Cool D90 vs. D7000 shootout

Has01Jul14-14A relaxed coach by the D90

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 !!

Has01Jul14-02Everything started nicely under a fiery sun (D7000)

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…)

Has01Jul14-01Doudou, 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…)

Has01Jul14-04The 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

Has01Jul14-06Yesterday 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

Has01Jul14-05Both 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

Has01Jul14-08Those who know me probably know where I’m getting at…

Has01Jul14-07I’m sort of tempted to get the full sized Bazooka again (Sigma 70-200 F:2.8 HSM) ! But then, justifying both models of 2.8 Sigs would be a bit far fetched…

Has01Jul14-09Gwen properly fitting boots on her retired International Jumping Holsteiner mare, Renaissance

Has01Jul14-10A young lady coming to ride at the stables over the summer

Has01Jul14-12Doudou in a more tame mood


Has01Jul14-13Vidji and Nolwenn, who has made crazy progress ever since I first saw her ride a couple of months ago

Has01Jul14-16Cindy, usually riding the large bay mare above, had “downgraded” to the smaller Welsh Cob “Jogtrot” for this session, which she was a little unsure about at first

Has01Jul14-17Marjorie was riding her own mare, Océane, as usual

Has01Jul14-18That’s where the Nikkor’s 70mm proved to be a bit too tight for comfort !

Has01Jul14-15Doudou can be quite spectacular in action, he’s a very handsome horse

Has01Jul14-21Flaunt, the mischievous other Welsh Cob pony of the herd

Has01Jul14-19Pinned ears = annoyed about something

Has01Jul14-24Look at that smile ! She loves him, finally…


Has01Jul14-22Flaunt giving it all she’s got

Has01Jul14-23I 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 !


About marla2008

Shutterbug. Shallow DOF nut. Mother of Child. Student of the Horse.
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1 Response to Cool D90 vs. D7000 shootout

  1. MJWC1 says:

    Yep, the D7000 is great to use. Stepping up from the D5000, all those extra external controls are invaluable.

    Your posts are always a joy Claire, thank you for sharing.

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