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DSLR D7000

The Nikon D7000, our current workhorse of a camera. Photo: Nikon Australia

Welcome to our New Review, Old Thing series where we review pieces of technology that are so out-of-date that a review seems somewhat redundant, but the moral of the story is important. Today we look at the once pride of the Nikon DSLR fleet, the Nikon D7000

All through my high school years and into my university studies, I was always envious of those whom owned DSLR cameras. I’m totally a gear junkie at heart, so the ability to swap lenses, the sound the shutter made as a photo was captured was music to my ears and the cool look it gave a person who carried one around really appealed to me.

After awhile, and after going through many different styles of point and shoot cameras, from pocket size to superzooms (which look kind of similar to DSLR’s), I finally coughed up the cash and purchased a Nikon D3100, which at the time was Nikon’s entry level DSLR.

It was a revolution in my photography. Now I could do things like make the backgrounds of portraits go out of focus like in professional shots (refereed to as “Bokeh”), make exposures that lasted longer than 30 seconds and take lots of shots a second just by holding down the shutter button: plus I got that lovely shutter sound and looked cool while carrying it around.

But over time, my skills as a photographer grew to the point where that trusty D3100 could no longer serve my needs. It wasn’t a case of I just wanted the latest and greatest, there were genuine issues with image quality and functionality that made the D3100 obsolete.

So I sold the D3100 to a friend, who still loves it to this day, and invested in a ex-demo model Nikon D7000, which was already a bit outdated at the time; but it was the best camera I could afford.

Today, that Nikon D7000 is still the main camera used by Atlas Phoenix for all its major projects. It’s done great service in the tropic’s of northern Australia, gone on icy adventures in the highlands of Tasmania and everything in between, and has stood up remarkably well.

Even thought it’s getting a bit long in the tooth, technology wise, we haven’t ever seriously considered replacing it because quite frankly, it is still a very good camera that gets us the results we need. It’s got the features that make our lives easier and doesn’t cost us anything to keep it running.

The Nikon D7000 has a 16.2MP crop sized sensor, dual memory card slots, separate scroll wheels for aperture and shutter speed, a nice big LCD screen and all the ports for USB, shutter remotes etc. It also has a built in focus motor for using the older Nikkor lenses (which we think look way more awesome than today’s plastic fantastic models) and is big enough that we can get a good grip on it (the D3100 was very small in the hand and often felt awkward to hold). It also has a couple of programmable setting positions on the dial, allows for high speed continuous shooting and has a bunch of modes like ‘sport’ and ‘nature’ (which we never use if we’re honest): All in all, not too shabby by today’s standards.

To give you an idea of how good we still think this camera is, consider this. The vast majority of photos available for sale from our online store have been taken with this camera. We’ve never had access to a full frame or medium format camera and we don’t use the highest grade professional lenses. Sure, some of those things would be nice, but they’re not necessary at this point, and that’s the point we’re trying to get across in today’s New Review.

As we’ve traveled around, documenting landscapes and trying to get the word out about how important it is to try to conserve and backup landscapes for future generations, we’ve noticed a trend among owners of DSLR’s. Often, we show up to a location, especially one’s with a strong tourist affiliation, to find at least one (and very often more) person carrying around thousands upon thousands’ of dollars worth of DSLR and lenses in nice, trendy shoulder bags made by the latest and greatest bag manufactures. What we then see is what concerns us the most; said person with camera gear stops, takes photo and moves on. No consideration for composing the shot, no consideration for what settings they’re using (they often use the Auto setting), no consideration for telling a story with the photo.

We know for our personal experience, and from dealing in the industry for many years, that these considerations must be taken into account to produce photos that are impactful, have meaning and look good. Not taking these into consideration generally results in photo’s that have that ‘holiday snaps’ feel about them. That’s fine if that’s what you’re going for, but why spend thousands of dollars on a camera to take ‘holiday snaps’ when they exact same effect can be achieved with even the most basic of smartphones? We think that paying attention to what you’re taking a photo of is way more important that what you’re taking the photo with.

And that’s the crux of today’s review. Do we have issues with the Nikon D7000? Sure, we do. We’d love It if it had better ISO performance, and WIFI wouldn’t go astray either, and on occasion we would love an extra few megapixels of resolution. But we trade off these wants for the ability to travel to more landscapes and preserving them. It costs money to do this, we can either spend what limited funds we have on a new camera that solves a few minor issues, or we can travel to new and exciting landscapes, producing content for both you, our content consumers and for generations to come, while backing up more landscapes.  And as this is our mission statement as a business, we’ll happily keep using the Nikon D7000 until it dies.

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