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 (using RAW files)

 
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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 RAW files at their base sensitivities.

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 RAW file measured 20.2MB. 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 as explained on the previous page, the D7000 initially over-exposed this image, so we applied -1EV of compensation to protect the highlights.

On the previous page we saw how the D7000 adopts a fairly hands-off approach to image processing with very natural-looking photos as a result. Some may however find them lacking a little bite or ultimate crispness. In contrast, the Canon EOS 60D applies stronger processing by default to its in-camera JPEGs for greater impact, although they can look a little over-cooked. SO on this page of RAW comparisons we've taken the opportunity to slightly boost the sharpening on the Nikon, while toning down the output from the Canon. The results don't exactly meet in the middle, but illustrate the impact of different settings in RAW.

We used the optional Capture NX 2 software to process the Nikon D7000 files and increased the default sharpening to 5. For the EOS 60D we used the Digital Photo Professional software supplied with the camera, and toned down the default 3 / 7 / 3 settings for the Unsharp mask to 2 / 7 / 3; we also applied Chromatic Aberration correction for the Canon image.

First things first: the Canon software proves how easily you can remove coloured fringing from RAW files, although we'd still prefer if EOS DSLRs simply removed it for in-camera JPEGs automatically, like Nikon's DSLRs have done for a long time.

Looking at the D7000 crops first, it's clear how the small boost in sharpening has delivered a punchier image with more bite - and gratifyingly, there don't appear to be any detrimental processing artefacts to worry about either.

Turning to the Canon crops, the minor tweaking of the Unsharp Mask settings in DPP has certainly toned-down the image compared to the in-camera JPEG on the previous page. Viewed against that file alone, we'd say the RAW version is preferred, but alongside the Nikon JPEG or RAW file, it still feels lacking in ultimate detail. Again better results can be had from the Canon with superior optics, but equally you can improve the D7000's performance with better lenses too. Here we wanted to compare the performance of both cameras with their kit lenses as that's how most of them will be used; their respective kit lenses are also similarly-priced.

The D7000 also offers in-camera processing of RAW files, so scroll down to see how the quality compares against a RAW file processed with Capture NX 2. Alternatively, check out how it performs 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 (RAW)
with Nikkor DX 18-105mm VR
Capture NX 2 (sharpness 5)
 
Canon EOS 60D (RAW)
with Canon EF-S 18-135mm IS
DPP with Unsharp Mask (2 / 7 / 3)
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: RAW converted in-camera vs RAW converted with Capture NX 2 software

 
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The Nikon D7000 offers in-camera processing of RAW files. To see how the quality of the in-camera processing compares against the optional Capture NX 2 software, we developed the same RAW file using both.

As before, the D7000 was fitted with the Nikkor DX 18-105mm VR kit lens, set to f8 and focused using Live View at the maximum magnification.


The D7000 offers fairly basic in-camera RAW processing, letting you adjust the image size and compression, white balance, exposure compensation, Picture Control, High ISO Noise reduction, Colour Space, and D-Lighting. Delving into the Picture Controls gives you access to sharpening, contrast, brightness, saturation and hue settings, so there's certainly plenty of opportunity to tweak as desired. There aren't any specific settings for lens corrections, but judging from the output, coloured fringing is automatically corrected whether you like it or not.

For the comparison below we've processed the same RAW file using Capture NX 2 and the in-camera tools. This time we've used the default sharpening for both conversions, although disabled D-Lighting on both.

Judging from the crops below, the output from Capture NX 2 and the in-camera RAW processing tool is essentially the same - at least when using their defaults. Obviously Capture NX 2 is a considerably more sophisticated program with many more options and much finer control, but it's reassuring to find the in-camera tools delivering much the same output with the default settings. Certainly if you only find yourself making basic adjustments to RAW files, like white balance or sharpening, then the in-camera conversions could save you investing in Capture NX 2.

Now 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 (RAW)
with Nikkor DX 18-105mm VR
Capture NX 2 (sharpness 3)
 
Nikon D7000 (RAW)
with Nikkor DX 18-105mm VR
In-camera RAW processing (D-Lighting Off)
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 results : Real-life resolution (JPEG) / Real-life resolution (RAW) / High ISO Noise



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