The rumor mill has been predicting an upgrade to the two-year-old Nikon D90 for some time now, but instead, the camera maker has just announced the Nikon D7000, a new midrange offering that slips into Nikon's digital SLR lineup between the D90 and the D300s, pitting it directly against the recently announced Canon EOS 60D.
Priced closer to the 60D and the Olympus E-3 (which has been bumped down the Olympus line by the newly announced E-5) than the D90, the Nikon D7000 easily out-specs the three-year-old E-3 and gives the new 60D a run for its money. Using a 16.2 megapixel DX-format sensor, the D7000 offers an ISO range of 100 to 6400, expandable to 25,600 as well as fast, 6 fps continuous shooting speed. The metering and autofocus systems have both been improved with the latter sporting a whopping 39 points (9 cross-type). While it doesn't match the 60D's video recording abilities, recording 1920x1080 HD video at only 24 fps (vs. 24, 25, or 30 fps for the 60D), it does offer manual exposure control and continuous autofocus while shooting video (though using continuous autofocus with SLR lenses doesn't always produce the best video because of the delay and sound of the lenses focusing). Although the 60D's articulating LCD gives you more flexibility when framing shots, the D7000's optical viewfinder outshines the 60D's with 100 percent coverage and 0.94x magnification (vs. the 60D's 96 percent coverage and 0.95x magnification).
The D7000 sports a compact but solid body design, and is splashproof and dustproof like the E-3 and Nikon's higher-end D300s. And another nice touch that it borrows from higher-end dSLRs is the inclusion of two memory card slots (both SD/SDHC/SDXC in this case). Look for it to hit the market in mid October with a suggested list price of about $1,200, body only.
Here's a quick specs comparison with similarly priced models:
|Nikon D7000||Canon 60D||Olympus E-3|
|Price||$1,200 (body only), shipping in October||$1,100 (body only), shipping late September||$1,300 (body only)|
|Sensor||16.2 megapixel, 23.6 x 15.6mm CMOS||18 megapixels, 22.3 x 14.9mm CMOS||10.1-megapixels, 17.3x13mm Live MOS|
|Continuous Shooting Speed||6 fps||5.3 fps||5 fps|
|LCD||3-inch, 920,000-dot (fixed)||3-inch, 1,040,000-dot (articulating)||2.5-inch 230,000-dot (articulating)|
|Autofocus||39-point (9 cross-type)||9 (all cross-type)||11-point (all cross-type)|
|Sensitivity||ISO 100 - ISO 6400 (25600 expanded)||ISO 100 - 6400 (12800 expanded)||ISO 100 - ISO 3200|
|Storage Media||SD, SDHC, SDXC||SD, SDHC, SDXC||CompactFlash Type I/II, Microdrive, xD-Picture Card|
|Movie Mode||1920×1080 (24 fps)/1280 × 720 (30/24 fps)/640×424 (30 fps)||1920x1080 (30/25/24 fps)/1280x720 (50/60 fps)/640x480 (50/60 fps)||none|
|Dimensions||5.2x4.1x3 inches||5.69x4.17x3.09 in||5.6x4.58x2.9 inches|
|Weight||24.3 oz||23.8 oz (body)||28.64 (body)|