Nikon Announces D7000 DSLR, Two Lenses & a Speedlight

By Diane Berkenfeld

You know a big trade show is close when every day brings announcements from another camera maker about their latest new innovations. With photokina just a week away, Nikon today announced the D7000 DSLR, two prime lenses and a Speedlight. The D7000 is positioned above the D3000 and below the D90—both cameras will remain in Nikon’s product line.

Nikon D7000 DSLR

The Nikon D7000 with optional vertical grip attached.

The D7000 uses a newly designed 16.2MP CMOS sensor (APS-C size) and EXPEED 2 TM image processing engine, with 14-bit A/D conversion, along with both a new metering system and new AF system.

The company describes the metering system as “groundbreaking”—it is a 2,016 pixel RGB 3D Matrix Metering System. Another Nikon first, this system interprets scene data for improved control of light metering and i-TTL flash output. Additionally there is now a new Ambient white balance setting which gives images a warm rendering in Automatic White Balance.

The 39-point AF system includes nine center cross-type sensors that operate with more than 60 Nikkor lenses. The system is designed to acquire the autofocus of the subject faster and track it better. Additionally, photographers can activate dynamic or single point AF, configurable in varying combinations of AF points to match a variety of shooting situations. Photographers can also activate 3D tracking, which continuously follows moving subjects within the 39 AF points.

The D7000 can capture full 1080p HD video, with full-time autofocus, giving photographers the ability to produce sharp movie footage without having to manually focus during capture. Photographers also now have manual exposure control while shooting video. The camera can even track up to 35 faces for critical HD focus. Frame rates include 24 fps at 1080p, or 720p recording at either 24 or 30 fps for up to 20 minutes a clip. And, video clips can be trimmed and edited in-camera to save post-production time.

The camera utilizes dual SD media card slots.

Exciting new features of the D7000 include the ability to process RAW images in-camera, and add special effects via the retouch menu. The ISO range of the camera is 100 – 6400, expandable up to 25,600. The camera has the ability to shoot six fps for a burst of 100 images. Other features include a dual SD media card slot, compatible with SD, SDHC, and SDXC cards; a built-in iTTL Speedlight and wireless commander support; a 3-inch LCD, Live View, and a brand new battery designed to offer more shooting on a full charge.

Nikon’s D7000 is durable; the body is built from magnesium-alloy and incorporates a 150,000 cycle-rated shutter system. Additionally, the DSLR is dust and moisture sealed and features Nikon’s dust reduction system. A new Mode Dial eschews traditional Scene Mode icons for more advanced manual functions and two user-defined settings. Placed under the control wheel is a Release Mode dial, which allows access to the burst modes, timer, and Quiet Shutter.

While the D7000 is priced at the enthusiast level, we definitely see pros using this camera, and can only assume that some of the groundbreaking new technologies incorporated into the D7000 will be making their way into new pro level models soon!

AF-S Nikkor 35mm f/1.4G lens

The D7000 DSLR is scheduled for mid-October delivery with an MSRP of $1,199.95 for the body only and $1,499.95 for body/lens kit including the AF-S DX Zoom-NIKKOR 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR lens.

Two  Nikkor Prime Lenses

Nikon also announced the AF-S Nikkor 35mm f/1.4G and AF-S Nikkor 200mm f/2 ED VR II professional lenses.

Both are fast prime lenses, featuring Nikon’s famous glass, and hefty price tags. The fast apertures of both lenses make them ideal for low-light shooting and movie capture.

The 35mm lens can be used on Nikon DSLRs with both the full-frame FX format image sensors as well as the smaller DX format sensors, such as the brand new D7000. When used on a camera with a DX sensor or on an FX format camera in DX Crop Mode, the lens has an effective focal length of 52.5mm.

AF-S NIKKOR 200mm f/2G ED VR II lens

The AF-S NIKKOR 200mm f/2G ED VR II, like its 200mm f/2 predecessor, is incredibly fast. The VR system provides up to four stops of correction. Because the lens uses an Internal Focusing (IF) system, the lens barrel doesn’t extend when focusing. There are three focus modes on this lens, the conventional M/A and M modes, and an A/M mode. The lens also features a Tripod Detection Mode, which automatically compensates for minute vibrations when mounted on a tripod and allows users to keep VR image stabilization on and active.

The AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.4G lens will be available in mid-November with an MSRP of $1,799.95. The AF-S NIKKOR 200mm f/2G ED VR II will be available early October for an MSRP of $5,999.95.

SB-700 Speedlight

Today, Nikon also introduced the SB-700 Speedlight, designed for a range of photographers. The flash incorporates a wide zoom range and FX/DX-format identification system that optimizes the flash based on the camera body used. The SB-700 can be used as an on-camera flash or wireless flash (set up as a Commander or a Remote) for use in multiple flash set-ups. An improved user interface includes a large easy-to-read LCD panel. The flash can recycle in approximately 2.5 seconds for full power with NiMH batteries and 3 seconds with AA Alkaline batteries.

SB-700 Speedlight

For improved durability, heat-resistance and ease-of-use, the SB-700 uses new hard plastic-type color filters for fluorescent or incandescent color temperature balancing. When using the supplied filters, the flash automatically recognizes which filter is being used and adjusts white balance accordingly on select Nikon DSLRs.

Similar to the Nikon SB-900 Speedlight, three illumination patterns (standard, center-weighted and even) can be selected in SB-700 to match each shooting situation. And, like the SB-900, when the SB-700 is mounted on a camera compatible with user firmware updates, the SB-700 firmware can be updated using the same procedure as with a Nikon DSLR camera.

To enhance the weatherproof capability of the flash/camera, optional water guards will be available for select cameras to protect the connection between the flash and camera.

The Nikon SB-700 Speedlight is scheduled to be available in mid-November 2010, and will have an MSRP of $329.95. The SB-700 comes bundled with the Speedlight Stand, Bounce Adapter, Color Filter Holder, Intelligent Color Filter Kit, Diffuser Dome and soft case.

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