D7000: Introduction

2010.11.30 in photography

I braved the CDTA busses yesterday for the first time in years to get myself over to the Crossgates Best Buy and pick up my brand-new D7000 (thanks to Vivian, who bought my D80 and also helped out tremendously with the new one). It's the first camera I've ever owned around release time — both my Coolpix 8700 and my D80 had been around for about two years by the time I acquired them. Exciting!

The first thing I have to say is... listen to the shutter. At 6fps, I can fill my 16GB card with RAWs in just a handful of minutes; it will also likely help increase the probability that I catch whatever I'm looking for.

Since I didn't have it in my hands until 20:30 or so, it was totally dark when I got off the bus and had a chance to really try it out. I had opened the box on the bus, locating the body and the battery (which had a slight charge, luckily), and attaching the lens I had been carrying in my pocket for the whole trip. I went through the menus on the bus, configuring the zillions of settings to whatever seemed most reasonable. I took a few pictures (and some video!), too, though the combination of the bumpy bus and me not wanting to irritate/confuse the other riders (any more than I already had) didn't really lead to much success there.

When I did finally end up in the E-building parking lot, I walked out to the bit overlooking Troy, and then home, taking pictures along the way:

All handheld, with my cheapest, sharpest, (second) fastest, most pocketable lens, Nikon's AF 50mm f/1.8D. I haven't done any direct comparisons, but from memory it certainly seems like high-ISO performance (noise- and color-wise) is worlds better than the D80 (or any other camera I've ever used).

A side-effect of having an at-release camera is that nothing supports it right now. Aperture just throws up exclamation marks in place of all of the RAWs; I had to download a prerelease version of Camera Raw so that I could at least open the first few pictures I took in Photoshop to post them here. Apparently it sometimes takes over a month for Apple to update Mac OS X's RAW processor, so I've reverted to shooting JPEG until that happens. I'd really forgotten how little post-processing you can do with JPEG, too... it's bizarre that some people actually do this intentionally!

In addition to making really awesome improvements in performance, Nikon has also fixed one of my longest-standing grudges with the D80: if you have instant preview mode on (where the picture is displayed on the LCD immediately after being taken), turning the shutter speed/aperture dials while the preview is still being displayed will result in manipulation of the preview as if you were in playback mode. On the D7000, they manipulate the shutter speed and aperture, exactly as they always should have. That alone will save me endless amounts of frustration...

When I got home, I quickly grabbed some AI-s glass — the stuff that was just begging to finally be popped on a camera that can meter with it. Our room doesn't have much lighting, though, and I needed to get to sleep so I could get up and take a Bio exam this morning, so I just made sure that metering worked and went to bed. It works perfectly — turning the aperture ring instantly updates the aperture on the camera, and metering simply couldn't be better — this makes the majority of my glass so much more useful to me.

This morning, after the test, I took some of those same lenses out for a walk. I was impressed to find that even Papa Cliff's 500mm Soligor mirror-lens meters perfectly now; in addition, the much better high-ISO performance means that I can actually use it now without fear of annoying noise, as you can see in the picture of the power transmission line below.

Anyway, I'm super happy with it, and I'm going to make a few posts over the course of the week detailing interesting things I find, and talking about video (which I haven't touched here, mostly because I haven't had enough of a chance to play with it!), high-ISO performance, and stuff...

I just wish I had a zoo now!