Nikon D7000 Review

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This long overdue review of the Nikon D7000 is based on my 3+ month experience with multiple samples of the camera. Due to my busy schedule and a very high demand on the D7000, I was not able to obtain a copy earlier to test. I actually thought it was a good thing to wait, because I did not want to get one from the initial production (which seemed to be rushed, resulting in lots of bad samples out there). Ever since the Nikon D7000 was released, I have been getting many questions from current and potential buyers, asking about backfocus issues, overexposed images, bad video quality, autofocus problems, image quality at low and high ISOs and hot pixels. For this review, I made a note to myself to test the camera against each of the listed potential problems and report on my findings.

Nikon D7000

1) Nikon D7000 Specifications

Main Features:

  1. High Resolution 16.2 MP DX-format CMOS sensor
  2. High Speed 6 frames per second continuous shooting up to 100 shots
  3. 2,016-pixel RGB (3D Color Matrix) sensor
  4. Pentaprism Optical Viewfinder with approx. 100% frame coverage and approx. 0.94x magnification
  5. Twin SD Card Slots with SD, SDHC and SDXC memory card compatibility
  6. Built-in Speedlight flash with i-TTL and Wireless Commander support
  7. Optional MB-D11 multi-power pack
  8. Two User Definable Settings (U1, U2) on the Mode Selector Dial
  9. Standard, Neutral, Vivid, Monochrome, Portrait and Landscape Picture Controls
  10. Virtual Horizon Graphic Indicator
  11. Full 1080p HD Movie capability with Full Time Autofocus and external stereo microphone jack (up to 20 minutes of recording time)
  12. Dynamic ISO range from 100 to 6400 expandable to 25,600 (Hi2)
  13. Customizable 39 point AF System with nine center cross-type sensors
  14. Magnesium-alloy top/rear covers and weather and dust sealing
  15. 150,000 cycle-rated shutter system
  16. 3 Inch, 921,000-dot Super-Density LCD Monitor with 170 degree viewing
  17. Fast Start-Up time of 0.13 sec and 50ms Shutter Lag
  18. Compact EN-EL15 Battery (850+ shots)
  19. Built-in HDMI Connection
  20. Active D-Lighting for enhancing details in shadows and highlights
  21. Portrait, Landscape, Child, Sports, Close-up or Night Portrait Scene Modes

Mt Sneffels in Snow

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Upcoming Lens Tests and Reviews

Despite some challenges with my schedule, I am putting plenty of effort on writing more gear reviews. In between reviews, I will be posting various howtos and guides, along with some images from this year. The shooting season is pretty much over (it has been very cold and snowy in Denver during the last few weeks) and I am not really planning on going anywhere until spring of next year. This will hopefully give me more time for writing and working on some stuff for Lola (she wants a personal blog and a separate portfolio website for her business).

In terms of upcoming product reviews, here is my current list of lenses to write about:

  1. Nikon 35mm f/1.8G
  2. Nikon 50mm f/1.4D
  3. Nikon 50mm f/1.4G
  4. Nikon 85mm f/1.4D
  5. Nikon 105mm f/2.8G VR
  6. Nikon 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G VR
  7. Nikon 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR
  8. Nikon 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G VR
  9. Nikon 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II
  10. Nikon 24-120mm f/3.5-5.6G VR
  11. Nikon 55-200mm f/4-5.6G VR
  12. Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G VR
  13. Nikon 200-400mm f/4.0 VR
  14. Nikon TC-14E II
  15. Nikon TC-17E II
  16. Nikon TC-20E III

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Nikon 35mm f/1.8G vs 50mm f/1.4G

Some of our readers, especially those who are just getting into photography, frequently ask me if they should choose the Nikon 35mm f/1.8G or Nikon 50mm f/1.4G to be used for low-light photography. I decided to run a quick comparison between the two, along with some other technical information to hopefully make it easier for our readers to select the right lens in this Nikon 35mm f/1.8 vs Nikon 50mm f/1.4 comparison.

Nikon 35mm f/1.8G vs Nikon 50mm f/1.4G

Nikon 35mm f1.8G (left) and Nikon 50mm f1.4G (right)

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Nikon 24-120mm VR Review

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This is an in-depth review of the Nikon 24-120mm f/4G ED VR lens that was released in August of 2010. The constant maximum aperture, mid-range Nikon 24-120mm f/4 VR zoom lens is a major update to the Nikon 24-120mm f/3.5-5.6G VR that was released back in 2003. The older, variable-aperture 24-120mm f/3.5-5.6 had some optical problems that did not make it a popular lens among photographers, so Nikon decided to address those problems by releasing this highly-anticipated Nikon 24-120mm f/4.0 lens. Why highly-anticipated? Because the 24-120mm focal range is very useful for photographers who use full-frame cameras like Nikon D700/D3s/D3x and who find the 24-70mm f/2.8 either too short on the long focal end, or too heavy for everyday use. In addition, having VR on a mid-range lens like the 24-120mm is crucial for low-light photography, even on the wide end.

Nikon 24-120mm f/4 ED VR

Did Nikon address all problems the Nikon 24-120mm f/3.5-5.6G had in this new f/4 update? How does it compare to the legendary Nikon 24-70mm and the new 28-300mm lenses? Is it really on par with the 28-300mm when it comes to performance, making it a worse buy than the 28-300mm like some of the reviewers stated? In this review, I will do my best to provide a detailed analysis of the lens’ performance, including sharpness tests and comparisons against other mid-range lenses and answer the above questions.

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Nikon 55-300mm VR Review

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This is an in-depth review of the Nikon 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G VR lens that was released in August of 2010 together with three other lenses – Nikon 85mm f/1.4G, Nikon 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G VR and Nikon 24-120mm f/4.0 VR. The Nikon 55-300mm VR lens is a major update to the existing Nikon 55-200mm f/4.0-5.6G ED VR lens that was released in 2007. Just like the 55-200mm VR, it is designed to be used with the Nikon 18-55mm DX VR kit lens to provide expanded focal range for telephoto shots. Nikon 55-300mm is currently the cheapest way to get to true 300mm focal length in Nikon’s current line of lenses, with a little more shorter range to work with than the Nikon 70-300mm VR lens.

Nikon 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR

It is an ideal lens to be used for family events and vacations to capture distant subjects, and the use of Vibration Reduction (VR) technology makes it easier to get sharp photographs at slower shutter speeds, especially when shooting at 300mm. Similar to the Nikon 28-300mm VR lens, the Nikon 55-300mm VR comes with two Extra-low Dispersion (ED) Elements, which due to less air bubbles and glass deformities within the glass elements help minimize chromatic aberration and deliver sharper images at large apertures. The Nikon 55-300mm VR lens is only designed to work on Nikon DX (cropped) sensors and has an equivalent field of view of approximately 82.5mm-450mm (in 35mm equivalent), which makes the lens particularly good for reaching distant subjects. Autofocus is practically silent, thanks to the Silent Wave Motor (AF-S) within the lens.

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Nikon 28-300mm VR Review

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This is an in-depth review of the Nikon 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR lens that was released in August of 2010 along with the Nikon 85mm f/1.4G and 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G VR DX lenses. It is no secret that Nikon released the 28-300mm largely due to the popular demand of the 18-200mm lens. The large zoom range of the Nikon 18-200mm and its generally good performance made it a lens of choice for those, who wanted to have a good lightweight travel lens or only wanted to use one lens on their DSLR cameras. Despite the fact that the lens suffered from some serious issues such as lens creep, heavy distortion and sharpness issues beyond 105mm, some photographers and reviewers praised the 18-200mm so much, that the demand increased significantly, resulting in heavy lens shortages around the world. During this time, Nikon had a hard time keeping the lens on the shelves and the only way to obtain it was to either pay a premium and buy it from Ebay, or order and wait for months until Nikon sent another batch to retailers. I remember this period of time very well, since I had to wait for 3 months to get my copy of the lens. Ever since Nikon released the FX full-frame sensor, more and more photographers have been switching from DX to FX. Since Nikon 18-200mm is a DX lens, an FX camera would fall back to DX mode, giving less than half the resolution – a problematic situation for most photographers that use the current 12 megapixel cameras. Therefore, photographers that made the switch from cropped sensor cameras to full-frame, ended up selling or trading their DX lenses for the above reason, including the much loved Nikon 18-200mm.

Nikon 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR

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Nikon 85mm f/1.4G Review

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This is an in-depth review of the Nikon 85mm f/1.4G AF-S lens that was announced with three other lenses in August of 2010. Ever since the manual focus AI-s version of the Nikon 85mm f/1.4 lens was introduced back in 1981, the Nikon 85mm f/1.4 lenses have been used as references for superb sharpness, best-looking bokeh and beautiful color renditions. The last autofocus AF-D version of the lens produced in 1995, the Nikon 85mm f/1.4D, was often called the “king of bokeh”, yielding extremely pleasing out-of-focus areas, in addition to producing tack-sharp, colorful images when shooting wide open at maximum aperture of f/1.4. Its legendary performance made the Nikon 85mm f/1.4D lens a must-have for portrait photographers and many professionals have been heavily relying on this lens for their commercial work. The Nikon 85mm f/1.4G AF-S lens is the latest update to the 85mm f/1.4 line, which replaces the outdated AF-D version with the latest optical and technology innovations from Nikon. In this review, I will not only provide information on the Nikon 85mm f/1.4G lens, but will also compare it against the older Nikon 85mm f/1.4D and the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G VR II lenses.

Nikon 85mm f/1.4G

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Nikon 300mm f/2.8G VR II Review

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This is an in-depth review of the Nikon 300mm f/2.8G ED VR II lens that was released in December of 2009, along with the TC-20E III teleconverter. When it comes to telephoto lenses, the Nikon 300mm f/2.8 line of lenses has always been a metric of sharpness, contrast and acuity. The Nikon 300mm f/2.8G VR II is no exception – it sports top of the line optical design and technology that are capable of resolving tons of details, delivering outstanding results for any kind of long-range photography. The Nikon 300mm f/2.8G VR II was released as a minor update to the existing Nikon 300mm f/2.8G IF-ED – the optical design stayed the same, with the exception of Vibration Reduction II (VR II) technology and a new A/M focus mode. In this review, I will not only provide general information about the Nikon 300mm f/2.8G VR II and its performance, but also how it works with all current Nikon teleconverters (TC-14E II, TC-17E II and TC-20E III) and how it compares to other telephoto lenses of similar and lower classes.

Nikon 300mm f/2.8G VR II

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Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G Review

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This is an in-depth, long overdue review of the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G ED lens that was released back in August of 2007 together with the 14-24mm f/2.8G ED lens. I have owned the Nikon 24-70mm ever since it came out and I have written a lot about it in my articles, but never got the chance to sit down and provide some detailed feedback about what I like or don’t like about this lens. After I got my hands on other FX wide-angle lenses such as Nikon 16-35mm f/4 VR, Nikon 24mm f/1.4G and Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8G, I knew it was time to put them all up to a real test and compare each one with the 24-70mm.

Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G

1) Lens Overview

The Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G ED lens is a truly versatile lens that can be used for many different kinds of photography needs – from wide-angle landscapes and panoramas, to portraits and events. With its constant aperture of f/2.8 (meaning the aperture does not change while zooming) and state of the art optics, the lens is targeted towards enthusiasts and professionals, who work in various lighting and weather conditions and need exceptional sharpness, color and contrast in their images – something the Nikon 24-70mm was designed to deliver. It replaced the older Nikon 28-70mm f/2.8D lens and its optics were completely redesigned for superior performance and extra coverage on the wide-end. Featuring 15 lens elements in 11 groups, 3 out of which are ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass elements that reduce chromatic aberration and increase sharpness, the lens is a heavyweight monster weighing a whopping 31.7 oz. (900 grams), which is heavier than the Nikon D300 DSLR! In addition to the Silent Wave Motor (SWM/AF-S) that provides fast and quiet auto focus, the Nikon 24-70mm also features the Nano Crystal Coating technology, which reduces ghosting and flare. When it comes to weather sealing, the Nikon 24-70mm is designed to be well-protected against dust, moisture and tough weather conditions (read more under Lens Handling below).

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Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8G Review

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This is an in-depth review of the Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8G ED lens that was released back in August of 2007 together with the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G ED lens. I have been planning to write a review of this lens for quite some time now and I wanted to make the review as thorough as possible, comparing it to other Nikon FX wide angle lenses that are out in the market today. My plan finally came to reality, when I got a hold of Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8G, Nikon 16-35mm f/4.0 VR, Nikon 17-35mm f/2.8D, Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G and finally Nikon 24mm f/1.4G lenses all at the same time!

Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8G

1) Lens Overview

Let me start by saying that the Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8G is a work of art. Marketed as Nikon’s flagship ultra wide-angle lens, the Nikon 14-24mm is a beautiful craftsmanship that one can only appreciate after holding it in hands and trying it out. When Nikon introduced it to the world of photography back in 2007 as a full-frame lens to be used with the back-then newly released, Nikon’s first-ever full-frame DSLR D3, the lens set a new standard in zoom lens performance in terms of sharpness and contrast. It was the world’s first 14mm ultra wide-angle zoom lens with a constant f/2.8 aperture and Nikon was proud to state that it rivals prime lenses when it comes to optical design and performance. As you will see from image samples that I posted in this review, the lens is truly very sharp, easily outperforming any other Nikon ultra wide-angle zoom lenses at all focal lengths, coming very close to the exceptional performance of the Nikon 24mm f/1.4G lens.

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