possibly from a tripod.
    U2 is set to 3d-Matrix metering, Aperture preset auto exposure. -1 EV exposure compensation and Auto Active D-Lighting. This is my spontaneous photography mode. More about the exposure compensation in the Cons section.
  • The shutter is impossibly silent, can’t get over it.
  • Ergonomics are close to perfect, though this seems to make the camera an ugly duckling with all it’s knobs and levers.
  • Cons:

  • It exposes to the right of the histogram, especially with Active D-Lightimg and 3d-Matrix metering turned on. Some highlights were lost in some high-contrast pictures, but still, it may be a good thing in some other situations, as it reduces shadow noise. I have set a correction of -1 EV in a User Setting in combination with Active D-Lighting as a consequence.
    D7000, Zeiss ZF 25 mm, f/4.0 , 1/50 sec. (manual spot metering), ISO 100, Nik Silver Efex Pro filter "Antique (?) Solarization" modified

    D7000, Zeiss ZF 25 mm, f/4.0 , 1/50 sec. (manual spot metering), ISO 100, Nik Silver Efex Pro filter "Antique (?) Solarization" modified

  • One temporary disadvantage is that currently no integrated image management program can read and convert D7000 NEF files. Neither Apple Aperture, nor Capture One, nor Capture NX converts them. On the other hand, Adobe DNG Converter, RAW Photo Processor and Nikon View NX convert to tiffs or in the case of Adobe to dngs. Especially Nikon View NX does it just like the built-in JPEG converter, as could be expected from an in-house solution. This puts a break in the workflow, though.
    Adobe Lightroom 3.3 RC

    Adobe Lightroom 3.3 RC


    The best integrated solution for now seems to be Adobe Lightroom 3.3 RC, a beta release candidate. It’s conversions are spectacular.
    D7000, Zeiss ZF 25 mm, f/5.6 , 1/60 sec., -1EV, ISO 140, converted with Adobe Lightroom 3.3 RC using a gradient, as seen in the previous image

    D7000, Zeiss ZF 25 mm, f/5.6 , 1/60 sec., -1EV, ISO 140, converted with Adobe Lightroom 3.3 RC using a gradient, as seen in the previous image


    I’m a bit loath to learn yet another image management software, but those conversions are tempting and integration to the almost historic version of Photoshop on my iMac (CS 2) seems to be seamless.
    Correction: The Lightroom rc conversions are spectacular for low-ISO RAW file conversions. Go above ISO 1000, and you’ll see grain / luminosity noise that is just ridiculously high. Obviously, this is not a complete profile working behind the scenes.
    D7000, Zeiss ZF 25 mm, f/4 , 1/50 sec., -1EV, ISO 6400

    D7000, Zeiss ZF 25 mm, f/4 , 1/50 sec., -1EV, ISO 6400


    I’ve last seen this “on the wet side” as reticulation when I had gross temperature changes in development. So it’s back to ViewNX 2. It just works.
  • *Oh, and the Shakespeare quote from the title? It stems from this:
    Malvolio:
    “Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon ’em.”
    Twelfth Night (II, v, 156-159)

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    2 Responses to “Be Not Afraid Of Greatness* (Nikon D7000 Review Pt. 2)”

    1. Aperture and Nikon D7000 Best Friends Again « Mostly Black & White Says:

      […] the SD cards are faster and Aperture neatly stacks matching NEF and JPEG files. I had been using a variety of RAW conversion programs on the D7000 NEF files up until now, the last one being Capture One Pro 6. So, a comparison on a recent file is in order. […]

    2. 2010 in review « Mostly Black & White Says:

      […] The busiest day of the year was November 17th with 1 views. The most popular post that day was Be Not Afraid Of Greatness* (Nikon D7000 Review Pt. 2). […]

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