Nikon D7000 First Impressions

This is going to be an easy one! First off I've been waiting for this camera for a long time. I was waiting for it before I even knew it existed. What I was waiting for was a camera that met the specs I wanted for a second body that I would use primarily for travel and DSLR video. When I saw the rumors of the D7000 I salivated because if those rumors were true I would have the exact camera I wanted. When the D7000 was officially announced I almost couldn't believe it. Although my needs are actually quite simple for this camera, this is the first time that Nikon has shipped a model meeting those requirements. I love my D700 for my studio work. It's a full frame body and I get fantastic results. I got the NEW D7000 for use as my travel camera and for DSLR Video. 


What I wanted

Like I said, my needs for this camera were pretty simple. I wanted a Nikon body to support the lenses that I already have. Canon makes great DSLRs and their DSLR video features are legendary (I've never shot Canon so I can't compare this one to a 7D – sorry). However, in order for DSLR video to make sense it's best if you can use the lenses you already own. That means I need great DSLR video from Nikon. While I originally got the D5000 for this need it fell short in one important area. The audio on the D5000 is,…well….awful! It has a built-in mic that only supports 11hz mono audio. While that might be ok for a simple interview (talking head), it's not good for events, live shows/concerts, anything loud with bass, etc. The built-in Audio on the D7000 probably isn't much better, however it has the one thing you need to over come this and that's an audio/mic input! This way you can plug in whatever mic you want to get great audio. The next thing I wanted was 1080p HD. The D5000 only supported resolutions up to 720p for video. Not only does the D7000 have 1080p 24fps video, but it also supports face detection/auto focus to keep the shot in focus automatically. I was skeptical at first, but this actually works well as long as the subject isn't moving around frantically in the shot.


Here's a sample clip

I shot this clip in Cairo with the D7000 and 28-300mm VRII lens. There was no post production or editing applied to this. In other words shot, transferred to the computer and uploaded to YouTube (as is) as a 1080p clip.



What about the camera?

Oh yeah, it's a great camera too 🙂 That almost goes without saying. While video is important to me I will most likely always be shooting stills more than video with this camera.  The minute I took it out of the box I smiled because it had a GREAT FEEL to it. Bigger than my D5000 and smaller than my D700. Probably more in line with the D300s. It definitely feels less "consumery" than the D5000. The next thing I appreciated was the dual SD card slots. You can configure these to work in a few different ways. For me I set it to capture the stills to card 1 and the movies to card 2. Also by default if card 1 fills up it will start capturing to card 2. After about 15 minutes of tinkering with the settings I was all set with how I wanted the camera to work. Another new feature that I absolutely love is the user customizable settings "U1" and "U2" are on the main dial. You can set those up anyway you want. For example, to go into Bracketing Exposures on the D5000 was 2-3 steps. Now I just switch the dial to U1 and I'm all set! When I'm done taking the shot, I switch back to manual or aperture priority. While the megapixels have gone up to 16.2 from 12mp, that really doesn't matter a lot to me. I was quite happy with 12mp images. However, for those in the megapixel race, you'll be happy to have more. 

The bottom line is that this camera offers EVERYTHING I wanted in my second body. I'm thrilled that Nikon delivered what I wanted!


Mad Love Goes out to Gabriel & B&H Photo

I have to take moment and thank Gabriel Biderman and his team at B&H Photo and Video for not only their fabulous customer service, but also for going over and above in this case to make sure I got my D7000 before heading out to Cairo. Sure you can buy stuff over the net from just about any vendor, but when I do so with B&H I get real people behind the site that I can talk with and that monitor the order "personally" to make sure that it's correct and timely. That was the case here! I got a call from Gabe letting me know that they were in and that they could change my order to Saturday delivery to get it in time. Any other site would have just shipped it with the shipping you originally specified. This is just one of the reasons why I continue to do business with B&H!


You can order the D7000 here from B&H Photo.

29 Replies to “Nikon D7000 First Impressions”

  1. Hi Terry, only had a really quick skim read of the first para as i’ve got to go out – will have a proper read later. I’m awaiting my D7000 and like you i’m really excited about the video, which is really why I’m getting it that and a higher res version to my D700. While it’s great you can plug in an external mic, is it limited to auto levels, or can we adjust the levels for better control of the sound?

    1. External mike does not disable the internal mike. Has anyone had such an experience and is there a solution to the problem. Can’t stand the internal noise of the 18-200 lens with the internal mike.

  2. My brother asked me just last night which camera I might recommend for him. He’s always shot with a Leica but doesn’t want to invest in a new one. I suggested three to look at – the D7000, D300s, and D700. Your “first impression” review of the D7000 couldn’t have been more timely. I sent him the link first thing this morning along with links to reviews of the other two as well. Thanks, Terry! I’m looking forward to more shots from Cairo and to here how your trip went.

  3. Thanks for the great review. I am looking to upgrade from my Nikon D80. I’m not ready to jump into the full frame cameras yet. I was trying to hold out for a replacement for the Nikon D300s. I shoot my daughter’s cheer competitions in very low indoor light. I use the 70-200 VRII with my D80 currently. Do you think the D7000 will do the trick, or should I hold off for the D300s replacement? Thanks, for any suggestions you can give me.

    1. Hard to tell you to wait for the unknown. It’s really up to how soon do you want/need it? If you would rather have the higher ISO/better low light camera now then the D7000 would do the trick. If you’re in no hurry, wait to see what they do with the D300s.

      1. Thanks for the information. You answered my question. I just wanted to make sure the D7000 could handle the low light, indoor, sports action shots. I can’t wait..I’ll be ordering mine.

  4. Hey Terry,

    What lens did you have on during that interview you posted and what were your settings? That was incredible if the D7000 AF tracked him that well with a wide ap. lens. Let’s face it, we want that dramatic fall-off and with fast glass, our DOF is quite limited. Thanks for your (as always) terrific post!

  5. Terry – Did you handhold taking the video or did you use some sort of stabilizer? Thanks for the review. I’m holding out for the D800.

  6. You might want to look at getting a stick on wind sock for the inbuilt camera mic … For me that is the major downside of a DSLR attempting to be a video camera. Ideally investing in an outboard recorder or external mic for interviews is the way to go – the buffeting wind/handling noise is very distracting and for me detracts from the amazing picture quality.

    In terms of the maximum file size you can record to an SD card, what is it with the D7000? That’s the other limitation no-one mentions when speaking of DSLRs to shoot video.


  7. Thank you for this review and in particular for you kind words about Gabe and everyone else here at B&H Photo. It’s very gratifying and we really appreciate it.

    Henry Posner
    B&H Photo-Video

  8. Hi Terry,
    Nice review as always. I also saw your video on the iPad camera connector. My question is : Can you download the D7000 1920 x 1080 24fps High quality images to your ipad without any problems? Also, What is the file size for this Cairo video?


    1. Interesting question so I had to go check:
      1) No the .MOVs coming off the D7000 do not play natively on the iPad.
      2) the sample Cairo clip was 132.5MB

      1. Regarding video transfers to the iPad using the iPad camera connection kit. There are no problems as long as the movie quality settings on the D7000 are set to 720p 1280×720; 30 fps. The iPad will natively play the 720p movie; just not 1080p yet. Works great for instantly reviewing your video while in the field. I’m using iOS 4.21.

  9. Hi Terry,
    Your site has been very helpful and insightful. Thank you for all the info. I have a question about the video clips and Macs. If it “does not play natively on the iPad” What is the protocol to import and play on the iPad. Would it be the same for iMac computer? Also on another topic.. Do you think there will be a replacement for the D700 any time soon?

    Thank you

    1. Hi,
      The iPad only plays specific CODECS natively and that’s why depending on how the camera is compressing the video it will either play or it won’t. The iMac on the other hand supports many more CODECS natively in QuickTime and those same D7000 clips play on my Mac just fine. If I want to convert one of the clips to play on the iPad I just have to do it in the computer first! I use Handbrake (a free download) which has the proper conversion for iOS devices built-in.
      As far as a D700 replacement goes, the rumors say yes but your guess is as good as mine.

  10. Great post- thank you! The video quality is outstanding, isn’t it! Your sample clip had a lot of wind noise. Of course, you were not auto-focusing in that clip, but in quiet environments it is quite noisy.

    I have researched and reviewed the top D7000 external microphone options for the benefit of other owners like me who want the sound to match the stunning imagery. Check it out at:

    Yeah, I’m a geek so I devoted a website to the topic 🙂


  11. Hi Terry!

    I’m glad I found your site. Real down to earth writing. Great!

    I need your opinion. Is it just me or am I looking at things wrong? I swear that Nikon’s seem to have a warmer feel on similar pictures than do Canons. Is this possible? Also the colors seem to POP more.

    It’s not a “accurate” thing, just more art like from the Nikon.

    I have a Nikon D70, and Canon 40D and 5D Mark II.

    I”m about to unload all of them and start over with the Nikon D7000.

    I think I like Nikon better.

    Give me your thoughts.



  12. hey terry,

    great site you have here. i got a d7000 a few weeks ago and am having trouble viewing clips on my imac. here are the specs…

    Model Name: iMac
    Model Identifier: iMac9,1
    Processor Name: Intel Core 2 Duo
    Processor Speed: 2.66 GHz
    Number Of Processors: 1
    Total Number Of Cores: 2
    L2 Cache: 6 MB
    Memory: 8 GB
    Bus Speed: 1.07 GHz
    Boot ROM Version: IM91.008D.B08
    SMC Version (system): 1.45f0

    in your opinion, should my d7000 clips be viewable? the stuff looks really jumpy/choppy. my friend said i have to shoot everything at 1/60th of a second. i tried that and it still looks really bad. NPS said it is the machine, not the camera. i’m really frustrated and appreciate any guidance. keep up the great work,

    rob o’neal

    1. More than likely your built-in graphics card can’t keep up with a full 1080p clip. If you can’t or don’t want to record at a lower resolution, there’s not much you can do to view the native clips in real-time on your current system. You might try re-rendering the clips into MP4’s using HandBrake to see if they play better.

  13. Terry

    Thank you for your review . I have been thinking about getting another nikon body . I have a d200 and thinking to stay with the dx format at this point . Being I have several nice dx glass and a few good fast prime lens . I was thinking of the d300s and now after reading looking at the d7000. Would love your input . Or waiting to see what nikon comes out with ie( d400 or a 7000 upgrade ) .

    I do landscapes , equine photography , live stock , weddings and kids etc…. The more natural light the better I love it . I love to play with light and shadows .


    PS .Loved your portfolio

    1. Hi Rose,
      Get the D7000 now if you need an upgrade now. I would get it over the 300s in a heartbeat.
      If you are in no hurry, then wait.
      There is always something better coming. So buy now if you need it now or wait if you don’t.

  14. How is the battery life of the Nikon D 7000 while using video? Any supplementary battery which would make the camera last atleast 24 hours of short occasional videos and photos while on a tourist vacation?

    1. The battery life has been fine. However, if you’re concerned I would simply order a second or maybe even a 3rd battery and charge them before my trip.

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