Nikon D7000 and FF or APS-C or m4/3


http://www.dpreview.com/news/1009/10091515nikond7000.asp

After wondering if I'd ever consider buying a Nikon camera again, along comes this. 
Metal body, weatherproofing, compatibility with older lenses (though not all), 16MP > 46MB files, optional battery grip, full 1080 HD video recording with continuous AF.


Ticks a few boxes there. 


Certainly moves things forward somewhat for Nikon and gives it something that can do (almost) what a Canon 7D can do in terms of resolution and something it can't which is AF in video recording. As someone who uses old Nikon lenses the compatibility is welcome. 


The big question for me and others will be, what is the high ISO performance like? Canon have set the standard very high with the 7D / 550D and it will be interesting to see what Nikon can come up with.  


Obviously aimed directly at the "Semi-professional / Enthusiast" market. (God I hate those terms) it now has a higher pixel count than any other camera in the Nikon range other than the D3X. Where this leaves the D300 etc. who knows. 


There was an idea that once full-frame appeared, that could be the end of the APS-C sensor. However that certainly isn't the case. In fact it seems to be thriving. In terms of a slight depth-of-field advantage and telephoto reach, these sensors have distinct advantages. Particularly when ongoing R & D manages to squeeze more and more out of them in terms of performance. Certainly the 7D / 550D sensor is excellent and unless you want the very best high ISO performance that you can get, perfectly adequate for most of us, including myself. Also when you think of what has been achieved since these sensors appeared. I used a Fuji S2 Pro in 2003 and when I stand one of those images up against a 7D shot, the improvement is obvious and dramatic. 


I do use full-frame, with the Leica M9, and enjoy it very much. It is after all, what I grew up with photographically. However in many ways I preferred the M8 1.3x crop, which removed some of the wide-angle lens problems.





Incidentally there's a really good comparison video of the difference between full-frame and APS-C sensors and the difference in lens coverage by Mike Collins on Vimeo http://vimeo.com/14832168

It does show very clearly that there is a substantial difference between the two formats, and the obvious advantage that full-frame has with regard to wide-angle lenses is clearly demonstrated. With m4/3 there are more difficulties with really wide lens though there is a clear advantage with depth of field. 

Heres a shot taken with a Zeiss 21mm f2.8 Biogon lens on a Leica M9 at f/11.

lyme regis

Even at f/11 and focusing on the barrel of the cannon there are still out of focus areas at the lower edge. However there's a really wide view. 

This shot below taken on m4/3 at 14mm and f4 has tremendous depth of field even at this wide aperture. The 14mm lens has contributed to that. 

beach huts

The angle of view is not so wide though.

So its a swings and roundabouts situation. It seems that we all like different sensor sizes. Full-Frame and m4/3 certainly have their users and enthusiasts. There's even Medium Format digital sensors which have larger sizes and can get extreme wide angle views with lenses such as 35mm and 24mm. But the trade-off is you need to stop down to f/11 or f/16 to get substantial depth of field. 

But by far the most common sensor is the APS-C. The majority of DSLR's sold have this fitted to them. Canon and Nikon aren't going to be in any hurry to get rid of it, particularly with their extensive lens ranges. With the added benefit that full-frame lenses will fit on APS-C sensor cameras, although with reduced field of view, this makes it, if not ideal, then certainly a very versatile and useful size. 

I use three different sensor sizes, and for a DSLR I'm coming round to the idea that the APS-C size is probably the most useful for me. Certainly I've enjoyed what the 7D and 550D give me. As someone, who at the moment, has his head with Canon but his heart with Nikon the D7000 is an encouraging release. One of the reasons that I've been so critical of Nikon in the past is disappointment that they haven't, up to now, come up with a camera that will do a job for me. Maybe the D7000 will do that. I will wait to see what the high ISO results are before coming to any conclusion. It may not be enough to tempt me back to the red trim but at least I'm considering it, which is further along any notional "road back to Nikon" than I was yesterday.

Words- D
Original Images - D & A