The Nikon D90 was released about 2 year ago and the D300 almost 3 years ago (D300s replaced it about a year ago). There’s a pretty big gap between these two price points. The D90 was an incremental upgrade from the D80 and lacked most of the “professional” features of the D300s. The D300s is a beast and has more in common with the D700 then any of the lower priced models. Now we have the D7000 thrown into the mix and boy does it mix things up.
I honestly think the D7000 is one of Nikon’s most significant releases in recent years. The big step in price between the D90 and D300s really priced out amateurs and hobbyists who might have wanted a little bit more than what the D90 offered. The D7000 is priced smack dab in the middle of that gap. As amateurs like myself delve further into photography and hone or skills we become more demanding of our equipment. The D7000 represents an opportunity for shooters like me to get access to professional features for $500 less than previously possible.
So for an extra $300-400 over the D90, what are we actually getting (in my approximate order of importance):
- 39 AF sensors and 11 cross type (compared to 11 and 1 on the D90)
- 2016 pixel meter sensor (twice that of the D300s and 4 times that of the D90)
- Magnesium alloy body
- U1 and U2 recall modes
- Ai indexing tab for use with older Ai lenses
- Improved rubber grip
- 1/250 flash sync speed (up from 1/200 on D90)
- Double the minimum shutter speed (1/8000 vs 1/4000 on D90)
- Quiet single frame advance mode
- Ambient white balance option for AUTO WB (suppose to handle warm lighting better or at least not try to correct to white)
- 100% viewfinder coverage
- 6fps (up from 4.5fps on the D90)
- 4 more megapixels (16.2 up from 12.3)
- Full 1080p video at 24fps
- Dual SD card slots
- Lower ISO 100 now available
- External mic input
- 14-bit A/D converter from the D300s
Odds are if you are looking at the D7000 then you have lenses already and just want to get the body, but it is available with the 18-105mm as a kit. Another option is to get the body only and then add on the very nice Nikon 18-200mm VR instead.