Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Nikon annouces the D7000!

Throwing a serious curveball out there, last night Nikon announced the all new D7000. This camera is unprecedented among the Nikon line and fits it right between the D90 and the D300s, not quite pro-level, but definitely a step above mid-range. In reality though, this camera beats the pants off of either of the existing cameras. Let's take a look at some of the key features of this break-though camera.

  • 16.2 megapixel CMOS sensor. This is an all new sensor with the highest resolution of any Nikon camera save for the D3X. In conjunction with the new EXPEED 2 processor this gives the D7000 an effective ISO range if 100-6400. Nikon claims that the new processor offers a "higher level of noise reduction" which doesn't give me confidence in the low-light abilities of the camera. I never use in-camera noise reduction due to the fact that it softens images quite substantially. 
  • 2016 pixel RGB metering sensor. This has been due for an upgrade for a very long time. Nikon has been using the same 420 pixel RBG sensor for their metering systems for their entry to mid-level since the early 90's (it was actually introduced in their mid-level film camera the N90/F90) and the 1005 pixel RBG sensor in the high-end cameras since the F5 was introduced in 1996. This new sensor will allow for more accurate metering and will improve on the 3D focus tracking, iTTL flash, AF and white balance.
  • 39 point AF system. The brand new Multi-CAM4800DX autofocus sensor module promises is a great step up from the old 11 point system on the D90 (but less than the 51 point on the D300s). In conjunction with the new RBG sensor focusing should be much more accurate and possibly faster when using AF-S lenses. 
  • Magnesium frame. The D7000 gets a body upgrade from the D90, but not quite the level of the D300s. While the D300s has a full magnesium frame the D7000 gets a magnesium top and botton with a polycarbonate midsection. This adds some definite strength and durability to the camera, but also cuts down on some of the weight. The new MB-D11 grip also features magnesium and polycarbonate construction. 
  • Full 1080p HD video.  Not so surprising since the introduction of the D3100 a couple of weeks ago is the addition of full 1080p HD video with full-time AF. The addition of a microphone input will definitely make the full-time AF feature more useful than on the D3100 which only has the onboard mic which is sure to pic up chatter from the lens AF motor. 
From what I'm looking at the D7000 completely eclipses the D90. It has all of the features of the D90 and more with some serious upgrades. In comparison to the D300s the difference isn't as vast but the only features that I see where the D300s bests the D7000 is the full magnesium body, the 51 point AF system, and the available 8fps with the MB-D10 and EN-EL4 battery. That's stuff isn't a huge selling point for me and if I had to choose between the two I'd definitely go for the D7000 over the D300s.

Also on the list for last nights announcement is the SB-700. This is an upgrade from the SB-600 and features all of the great improvements in handling that Nikon introduced with the SB-900 plus a few more like the addition of  slider switches for flash modes and and lighting patterns. Also new to the Speedlight are the hard plastic light balancing filters which are automatically detected by the SB-700. Of course the the SB-700 can be used as an off-camera wireless remote flash, and surprisingly enough the SB-700 can also be use as a Master flash although it's limited to controlling only two groups of flashes as opposed to three groups with the SB-800 or SB-900. This is a definite plus and a very cool move for Nikon to make.

Lastly, Nikon also thew out a couple of lenses for us. First off the 200mm f/2G VR prime lens. This is a super fast telephoto lens, great for low-light sports and sure to be a seriously amazing portrait lens. This lens is HUGE!

On the more practical side Nikon has also released a new 35mm f/1.4G lens. Unlike the 35mm f/1.8G this lens is designed to work with full frame. Providing a nice moderate wide-angle lens. This is an all-pro lens, unlike the 50mm f/1.4 this lens has a magnesium body and the optics have been redesigned from the ground up. The lens has 10 elements is 7 groups with a 9 bladed aperture that promises to produce some great bokeh. I'm thinking that my 35mm f/1.8G and my 50mm f/1.4G are going on the chopping block and the 35mm f/1.4G is in my future. At $1800 this lens isn't cheap, but you pay for Nikon pro lenses and this one looks like a real winner (plus it's $600 less than the next comparable lens the 24mm f/1.4G).

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