Not quite the D90s replacement that was expected—Nikon insists the D90s will remain in its lineup—the new Nikon D7000 just announced today will nestle in between the D90s and the D300s in Nikon's range. More tweaking of the lines from the big two....
Still no body-integral image stabilization. Dominant cameramakers Nikon and Canon make more money adding this feature to individual lenses, even though that strategy is more expensive and less flexible for photographers. (In-lens IS is widely believed to be more effective for long pro telephotos, however, and long, fast teles are a lens type basically only comprehensively provided by the two big industry players. Of course there's no reason both types couldn't be usable with the same body.)
The D7000 has 16.2 megapixels, similar to the 18-MP of the Canon 7D and 60D, and the second-best resolution that Nikon offers, period, after only the mighty D3x. After testing the 24-MP Sony A900 in 2009 and using the 14.6-MP Pentax 20D extensively, I decided that 14–18 MP is going to be the sweet spot as far as I'm concerned. (Until the world changes yet again.) The new D7000's 4928 x 3264-pixel file size allows for nearly 16.5"-wide prints with full 300ppi resolution. Plenty.
The new camera betters the D90's already good viewfinder by upping the coverage from 96% to 100%. And sorry to talk about something so mundane as a mechanical camera feature, but the D7000 shutter will go to 150k actuations. Shutter durability is one of the hidden difference between higher-model cameras and entry-level ones; 150k used to be the standard for the film F flagships.
And speaking of old film flagships, Ken Rockwell says that the D7000 will meter with manual-focus AI and AIS lenses. (Thanks to Dustin for pointing this out.)
In a field littered with fine and capable cameras, the D90 has stood out as an especially successful model, with a particularly excellent sensor, fine all-around ergonomics and performance, and a nice price. The D7000 appears to be a worthy step up. It's very competitively priced at $1200, and B&H Photo is already accepting pre-orders for both the body and a kit with the 18–105mm VR lens.
Also announced is the new SB-700 Speedlight flash unit, which was written up yesterday over at Strobist.
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Original contents copyright 2010 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved.
Featured Comment by Gordon Lewis: "Hmm...Methinks this camera could be well-positioned to compete with the EOS 60D, not just the 7D. After all, with the exception of a swivel screen, it's more feature-packed than the 60D but at a similar price. On the other hand, it has almost as many attractive features as the EOS 7D but at a lower price. It's a bit smaller and lighter too, which is attractive to a lot of photographers. Let the comparisons and gnashing of teeth begin!"
Featured Comment by Stephen Best: "The D7000 looks like a very capable camera (and more than most amateurs/enthusiasts need). It's a pity Nikon doesn't have the lens lineup to support it. Their FX cameras are well served with both primes and zooms at useful lengths. Big, heavy, expensive (and great performers alike) but if you're a pro you can make good use of these. Nikon seems to think that DX shooters want crappy zooms or will make do from the FX line. Where's the small, modern, mid-priced and lust-worthy 24mm, 30mm and 60mm DX lenses to go with the D7000? I think camera makers underestimate the market for a quality camera+lens package coming in at around 1kg."
Mike adds: I agree.