One Month with the Nikon D7000 (Review Part 3)

Snowy Street, Morning Light

Snowy Street, Morning Light


After a month with the new Nikon D7000 DSLR one thing stands out. It is demanding of the lens you use to throw an image on it’s sensor. After all, it is the highest pixel density sensor of all Nikon DSLRs yet, 4.3 Megapixels per square centimeter. Interestingly, Nikon’s (and every other manufacturer’s, too!) bridge and point-and-shoot cameras have a pixel density on their smaller sensors that is higher by about a factor of ten. No wonder you run into limitations with those sensors in conjunction with small lenses and high zoom ratios. But I digress!
So, lenses you use on the amateur D7000 body need to be pro caliber. This way, I rationalize spending twice as much on the Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED AF-S VR II as I did on the camera itself. If you got an eye for the far, compressed perspective, this is a killer combination. The lens being so good, the only thing standing between you and astonishingly detailed pictures is technique.
For example, I took the lead image from a tripod, VR II anti-shake was off, shutter mode was set to mirror lockup. By the way, you don’t need a remote release if the scene isn’t time critical, the shutter will release of it’s own accord a minute after you’ve swung up the mirror. Even with these precautions, it pays to take several pictures in case a passing car causes some vibrations. In post-processing, you have to take into consideration that sensors like the one in the D7000 have quite a strong anti-aliasing filter in front of them (why is beyond me, it can be left out as Leica’s M9 shows). So sharpening is essential to bring out details this filter mushed. I use a small amount of sharpening in my RAW converter, just enough to divide the misfocussed shots from the anti-aliased ones. The main sharpening comes after all other image manipulations in Aperture, I use Nik Software’s Sharpener Pro plugin for that. It is important to sharpen exactly for the intended use and size, Nik has helpful presets. When in doubt, nudge the slider back a bit, especially if it is for JPEGs. We don’t want to see white bands at high-contrast margins! Sharpening for inkjet prints, on the other hand, needs to be just a bit over-the-top in this way because the microscopic dots will diffuse out and close these white gaps.
Provided you use proper technique, this deceptively small and gadgety DSLR will provide stunningly detailed pictures!

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