DCRP

Nikon D7000 Review

Using the Nikon D7000

Record Mode

The Nikon D7000 is ready to start taking pictures as soon as your finger flips the power switch. And that's with the dust reduction system turned on!

I'll split autofocus performance into two parts. First, shooting with the optical viewfinder. In those situations I found autofocus speeds to be very good, though the D7000 wasn't quite as fast as I was expecting (though the 18-105 mm lens may have something to do with that). Anyhow, expect focus low in 0.2 - 0.5 seconds at wide-angle and 0.5 - 0.9 seconds at telephoto in most situations. In low light, the camera locked focus most of the time, usually after about one second (or slightly longer).

As for live view AF performance, things are a lot slower. Best case scenario is that you'll wait for about a second for the camera to lock focus. More often, though, it'll be 2 or 2.5 seconds. Low light is a real mess -- the camera can't use its AF-assist lamp and thus struggles to focus (and fails most of the time). It's too bad that there's no phase detection AF in live view, as there is on the D300s -- it's a nice option for those who want live view AND fast autofocus.

Shutter lag wasn't an issue, and shot-to-shot delays were brief (even with the flash), as you'd expect from a camera in this class.

After you take a photo, you can hit the delete button to review and/or delete the shot you just took.

Now, let's take a look at the image size and quality choices on the D7000:

Resolution Quality Approx. file size # images on 8GB SDHC card (optional)
RAW
4928 x 3264
RAW, lossless, 14-bit 19.4 MB 223
RAW, lossless, 12-bit 15.5 MB 291
RAW, compressed, 14-bit 16.7 MB 330
RAW, compressed, 12-bit 13.6 MB 398
Large
4928 x 3264
Fine 7.8 MB 813
Normal 3.9 MB 1600
Basic 2.0 MB 3100
Medium
3696 x 2448
Fine 4.4 MB 1400
Normal 2.2 MB 2800
Basic 1.1 MB 5500
Small
2464 x 1632
Fine 2.0 MB 3100
Normal 1.0 MB 6000
Basic 500 KB 11000

As you can see, there are four different RAW options to choose from. You can choose from compressed or lossless compressed, though even the former barely reduces image quality. You can also select between 12 and 14-bit color, with the latter saving more color data in the photo.

You can also set the amount of compression applied to JPEGs. Choose from size priority (which results in uniform file size) or optimal quality (size varies).

Whichever option you choose, the D7000 allows you to take a RAW image along, or with a JPEG of the size of your choosing.


A typical help screen in the menus

The D7000 uses the standard Nikon D-SLR menu system. It's attractive, easy to navigate (especially if you go to custom option f6 and turn on command dial navigation), and there are help screens for nearly every option (see above). The menu is divided into five tabs: playback, shooting, custom, setup, retouch, and My Menu/Recent items. Keeping in mind that not all of these options are available in every shooting mode, here's the full list of menu options:

Playback menu
  • Delete (Selected, select date, all)
  • Playback folder (D7000, current, all)
  • Hide image (Select/set, select date, select all) - hide images from normal view, also protects them from deletion
  • Display mode - what is shown in playback mode
    • Basic photo info
      • Focus point (on/off)
    • Detailed photo info
      • Highlights (on/off)
      • RGB histogram (on/off)
      • Data (on/off)
  • Copy images - copy photos between memory cards
  • Image review (on/off) - post-shot review
  • After delete (Show next, show previous, continue as before) - what happens after you delete a photo in playback mode
  • Rotate tall (on/off) - automatically rotate images taken in the portrait orientation
  • Slideshow
    • Start
    • Frame interval (2, 3, 5, 10 secs)
  • Print set (Select/deselect, deselect all) - for DPOF print marking
Shooting menu
  • Reset shooting options - back to defaults
  • Storage folder (Select by number, select from list)
  • File naming - set the first three letters of the filename
  • Role played by card in Slot 2 (Overflow, backup, RAW/JPEG split) - described above
  • Image quality (RAW + JPEG fine, RAW + JPEG normal, RAW + JPEG basic, RAW, JPEG fine, JPEG normal, JPEG basic)
  • Image size (Large, medium, small)
  • JPEG compression (Size priority, optimal quality) - described above
  • NEF (RAW) recording
    • Type (Lossless compressed, compressed)
    • Bit depth (12-bit, 14-bit)
  • White balance (Auto 1/2, incandescent, fluorescent x 7, direct sunlight, flash, cloudy, shade, color temperature, preset manual) - see below
  • Set Picture Control (Standard, neutral, vivid, monochrome, portrait, landscape) - see below
  • Manage Picture Control (Save/edit, rename, delete, load/save) - see below
  • Auto distortion control (on/off) - reduces barrel and pincushion distortion on select lenses; see example later in review
  • Color space (sRGB, Adobe RGB)
  • Active D-Lighting (Off, low, normal, high, extra high, auto) - see below
  • Long exposure NR (on/off) - reduces noise when exposures are longer than 8 secs
  • High ISO NR (Off, low, normal, high)
  • ISO sensitivity settings
    • ISO sensitivity (Auto, 100 - 6400, Hi 0.3, Hi 0.5, Hi 1 [12800], Hi 2 [25600]) - moves in 1/3EV steps, though you can change this to 1/2EV in the custom settings menu
    • Auto ISO sensitivity control (on/off)
      • Maximum sensitivity (200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400, Hi 1, Hi 2) - the highest you want the ISO to go
      • Minimum shutter speed (1 - 1/4000 sec) - minimum shutter speed you'll allow
  • Multiple exposure - combine exposures into a single image
    • Number of shots (2, 3)
    • Auto gain (on/off)
  • Movie settings
    • Movie quality (1080p24 high quality, 1080p normal quality, 720p30 high quality, 720p30 normal quality, 720p24 high quality, 720p24 normal quality, 640 x 242 high quality, 640 x 424 normal quality)
    • Microphone (Auto, low, medium, high sensitivity, off)
    • Destination (Slot 1, slot 2)
    • Manual movie settings (on/off) - lets you adjust the shutter speed and ISO in "M" mode
  • Interval timer shooting
    • Start time (Now, set)
    • Number of intervals
    • Number of shots/interval
  • Remote control mode (Delayed, quick-response, remote mirror-up)

Custom setting menu

  • Reset custom settings
  • Autofocus
    1. AF-C priority selection (Release, focus) - whether focus lock is required for a photo to be taken
    2. AF-S priority selection (Release, focus) - same thing, but for AF-S mode
    3. Focus tracking w/lock-on (Off, 1 - 5) - how long the camera waits before adjusting the focus when a subject is in motion
    4. AF point illumination (Auto, on, off) - auto only lights up the focus points when the subject is dark
    5. Focus point wrap-around (Wrap, no-wrap)
    6. Number of focus points (39, 11 points)
    7. Built-in AF illuminator (on/off)
    8. Live view/Movie AF
      • Autofocus mode (AF-S, AF-C)
      • AF-area mode (Face-priority, wide-area, normal-area, subject-tracking)
  • Metering/exposure
    1. ISO sensitivity step value (1/3, 1/2 step)
    2. EV steps for exposure control (1/3, 1/2 step)
    3. Easy exposure compensation (On/auto reset, on, off) - whether you need to hold down the exposure compensation button to adjust this setting
    4. Center-weighted area (6, 8, 10, 13 mm, average)
    5. Fine-tune optimal exposure - adjust the exposure value for each of the metering modes, from -1 to +1 EV, in 1/6EV increments
  • Timers/AE Lock
    1. Shutter release button AE-L (on/off) - whether exposure is locked when the shutter release is halfway-pressed
    2. Auto meter-off delay (4, 6, 8, 16, 30 secs, 1, 5, 10 mins)
    3. Self-timer
      • Delay (2, 5, 10, 20 secs)
      • Number of shots (1-9)
      • Interval between shots (0.5, 1, 2, 3 secs)
    4. Monitor off delay
      • Playback (4, 10, 20 secs, 1, 5, 10 mins)
      • Menus (4, 10, 20 secs, 1, 5, 10 mins)
      • Information display (4, 10, 20 secs, 1, 5, 10 mins)
      • Image review (4, 10, 20 secs, 1, 5, 10 mins)
      • Live view (5, 10, 15, 20, 30 mins)
    5. Remote on duration (1, 5, 10, 15 mins)
  • Shooting/Display
    1. Beep
      • Volume (Off, 1 - 3)
      • Pitch (Low, high)
    2. Viewfinder grid display (on/off)
    3. ISO display and adjustment (Show ISO, show ISO/easy ISO, show frame count) - whether ISO or the frame count is shown in the viewfinder and LCD info display
    4. Viewfinder warning display (on/off) - warns you when a monochrome Picture Control is used, if no memory card is inserted, or if the battery is low
    5. Screen tips (on/off) - whether tool tips are shown when items are selected on the information display
    6. CL mode shooting speed (1 - 5 fps) - select the burst rate for the continuous low mode
    7. Max continuous release (1- 100) - set the maximum number of photos that can be taken in a burst
    8. File number sequence (On, off, reset)
    9. Information display (Auto, manual) - whether you or the camera select between dark on light and light on dark colors on the LCD info screen
    10. LCD illumination (on/off) - whether the LCD info display is always lit, or only when the backlit button is pushed
    11. Exposure delay mode (on/off) - adds a 1 second delay before a photo is taken to reduce the risk of blur
    12. Flash warning (on/off) - warns you if the camera thinks the flash should be used
    13. MB-D11 battery type (AA alkaline, AA NiMH, AA lithium) - when using AA batteries in the optional battery grip
    14. Battery order (EN-EL15, AA) - whether the battery in the camera or the AAs in the battery grip are used first
  • Bracketing/Flash
    1. Flash sync speed (1/320, 1/250, 1/250 - 1/60 sec)
    2. Flash shutter speed (30 - 1/60 sec)
    3. Flash control for built-in flash (TTL, manual, repeating, commander) - the manual option lets you set the strength from 1/4 to 1/128; for the repeating flash option, you can select the output, number of times, and frequency of the flash; use the last option to control two groups of wireless flashes
    4. Modeling flash (on/off) - fires the flash when the DOF preview button is pressed
    5. Auto bracketing set (AE & flash, AE only, flash only, white balance, Active D-Lighting) - see below
    6. Bracketing order (MTR > under > over, under > MTR > over)
  • Controls
    1. Backlight switch (LCD backlight, LCD backlight & info display)
    2. OK button in shooting mode (Center focus point, highlight active focus point, not used)
    3. Assign Fn button (DOF preview, FV lock, AE/AF lock, AE lock only, AE lock/hold, AF lock only, flash off, bracketing burst, Active D-Lighting, +NEF, matrix metering, center-weighted metering, spot metering, framing grid, viewfinder virtual horizon, access top item in My Menu, 1 step speed/aperture, choose non-CPU lens number, playback, start movie recording)
    4. Assign preview button (DOF preview, FV lock, AE/AF lock, AE lock only, AE lock/hold, AF lock only, flash off, bracketing burst, Active D-Lighting, +NEF, matrix metering, center-weighted metering, spot metering, framing grid, viewfinder virtual horizon, access top item in My Menu, 1 step speed/aperture, choose non-CPU lens number, playback, start movie recording)
    5. Assign AE/AF-Lock button (AE/AF lock, AE lock only, AF lock only, AE lock/hold, AF-on, FV lock)
    6. Customize command dials
      • Reverse rotation (on/off)
      • Change main/sub (on/off)
      • Aperture setting (on/off)
      • Menus and playback (On, on/image review excluded, off)
    7. Release button to use dial (on/off) - allows you to adjust settings without having to hold down the direct button
    8. Slot empty release lock (Lock, enable release) - whether you can take a photo without a memory card inserted
    9. Reverse indicators (+0-, -0+) - how the exposure meter appears
    10. Assign MB-D11 AE/AF-Lock button (AE/AF lock, AE lock only, AF lock only, AE lock/hold, AF-on, FV lock, same as Fn button)

Setup menu
  • Format memory card
  • Save user settings (U1, U2) - save current camera settings to one of the two spots on the mode dial
  • Reset user settings (U1, U2) - or reset them back to defaults
  • LCD brightness (-3 to +3)
  • Clean image sensor
    • Clean now
    • Clean at startup/shutdown (Startup, shutdown, both, off)
  • Lock mirror up for cleaning - for using an air blower
  • Video mode (NTSC, PAL)
  • HDMI
    • Output resolution (Auto, 480p, 576p, 720p, 1080i)
    • Device control (on/off) - whether you can operate the D7000 in playback mode with your TV remote
  • Flicker reduction (50, 60 Hz) - reduces flicker and banding when using live view under certain types of lights
  • Time zone and date
    • Time zone
    • Date and time
    • Date format (Y/M/D, M/D/Y, D/M/Y)
    • Daylight savings (on/off)
  • Language
  • Image comment - attach text comments to your photos
  • Auto image rotation (on/off)
  • Image dust off reference photo - for the dust removal feature in Nikon Capture NX 2
  • Battery info - shows percentage of battery life remaining, number of photos taken since last charge, and battery "age"
  • Wireless transmitter - for use with the optional WT-4
  • Copyright information (on/off) - add the photographer name and copyright info to the metadata of a photo
  • Save/load settings - save camera settings to the memory card in slot 1
  • GPS
    • Auto meter-off (on/off) - extends the auto meter off time in order to allow the GPS time to acquire a signal
    • Position - shows current position
    • Use GPS to set camera clock (on/off)
  • Virtual horizon - a dedicated place to view the electronic level that I described earlier
  • Non-CPU lens data - for use with ancient Nikon lenses
    • Lens number (1-9)
    • Focal length
    • Maximum aperture
  • AF fine tune
    • AF fine tune (on/off)
    • Saved value (-20 to +20) - tweak the focus for up to twelve lenses
    • Default (-20 to +20)
    • List saved values - see other lenses you've adjusted
  • Firmware version
Retouch menu (I'll discuss all of these in the playback section)
  • D-Lighting (Low, normal, high)
  • Redeye correction
  • Trim
  • Monochrome (Black & white, sepia, cyanotype)
  • Filter effects (Skylight, warm filter, red/green/blue intensifier, cross screen, soft)
  • Color balance
  • Small picture (640 x 480, 320 x 240, 160 x 120)
  • Image overlay - combine two RAW images into one
  • NEF (RAW) processing
  • Resize
  • Quick retouch
  • Straighten
  • Distortion control
  • Fisheye
  • Color outline
  • Color sketch
  • Perspective control
  • Miniature effect
  • Edit movie

My Menu / Recent Settings

The My Menu feature lets you create your own menu, containing up to twenty options from the other menus.

The Recent Settings shows you the last twenty options you've accessed.

While I hope I described most of the menu items in the previous table, I do want to expand on a few of those options.


Fine-tuning white balance

Let's begin with white balance. The D7000 has more presets than most cameras, with a whopping seven spots for fluorescent light alone. Heck, there are even two auto WB modes. If you don't like any of the presets, you can also use a white or gray card to get accurate color in unusual lighting. The camera can store up to four sets of custom WB values. As you'd expect, the D7000 also lets you adjust the color temperature manually, with a range of 2500K to 10000K. All of these settings can also be fine-tuned in the amber-blue and/or green-magenta directions, as you can see above. If that's still not enough, you can also bracket for white balance -- see below for more on that.


Editing the Standard Picture Control

The D7000 has the same Picture Control feature as other Nikon D-SLRs. A Picture Control contains a set of various image properties, all of which can be tweaked to your liking. There are several presets available, including standard, neutral, vivid, monochrome, portrait, and landscape. You can also create and save your own custom Picture Controls, using the Manage Picture Control option in the Shooting options menu. This is also where you can save Picture Controls to your memory card, for sharing with other D7000 users (and vice versa).

Here are the parameters that you can adjust in a Picture Control:

  • Quick adjust - lets you adjust the items below by ±2 step at one time
    • Sharpening (Auto, 0 to 9)
    • Contrast (Auto, -3 to +3)
    • Brightness (-1 to +1)
    • Saturation (Auto, -3 to +3)
    • Hue (-3 to +3)
  • Filter effects (Off, yellow, orange, red, green) - only for monochrome controls
  • Toning (Black & white, sepia, cyanotype, red, yellow, green, blue green, blue, purple blue, red purple) - each of these can be fine-tuned; only for monochrome

The D7000 has the Active D-Lighting feature that most Nikon D-SLR users will be familiar with. Quite simply, this feature improves the overall contrast of an image, reducing highlight clipping while brightening shadows. By default this setting is off, but you can choose from auto, low, normal, high, and extra high. If you want to try several ADL settings at once, try bracketing for it. Here's an example of Active D-Lighting in action:

ADL off
View Full Size
ADL auto
View Full Size
ADL low
View Full Size
ADL normal
View Full Size
ADL high
View Full Size
ADL extra high
View Full Size

The first thing you'll probably notice is that the shadows in this hallway brighten as soon as you turn Active D-Lighting on. Things don't get much brighter after "normal", though there are other things happening if you take a closer look. If you view the full images, you'll see that the more ADL that is applied, the more highlight detail is restored at the other end of the tunnel. Obviously, you're going to get tons of highlight detail back by using this feature, but it definitely makes a noticeable difference. I'd probably just leave the ADL setting at "auto" or "normal" in most shooting situations, unless you're really seeing a lot of highlight clipping.

Just a quick mention about two features that some folks will like. First up is multiple exposure, which lest you combine two or three exposures into a single image. Others will enjoy the time-lapse feature, which lets you take photos at a set interval -- AC adapter strongly recommended, of course.

As I mentioned earlier, the D7000 supports four types of bracketing. They include exposure and flash exposure (2 or 3 shots), white balance (2 or 3 shots, increments of 5, 10 or 15 mired), and Active D-Lighting (2 or 3 shots, off/auto or off/normal/high setting).

Alright, that does it for menu options -- at least for now -- so let's move onto photo tests now. All of these were taken with the F3.5-5.6G, 18 - 105 mm VR lens that comes bundled with the camera.

While it took many attempts, eventually I got the D7000 to take a nice photo of our macro test subject. My only real beef here is that the cloak is a little too orange. Otherwise, the news is good. The figurine has the "smooth" look that is typical of a digital SLR. Noise isn't a problem, and it better not be on this $1200 camera.

The minimum distance to your subject will depend on what lens you're using. For the 18 - 105 mm kit lens, the minimum distance is 45 cm, at all focal lengths. If you think you'll be taking a lot of close-up photos, Nikon has five dedicated macro lenses available.

Aside from a brownish color cast, the night shot turn out pretty well. The camera took in plenty of light, with highlight clipping kept to a relative minimum. I wouldn't call the buildings tack sharp, but there's still plenty of detail captured. I don't see any noise here and, again, wouldn't expect to. Purple fringing is mostly a lens thing, and you spot very mild amounts of it on some lights at the water's edge.

Now let's use that same night scene to see how the D7000 performed across its entire ISO range -- that's 100 to 25600!


ISO 100

ISO 200

ISO 400


ISO 800


ISO 1600

ISO 3200

ISO 6400

ISO 12800 (Hi 1.0)

ISO 25600 (Hi 2.0)

The first two crops are very clean. Noise makes its first appearance at ISO 400, though it's not going to keep you from making a large print. There mild detail loss at ISO 800, and it becomes a lot more noticeable when you reach ISO 1600. This is a good stopping point, unless you'll be using the RAW format. The ISO 3200 image is soft, with the corners of the building starting to disappear. Things go downhill rapidly after that, with none of the images appearing usable -- at least in JPEG form.

Can we improve on those ISO 1600 and 3200 images by shooting RAW and doing some easy post-processing on the computer? Let's take a look:

ISO 1600

JPEG, straight out of the camera

RAW -> JPEG conversion (Adobe Camera Raw)

RAW -> JPEG conversion + NeatImage + Unsharp Mask
 
ISO 3200

JPEG, straight out of the camera

RAW -> JPEG conversion (ACR)

RAW -> JPEG conversion + NeatImage + Unsharp Mask

While they're not what I'd call clean, you do get some detail back by shooting RAW, running the converted images through noise reduction software (I use NeatImage), and then applying a little Unsharp Mask. Another option is to turn down the amount of noise reduction the camera is applying to images, which is an option you'll find in the Shooting menu.

We'll take a look at the D7000's high ISO performance in normal lighting in a moment.

I normally don't expect to see redeye on a digital SLR, and what do you know, there's none to be found on the D7000. Should you encounter any, you can remove it using a tool in playback mode.

There's moderate barrel distortion at the wide end of the 18 - 105 mm kit lens. You can see what this does to your real world photos by looking at the building on the right side of this photo. The D7000 has a feature called Auto Distortion Control which can help reduce both barrel and pincushion distortion. Let's take a look at that same chart with this feature turned on:

Hey, that's a lot better! Do note that the distortion correction feature is not on by default!

Something else I noticed on the chart was some mild vignetting, which I spotted in at least one sample photo. Corner blurring was not a problem.

And here's that normal lighting ISO test that I promised earlier. Since this photo is taken in our studio, it's comparable to those taken with other cameras I've reviewed (EOS-60D, anyone?). Remember that the crops below only cover a small portion of the scene, so view the full size photos if you can! And with that, let's once again take a trip from ISO 100 to 25600:


ISO 100

ISO 200

ISO 400


ISO 800


ISO 1600

ISO 3200

ISO 6400

ISO 12800 (Hi 1.0)

ISO 25600 (Hi 2.0)

Everything is nice and clean through ISO 800. There's a very small increase in noise at ISO 1600, but a large print won't be a problem. Things start to soften up at ISO 3200, but again, looking pretty good -- and better than the EOS-60D, in my opinion. While there's more noise at ISO 6400, I don't see why you couldn't use that photo for a small print. The two "Hi" sensitivities (ISO 12800 and 25600) have a fair amount of detail loss, though there may be hope for them yet.

That hope is shooting with the RAW image format and post-processing the images on your PC, as I did with the night shots. Let's take a look at how much more detail we can squeeze out at ISO 6400 and 12800 by doing so:

ISO 6400

JPEG, straight out of the camera

RAW -> JPEG conversion (Adobe Camera Raw)

RAW -> JPEG conversion + NeatImage + Unsharp Mask
 
ISO 12800

JPEG, straight out of the camera

RAW -> JPEG conversion (ACR)

RAW -> JPEG conversion + NeatImage + Unsharp Mask

In both cases, shooting with RAW and post-processing produced sharper photos with more saturated color. As I mentioned earlier, turning down the high ISO noise reduction feature may be a good substitute for shooting RAW, at least when it comes to detail.

Overall, the D7000's photo quality is very good, though the camera has a strong tendency to overexpose, usually by 1/3 to 2/3 stops. You definitely want to check the histogram in playback mode on this camera, and perhaps bracket your shots to avoid later disappointment. If you get the exposure right, then highlight clipping should not be an issue. Colors looked pretty good to me, with the D7000 producing vivid greens and reds. Sharpness was just how I like it -- not too sharp, not too soft -- and the D7000 captures plenty of detail. As the tests above illustrated, you shouldn't see much in the line of noise until ISO 800 in low light and ISO 6400 in good light, with the latter being especially impressive. The previous tests also showed that you will get the most out of the D7000 by shooting RAW at high sensitivities. Purple fringing is generally a "lens thing", and it was generally mild on the D7000.

Now, I invite you to have a look at our D7000 photo gallery. View the full size images, maybe print a few if you can, and then hopefully you'll be able to decide if the D7000's photo quality meets your needs.

Movie Mode

The D7000 has a pretty fancy movie mode. It's capable of recording video at 1920 x 1080 at 24 frames/second with sound. The camera has a monaural microphone, but you can add a stereo mic via the port on the side of the camera. To start recording, simply press that red button on the back of the camera, and press it again to stop. The camera will keep recording until the time elapsed reaches 20 minutes. If you don't need Full HD video, then you can drop the resolution down to 1280 x 720 (24 or 30 fps) or 640 x 424 (30 fps).

The D7000 can focus continuously while you're recording a movie, though refocusing can be obvious at times. This means that you can zoom in and out to your heart's content. Face detection and subject tracking are also available. If you're in A/S/M mode, you'll be able to adjust the aperture or shutter speed (but not both at the same time). In full manual mode you can adjust the shutter speed and ISO, but not the aperture. Do note that you'll need to turn on the "manual movie settings" option in order to do this. Something else you can also fool with is the microphone level, with choices of auto, low, medium, or high sensitivity. There's no wind filter, though.

Movies are saved in QuickTime format, using the H.264 codec. With a bit rate of nearly 26 Mbps, file sizes grow very quickly!

I've got two sample movies for you, both of the same subject matter. The first was taken at the 1080p24 setting, while the latter was recorded at 720p30. Enjoy!


Click to play movie (1920 x 1080, 24 fps, 27.3 MB, QuickTime/H.264 format)


Click to play movie (1280 x 720, 30 fps, 9.9 MB, QuickTime/H.264 format)

Playback Mode

Like other recent Nikon D-SLRs, the D7000 has one of the nicest playback modes that you'll find. Before we get to the interesting features, let me tell you about the basics. They include slideshows, image protection, DPOF print marking, thumbnail view, and playback zoom. When you're zoomed into an image, you can use the control dial to switch between photos, while keeping the zoom and location intact.

Photos can be viewed one-at-a-time or as thumbnails, with the ability to see as many as 72 on the screen at once. You can also display a calendar view, which allows you to quickly see which photos you took on a specific date.


Brightening an image with D-Lighting

The most interested playback mode features can be found in the Retouch menu. The options here include:

  • D-Lighting (Low, normal, high) - brightens dark areas of a photo; does not do anything about highlight detail, though
  • Redeye correction
  • Trim (crop) - you can select an aspect ratio of 3:2, 4:3, 5:4, 1:1, or 16:9
  • Monochrome - changes a color photo to black and white, sepia, or cyanotype
  • Filter effects - use virtual skylight, warm, red/green/blue, cross screen, and soft filters
  • Color balance - adjust the color of a photo, in much the same way as white balance fine-tuning
  • Small picture - downsize an image
  • Image overlay - combines two RAW images into one
  • NEF (RAW) processing - edit RAW images, see below
  • Resize - to 2.5 Megapixel or lower
  • Quick retouch - uses D-Lighting and also boosts contrast and saturation
  • Straighten
  • Distortion control - reduce barrel or pincushion distortion in your photos, automatically or manually
  • Fisheye
  • Color outline - turns a photo into something suitable for a coloring book
  • Color sketch - makes a photo look like a color drawing
  • Perspective control - reduce the distortion caused by taking photos from the base of tall objects (like buildings)
  • Miniature effect - makes a selected area of the photo appear small, with everything else blurred out
  • Side-by-side comparison - compare retouched photos to the originals
  • Edit movie - trim unwanted footage off of the beginning or end of a clip; you can also grab a frame from a movie and save it as a still image


RAW processing in playback mode

As with its predecessor, the D7000 lets you edit and convert RAW images right on the camera. You can change the image size and quality, white balance, exposure compensation, Picture Control, amount of noise reduction, color space, and (regular) D-Lighting. The resulting image is saved as a Large/Fine JPEG.

By default, the camera doesn't show you much information about your photos, but if you press up or down on the four-way controller you can get a lot more, including a display of the focus points used, your choice of histograms, highlight/shadow viewing, and plenty of details. Do note that you may need to turn on most of these screens in the playback menu (display mode option).

The D7000 moves from photo-to-photo without delay.

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