3) Image Sensor and the new Expeed Processor
The most exciting new change for a gear-head like me, is the more powerful Expeed 2 camera processor, along with the new 16.2 MP (megapixel) high-resolution camera sensor. Although I prefer better image quality over a higher number of pixels, the jump from 12 MP to 16 MP is certainly good for folks like me who are into landscape and wildlife photography. Higher resolution sensor means larger prints and more cropping opportunities when photographing wildlife. Nikon has been quite successful in keeping high ISO noise amounts low, while keeping image quality standards high in their latest generation DSLRs with more megapixels. With a 4 megapixel jump, does the Nikon D7000 keep up with image quality of the 12 MP Nikon D90? The answer is further down in this review, where you will find a detailed comparison between the Nikon D7000, D90, D3100 and D700. In short, the Nikon D7000 is Nikon’s best DX sensor thus far.
I have received numerous negative emails and comments from D7000 owners about hot pixels. Many of the D7000 owners seem to think that the D7000 sensor in particular has a hot/stuck pixel issue. I will write a separate article on different types of pixel issues on sensors, because there are hot pixels, dead pixels and stuck pixels (which all mean different things). The one pixel issue most people report about, is a brightly-colored annoying pixel that appears in random parts of the image when the image is shot at high ISOs above 400 and/or at very long exposures. If you are too worried about this problem, you should not be, because EVERY sensor has pixel problems.
I remember when I bought my Nikon D80, I was so annoyed by hot pixels, that I sent the camera to Nikon for service. They remapped the hot/stuck pixels for me (which only showed up at ISO 800 and up), but more similar pixels started appearing after a while. Hot/stuck/dead pixels are normal – they happen everywhere. Your PC monitor might have a stuck/dead pixel, your TV might have a couple and camera sensors are not immune from this problem either. When you deal with millions of pixels in a tiny area, some of them will eventually die or malfunction. Every DSLR I have used so far had pixel problems. My Nikon D3s has both hot and stuck pixels. Why do I not worry or care about these pixel problems? Because some of them eventually disappear and the ones that stay are automatically removed/mapped out by Lightroom/Adobe Camera RAW as soon as I open up the image.
Now it is a different story if you are getting stuck pixels at low ISOs and fast shutter speeds – that should not normally happen or if the number of these bad pixels is unusually high. If you shoot in JPEG and you are annoyed by this, simply send the camera back to Nikon and they will remap those pixels for you. But be warned – your camera will eventually develop more of those bad pixels overtime. One more thing to note – hot pixels show up a lot more in hot environments. Try taking a long exposure shot after shooting a long video and I guarantee that you will see plenty of those hot pixels. So stop worrying about those darn pixels! You can’t see any in my images that I post here, can you? Shoot in RAW and let the software deal with bad pixels. You should be worried about sensor dust more than hot pixels.