This is a follow-up to my Nikon D7000 Review that I posted earlier this year. Ever since I published the review, I have been getting a ton of feedback on this camera. While most of the feedback is great, some photographers complain about focusing and other issues on the D7000. Some end up returning the camera back to Nikon, while others send it to Nikon for repair. I have been carefully tracking most of the complaints and I have some interesting data to share. Since February of this year, I have tried 4 different copies of D7000 and the last one I tested was with me for two straight months.
Before I talk about my discoveries, let me tell you what I think about the camera. Nikon D7000 is a phenomenal camera. It is the best DX camera Nikon has produced to date. I was convinced of this when I first tested the camera and got reassured after my two month love affair with it (with the approval of my wife, of course). I have used a number of lenses from Nikon, Sigma and Samyang and all of them worked as expected on the D7000. A couple of lenses had focus issues and had to be adjusted using AF Fine Tune, but other than that, I did not see any front/back focus issues on the camera itself.
Now let me share some interesting statistics that I have been keeping a track of in an Excel spreadsheet. Ever since I published my review, I have been tracking all comments and emails from D7000 owners. It has been taking a lot of my time and I am happy to report that the project is now over. The idea was to see how many people reported a problem with their D7000 and track what the problem was related to. I was convinced that the reported backfocus problem was a user or lens issue after testing a second D7000 body, but I did not want to make a loud statement without supporting data. So I gathered data for over 6 months. Hundreds of comments and emails, along with images of test charts, doorknobs, strings, dogs, people, cars and other weird stuff that I had to sort through. It was painful to say the least. Without further due, let me share the statistics with you.
Reported Nikon D7000 problems
|Problem Description||# of Complaints||% of Total|
|Lens Focus Issue||8||19.0%|
|Unknown / Returned||2||4.8%|
Out of a total of 42 complaints, the majority of them (69%) were related to a user problem – from lack of basic photography knowledge to camera-specific functions. Confirmed back-focus/front-focus issues totaled 19% and each case was related to a lens problem, with the majority of issues falling on entry-level/kit/superzoom lenses like Nikon 18-55mm, Nikon 18-105mm and Nikon 18-200mm. Out of all the complaints, I could only confirm 3 to be truly related to the Nikon D7000. Two of the cases had focus issues and had to be sent to Nikon for re-calibration and one had a problem with grease/oil ending up on the camera sensor.
I know that 42 is not a big sample, but please bear in mind that these are actual complaints. I lost track of all the happy D7000 owners, because the number is in hundreds and I am only talking about the ones that sent me feedback via email and comments. If I were to plug in all of the feedback I got from all D7000 owners, the above numbers would have been insignificant in comparison. Based on my research and the above information I can conclude that:
- Reported problems are not specific to the D7000. In many cases it is a user issue or a lens issue.
- Very few D7000 units actually have a manufacturing defect. The number is very small and in my opinion very acceptable under QA norms.
- D7000 is not a point and shoot camera like many are expecting it to be.
- D7000’s high resolution 16MP sensor is indeed more demanding than 6-10MP sensors when it comes to lenses.
- Nikon service centers are very good in addressing camera/lens issues, especially related to AF.
Now this does not mean that D7000 is a flawless camera. I do have one complaint on the D7000, and it is related to its new RGB metering sensor that just does not seem to deliver consistently good results in matrix metering mode, in some situations. I have written about it in my Nikon D7000 Review before and I wanted to add a few more notes about it. When shooting subjects in very similar lighting conditions, I seem to get slight overexposure/underexposure, even when shooting the same subject. Quite literally, I might shoot two images 1-2 seconds apart of the same subject and get one good image and one slightly under or overexposed image. And no, I do not have bracketing turned on! This does not seem to happen when photographing wildlife and nature as much, but seems to happen only when photographing people. Older-generation Nikon DSLRs like D90 and D300s do not seem to have the same problem. The good news is that this exposure issue is not severe and you can either fix it later in post-processing, or you can use the exposure compensation button to take care of the problem. Dialing +0.7 or -.0.7 EV in those situations took care of the problem.
Other than that, I love the Nikon D7000. It is an amazing, highly capable camera that makes all other DX cameras look old in comparison. While it might not have the AF speed or the build of the D300s, it has many strengths that make it the best DX camera produced to date by Nikon. It is currently Nikon’s best selling DSLR for a reason…
The only bad news is that with all the troubles that Nikon suffered from this year, D7000 is hard to find in stock. B&H currently has no camera-only D7000 in stock (as of 11/09/2011), but they do have the Nikon D7000 + 18-105mm VR kit in stock that you can get with a $100 off discount.
Here are some sample images from my recent trips, all photographed with the D7000. Some of these will be included in my portfolio page (whenever I find time to update it).