updated 12:00 am EDT, Wed September 15, 2010
Nikon D7000 official
Nikon tonight brought out the D7000, its long-awaited spiritual sequel to the D90. The camera now has the second highest resolution of any Nikon DSLR and has a new 16.2-megapixel sensor with support for the same 1080p24 (or 720p30) video as the D3100 with continuous autofocus and a stereo mic input. Its body is now more ambitious and comes closer to the D300s in toughness than the older model; it now has a more durable magnesium shell and is weather-resistant.
The D300s' influence is evident in other areas, including the use of dual card slots (here SDXC), a virtual level and wireless flash sync. Nikon's optical viewfinder now gives 100 percent coverage to more properly frame the shot.
The EXPEED 2 imaging engine from the D3100 carries over but, with the new sensor, has much more room. Nikon uses a new 39-point autofocusing system and has a wider sensitivity range of ISO 100 to 25,600. Continuous shooting is now faster at up to six frames per second versus the earlier 4.5, and it's now possible to capture stills from video like the D3s. Adaptation to video shooting now has extended recording time to 20 minutes per clip instead of just the earlier five, and the battery now shoots 1,150 images per charge versus the D90's 850.
The camera should be on shelves by mid-October in a body-only form for $1,200. A kit version with an 18-105mm f3.5-5.6G ED VR lens should be available for $1,500. Despite effectively replacing the D90, Nikon says the older camera will remain in the lineup. It's unofficially believed the D90 will quit the line within a few months' time.
Accompanying the D7000 are two new lenses. An AF-S 35mm f1.4G prime serves as a much higher end alternative to the basic 35mm and has a nine-blade aperture, a nano coating and an aspherical element for $1,800. For telephoto use, the same market also gets an AF-S 200mm f2.0G IF-ED N VR II lens; the combination of a very wide nine-blade aperture and the long range make it ideal for sports and ranged shooting in low light. It will cost $6,000. The costlier lens comes first, in early October, followed by the prime lens in mid-November.
Finally, a new Speedlight flash, the SB-700, is in store for mid-range users. It can effectively illuminate a 24-135mm zoom range and has guards against overheating from frequent use. Nikon hopes to deliver it in mid-November for $330.