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In August 2008, Nikon changed the landscape of DSLR technology with the introduction of the Nikon D90, the world's first DSLR to offer HD video capture. Fast-forward two years and Nikon is once again churning the soil with the Nikon D7000, a new DSLR that ups the ante as per what serious shooters will be expecting from camera manufacturers from here on out.
Nikon's D7000 features a new 16.2-megapixel DX (APS-C) format CMOS sensor, backed by Nikon's new EXPEED 2 imaging processor, which can capture up to 100 still images (14-bit A/D conversion) at speeds up to 6 frames per second. Add to this 50-millisecond shutter response times, an all new 39-point Multi-Cam 4800DX AF module with 9 center cross-type sensors configurable in combinations of 9, 21, 39 or a 21-point ring configuration to match any number of shooting situations and a new 2,016-pixel RGB 3D Matrix Metering system for deadly accurate exposures.
But the biggest breakthrough has to do with video capture, which in the case of Nikon's D7000, boils down to full 1080p HD video WITH FULL-TIME AF and MANUAL CONTROL. In addition to full-time autofocus, the D7000 also features variable frame rates and resolution, 1080p recording at a cinema-like 24 fps, or for Web use, 720p at a choice of 24 or 30 fps for clips up to 20 minutes long.
Other video-recording features include face priority tracking for up to 35 faces, subject tracking and normal or wide-area autofocus. The D7000 also offers you the time-saving option of editing and trimming video clips in-camera in order to save post-production processing time. And yes, there's a stereo input jack as well as the ability to use wireless or hotshoe-mounted microphones for pro-quality sound. In a nutshell, Nikon's D7000 simply shatters all competitors in its class.
In terms of construction, the D7000 is equally up to par and features weather-resistant magnesium-alloy construction with silicon seals all around. The layout of the D7000 camera controls and command dials have been reconfigured to enable quicker, more intuitive on-the-fly camera operation. Along with a bright optical viewing system that affords 100% of the total viewing area, the D7000 also features a 3.0", 921,000-dot LCD with Live View (and 100% viewing area) for real-time composing, viewing and editing of stills and video.
The newest pro-level Nikon has a native ISO range of 100 to 6400 and can be extended upwards to an equivalent of ISO 25,600 in Hi-2 mode when shooting under extremely low-light conditions. For recording stills and video, the D7000 features dual SD/SDHC/SDXC-compatible card slots that can be configured to record your efforts in several variations including separate JPEG, RAW and/or movie files. As for power, the D7000 is equally up to par and features a new EN-EL15 lithium-ion battery that's good for up to 1,050 shots per charge.
As one would expect, the D7000 can capture JPEGs, RAW or a combination of RAW+JPEG, and RAW files can be processed in-camera along with special effects from the camera's Retouch menu, which includes color filters, distortion controls for fisheye effects, perspective control and a new sketch filter that renders sketch-style imagery, all of which are saved as separate new files, leaving the original files unaltered. In addition to these creative filters, the Nikon D7000 also includes a full roster of Scene Modes and color-rendition filters.
The new Nikon D7000 is available as a body only or with an AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6 ED VR lens, and is expected to be in stock by mid-October, 2010.
And without a doubt, we look forward to conducting a full hands-on review of this neat machine as soon as one comes our way.
Note - The Nikon D7000 hasn't shipped yet, but we are accepting orders.