Why a “cool” shootout ? Because both cameras have earned their spot in my bag, and are not competing against each other. Because the D90 is here to stay no matter what (as a Bday present from my darling husband, now 4 years ago, an eternity by digital technology standards !), and that I bought the D7000 myself so am free to replace it later when something more exciting comes along. But truly, from what little I’ve shot this unit, and the loaner I had before it, I’m very, very pleased with this Nikon enthusiast model iteration !!
4 riders, two camera bodies. The D7000 with Baby Bazooka (Sig 50-150/2.8) and the D90 with the excenlentissimo Nikkor 70-300 F:4.5-5.6VR. The Nikkor zoom is globally a smidge sharper than the Sigma, especially when the latter is used wide open. But I LOVE the output of the B.B. and it’s subject isolation power. Which is probably all in my head anyway, because the online DOF calculator gives them as pretty much in the same territory at the focal lengths I use them (that’d be the Sig often at max zoom, 150mm at F:3.5, and the Nikkor around 200mm, at F:5.3…)
Doudou, the 4 yr old stud I rode lately, was a little feisty yesterday due to the presence of mares in a nearby paddock. The young Emilie handled the rearing like a pro, unfortunately the horse procedeed to crowhop like mad right after, which had her dismounting a little roughly, not unlike what the handsome Pagaré had done to me a while back (minus the rearing, though…)
The one thing I’m positively in love with in the D7000 is the dynamic and tonal range. It’s just crazy wide. Oh, and a little trick you might want to try on your own camera in very contrasty situations : turn you Picture Style, or whatever jpeg settings are called in your specific brand of camera to “Portrait”. It tends to sensibly lift midtones, which is very useful to boost DR. I used that, plus Active D Lighting set to Auto, and the results were great. The D90 in comparison, set to modified “Standard” style (Sharpess at 5, Hue at +1) struggled with blocked shadows
Yesterday I had no AF issues from either camera. I have to say that despite having an older af module with “only” 11 points, the D90 isn’t handicapped at all in real world situations. However, the “dynamic AF group” set to 9 AF points in Continuous AF mode on the D7000 is quite handy
Both lenses did extremely well. The shorter (in focal length, both lenses are just about the exact same size) Sigma is versatile in that it starts at 50mm, but a tad short at the tele end, at only 150mm… The Nikkor is very useful giving 70 to 300, but notably slower, meaning It can’t really be successfully used indoors
I apologize for the repetitive shots and lack of exciting action. It was super hot and I had just retreat in a shady spot and shot everything from the same vantage point, hence the boringly similar images. But what I wanted to know about the cameras was confirmed, the D7000 offers a significant upgrade over its predecessor, namely in tonal latitude. I do find it more detailed and sharper as well, and the 16mp comes in handy for extra croppy room, especially since I’m using the shorter tele lens on it…
Overall I’m very pleased with my purchase. The camera feels and operates well, and the files are superb. Metering is pretty solid, at least consistent, and I quickly reverted to jpeg only as I felt confident I would have to deal with any gross exposure errors. Though I had no use for it in such a short session, the dual SD card slot is a blessing, and the grip material is significantly improved over the D90’s, the D7000 is just the proverbial “joy to hold”. Very, very happy !