Nikon D7000 Gordon Laing, December 2010

Nikon D7000 video samples

The following videos were filmed with a final production Nikon D7000, running firmware 1.00 (A), 1.00 (B) and 1.002 (L) and equipped with a Nikkor DX 18-105mm VR kit lens. The D7000 was set to its best-quality 1080p / 24fps / High Quality movie mode

Registered members of Vimeo can download the original files by clicking the links below each window; these take you to the Vimeo page where the video is hosted and the link to download the actual file can be found under the 'About this video' section in the lower right. We used VLC Player to watch the clips under Windows.

To view sample images taken with the D7000, please visit our Nikon D7000 Sample Images Gallery.

Nikon D7000 sample video 1: Outdoors, handheld panning and zoom with DX 18-105mm VR
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In our first clip above the first thing to notice is the lack of vertical streaking around the sunlight reflections on the water – this is a benefit of a camera with a CMOS sensor. But if you're playing the file with audio, you'll almost immediately notice a faint squeaking or scratching in the background. This is the sound of the kit lens being refocused by the D7000's continuous AF-F option, and it's quite audible on this clip. Unfortunately in this example, the continuous autofocus isn't doing a great job either, regularly searching for a subject with sufficiently strong contrast for it to lock onto. So while the actual video quality itself is fine, the continuous AF option hasn't performed so well in this example; indeed disabling it produced a better result. But before you write-off the D7000's AF-F mode, check the clips below as it can work reasonably well under the right conditions.


Nikon D7000 sample video 2: Outdoors, tripod-mounted pan with DX 18-105mm VR
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In our second clip, above, we've locked the D7000 to a tripod, disabled VR and AF on the kit lens and smoothly panned from left to right. Like the stills in our Outdoor results page, the D7000 over-exposed this scene, so we applied -0.7EV compensation here to retain highlight detail, and also paused at the start in case you'd like to grab a frame for closer analysis. We also filmed the same sequence moments later in the other movie modes, and will post these later for comparison.

Nikon D7000 sample video 3: Indoors, dim light, handheld pan with DX 18-105mm VR
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Moving on, our third clip above was filmed handheld in a relatively dim bar with both VR and AF-F enabled. Annoyingly the regular searching of the contrast-based AF system has spoilt this clip in our view, so we tried it again moments later with AF disabled, which delivered a far preferrable result. The moral here is to learn which situations and subjects respond well to the AF-F mode and just disable it for the ones where it gets confused.

Nikon D7000 sample video 4: Indoors, continuous AF test with DX 18-105mm VR
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Our fourth clip, above, deliberately puts the new AF-F mode to the test. Here we moved the camera around, pointing it at various subjects near and far to see how the continuous autofocus coped. Give the D7000 some sharp edges for its contrast-based AF system to lock-onto and it can actually do quite a good job. Sometimes the focusing searches a little, but at others it feels more confident as it locks-onto the desired subject. Indeed as the clip progresses, it's hard not to be quite impressed by the AF-F mode as it succeeds more than it fails. It may not be as consistent as a consumer camcorder, nor as confident as the phase-change AF on the Sony Alpha A33, but the D7000 still manages to keep the subject mostly focused as the composition changes, while the ambient background sounds mostly mask the kit lens's AF motor. This is an impressive capability for a camera that only has a contrast-based AF system at its disposal while filming (along with the challenges of a shallower depth-of-field than a camcorder); remember Canon's DSLRs don't even attempt to continuously autofocus while filming, making this clip impossible without constant manual adjustments.

Nikon D7000 sample video 5: Indoors, manual exposure and focus with DX 18-105mm VR
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For our fifth clip, above, we mounted the D7000 on a tripod, set the lens to manual focus and the movie exposure mode to manual. We then zoomed-in a little and selected the maximum aperture available before entering the movie mode. During the clip we 'pulled-focus' from the nearby sandwich to the distant diners and back again, using the screen as a guide to sharpness. After the visible searching and audible scratching of the continuous AF mode in the previous clip, it feels quite civilised to lock the camera down and adjust the focus by hand. It's revealing that despite the presence of continuous AF of some description on the D7000, it still feels better when focused manually. While that's no different to its predecessor, what is new and very welcome here is the addition of a true manual exposure mode which lets you set the aperture, shutter speed and ISO before filming, so long as it's done prior to entering Live View.

Nikon D7000 sample video 6: Outdoors, continuous AF tracking with DX 18-105mm VR
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In our final clip, above, we've given the D7000 a more predictable subject to track with its continuous AF. We zoomed the kit lens to 105mm, selected the D7000's central AF point only, and kept it positioned over the Skyline logo on the cable car as it steadily approached. Like most contrast-based AF systems, the D7000 searches back and forth as it attempts to lock-on, and this is quite visible at several points during the clip. This is undoubtedly off-putting, but to be fair, the D7000 does manage to keep the logo relatively sharp throughout the clip, even when it's only a meter or so distant. Once again this is something which would have required constant manual focus pulling on a Canon DSLR. So while the D7000's continuous AF during filming may not live up to the experience of a consumer camcorder (nor the unique capabilities of the Sony Alpha A33), it remains a very impressive attempt given the available resources.


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