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Nikon D7000 Gordon Laing, December 2010
 

Nikon D7000 results : Real-life resolution (JPEG) / Real-life resolution (RAW) / High ISO Noise
 
Nikon D7000 vs Canon EOS 60D Real-life resolution (JPEGs using default settings)

 
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To compare real-life performance we shot the same scene with the Nikon D7000 and Canon EOS 60D within a few moments of each other using their best-quality JPEG settings and base sensitivities. Scroll down this page for a comparison with the Nikon D90.

Each camera was fitted with its respective kit lens, the Nikkor DX 18-105mm VR and Canon EF-S 18-135mm IS, both set to f8, adjusted to deliver the same field of view, and focused using Live View at the highest magnification.

The image above was taken with the Nikon D7000 at 100 ISO with an exposure of 1/400 and the lens set to 24mm f8; the original Large Fine JPEG measured 8.34MB. The crops below are taken from the area marked with a red square and presented here at 100%. The crops from the Canon EOS 60D show a slightly smaller area due to its slightly higher resolution.

Note the D7000, like previous Nikon DSLRs we've tested, initially over-exposed this composition using Matrix metering without any compensation. The original exposure of 1/200 at f8 and 100 ISO delivered an image where the tonal range was shifted well over to the right side, resulting in clipping on the highlights. Applying negative exposure compensation one third of an EV at a time gradually retrieved the highlights until all clipping was eliminated at -1EV, at which point the exposure was 1/400 at f8 and 100 ISO. You can see examples of both the original and the -1EV exposures with their respective histograms below. You may personally think the compensated version is a step too far, but that's what was required to protect the highlights from becoming irretrievably lost. The bottom line is even die-hard supporters of Matrix metering will agree the original was definitely over-exposed.

 

Nikon D7000
Matrix metering with no compensation
 
Nikon D7000
Matrix metering with -1EV compensation
     
 
1/200, f8, 100 ISO
1/400, f8, 100 ISO

 

As mentioned above, we've seen this many times before on earlier Nikon DSLRs when set to Matrix metering, and in this comparison, the D90 did exactly the same thing, metering 1/400 at f8 and 200 ISO. While we've found Nikon's Matrix metering frequently erring on the side of over-exposure on our test shots, most could be improved by applying one third, or at worst two thirds of compensation. But for some reason this particular scene always fools them into overexposing to a higher degree, requiring -1EV to reign them back. No other cameras we test consistently do this, with most metering half the exposure - revealingly, the Canon EOS 60D metered 1/400 at f8 and 100 ISO for exactly the same composition moments later.

With the compensation applied though, the D7000 delivers arguably the best result on this page against the EOS 60D and its predecessor. We'll start with the EOS 60D, which in the first row of crops is exhibiting some coloured fringing that's eerily absent on the D7000 crop. That's not to say the DX 18-105mm VR is a perfect lens, but rather that the D7000, like previous Nikon DSLRs, is effectively correcting it for JPEGs recorded in-camera. Shoot the same scene in RAW and switch off lens corrections and you'll see fringing return to the same areas as the Canon, which proves the effectiveness of the in-camera correction. Canon may offer similar corrections for its RAW files - even now supported when converting in-camera on the EOS 60D - but still leaves JPEGs untouched in this regard. In our view this is a key advantage to the JPEGs from Nikon DSLRs.

Moving onto the remaining three rows of crops, it's clear how both cameras are employing quite different approaches to image processing using their default settings. The EOS 60D is much more contrasty and close inspection also reveals greater sharpening artefacts, but while both should suggest a punchier result, the Canon image looks over-cooked in our view. You'll also notice some fringing in the other crops.

In contrast, the D7000 JPEG simply looks a lot more natural, and while it doesn't have the sharpening or contrast turned-up anywhere near as high as the EOS 60D, it's in no way soft or lacking. We'd say Nikon's nailed the sweetspot here with an image that's packed with detail yet virtually bereft of processing artefacts.

There is of course one other difference between the D7000 and EOS 60D: the small matter of two Megapixels in the favour of the Canon. The EOS 60D's crops certainly show a slightly tighter area, but is there actually any greater real-life detail captured? We'd say not, at least given the kit lens. If you want to exploit the full 18 Megapixel benefit of the EOS 60D, you'll really need to equip it with a sharper lens, like the excellent EF-S 15-85mm IS USM, although even then, only expect a very subtle difference between it and a 16 megapixel model like the D7000. The bottom line in terms of resolution, is there's nothing between the D7000 and EOS 60D when both are equipped with their standard kit lenses, and even when the optics are upgraded, don't expect anything other than very minor differences.

So a triumph for the D7000 here in terms of detail captured and natural processing, although do remember it initially over-exposed this scene by a considerable 1EV, whereas the Canon got it spot-on.

Now scroll down to see how the D7000 compares against its 12 Megapixel predecessor, the D90. Alternatively, check out how it performs in RAW in our Nikon D7000 Real-life Resolution RAW results, or how it compares across its sensitivity range in our Nikon D7000 High ISO Noise results. Or if you've seen enough, head straight to our Verdict.


Nikon D7000 (JPEG using in-camera defaults)
with Nikkor DX 18-105mm VR
 
Canon EOS 60D (JPEG using in-camera defaults)
with Canon EF-S 18-135mm IS
f8, 100 ISO
f8, 100 ISO
     
f8, 100 ISO
f8, 100 ISO
     
f8, 100 ISO
f8, 100 ISO
     
f8, 100 ISO
f8, 100 ISO



Nikon D7000 vs Nikon D90 Real-life resolution (JPEGs using default settings)

 
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To compare real-life performance we shot the same scene with the Nikon D7000 and Nikon D90 within a few moments of each other using their best-quality JPEG settings and base sensitivities.

Each camera was fitted in turn with the same sample of the Nikkor DX 18-105mm VR kit lens, set to f8, adjusted to deliver the same field of view and focused using Live View at the maximum magnification. A comparison with the EOS 60D is above.

The image above was taken with the Nikon D7000 at 100 ISO with an exposure of 1/400 and the lens set to 24mm f8; the original Large Fine JPEG measured 8.34MB. The crops below are taken from the area marked with a red square and presented here at 100%. The crops from the Nikon D90 show a larger area due to its lower resolution. The D90 JPEG file measured 6.22MB. Note both the D7000 and D90 over-exposed this image to the same degree, so here we applied -1EV compensation to both. The exposures were identical: 1/400 at f8 and 100 ISO for the D7000 and 1/800 at f8 and 200 ISO for the D90. Note the base sensitivity of the D90 is 200 ISO.

Apart from a small difference in measured white balance (with the D90 opting for a warmer setting), the processing styles of both cameras are quite similar. We also fitted each camera with the same sample of the DX 18-105mm VR kit lens. So what you're looking at here is mostly down to sensor resolution.

With four Megapixels between them, you might expect the D7000 to significantly out-resolve the D90, but as the crops below reveal, the differences can be fairly subtle - at least when fitted with the kit lens. Look closely and you will see the D7000 image contains a little more fine detail, especially around foliage and buildings, but if you want to see more from the D7000, you'll need to fit it with superior optics. Certainly if you're upgrading from the D90, but sticking with the kit lens, you won't notice a big difference in resolved real-life detail.

Now check out how the D7000 performs in RAW in our Nikon D7000 Real-life Resolution RAW results, or see how it compares across its sensitivity range in our Nikon D7000 High ISO Noise results. Or if you've seen enough, head straight to our Verdict.


Nikon D7000 (JPEG using in-camera defaults)
with Nikkor DX 18-105mm VR
 
Nikon D90 (JPEG using in-camera defaults)
with Nikkor DX 18-105mm VR
f8, 100 ISO
f8, 200 ISO
     
f8, 100 ISO
f8, 200 ISO
     
f8, 100 ISO
f8, 200 ISO
     
f8, 100 ISO
f8, 200 ISO


Nikon D7000 results : Real-life resolution (JPEG) / Real-life resolution (RAW) / High ISO Noise



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