D90 or D7000?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by cleanup, Apr 19, 2011.

  1. cleanup macrumors 68030

    cleanup

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2005
    Location:
    Toronto
    #1
    Hi folks.

    I've been shooting with a D40 for the past 3 years and have been wanting for a new body for a while. Though I had my sights set on the D90, I waited a bit too long and out came the D7000. I'm mainly looking for a new body for the following reasons:

    1. The D40's low-light capabilities are really keeping me from doing low-light photography. I find that the D40 has far more noise and dirtier pictures than even my GF1 at the same ISO. Pictures at ISO800 and above are noticeably noisy even after resizing, and it's of course even more noticeable under heavier post-processing. As a result I mostly shoot in the daylight at ISO200/400 (since the D40 only does full-stop ISO increments), but would much rather have some more flexibility in the situations in which I can shoot. It really vexes me that my tiny GF1 gives me cleaner pictures than the D40!

    2. I want an in-body focus motor. Though I love my AF-S/HSM/SWM lenses, I honestly would've just purchased a 50mm f1.8D rather than my Sigma 50mm f1.4, and I have my sights set on an 85mm f1.8D (rather than the rumoured AF-S version, which is probably a few extra dollars). Getting a new body would let me save some coin in the future on lenses. If the D5100 had a built-in focus motor, I would gladly get that over the D7000, since I believe they have the same sensor.

    3. I want to get a little more serious about video. My GF1 is great for spontaneous videos, but I'd love full manual control as on the D7000.

    It's my understanding that both the D90 and the D7000 would be an improvement upon my D40 in all of these respects. But what is the extra $600-700 or so getting me in the D7000? If I did get a D90, would I merely find myself wanting a D7000 in the near future? How do the low-light capabilities of the two cameras really compare?

    Anybody with experience with either of the cameras, please chime in.

    Cheers!
     
  2. SatyMahajan macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2009
    Location:
    Cambridge, MA
    #2
    D90 owner here.

    The D7000 is a nice camera. But the D90 is still one of the best for the price. If you need 1080p or slightly higher ISO, the D7000 is better. But you can probably put the difference toward some better glass and come out on top. I've seen ridiculous pictures taken on the D90, so a lot of it is going to depend on your skill. Regardless, either will be significant vs. your D40.

    One thing, due to the earthquake, all the current prices for Nikon equipment have been hiked up a bit. So watch that when you're shopping. Good thing to check against the MSRP listed on the nikonusa.com site.
     
  3. NathanCH macrumors 65816

    NathanCH

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    Oct 5, 2007
    Location:
    Stockholm, Sweden
    #3
    I was in pretty much the exact same boat as you. I had the D40 for about 3 years and I felt I outgrew it pretty quickly. Instead of upgrading my body I got new glass about 1 year ago. Then finally I upgraded to the D7000 in January. It's absolutely superb.

    Yup, the D40's "low-light" capabilities are basically nothing. ISO800 isn't really usable in most situations which is pretty pathetic. But it's a very inexpensive camera, so I guess we can't explain much! I think we both probably took tons of greats photos with it. The D7000 has very good low-light capabilities. I combine my D7000 with my Nikkor 50mm 1.4 and never worry about light. I know some people wouldn't say this is a good idea, but I have no problem shooting at ISO6400. There is noise, yes, but a little post-reduction and I'm fine. And thankfully, I don't need to do it much because there aren't too many situations where its THAT dark.

    Is the D7000 really $600 more than the D90? I didn't think it was that much more. Personally, going from the D40 to the D7000 was a no brainer. I needed an upgrade badly, and I wanted something that I could grow into, and keep for a long time. I'm still surprised by how good the low light performance is.
     
  4. notjustjay macrumors 603

    notjustjay

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    Canada, eh?
    #4
    This is a timely thread for me. I've got a D70s whose flash is stuck in the open position thanks to a tiny broken latch. Not a huge deal, perhaps, but enough to make it annoying, and I'm starting to look at upgrades. I've been looking at the D90, D5100, D7000 as potential options. I haven't had a chance to try a D5100 in-hand yet, but going from the pictures and the specs, I'm not sure I'll like it. On the other hand, a D7000 felt very nice in my hands. Now if I can justify the extra cost...
     
  5. runlsd macrumors 6502

    runlsd

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2009
    #5
    I own a D7000 (D80 -> GF1 -> D7000, so a similar path as you). My sister owns a D90. I have had the chance to compare those two cameras. Either of these cameras will do better than your GF1 in terms of low light capabilities. But, the leap from D90 to D7000 is fairly noticeable. The D7000 is probably the best low light performer in this range and even comparable to some professional cameras.

    If you're getting more serious about video, do note that the D90 won't autofocus in video mode if I'm not mistaken. No continuous autofocus, anyway..
     
  6. luminosity macrumors 65816

    luminosity

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    Jan 10, 2006
    Location:
    Arizona
    #6
    I own a D7000, and at ISO 100, it is beautiful. It's a match for any 35mm DSLR sensor out there. I've never been a fan of the D300/90 sensor, and the D7000 makes its shortcomings all the more apparent.

    Past ISO 800 is when it begins to falter, as is usually the case for a crop sensor. For me, it's also harder to shoot with than my D700, mostly because of its smaller size. How many people feel about the D40 compared to the D7000 is how I feel about the D7000 as compared to a D700.

    If you spend a lot of time at low ISOs, the D7000 is tough to beat with any camera out there. The D7000 also meters with AI lenses, which the D90 cannot do. Those AI lenses provide full manual control when doing video, including aperture changing while filming.
     
  7. flosseR macrumors 6502a

    flosseR

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    Location:
    the cold dark north
    #7
    I would argue that up to ISO 1600 you won't be able to tell the difference between the 7000 and 700. I owned both for a time and seeing that and the fact that I can get VERY, VERY usable photos out of the d7000 at ISO 3200 kind of builds on my findings. I have sold prints already from ISO 3200+ shot with the d7000 and everywhere you read, they come to same conclusion: The D7000 is the best lowlight crop dslr right now. To be honest your "iso 800" is a little conservative, but I have to agree with the ISO 100 statement. I would even go as far as saying that the d7000 easily rivals if not exceeds the d700 at that ISO setting.

    Of course this all depends on one thing: GLASS.
     
  8. cleanup thread starter macrumors 68030

    cleanup

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2005
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    Toronto
    #8
    I'm shooting with:

    35mm f1.8
    Sigma 50mm f1.4
    Sigma 10-20
    85mm f1.8 (planned)

    Not pro glass by any means, but will these lenses do the D7000 justice?

    I have the cash. If I can get over my cheapness, I'm leaning toward the D7000 simply for a "future-proof" solution. The D90 is already 3 years old. The D40 was 2 years old when I got it. Presumably the D7000 would simply last me twice as long, and give me a better camera to use from the get go.
     
  9. luminosity macrumors 65816

    luminosity

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2006
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    Arizona
    #9
    I would argue that up to ISO 1600 you won't be able to tell the difference between the 7000 and 700.

    After 800, I can tell. I think the D7000 is better at 100 than the D700 is at 200. It's just beautiful. The K-5 and D7000 are producing some terrific images in part because of that low ISO ability. After 800, though, the D700 starts asserting its dominance in my eyes. I think the D7000 is a match for the D3x at ISO 100, or just about anything else for that matter. I would be most interested in seeing formal tests on that one.

    The D700 is forgiving in ways that crop sensor cameras (1D Mark IV aside) just aren't yet. Your mileage may vary, of course.

    Of course this all depends on one thing: GLASS.


    To some extent. You can't substitute glass for a better sensor when the sensor is notably better, as is the case with the D3s. The sensor in the D3s is unique and exists only in D3s bodies. For high ISO work, the D3s is unmatched by any camera in existence. Glass alone can't overcome that gap.

    Not pro glass by any means, but will these lenses do the D7000 justice?


    Yes. People underestimate how much resolving power even average lenses have at critical apertures. The D7000 will make flaws show up more than a camera with a lesser sensor will, but at the same time, the crop factor means you're cutting out the edges and that means it's something of a wash between higher resolution and using only the middle part of the lens.
     
  10. glocke12 macrumors 6502a

    glocke12

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2008
    #10
    Having just upgraded from the D90 to the D7000, I can say without a doubt go for the D7000 if you have the cash.

    Many of the photos I have taken with the D7000 far surpass the D90 in terms of sharpness and contrast. Thats not to say the D90 is a bad camera, its just that the D7000 does so much more.

    Unless I go to FX, this will probably be the last DSLR I will ever buy.

    In terms of low light performance, I have gotten some fantastic, noise free images up to ISO 3200 with the D7000. The same images with my D90 showed considerable noise in comparison at the same ISO and with the same lens.

    As for putting the cost savings you would get with the D90 towards better glass, that is a valid consideration, but that extra 400-500 you save by getting the D90 will only get you so far in terms of a decent lens.

    GO for the D7000 you wont regret it. You can always get better glass at a later date.
     
  11. rcoward macrumors newbie

    rcoward

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    Location:
    West Sussex, UK
    #11
    Cleanup,

    I go with ByteofApple. D90 is a GREAT upgrade from the D40, a brilliant camera on it's own and the extra money the D7000 would cost can be better spent on better lenses and a nice flashgun. That's what I have done!

    For me, I won't upgrade to the D7000 from my D90 until the next D7000-replacement comes out with a rotational screen so I can hold up my DSLR above my head and rotate the screen so I can see the Liveview clearly! A D5100 with D7000+ capabilities... That'll be nice! ;)

    Good luck
     
  12. cleanup, Apr 20, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2011

    cleanup thread starter macrumors 68030

    cleanup

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2005
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    Toronto
    #12
    That was my thinking as well. Getting a D7000 would mean being secure for many many years until I make that jump to FX, and I certainly will have to think a loooong time about that, since it'll involve changing nearly all of my gear.

    I'm gonna go try out both bodies today and I'm bringing my lenses. Turns out both bodies are on sale at my local camera shop right now ($739 for the D90 and $1099 for the D7000) so the price difference in an absolute sense is really becoming negligible. $360 is half the value of the D90, and would get me a 85mm f1.8 (used), but it's a rather negligible sum in actuality and not necessarily a deal breaker at all.

    Will let you folks know what I think.

    I see the advantages of an articulating screen. But I think that I would end up hating it since it means the buttons to the left of the screen (such as the zoom buttons, which double as function buttons) disappear, and it is literally those buttons and Nikon's ergonomics that keep me from switching systems. I would obviously get used to the new layout in the end, but I'd rather have the comfort I'm used to than a moving screen. I'm 22 and my knees still work. I'll deal with it. ;)
     
  13. cleanup thread starter macrumors 68030

    cleanup

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2005
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    Toronto
    #13
    So for the moment I picked up a D90 18-55 kit actually, because the kit was only $20 more than the body (for whatever reason). It is a noticeable improvement over my D40 for sure. I have 10 days to decide whether or not I want to exchange it for a D7000. The issue was that I noticed some AF issues with my Sigma lenses on the demo D7000, particularly my Sigma 10-20. These issues were nonexistant on the D90. I'm sure it could be fixed with a firmware update or something like that, but it's not necessarily something I want to bank on.

    Their performance at low ISO I felt was really quite similar as well; I didn't have any way of testing low-light capabilities, but my D90 is already oodles better than my D40. In similar lighting conditions at the same ISO sensitivity, I found I could get a shutter speed over twice as fast on the D90 than on my D40. Same shot, tripod-mounted. The difference was astounding.

    In addition, the two cameras felt nearly identical in the hands. The D7000 certainly felt a bit more robust, but my lenses aren't weather-sealed either, so even if I was using a D7000, I'd probably still find myself trying to shelter it from the elements, in order to save my lenses.

    I think for now the D90 will provide me with some more room to grow, and if I really want to upgrade in the future, the D7000 will have dropped in price by the time I feel the need! Or I might make the jump to the D300s/or the new flagship DX equivalent.

    For now I'll have fun with my new toy. 10 days to decide! :)
     
  14. ashman70 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2010
    #14
    It would be most helpful if you told us what you shoot primarily. I shoot a lot of sports and so a D300 is actually the best fit for me. While and older body, I compared the specs of the D300 to the D7000 and found that the D300 has faster fps, a larger buffer for continuous shooting and more focus points, all of which matter when shooting sports. The D7000 is a fantastic body and does have superior video capability over the D90, however the D90 is no slouch either. I always recommend people get a video camera if they are serious about video as DSLR's are primarily for stills and offer limited video capability. Good luck with your camera.
     
  15. cleanup thread starter macrumors 68030

    cleanup

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    Toronto
    #15
    I shoot mostly outdoor still life, street, and landscape shots. Since I don't do much fast action or indoor shooting (I usually reserve my GF1 for any parties or fun shooting) I feel like the high ISO capabilities of the D7000 might be a bit much for me. Video is great, but I feel like I'd once again rather use my GF1 for that, as a DSLR makes for a rather cumbersome video camera. I'm no pro.

    I'm more than happy with the D90 at the moment. I'm still growing as a photographer. If I have to eventually switch to the D7000 or D300/s, I'll have no qualms about it. It was really only the concept of future-proofing myself, or maybe even camera lust, that drove me to want the D7000.
     
  16. Archman! macrumors member

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    Jul 19, 2010
    Location:
    Georgia
    #16
    I am a D90 owner and can attest to the frustrating nature of the movie mode. It takes time and patience to film without the aid of continuous autofocus.
     
  17. cleanup thread starter macrumors 68030

    cleanup

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    Jun 26, 2005
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    Toronto
    #17
    Continuous autofocus is helpful but only to an extent. It has its pitfalls. You can usually hear the focus motor whirring in the recording, and its accuracy depends on the lens "hunting", meaning that the lens will usually go out of focus in both directions before actually locking on.
     
  18. AgRacer macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2011
    #18
    If you think you'll want a D7000 or D300 in the future, then get the D7000 now and save some money.

    I had a D50 for 5-years and just upgraded to a D7000 in February. There is a lot to like about it, but as an amateur, I'm still learning how to use the darn thing! Lots to learn as this is the most advanced SLR/DLSR I've ever owned.

    I'd strongly suggest you go thru www.bythom.com and read his reviews of both the D90 and D7000 and convince yourself that the D90 is right for you.

    If you want either of them for Video, then get neither and buy a video camera instead. Manual focus, or no, shooting video with either is difficult at best. Unless you put the aperature at ~F8 to compensate for the slow focus (and extend the DOF), and to avoid having to recompose/focus a lot neither one is great for video shooting. Action video is all but impossible (I've tried, many times, with and with out tripods/monopods). They are just to cumbersome and difficult to work around unless you're shooting a pre-planed event with focus locations marked on your lens and spots on the floor for people to stand so everything lines up (IE: Like a pro).

    The D7000 is a big step over the D90 though. You might find yourself wishing you'd spent the extra $400 now (don't get the kit, you have lenses and the 18-55 adds nothing to what you already have).
     
  19. cleanup thread starter macrumors 68030

    cleanup

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    #19
    Well, I got the D90 for now as the store only does returns/exchanges in store credit. I need the D90 at least. If I decide to exchange for the D7000 I lose nothing. But if I purchased the D7000 at first and y downgraded, I'd be stuck with many hundreds of dollars in store credit that I may not have otherwise spent there.

    It's only been a few hours and I've got work to do. :p I'll definitely put the D90 through its paces.

    Any tips on getting my third-party lenses to work properly on a D7000? I think I would have to AF finetune my 50mm and my 10-20 seems to just refuse to focus past 10 feet or so. Both are fine on the D90 however...
     
  20. SchneiderMan macrumors G3

    SchneiderMan

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    Apple state
    #20
    If you need to shoot video then the D7000 is a big improvement over the D90. That's just something I tested out with my D7000 I just got a few hours ago.
     
  21. Love macrumors 68000

    Love

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    #21
    I absolutely love my D90. I've never tried the D7000. I'd say the extra cost could be used elsewhere for a better purpose (i.e. glass).
     
  22. Steve-F macrumors member

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    Jun 17, 2009
    Location:
    UK
    #22
    I've just ordered the Nikon D5100 because ...
    - the video is full HD at 24, 25 or 30 fps (the D7000 only does 24 fps)
    - the swing out vari-angle monitor
    - I couldn't afford the D7000

    As others have said you need to decide which features are best for you.

    Steve
     
  23. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

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    Sendai, Japan
    #23
    I have to second that: I've gotten a D7000 to replace my ailing D80 for my birthday and I must say wow! The colors at base ISO levels are amazing and ISO 3,200 is absolutely usable. Noise is pleasantly controlled and appears very film grain-like. Whether it is better than a full frame body, I can't say from personal experience (I haven't won the lottery yet or married rich), but the D7000 makes high-ISO settings usable.

    Another thing that may be important to the OP since he mentioned street photography is the Quiet mode of the D7000. It's the default for me. Here, the D7000 flips back the mirror only after you have released the shutter release. The body feels much more robust than the D80 and the UI is much cleaner. All those stupid useless scene modes are now hidden behind one setting of the wheel and instead, Nikon has added two user presets :)
     
  24. AgRacer macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2011
    #24
    Don't know what to tell you on that one. Does the 10-20 have a focus limit switch that you maybe turned on and didn't realize?

    Since they are 3rd party lenses Nikon won't be able to help you either. Maybe search Nikonians.org forums and see if there are other reports of these issues.
     
  25. pna macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 27, 2005
    #25
    This is fair, and I applaud you for recognizing that the D90 is enough for you right now, may be for quite some time, and giving yourself the freedom to upgrade in the future if you need to. Most gearheads can't (or don't) do that.

    That being said, I'll offer my own experience. My upgrade path was D40-> used D80 -> used D90 -> new D7000. The D90 was out when I bought the D80, but I did the same calculation you did and opted to use the D80, figuring that eventually when I wanted to upgrade, the price of the D90 would have dropped as well. I used the D80 for about 2 years before upgrading to the used D90, and when I sold the D80 and bought the D90, realized that I'd spent as much in the end (including the drop in value on the D80) as if I'd just bought the D90 in the first place. The difference would have been that I would have had another 2 years of taking even better pictures with the D90 and getting familiar with it's operation and characteristics. In retrospect, I feel that I pretty clearly made the wrong choice in that regard, and should have just ponied up the few hundred extra dollars for the D90 in the first place. It was a good lesson learned.

    I would still be happy with the D90 and probably wouldn't have upgraded to the D7000, except that I gave my D90 to my brother (he used to be an amazing photographer). The D7000 feels to me like a camera that is not lacking in any feature I could imagine wanting -- the only thing I could imagine the next version having would be even better low-light performance, but that wouldn't be enough to get me to switch out. In other words, the D7000 is the first body I've seen that I don't see wanting to upgrade from for a very long time. Even when the D80 and D90 were new, I could see improvements that I'd like to have, so this is a new situation for me. I'm quite happy to think about just getting to know the absolute ins and outs of this camera body for at least several years to come.

    I suspect that you'll feel the same way, and eventually end up at the D7000 anyway, so my experience would suggest you might just want to cut to the end of the story in the first place rather than have to learn a new body in a few years and have paid the same total price.

    Just my 2 cents. And a note that it's amazing to me how many personal emails I haven't returned lately due to lack of time, yet here I sit hammering out a long response about a camera purchase to someone I've not met... ;-)
     

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