Canon 7D and Nikon D7000

Nikon D7000 vs. Canon 7D : Cheaper AND Better?

Recently, I published a quick comparison of the new Nikon D7000 and the equally new Canon 60D, both similarly priced mid-range cameras from their respective manufacturers. The Nikon fared very well against the Canon 60D. However, in several recent reports, I’ve begun to see the D7000 compared to the Canon 7D instead… and the 7D is a much harder act to follow. Some have claimed that the Nikon is just as good as the 7D at $400 less.

It is easy to get caught up in the hype surrounding a new camera, especially when it hasn’t even been released to the public. But lets take a more sober look at the features and build of the two powerhouses and see if they can really be considered equals.

Magnesium Alloy construction of the Nikon D7000 (left) and Canon 7D (right) bodies.
Thought both camera bodies can claim magnesium alloy body construction, that construction is not necessarily equivalent. Notice that the Canon’s lens mount is bolstered by the magnesium alloy body.

First, lets take a quick look at the bodies. Although the Nikon D7000 is advertised as having a magnesium alloy body (and it does), it is more of a skeleton than the full metal body of the Canon 7D. As you can see in the photo (sorry for the hasty composite), the 7D is metal all the way up to the lens mount, where the stress from heavy glass can make the greatest impact. The D7000, on the other hand, has magnesium armor in many crucial areas of the body, especially along the top and back of the camera, but its front (and importantly, surrounding the lens mount) is still primarily plastic. The D7000’s body, then, is a great step up for the advanced amateur, but it is still not quite professional class construction. No doubt the smaller size of the D7000 played an important part in the body design.

Though both cameras offer a bright penta-prism viewfinder that show 100% of the full frame, the Canon shows the image at full magnification, while the D7000 is 5% smaller. For those of you who spend hours each day staring through your viewfinder, you’ll understand why this makes a significant difference… bigger, brighter viewfinders are always better.

Now, some of the features:

 Canon 7DNikon D7000
Canon EOS 7DNikon D7000
Amazon Price$1599$1199
B&H Price

Body MaterialMagnesium AlloyMagnesium Alloy & Polycarbonate
LCD Size / Resolution3.0"
920,000 pixels
921,000 pixels
LCD Articulated?NoNo
Sensor Size14.9 x 22.3mm (APS-C)15.8 x 23.6mm (APS-C)
Crop Factor1.6x1.5x
Sensor Resolution18 Megapixels16 Megapixels
ISO Range100-6400
Total AF Focus Points1939
Cross-Type AF Sensors19 (dual diagonal)9
AF Light Level Range-.05 to +18 EV-1 to +19 EV
Metering System63 Zone Point Linked Evaluative
9.4% Center Weighted
2.3% Spot
2016 pixel RGB Metering Sensor
Exposure Compensation1/2 or 1/3 stops via thumb dial1/2 or 1/3 stops via button-dial combo
/ HDR Options
Max Frame Rate : RAW (14-bit)8 fps?
Max Frame Rate : RAW (12-bit)n/a6?
Max Frame Rate : JPG8 fps6?
Max Burst Duration RAW (at highest frame rate)15100?
Max Burst Duration JPG (at highest frame rate)94100
Shutter Speed Range1/8000th - 30 sec.
1/8000th - 30 sec.
Maximum Flash Sync Shutter Speed (standard flash)1/250th sec.1/250th sec.
HD Video Resolutions1080p, 720p1080p, 720p
Available HD Video Frame RatesPAL and NTSC
24/25, 30 at 1080p
24/25, 30, 60 at 720p
24 fps at 1080p,
24, 30 fps at 720p
Firmware Sidecar AvailableUnder DevelopmentNo
Media TypeCompact FlashSD / SDHC / SDXC
(2 slots)
Weight820g (body only)690g (body only)
780g with battery
Viewfinder Coverage100% Frame,
1.0x magnification
100% Frame,
.95x magnification

Obviously, the Canon 7D has a higher resolution sensor, at 18 megapixels compared to the D7000’s 16. The Nikon’s sensor can be pushed (H2) all the way to ISO 25600, though having seen the results, it’s hard to imagine that anyone would want to. Otherwise, the cameras have the same ISO range, 100-6400. I’ve found that images from the 7D shot up to ISO 1600 (and sometimes 3200) are quite usable. I look forward to seeing how the D7000‘s high ISO images compare. As it is a newer sensor and lower resolution, we should expect the D7000 to have slightly better high-ISO performance than the Canon 7D… and my initial tests seem to indicate that this is true, especially at ISO 6400.

[Update: After numerous early reports of hot-pixels on the D7000, Nikon has released a firmware update to help correct the issue. They say that it may not correct the problem entirely, but it should make them much less problematic. You can upgrade your firmware here: Nikon D7000 firmware update .]
The 19 dual cross-type sensor AF module from the Canon 7D.

The D7000 does have an interesting new 39 point, RGB inclusive AF system. However, it still only has 9 cross-type AF sensors, which make a crucial difference in low light, low contrast situations. The Canon 7D has more than double that number of cross-type points (19 dual cross-type, in fact), and an AF system borrowed from the Canon EOS 1D line, probably the world’s most popular and successful line of sports photography cameras, driven by dual Digic-4 processors. Though it’s likely that the Nikon will perform almost as well as the 7D in good light, I would put my money on the 7D in lower, flatter lighting situations.

[Update: This point was a little quick, and since there have been a couple of questions, I’m going to explain this conclusion in a little more depth.

As you undoubtedly know, contrast is the fundamental ingredient for auto focus in SLRs.

If we consider our subject’s face to be our desired focal point, then clearly the red channel gives the best contrast between skin and background, which is typical with skin. We also get good contrast against the sky in the blue channel. The skin tones are low contrast in the green channel, but this is the best case scenario for the green channel, with an almost entirely green background.

Stop and think for a few moments about what a color RGB image is, or better yet, open a few images in Photoshop and take a look at the “Channels” palette. An RGB image is composed of 3 black and white channels, one corresponding to each primary. As you may know, you can duplicate your red channel and replace your blue channel with it, for example… there is nothing inherently “red” or “blue” about each one. Instead, each one is like a black and white photo shot with a colored filter, so they have differing levels of contrast. Since CMOS and CCD sensors use about twice as many green receptors as any other (because of the way that our eyes see) the green channel usually has the most detail information, but the lowest contrast. Again, those of you who do a lot of isolating and masking in Photoshop know that green is the channel least likely to be used to create a new mask.

The 7D does use the color data to assist in AF; it uses the high contrast Red and Blue channels (its metering sensor uses two layers, an RG and a BG). The Nikon uses all three channels, ie, the full RGB spectrum, but keep in mind that because the green channel is typically low contrast, it’s not usually going to be any more useful than the composite RGB brightness data that our cameras have always used; I take the fact that it claims to be RGB as more of a gimmick than an actual engineering feat. So, on the basis of color data, there will be (extremely) few circumstances in practical use when the added color channel will be helpful in pulling focus… if any.

On the other hand, the Canon 7D uses 19 cross-type sensors (rather than just horizontal). Nikon clearly understands the importance of cross-types; they gave the D300s 15 of them in its 51 point array. I’ve been shooting with this camera exclusively for the past two months, and the AF is wonderful. So why not give them to the D7000? The obvious reason is that they’re expensive, and that the D7000′s AF system is intended to be slightly scaled down (fewer AF points, fewer cross type sensors) from the much more expensive D300s (RGB aside). So, there is no reason to think that the D7000′s RGB system will produce better results than Canon’s color assisted AF, but there is a very serious reason to believe that the 7D’s 19 cross-type sensors will out-perform the D7000′s 9. ]

Canon 7D's dual Digic-4 ProcessorsThe dual processors of the Canon 7D also mean that it should perform faster in general. It can shoot faster bursts of photos (8 per second vs. the 6 of the Nikon D7000). The D7000 does allow bursts for a slightly longer duration (100 vs. 94 jpgs), which makes sense: since it’s taking fewer photos per second, it doesn’t have to write the data as fast, and the buffer will have more time to clear. Nikon, however, is suspiciously vague about the resolution and format of those photos. In this matter, I’m keeping in mind that the Nikon D300s advertises being able to shoot 8 frames per second, but it can only shoot 2.5 in RAW mode (unlike the 7D, which shoots 8 fps in RAW or jpg).


For those of you who are serious about making production-quality movies, I can highly recommend B&H’s HDSLR guide. It covers all of the extras that are really important for slick results: audio, matte boxes, stabilizers, rails, etc. Even if you’re not in the market, it’s worth looking… lots of cool toys!

The 7D can also process video faster, allowing it to shoot 60 frame-per-second slow-motion HD video (at 720p). Perhaps more importantly, the D7000 can only shoot 1080p video at 24 fps (not 25 or 30), which is a major limitation. Although some film makers prefer working with 24 fps because of its similarity to the movie film frame rate, 30 fps (30p/60i) is the standard broadcast frame rate, and common video editing frame rate. If you intend to edit video footage together from the D7000 with camcorder video, you’ll have your work cut out for you.

One advantage of the Nikon D7000, however, is the sensitivity of its focusing sensors. According to the specs, the Nikon can focus in a half (0.5) EV lower light than the Canon, which can always come in handy. This is, of course, assuming that in the available light there is sufficient contrast, etc, for the sensors to pull focus. The D7000 also uses SD cards, which some may find to be an advantage, and it holds two of them, allowing physical separation of jpgs and RAW files. I think this is a really cool idea, but I’m not really sure how useful it will be in practice… I can’t think of a good practical application for the way I work.

There are, of course, countless other differences between the two cameras… but many of them are hard to quantify, and many of them are not used by many photographers. I’m willing to accept that there may be particular features found in the D7000 that will make it the best choice for a particular photographer, but when it comes down it to the raw figures, the Canon 7D appears to be the clear winner. Perhaps not by a ton, but certainly $300 worth.

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  • I think it is a pity Nikon didn’t offer higher frame rates for video, although 50p/60p would only be useful for special effects. But for anyone doing cinematic work 24p is the most important thing. And this applies to video cameras as well. I’ve often seen video cameras that were good except I couldn’t use them because they did not offer 24p.

    Autofocus for video is only really for people who want use these cameras for running around shooting video. You never use it when shooting for film production. That applies even when moving from subject to subject or following a single subject.

    For those people worrying about resolution, yes the more recent high-end production digital video cameras like those from Red do offer higher resolution, but plenty of major films have been shot at what would be considered low resolution and no-one would even know from watching the footage. Even the D90/5000 can do a pretty good job if you know how to use them.

    I do think the 7D is an amazing camera, and for film it beats the 5D because of it’s sensor size. The D7000 is Nikon’s first camera that seriously targets the filmmaker. When they replace the D300s that will probably be the camera that beats the 7D on all fronts. Then Canon will come back with something even better. And there is no video camera out there that can provide the quality footage you can get from these DSLRs at anywhere near the same price. For the same money I can kit myself out with the camera, support rig, monitor, audio recorder, microphones and a workable set of lights. Plus it’s a kick-ass stills camera.

    • Hi Dan,

      You make some very good points. I’m a little curious why you think that the 7D sensor size is superior for film, though. Since it’s a smaller sensor, it provides less depth of field, and that is usually the creative force that drives people from video cameras to DSLRs. The sensor size does approximate movie film size more accurately, but I’m not sure why that’s better. But as I’ve said, I don’t really use video.

      – Matthew

  • I’m interested in a direct comparison of image quality. All other features aside for now, I’m looking at sharpness, contrast, low-light performance, dynamic range, ect.
    I was looking at some sample photos from the 7D and D7000 on To me it looks like the Canon is sharper and more clear, or at least has more contrast. the D7000 definitely looked soft. The Nikon though seemed to have the advantage at higher ISO’s overall but especially in shadow ares.
    This was just from one test shot though, I realy want to hear from people that have real world comparison for image quality in the two.

    • Hi Chris,

      That seems like it should be an easy thing, but it’s a little more complicated than it seems at first. The main issue, of course, is that the sharpness and contrast are heavily dependent on the lens choice, and of course, the two systems don’t use compatible lenses by default. Even if you were to test with a 3rd party lens (Sigma or Tamron) and the lenses are truly identical in different mounts (which is not always the case), the sensors are different physical sizes, so comparisons will still not be exact. Then, of course, there’s the fact that there will be differential post processing/raw conversion, which will always be a point of contention. With some factors, the differences are so minor that they usually won’t be visible in a jpg/sRGB color space… they’re really only lab relevant.

      The resolution and sharpness of both cameras, at this point, are limited by the lens rather than the sensor. An interesting article related to this subject can be found on the Luminous Landscape, dating from the release of the 15 megapixel Canon 50D. If you take a look at any of the major lens testing sites, you’ll find that the MTF numbers for even the sharpest lenses on these APS-C sensor cameras are not sensor limited, so at this point in camera technology, we probably don’t need to worry much about the resolution/sharpness of our sensors.

      That’s all just to say… I probably wouldn’t trust overall image quality tests that you find on the internet. There are just too many factors for them to be reliable, especially when the differences are so minor to begin with. High ISO is a little bit of a different story, but also complicated by the differences in sensor size (ie, how does a higher-resolution image compare when down-sampled to the size of a smaller).

      Or at least, take them with a grain of salt :)

      – Matthew

      • “even the sharpest lenses on these APS-C sensor cameras are not sensor limited”

        Good point. After thinking about it a little more, I see that other points in my original question are almost moot as well. Most things involving image quality at this level of camera have pretty miniscule differences, and even those can be adjusted with in-camera settings (the Nikon’s sharpness/contrast could be increased) or failing that, fixed in post processing.

        • Right, keeping in mind, though, that in-camera adjustments like sharpness/contrast/vibrance etc, only have an effect when you’re shooting jpg, not RAW… and if you’re shooting jpg, then you’re throwing away so much data that a lot of these considerations aren’t going to make any difference anyway :) It’s a good idea to set up some defaults for your camera in Adobe Camera Raw or Lightroom and do the work there instead.

          – Matthew

  • good day!
    i just wanna ask your expert opinion on what to buy between the Nikon d3100 or the Nikon d5000..
    this would be my first dlsr camera..
    i would use the camera for my sons taekwondo tournaments and for occasions such as weddings,
    family gatherings and etc…
    Thank you and God Bless..

    • The two cameras are actually pretty closely matched; I’d actually opt for the D3100 though, because it has better video features, if you’ll ever use them, and higher resolution… and since it’s a newer generation sensor, it has better high-ISO performance, although it’s not a huge difference. That said, I’ve tested the D3100 myself, but I’ve never spent any real time with the D5000, so take this with a grain of salt! The D5000 does have an articulated LCD, if you think that’s something important.

      – Matthew

        • That’s a little trickier, because there are so many choices… but I can give you a few ideas.

          Since you’re going to be taking action pictures in low light (indoors), you should consider getting a low-light lens…. that would be a lens with a max aperture of f2.8 or greater (ie, smaller number, like f2, f1.8, etc), unless you plan on using flash, and then it doesn’t make much difference. Something like the 50mm f1.8 costs about $120 and is great for low-light work, if you can get close enough to your subject.

          For a good all-around lens, though, any of Nikon’s most popular wide to telephoto lenses would be great for you: the 18-105mm VR, or the 18-200VR. Obviously there will be some budget consideration here. The 18-105 has VR, which will help a lot with low light situations when there isn’t a lot of action, has good resolution throughout the range, and only costs about $350. It does have some color fringing problems, but they can usually be corrected digitally without any trouble.

          The 18-200 is also a very sharp lens, with excellent resolution, and covers a range equivalent to 28-300 on a full frame camera, which is great. Unfortunately, it’s not quite as sharp all around as some more limited zooms, and it costs quite a bit ($760).

          That said, the D3100 comes with a kit lens that’s an 18-55 VR. I’ve used the non-VR versions of this lens, and they are remarkably good for the price. The zoom range is a little limited, but the long end is equivalent to about an 80mm on 35mm, which is a good portrait length. If you’re planning on getting the kit, then let me know and I’ll give you a more specific recommendation for the focal lengths you want to cover.

          – Matthew

          • Thanks for that advice. It will really help me a lot. I’ll be sending you again a message when I have a question in mind or when I have the camera.

            More power!

            — Stephen

  • Hey Matthew, I really enjoy this conversation, its exciting!

    I am looking to buy a 7D, and I am wondering what are the best lenses to start with, I am looking to do wedding, wildlife/nature, macro, portrait, action and just everyday photojournalism.
    Also what do you have to say about buying lenses used or refurbished, would this have an affect on the performance of the lens?

    What are the best multi-purpose lenses?

    • Hi Jemuel,

      First of all, welcome to the site!

      The answer to your question really depends on your budget. Personally, I think that a 70-200mm f2.8 should be on every wedding / photojournalists list of top priorities. Canon’s 70-200 f2.8 IS II is an outstanding lens, but it comes at a price (currently on sale for a few hundred less, though). The f4 version is actually almost as good, optically (better than most Canon lenses, in fact), and costs half as much. On a 7D, they’re equivalent to something closer to a 300mm, so they’re suitable for some wildlife.

      For macro, Canon’s 60mm f2.8 macro is virtually perfect, and not outrageously expensive, and it also a pretty decent portrait lens.

      At the wider end, Canon’s 17-55 f2.8 IS USM is a great lens, especially for low-light photojournalism and wedding work… but also expensive. At a more reasonable price, the 15-85mm covers a slightly larger zoom range and has strong optical quality, but obviously doesn’t handle low light quite as well.

      If you want to add one some specialty lenses, Canon’s 10-22 and 100-400 will extend your wide an telephoto possibilities. Actually, a good alternative to the 10-22 (though not quite as wide) is Tokina’s 11-16 f2.8, which is optically excellent, just hard to find in stock anywhere.

      Generally, refurbished lenses are safe, as long as they’ve been refurbished by Canon. In fact, sometimes they’re better because quality control issues from manufacturing will be caught in the re-furb process and corrected. Used lenses are hit and miss. I’m happy to buy used equipment from people who I know, I’m a little hesitant to buy expensive used equipment on Ebay. I’d certainly consider buying used from the big camera equipment houses in NY if they have a solid return policy (in case you discover a problem), and the same goes for, which sells used stuff with a good safety policy.

      Good luck!

      – Matthew

      • What would be the application of the 18-135mm or the 18-200mm? would those be good for all around use? how about low light performance?
        What sort of lenses would be good for someone on a tight budget?

        • The 18-135 and 18-200 are intended to be all-around lenses, covering the range from 28mm – 200mm/300mm on a full frame camera. Unfortunately, the ones that Canon makes are not the greatest, optically. The 18-135 is better than the other, but both tend to have mediocre resolution at the telephoto end of the zoom range. No consumer grade zoom lens is going to be great in low light, unfortunately… although the image stabilization helps. They’d be great for casual photography, but I’d be hesitant to use either professionally.

          For better optical quality, and on a budget, you might consider the 55-250 IS. It has a good telephoto range, and the image stabilization will help in lower light. More importantly, it’s very sharp throughout the entire zoom range… and it only costs about $200. Its not a USM, unfortunately.

          For low light, ideally you’d want an f2.8 lens with image stabilization… but that’s going to cost quite a bit (and the IS doesn’t help when you’re trying to stop action). Instead, you might consider a fixed focal length lens. A good budget choice is Canon’s 50mm f1.8, which is wonderfully sharp, great for low light, and only costs $99.

          The problem, on a budget, is going to be the low end of the zoom range. The 15-85 that I mentioned will be a good addition to the 55-250, but it’s not exactly cheap. You might either just settle for a slightly lower quality lens for that range, or save for a bit. Actually, Sigma makes a 17-50mm f2.8 that would be good for low light, and is optically pretty solid, too… and is currently on sale at B&H.

          Just a couple more choices to consider, I guess :)

          – Matthew

            • The 70-300mm IS USM is also a great lens when it comes to optical quality. Great resolution throughout the range, and virtually no distortion. It does cost more than twice as much (@ $495) as the 55-250, so it will depend on your budget whether you can justify the extra length.

              Both lenses have the same, variable maximum apertures of f4-5.6, so they will perform the same in low light (they’re also both image stabilized, which is great except when you need to stop motion. In that case, it doesn’t hurt, but it doesn’t help either).

              Anyway, its another good choice :)

              – Matthew

              • Ok, i see… thanks for the insight :)

                What do you have to say about buying refurbished camera bodies? Is the quality the same? performance? lifespan?
                Does it depend on who refurbishes it?

              • I’ve never actually purchased a refurbished body, so I don’t have any personal experience there. I would expect the quality and performance to be the same. The difference would be lifespan, usually. Different components on digital cameras have an expected lifespan; the shutters, for example, have an expected lifespan of perhaps 100,000 actuations (though some cameras are more and older cameras are less). My old Nikon D80 had a shutter lifespan of something like 75K shots, but it didn’t make it anywhere close to that… the aperture adjustment module failed after about 30K.

                So, if you get a refurbished camera, it may well be in perfect working order… but it’s lifespan may be limited by how hard it was used by the first owner.

                – Matthew

  • Hi guys,

    I’ve purchased the Nikon d7000 couple of weeks ago and I didn’t base my purchased between the 7D and the D7000 on the reviews only. One major point I don’t read often is the lens factor. Both company have beautiful glass but I have the Nikon’s. So, I think you have too look at what you have before choosing between them.
    Has you know they both will come out with new body in less then a year or so. We can’t always resale everything to change brand ans so on. So I stick to Nikon, I have a d300 and a d7000 and one day will resale theses to buy a new model that will surpass the Canon and Canon will do the same. My advice is stick to the brand you got most lenses in or get rich and buy both brands.


  • Hi. As for why two card slots might be important, for me it would be an assurance that some Interior Ministry cop or soldier somewhere who demands my card (singular) as I’m shooting in some politically sensitive area would get just that: my card, which I would hand over to him with many apologies. He’s not going to say, “Hey, wait a minute! Is that a Nikon D7000/300s/Olympus E3 you’ve got there? Give me the second card!” It’s an insurance policy.

    Alas, my D90 lacks such a feature, and I’m somewhat limited by cost considerations. (I spend most of my time writing from the former USSR, but take my own photos which the news org I freelance for nearly always publishes.) The D7000 thus is very attractive.

    But looking through a 7D viewfinder for the first time was almost a religious experience! I’d say that it isn’t the lack of dual card slots that keeps me from buying it, but the tendency to produce purple fringing and other aberration in certain conditions. Doesn’t that bother Canon people? It would drive me nuts!

    • That’s a contingency I hadn’t really thought about fully, I guess :) Actually, I’ve bumped into the same situation a few times myself, but I always figured that if I opened up the card slot door, people would just notice that there are dual cards. Perhaps with a little practice and slight-of-hand, though…

      The purple fringing that you mention is, of course, actually a chromatic aberration problem associated with the lens rather than the camera itself. This was a problem that started showing up heavily with the 50D’s 15mpixel sensor, and is more pronounced with the 7D’s 18, because the resolution of the sensors is now high enough to capture the flaws of the lenses with great clarity.. With good lenses, it’s not a problem; and even with some cheaper lenses it can be corrected in post (especially when you’ve shot RAW and the colors are still separate and can be re-aligned). If you down-sample the image to a lower resolution, it’s actually easier to correct sometimes. Anyway… it’s not something that I can blame on the camera.

      – Matthew

  • I’m currently taking photos with a Canon T1i with a 50mm f1.8 and 85mm f1.8 to take pictures of my boys in their inline speed skating competitions. The events are held in skating rinks, so I’m faced with low-light conditions. Combine that with the speed of the sport and you can see the difficulty in getting the shots that I desire. I do, however, get a lot of good photographs with what I have, but I’m often frustrated that it could be better. I have recently purchased Canon’s 135mm f2.0 L series and tried it the other day. The auto focus was whack! So I need to make a decision to send the camera and lens in to be calibrated, but I”m wondering. Since I’m in this for the long haul, and I have been taking pictures of this sport for the past two years. Am I just better off upgrading my camera body to a 7D? At a minimum, I think I need the 7D to take the pictures I want to take, and I think it’s worth the investment. Is that the road I should take? Or do you think there’s a more appropriate Canon body that is right for the job but wont necessarily cost me arm and leg? Thanks

    • Ultimately, one of the 1D series bodies would be ideal for you… probably the 1D mark IV, but it would cost you an arm and a leg :) The 7D really is the next best body for action photography in Canon’s lineup… and the focusing system should make a big difference when trying to focus in low light, low contrast conditions. The 135 f2 is a beauty of a lens… I’m sorry to hear you were having trouble with it. I think that’s the first time I’ve ever heard a negative word spoken about that lens :) One advantage of the 7D is that it allows you to set the fine focus for your lenses (and save those settings), but I’m not sure if that’s the problem you’re having. Anyway, the 7D body sounds like a good idea to me.

      One thing that you might consider in addition, though, is using some off-camera flash (unless there are specific regulations against it). If you take a look at Sports Illustrated basketball photos, for example… they’re all strobe lit, even though it may not be obvious unless you’re looking for it. The trick is to use flash units that are positioned at the right distance from your subjects and triggered with radio releases (pocket wizard classics will do it, but it’s much easier with the new TTL models). You end up getting super sharp photos and better contrast (let me know if you’d like to hear more details about this kind of work; I’ve used it to shoot basketball and wrestling, indoors, but I’m sure you could adapt it to meet your needs). Just a thought…

      – Matthew

  • I am in the market for a camera and from what i have read and heard about the 7D and d7000 it is just so heard to make a choice on which to buy…i definitely have zero’d it down to the two 7d and d7000 and am really not that concerned about the prices i just need need help to decide wich one i will be going for… truth be told i really am tending towards the canon 7d but i just need to know i am making the right choice….. i do a bit of everything from sports to portrait, landscape, wildlife you name it… i just wanna know which one in your humble opinion is more versatile ……..

    • If price were not a big deal, I’d opt for the Canon 7D. Higher resolution, faster, better built, faster, more video flexibility, etc. The only place that the D7000 might win is in the high ISO category, and I just don’t think that’s important enough (or a significant enough difference) to be worth choosing the camera. If the light is that bad, I’d rather use a faster lens or set up strobes. As many people have mentioned in the comments below, the autofocus during video of the D7000 is also very problematic, so I don’t think that weighs strongly in favor of the D7000 either. That’s the direction I’d go. But, as I’ve said before, they’re undoubtedly both great cameras.

      – Matthew

  • Hi,
    I have been trying to decide on which camera to buy for several weeks now. I’ve taken several home and played with them, only to bring them back to the store unsure of which one to buy. I’m currently debating between the Canon 60d and 7d and the Nikon d7000. I’m thinking, for a first DSLR, I don’t want to get more camera than I can handle – I have some knowledge and am actively seeking out more and learning, but I also don’t want to be cheap and get a significantly worse camera. I want one that will grow with me. I’m enjoying the 7d, but is it worth the extra money compared to a 60d or d7000 for a beginner? Video is important to me, but I don’t care much about the autofocus features. One point of debate has been lenses; can you tell me which brand gives me better lenses for less money?

    • Hi Annelies,

      Camera-wise, I probably wouldn’t spend the extra money on the 7D unless you’re a semi-pro or planning on doing a lot of action photography; the 60D is a great camera… and so is the D7000. It’s funny that you mention that you want a camera that will grow with you, because that’s how a lot of people think about it (including myself, I suppose), but I also find that the better a photographer you become, the less camera you need. You don’t need those fancy modes that they add to help out beginners… you know how to get what you want manually, etc. A great photographer can take great pictures with just about any camera. Anyway, given your needs, I’d probably go with the 60D or D7000.

      Now, it will be hard to answer your second question without starting a war on this blog. I think that generally speaking, we can all agree that Nikon lenses are more expensive than Canon. I think that we can also show that in many cases, the Canon lenses are just as good, and in some cases better than their Nikon counterparts, but there are also plenty of cases in which the Nikon lenses are better (especially when it comes to consumer-grade wide-medium zooms). My personal experience is that Canon’s telephoto lenses tend to be superior, and Nikon’s wides are better, but even that is a hard generalization to make. But in many cases, the debate is really academic… modern lenses are really awesome.

      Anyway, one of the great things about modern cameras is that they’re really all very good. The most important thing is to get one, take a lot of pictures and get very familiar with it, learn its strengths and weaknesses, and focus on your own creativity and compositional skills, and not worry too much about the equipment.

      Hope that helps a little bit, at least :) BTW, I noticed that you just registered on the site, so Welcome! I hope that when you settle on a camera, you come back and post some photos for us to see in your album.

      – Matthew

      • Thanks for your thoughts, it’s very helpful to get input from someone else! I guess I should have mentioned earlier that it seems like each of the cameras has at least one feature I deem somewhat important. The 60d was working great for me until I noticed how big of a difference I saw on the screen regarding framing; I’d have it framed just as I wanted, but then the image would contain more, since the viewfinder is 96%. besides that I liked the 60d. Is this something that people just have to get used to? The nikon seems to have a problem with dead pixels in live view mode for video. The first one we brought home had 6 such pixels in awkward areas, then we exchanged it. The one we have now had no dead pixels upon purchase, and is now showing three. This concerns me as it seems to be getting progressively worse, and to spend that kind of money on a camera with such a major flaw seems backwarrds. Finally, I really like the 7d, except for the fact that the little toggle button seems awkward, but this is probably something I’d get used to. Also, the 7d has been on the market for a while, and seems to be a strong and solid camera. The 60d and d7000 on the other hand look great on paper and initial reviews are decent, but what are their long-term expectations? What kind of problems might arise with either of them? I anticipate more issues with the nikon regarding the pixels, and with the Canon I could see the swivel screen getting less sturdy over time… Oh, the indecision! Do you think these are all minor points or valid considerations when purchasing? Thanks!

        • I agree that not having a 100% viewfinder can be annoying until you get used it (and even after that). This is something that manufacturers used to do on purpose, actually, because popular print sizes (ie, 5×7, 8×10) are not the same size ratio as a 35mm film frame, so you’d actually get a more accurate preview of what you’d get in print. But that’s not really much of an issue anymore, with digital.

          I also agree the the dead/hot pixel issue with the new Nikons is troubling; I’m hoping to hear more about this from Nikon in the near future.

          Ergonomically, any camera will take a while to become completely comfortable, but if there’s something that really bothers you, I guess you’re the only one who will be able to tell if it’s something that you’ll get over. If you’re concerned about the durability of your camera (or the LCD), the 7D is definitely the way to go… some people are harder on cameras than others :)

          I wish that I could offer you more help! It sounds like you know all of the facts, though, and have used all of the cameras, so now it just comes down to personal preference… and that’s something that only you can really decide. Good luck!

          – Matthew

  • I have read that the D7000 has a better dynamic range than the 7D? How visible is this difference and is it particularly useful? Another point I have noticed with the 7D is that when used as a wireless master, the pop up flash makes a small contribution to the exposure despite setting it to only pre-flash. ISO performance is something that would be important to me as I like using natural light as much as possible. The D7000 is supposedly a winner on that front.
    I currently am a canon user but am not particularly heavily invested. It is a difficult choice to make!


    • Hello Ali,

      If the D7000 has a better dynamic range than the 7D, it isn’t obvious to me from the photos. That’s not to say that it doesn’t exist; I’m just not sure that it’s field relevant. It’s also true that the old Nikon D5000 and D90 test as having better dynamic range than the Canon 7D, so this isn’t something special about the D7000.

      I don’t use the pop-up for master control, so I can’t comment on that; I use pocket wizards or radiopoppers if I’m not using a flash on the body. Perhaps someone else here will have additional information on how much of an issue that is.

      It is, indeed, a difficult choice to make :) I’m not exactly blown away by the D7000, but it’s certainly a great camera. Good luck!

      – Matthew

  • Video of the 7D is so much better than D7000. See FenchelJanisch’s comparison video on YouTube. Kai of also 7D the edge over the D7000 in his review. Nikon’s images are anemic and washed out.

    • Lol at this…Under-Saturated doesn’t necessarily mean it’s better…that’s why we POST-PROCESS lmfao
      Who is Kai?! Some random Chinese geek?

      • Kenny,

        I am happy to have dissenting opinions posted here, but I do expect them to be respectful, or at the very least, civil.

        For the time being, I’ve revoked your ability to post here without your comments being held for moderation. Please stop to think about how your comments will be perceived before you post again in the future.

        – Matthew

  • So Far So Good…After road-testing the D7000 for 3 days, I can now conclude that it is Faster and More responsive than my brother’s crappy 7D, focus is always spot on…So all of you CANON 7D Fanboys here believing that that your 7D is superior…well, think again, which one is better? haha Your opinion is not valid not unless you have tested the Nikon yourselves (including the author of this article)

    Even Wedding Photographer Peter Gregg, who is a FORMER 7D user, has nothing but Praises to the new APSC king


    Eat your heart out, fanboys!

    • Kenny, seems so excited! I’m so glad you found your dream camera wish I could say the same. I’m dwelling around for nearly 2 months now and am still not sure what to buy. I’ve read so many opinions and it all comes to one point. Nearly every Nikon or Canon fan boosts his own preferred brand and that brings me no where. Though, I found Nikon fans more arrogant and always wanting to proof their opinion is best. There are exceptions and the one I know now is our friend Matthew, a true gentleman respecting everyone’s freecom of choice. Regards

      • Luna,
        Matthew’s assertions were just based ON PAPER… No real-world hands-on test prior to this written article, which is, well a shame as it tend to mislead every potential Nikon buyers into believing that the Canon is actually superior, no offense meant Matthew…

        Now having extensively tested the Nikon with my older brother, we constantly SWAP cameras with identical lenses, we both Own the Sigma 50mm HSM BTW…He gladly accepted that indeed the Nikon’s just more precise especially in handling lowlight conditions.However, I still envy the Canon grip…lol

  • Hi Matthew, Here’s the results, if you haven’t already saw them…

    Nikon D7000
    DxOMark Sensor Scores

    Overall Score

    (Color depth)
    23.5 bits

    (Dynamic range)
    13.9 Evs

    (Low-Light ISO)
    1167 ISO

    Manufacturer specifications
    Launch date 2010-09-15
    Indicative price 1300 USD
    Resolution 16 Mpix (4991 x 3280)
    Pixel pitch 4.73 µm
    Bits per pixel 14
    Focal length multiplier 1.53
    ISO latitude 100 – 25600
    Frame rate 6 fps

    Thank you for starting a great thread, I’ll be looking forward to participating in future discussions. You’re a cool host and have a wealth of information to share with your readers. God Bless………

    • Hi Neil,

      Thanks for the info! This doesn’t come as much of a surprise, actually… even the Nikon D90 scores a lot better than the 7D, the way that DxO measures things :) Still, useful information to have.

      – Matthew

      • Hi Matthew,

        This is the first time I heard of DxO, so I visited the site to see what’s going on there. Seems to me the D7000 out classes the Canon 60D, 7D and Sony A55 when it comes to sensors. What surprised me is the score of the Sony sensor.

        I wanted to buy one of these with the 18-200mm lens but seems to me that is the worst lens I can buy. I really need this wide range. Time is running out for me and I only have a couple of weeks to make my final decision. Must say it’s very confusing. Thanks for your time

        • Hi Luna,

          I don’t put much stock in DxO’s sensor tests. There are several reasons for this, and they’re probably too much to delve into in this format, but the main reason is that I just don’t think that they’re field relevant, for the most part, and I think that their testing methodology for sensors is incomplete. All of the sensors that are available these days perform extremely well, even at ISO 3200. If you were to buy any one of the cameras that you’ve mentioned and don’t get good image quality, then either the camera is in need of repair, or there’s an issue with your technique :)

          That said, testing lenses is a lot more straight forward (though you should still compare lenses on the same sensor or brand… cross brand tests are notoriously problematic. For example, if you compare Tamron lenses on DxO, the same lens may show higher resolution on a Canon than a Nikon [see the 28-300], but if you compare the Tamron lens to a Canon lens on the same body, you’ll get good comparatives). It has always been the case, unfortunately, the the greater the zoom range, the harder it is for a lens to be consistently good throughout… and the 18-200 is a pretty dramatic range. I personally find the tests at more useful (with examples and better charts) than DxO, incidentally… I’m planning (within the next two months) to start an archive of my own lens tests, as soon as I work out a good testing procedure and buy the proper software. But I digress :) If you want to cover the 18-200 range, you’re going to get better optical quality by spreading that range over two lenses.

          However, a lens that produces mediocre test results on a review site may still be good enough for the type of work you’re doing; keep in mind that you’re only going to get the kind of resolution produced in the tests if you’re shooting tripod mounted (or perhaps in a strobe-only studio, or a couple of other rare circumstances)…. otherwise, the resolution of all images is going to be limited by that stability of your hands, not the performance of your lens. For most photographers, the minor differences in lens resolution is purely academic.

          I hope that didn’t just add to the confusion!

          – Matthew

          • Hi Matthew,

            What’s your opinion on this new lens Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR? Quite expensive but I heard this is a quit good lens and it’s handles quit good as it weighs so light.

            • Hi Luna,

              I’m afraid that I haven’t had a chance to use one yet, myself. I’ve heard, though, that they’re sharper than Nikon’s 18-200 (which isn’t saying a whole lot, I guess, but I’ve used the 18-200 for plenty of good shots), and that the distortion is pretty well controlled for a lens with such wide zoom range. Tamron’s 28-300mm VC is a couple of years old now, and was also pretty expensive new; very popular with amateurs because of the range that it covers, but it does have the drawback of this type of lens… it’s just not very sharp throughout the whole range (DxO’s numbers say otherwise, though, for some reason). Canon’s 28-300 is older still, but also not very sharp at the long end. I hope that the Nikon is better… I’m looking forward to giving it a try!

              – Matthew

            • Sorry for al the errors, I write like a “dog” . What I wanted to say is the lens is quit light and therefore handles well. (Although 800g seems heavy to me)

              • Don’t mention it :) That’s what the internet is for, right?

                You’re right… 800g is still a pretty hefty lens, but compared to many 300mm lenses, it’s not so bad. Take a look at the Canon equivalent: it’s a big, white monster (1670g)!

                – Matthew

  • Hi Matthew

    I’m a film student, and for my diploma film project, was planning on shooting my film on a dslr instead of the usual Z7 HD video. So after a LOT of research, and an independent film budget in mind, I’ve set my gaze on these two cameras, the D7000 and the 7D.

    Videography is what I’m looking for here, as many video options as possible, and very importantly, the ability to shoot full HD, grainless footage in low light (the genre being horror). As far as stills are concerned, I do want a decent camera for recce and blocking my shots, and though will be primarily be using my camera for video, I do not want a inferior camera by any means.

    I was all set on getting the 7D when i got aware of the auto AF, plus the external stereo jack on the D7000, something Canon offers in its superior 5D mark II (this will let me record dialogues SO much more easily).

    Your article was a very insightful and helpful read, and I did want to ask your advice on which camera I should go for, and if you had anything more to add about the cameras here. 7D is the more expensive deal here, and D7000 seems to offer me better features for video, but since you have given 7D the thumbs up I’d like to know if there is something I’m missing here.Do reply when you find the time,thanks so much.

    • I’ll write a bit more in a half hour or so… but for the moment, two things: did you see my article about the video features of Canon DSLRs, here? And if you’re actually interested in auto-focus…. then have you considered the Sony Alpha A55? Same size sensor as the D7000, but it has a fixed pellicle system so it has full time AF that is actually fast and reliable, unlike the contrast detection AF that Canons and Nikons use in video mode. I wrote a bit about it here.

      More in a bit…

      – Matthew

      • OK, to sum up:

        You’re right that if you’re interested in full auto-focus filming, the D7000 is superior, and the Sony a55 is better than both of them.

        As for everything else, I don’t know of any advantages that the D7000 has over the 7D. The 7D has more flexibility for frame rates, and it also has Magic Lantern (at least a partial build), which I’m sure you already know about.

        That said, I’m not a video guy, so I’m really probably not the best resource :) Good luck!

        – Matthew

        • Hey Matthew,
          Thanks a ton for your detailed reply. I’ll probably will be going for the D7000 for the autofocus in the video.


  • WOW…Fanboism at its finest, LOL at the Author of this article, My brother has a 7D and I can see his frustrations with the AF.. Now that the D7K is released, he is thinking of switching to canon..I myself haven’t comitted to any system yet, Im obviously going fter the D7000 . Dollar per dollar value, the Nikon Trumps the Canon… And the video, who the hell needs 60 fps if it’s a mind torture to AF a subject, let alone a moving subject… in fact the ONLY benefit of 60fps over 30fps is the Slow-Mo editing…Both can be fairly look fluid and identical when played at normal speed…So IMO in the video department Nikon wins here. And I’m going to bet my ass even if the d7000 is ‘supposedly’ slower in AF it’ll still best the Canon when it comes to keeper rates…

    This article is as Biased as it can be (shame on the Author, really)

    • Ken,

      It sounds like you’ve already decided to buy a D7000, which is great. If it fits your needs, go for it… it’s an awesome camera.

      That said, your comments would carry a lot more weight if you actually addressed the specific claims that I’ve made in the article, and in a relevant manner. Saying that I’m a fanboy is cheap and pointless; it’s the knee-jerk response that all the kids make on blogs when they run across an opinion that differs from their own. Your comments regarding video, for example, are almost there… you essentially admit that the Canon is better (ie, it has 60fps in addition to 30 and 24) but it’s a feature that’s not important to you (though you didn’t mention the 30fps rate at 1080p, which is an important issue as well). But then, you follow with the non-sequitur that Nikon wins in the video department, IYO.

      – Matthew

    • Kenny,

      It’s amazing how easily hypocrites expose themselves; like yourself, for instance. Is your decision to buy the Nikon based on any real analysis, or are you jumping off the cliff with all the other lemmings? The NIkon is a great camera, but the Canon is better overall, especially considering lens prices and range. Either way you go, consider not judging people for their fact-based opinions.

      Matthew, sorry you have to deal with this childishness. I believe people wouldn’t be so pompous if they weren’t able to hide incognito behind the internet. Keep posting – your analysis is very insightful.

      • Thanks Jonathan :)

        I’ve always thought that if nobody objects to what you’re saying (in an article like this), then you’re not saying anything important. But I really would like to have a higher level of objection now and then!

        – Matthew

      • Better Overall? in what way? Sports Photography is one thing…but how about ‘beyond’ Sports photography? you obviously haven’t shot with a 7D, I did…and The AF is a Pain to bear, yes it’s my brothr’s cam and he owns a handful of L lenses, but I’m his Photographer most of the time when we do some family outing and I was his wedding photographer. You have to take note that Canon’s metering is somewhat ancient, so more than 90 percent of the time, the D7K will likely produce a more accurate color reading and exposure.

        And the lens, you didn’t mention about third party lenses like Sigma…A D700 plus a pro-quality Sigma beats a 7D with a mediocre Canon lens anytime (now compute, most probably the two combos that I mentioned are priced the same) knock knock

        Rude Awakening here for Canon, they concentrated on the video too much, now they are getting KO’d with the video AF…and did I mention that the D7K’s NOISE handling is somewhat comparable to Canon’s 5D mk 2? Yep, that’s Crop vs Full Frame lol…

        • Ken,

          I own two 7Ds – although you insist I haven’t shot with one – so I am familiar with the AF. Both of mine are excellent, and you probably shot with a bad egg. As far as metering, the settings you use could be producing sub-par IQ.

          Video AF is a consumer – NOT pro – feature. As Matthew and others have mentioned, professionals almost always manual focus to focus in/out for effect, choose what they want to focus on, and control speed of transition from focal A to B. Enjoy the feature, but know that House and other hollywood productions will continue to use 5DIIs and 7Ds to film, and not 7Ks.

          • NIKON won’t give a damn if House MD uses the 5D, Hollywood outfts are ONLY a small number of percentage …diminutive compared to those aspiring stills hobbyists and videographers who want a significantly better body. They (Hollywood outfits) WERE using 5Ds at that time because Nikon video technology isn’t fully developed YET. Now it’s a different story, Imagine what’s the next Nikon Full Frame would be like..I can imagine lots of videographers jumping ship.

            D7000 is the newer technology here, and you’re just too blind to accept that it CAN stand toe to toe with the 7D

            In FACT the average Hobbyist or Soccer Moms would want AF on their DSLRs, you are indeed LYING if you don’t want AF on your 7d and you want more creative control like those Pros so video AF wouldn’t bear a necessity. Talking about SOURGRAPING here…

            Move On….Canon’s been beaten this time, Unless they can come up with a substancial upgrade that would justify their pricing.

            • Fanboism and sourgraping – fantastic words ….. but I digress. If the 7D does indeed have such a terrible AF system, I find it worrisome that such a flawed camera received the 2010 TIPA award in the category Best DSLR Expert. Must be ……. fanboism (not sure I’ve come to grips with word yet)

            • Hi Ken,
              The way you express your pro for Nikon seems full of capitalized anger, which is unnecessary here, and your angry expression just describes who you are…illogical. An angry person loses most of his temper and logical consideration and accordingly can and should not make a wise decision….I guess you are not at home with your bro’s 7D …only at your hand once and a while. If you first own a 7D, I believe you will post otherwise. And I would wait for a while to buy a discounted D300s, don’t you think so, Matthew ?

  • Matt…you are obviously pro Canon. I do admire your tenacity at rebuttal to ever post. You say you shoot with the D300 often…why? Comparison? Nikon and Canon are both great instruments for capturing life. I do feel that you would have nothing else to do if not for the great debate. Nikon rocks…Canon cruises. Lets think Kodachrome 64. They are both awesome cameras…but as far as images go you can compare the D7000 to the 7D to the XTi to the D90 all day long…however in the hands of a pro it is moot! Just go out and shoot! Leave the rest to us….

    • I guess I might as well expand on that. I shoot Canon and Nikon because they are both available to me, and I like them both. I’ve used Canon for a lot longer than Nikon (about 19 years), so I do tend to write more about Canon simply because of familiarity, but I don’t consider myself a Canon or Nikon shooter. If you’ve read my other articles and comments, you’ll see that I’ve said the same thing time and again… the most important thing is the person behind the camera, and a good photographer can usually make up for a particular shortcoming of a camera. It’s most important to get a camera and start shooting rather than waiting for the perfect model to be released, or fretting about noise at ISO 3200.

      However, people want to make informed decisions, and there are differences between these cameras. I’m simply trying to make the differences clear, from my perspective.

      – Matthew

      • I landed here searching information about the D7000 vs the 7D (how appropriate). I want to buy my first DSLR and I have been for the last 10 days reading all there is about them. I just want to say that, just because of your comment above, you’ve won me as a follower of this site. I’ll happily read and take as much advantage as I can from your knowledge and generosity. Thanks!

        • Hi Monica,

          Thank you, and I’m glad you found the site :) If you have any questions, feel free to let me know. Also, you can join the site (free, of course) so that you can upload photos and post comments and questions in the groups/forum section. There hasn’t been much demand yet, but it’s only a few weeks old :)


  • Since the 7D’s price is going down, do you suggest to get it rather than the D7000?

    hope you could help me choose my camera..

    thanks! :)

    • Yes, I think that ultimately, you’ll get better performance out of the 7D… and the price differential is not terribly great, especially when the price of lenses is taken into consideration. Let me say again, though, that they’re both great cameras, and I’m sure that you’d be happy with either one. The video features are better on the 7D, if you use them. If you’re not already invested in one of these brands, then you’ll really want to look into the features of the entire camera line, because once you invest a lot of money in one brand, it’s hard to switch. Take a look at the flashes made by Nikon and Canon, the full line of lenses, and take a look at the higher-end bodies, and see if they’re heading the direction that you want to be going as well.

      Good luck, and let me know if you have any more specific questions that I might be able to help with :)

      – Matthew

      • This is very good advice, I had a Canon film camera and a couple of lenses when the film door latch broke while on vacation. I felt that I already had Canon lenses and that a Canon digital made sense. I’ve learned alot since then. I’m not a “photographer” I’m a machinist, this is just a hobby for me. I started purchasing more lenses and a new flash, but as the years passed my interests have changed to shooting wildlife. What i’ve seen along the way are some amazing photos produced on Canon gear by “professionals” and a lot of mediocre photos produced by “amateurs”, on the other hand I’ve seen a lot of amazing photos with Nikon gear produced by pros and amateurs. My uneducated guess, is that Canon focuses too much on pixel count, requiring more noise reduction = softer images, nikon with less pixels requires less noise reduction = more detail. My point is, I’m so heavily invested in Canon now I can’t afford to switch, even though I feel Nikon is superior with wildlife photography.. Each system, not just Canon and Nikon, has advantages and disadvantages. Really think about what type of photography interests you before choosing a body because, unless your very wealthy, once you make a choice it’s hard to switch. On a side note, I never ever, ever want to shoot video, I wish both mfg. would make a camera without it and adjust the price accordingly. my 2c.

        • “I wish both mfg. would make a camera without it and adjust the price accordingly”
          I agree with you on that. When I started looking for my first DSLR 3 years ago, DSLR did not have video which was a little bit disappointing for me as my point and shoot had it (never used it though!). So I bought a DSLR and didn’t need video for I already had Camcorders and am mainly in die video business. When Nikon announced the first DSLR with video capabilities I thought it wasn’t a good thing. But when the reviews pointed out that the video part did not add to the cost and was quite a bonus added. Seems to me that all the manufacturers start to improve the video part on DSLRS and now these extras starts adding to the price.

          May be I’m wrong, it’s obvious debatable, the same applies to stills added to camcorders. One of my camcorders have 10mp still added and I never use that as well, simply because it’s not good at all.

          Ok you could benifit by using the lenses’ capabilities with video, but recently Sony (may be others as well) brought out a camcorder with exchangeble lenses and I’m sure it will deliver far better video than the lower end DSLR’s with video.

          But yes if they could leave the video part out and drop the price or at least improve the camera I think it would be better. I don’t think this will happen and it would be interesting to see where DSLRs will be in 5 years time.


          • Yes, one of the disappointing things about the current popularity of photography is that cameras are now marketed simply as electronics equipment, like TVs and Stereos. They sell cameras in big electronics stores like BestBuy along with new refrigerators. Marketing to this crowd, the camera companies have to keep adding more features, no matter how vacuous to the serious photographer, because without them they’ll lose too many sales. Unfortunately, this means that lots of these features (like video) are not going to disappear any time soon.

            We might, however, have more luck with cameras with smaller consumer markets; Rollei, Leica, Maybe even Pentax.

            – Matthew

    • Glad you’re enjoying the thread… I have been too :) Micah emailed on Friday and said that he was busy with work, and would have some test photos soon, but I haven’t received them yet, unfortunately… and I’ve been too busy getting this site up and running again after a database crash to pester him.

      The Nikon D700 is an awesome, full frame camera with great low noise performance. For my money, I’d prefer the Canon 5D Mark II, though, since the prices are similar, and they’re both full frame… and the 5D II has HD video, and 21megapixels. The D700, however, has a superior AF system, with 51 focusing points and 15-cross type sensors, compared to the Canon’s ONE cross type. It’s a much better system for action photography.

      – Matthew

        • Agreed. Only one cross type sensor; the same AF system as the T2i. It’s unfortunate. Yet, to continue with my previous comment, I know dozens of journalists and pro wedding photographers who shoot with the 5D, and produce better photos than most of the people on the internet who rail on about the superiority of some other camera’s AF system. Naja… so ist das Leben.

          – Matthew

  • “In this matter, I’m keeping in mind that the Nikon D300s advertises being able to shoot 8 frames per second, but it can only shoot 2.5 in RAW mode (unlike the 7D, which shoots 8 fps in RAW or jpg).”

    This statement is incorrect. I own a D300s. It’s 8fps in 12 bit RAW, and 2.5 fps in 14 bit RAW.

    • Hi Justin,

      Take a look at the comments below. The the Canon shoots 8 fps in 14-bit, and that’s really what I’m comparing it to…. it’s highest quality settings. Yes, again, it does shoot faster at lower bit-rate (significantly less data, obviously, or it wouldn’t slow down so much), and indeed, it shoots faster if you shoot little jpgs with it. But that’s not comparing apples to apples.

      I own a D300s too, incidentally, and I love it.

      – Matthew

      • If you’re shooting in a way that you require 14-bit, there’s a good chance you’d be better off getting a cheaper camera and spending the savings on a good class/lessons/books.

        No crap there’s less data–it’s noise! Noise is random and does not compress well, hence takes up more storage. Try it: shoot the same scene at your highest and lowest ISOs. The high ISO will always be a larger file. Sure it’s more data…it’s not useful data though.

        Are we talking prints? Matthew, have you actually compared properly processed prints of the same subject, same conditions, comparable glass?

        In case it hasn’t been mentioned, the 7d’s focusing doesn’t compare well to any of the cameras with CAM3500 in low light. I’ve seen this with 1.4, 1.8, and 2.8 glass. It’s just not as confident and can’t follow like the Nikons. So, even though the 7d has a 2fps advantage in this comparison, I suspect the D7000 will yield more keepers in low light.

        FYI, I’ve studied some raws from the new d7000, and they’re damn close to my D700.

        As a final point about video: I was under the impression that the 7d shot 1080p/60fps. That’s not the case. It’s only 60fps at 720p. That said, the video differences between the cameras are actually quite subtle.

        • I’m hesitant to embark on this tired old debate again, but since it keeps coming up…

          Surely you understand that the advantage of higher bit-depth data is in the shadows. If not, PLEASE read and understand the tables in this article from the Luminous Landscape.

          Now, suppose I’ve come across a high dynamic range scene with rapidly changing light or moving subjects so that HDR isn’t a viable option. There are two possibilities: I can expose for the shadows and blow out the highlights (but blown highlight data is impossible to retrieve) or I can expose to hold highlight detail. Doing so pushes the shadows down into the lower zones of the exposure, where the fewest levels of tonality exist. And I usually expose to keep as much highlight details as possible, though I am willing to clip some when necessary.

          So, suppose that I’ve taken a shot exposed to hold highlight detail. You’re right… if I were then to print that photo, straight from the camera, it wouldn’t make any practical difference whether it were shot in 12 or 14bit. Or an 8-bit jpg, for that matter. But what most people would do is go into ACR or Lightroom and use the curves or “Fill Light” slider and push those dark tones back up into the printable tonal range. This is where all of that extra bit-depth comes into play; 14-bit provides twice the number of brightness levels in the f-stop of exposure that is getting pushed from almost-printable to printable, providing more detail and giving you more range to bring up tonal differences before posterization occurs. No amount of classes/lessons/books is going to change the physical response of a CMOS sensor.

          Yes, we’re talking about prints. And no, I haven’t been doing controlled tests in the field between 12 and 14 bit captures. But I’ve been using Photoshop on a regular basis since 1995, and I can tell the difference between files that allow for higher degrees of manipulation and those that don’t.

          If you’re not willing to simply believe me on that point (and I can certainly understand that), then I propose a challenge. I was going to suggest that I take some test pictures and post the results, but I think this would be better yet: YOU go out and shoot a pair of photos of a scene with high dynamic range. Hold a good amount of detail in the highlights, and there must be a lot of detail in the darker regions of the scene (whether visible or not in the resulting photos) for the test to be valuable. Then, email me the RAW files (matthew at, or email me a link to them on your server), and I’ll process them in Photoshop and we can evaluate the differences. That way you’ll also have the RAW files and can make sure that I haven’t done anything screwy. I think this would be a fun way to settle the matter (or at least it would be a lot less dull than posting the same old information ad nauseum).

          For the record, when I was studying photojournalism in college in the early-mid 1990s (Ohio University School of Visual Communication), we still shot film for our classes (though the color film was usually scanned later). Specifically, we shot slide film for all of our color classes… my preferred film was Fuji Velvia. If you’ve ever shot slide film, you know that it has a very narrow exposure latitude… in most cases, only 1/3rd or 1/2 stop. If I could regularly get it right back then with slide film (and I could), then I assure you that I don’t need extra books and classes to get it right now with a D300s :)

          – Matthew

          • Alright, yer on. I’ll send you some bracketed shots and let you choose, just in case you don’t dig the exposure I pick. Won’t be till the mornin though.

            I too have been using photoshop since v4, so you may have a year on me.
            ; )

            Cameras have come a long way (from pretty much nothing!) in that time. I was scanning film to get into the digital space in college. In fact, I was doing that until 2006 when I broke down and bought a D2x. I may have shot less than 20 rolls since then. And probably several hundred thousand digi shots (I like continuous drive a little too much).

            Velvia indeed! Studio photography is a dying art form, since everybody thinks they can do it all in post (and I CAN work magic in post–been turnin turds into diamonds for other folks since 2001). I guess that’s my knee jerk response to 14-bit–shoot properly and there’s no need for it. But also I just haven’t been able to find a meaningful difference.

            Anyway, I’ll email you some shots tomorrow…

              • Some background on me.. I shoot with d3 and d3x rigs..

                For video I’ve been trailing the 550d for video only since July full time and now my team is ready to shelf our pro video gear for these things.. My choice is between the 60d flip screen and the d7000. I’ll get five 60d Riga for my team an a single d7000 for testing since I know canons video works for us nicely..the flip screen is a welcome bonus. I’m shooting for the big silver screen so 1080 24p is fine.

              • Hi Tony,

                As you may have already read, I don’t do a whole lot in the way of motion picture, so I’ll be very interested to hear the details of how your trials have been with the 550d. I know that DSLRs in general aren’t great for high-motion shooting, but I’ve seen some really great looking work otherwise. If you have some footage somewhere accessible, I’d love to see it.

                As for this thread, I emailed Micah a couple of days ago to see if he was still planning to meet the challenge… but I haven’t heard from him, so he’s either extremely busy or he’s given up on it. I figure that if I don’t hear from him in a couple of days, I’ll just take some test shots to post myself.

                – Matthew

              • Although you have an impressive line up for still cameras I personally do not think that you can shoot any video for the “silver scree” with a DSLR camera. I have 2 Sony HD consumer video cameras for shooting weddings etc and I constantly wish to have prosumer cameras for the job. At least broadcasting quality. I must admit that I only saw video material from the Nikon D5000 and was’nt impressed at all. But I’m still looking for the best option between the Nikon D7000 and Canon 60D and now Sony just entered into this market with their Sony A55 and seems that some people start recognising Sony as an option.

              • Parts of iron man 2 were shot on 5dmk2’s so res is fine etc etc.. Most of the street scenes in that movie with the Indian kid in who wants to be a millionaire – brains fried right now can’t remember the name of the movie.. Agian all shot on 5dmk2’s .. Just that’s a few.. Lots of mates of mine are starting to seriously use these things everywhere now lol .. No biggie – they are just cheaper and quicker tools, which used right can work nicely for us

              • Hi Tony
                I want to come back to this thread. I’ve read more on the internet about film makers using die Canon 5D MK II. I want to do an upgrade for my still, but now wonder if I must rather replace my still and one of my video cameras with a higher level DSLR.

                What I’m not sure of is the discussion here concerning AF and Manual focus for Video. I stupid question, but I don’t know how it works, if the camera doesn’t auto focus and you have to manual focus, does that mean that you have to constantly focus for a moving subject. Or is it meant for a static camera setup for subjects that are going to be more static eg. like a reporter etc.

                I use 3 where one is just for a backup and is setup at a distance on a tripod.

                Hope you can help me in this regard.


              • Hi Luna,

                I’m certainly not an expert when it comes to video, but I’ve played around with the video on these cameras enough to have some general idea of the functionality; I’ll defer to Tony and others for the fine details :)

                With the exception of the Sony a55 and a33 (both of which use an electronic viewfinder), there aren’t any SLRs that provide high quality AF during video shooting. Most SLRs use contrast detection type AF during video, the same slow system that they use to focus in live-view. It’s an inherently slow system because it requires the camera to search until the subject is in focus, then focus past it to see if that’s the most contrast it can get, and then return to the place that it thought was in focus. There’s a lot of searching, and the focus travel is slow. When shooting video with Canon cameras like the 7D, you need to push down the shutter button halfway to prompt the camera to autofocus, and the AF won’t really focus moving subjects. With the Nikon D3100 and D7000, which have full-time AF using the same AF method, the camera keeps focus a little better on moving subjects, but there’s still a lot of searching… especially for subjects that are close up. I’ve made some comments on the D3100’s AF system in my article comparing it to the T2i, and I’ve spent some more time playing with it since then, and I wouldn’t try to use the full time AF for anything serious. Most film makers use manual focus to control exactly where the frame is in focus anyway, and to keep scenes from being ruined by un-prompted searching, and focusing systems like this. You might actually enjoy taking a look at B&H’s HDSLR guide, which has a wealth of information… click the “Read Now” at the bottom instead of clicking on the picture, which will try to sell you stuff :)

                The Sonys mentioned above do have phase detect AF and operate much more like a video camera, but have some other issues of their own.

                Incidentally, this topic is getting pretty well buried down in the depths of this thread. I’ve created a Video/HDSLR Group above, so if you decide to register on the site, using the forum for topics like this might make more sense (you’d also be able to directly contact other members).

                Anyway, I hope that helps a little bit, and that other readers will chime in with further details!

                – Matthew

              • Ok I think I must join and I’ll follow the link. I’m familiar with the B&H site and bought 3 cameras from them.

                But I’ve read that some film makers indeed used DSLRs, seems to me it’s a fact.

                I also had a look at several Youtube video’s reviewing and even comparing the video capabilities of some SLR’s. Thanks a lot.

              • Oh yes, there’s certainly a lot of professional film work done with DSLRs… no doubt about that. I only meant to say that they don’t use AutoFocus :)

                – Matthew

          • I like chanllenges, would love to see the outcome of this conversation. I’m far behind you all in the technical side, so I just learn from these experiments. Good luck to Matthew you give us all so much help through your reviews. I follow many discussion online and it all comes to one point. Nikon and Canon fans just can’t accept that the one can be beter than the other. It’s so childish and silly.

            • Hi Luna,

              I’ll definitely publish the results! :) But everyone will have to keep in mind that the clarity of the results will be somewhat tempered by the fact that I’ll probably be posting jpgs or other compressed files (maybe I’ll try tiffs).

              With a challenge like this, everyone wins :) Even if I’m wrong, then I’ve learned something valuable… and that’s worth quite a bit to me. I’d much rather be briefly embarrassed and learn something than go on forever being wrong! That’s what intellectual integrity is about, as far as I’m concerned.

              Incidentally, Luna, you’ve visited this site for quite some time… you should join, too, if you have a chance :)

              – Matthew

            • Just a quick update: I’ve heard from Micah a couple of times over the past weeks, but still haven’t received any test photos from him. I think it’s getting to be pretty safe to assume that I won’t… so, I’m going to take some test photos myself and post a new article with the results.

              – Matthew

  • Hi Matthew,
    Referring to your comment: ” I’ve begun to see the D7000 compared to the Canon 7D instead” I just want to ask. I was convinced to buy the Canon 60D because it sound suitable for my needs, but I now started thinking that if the Nikon D7000 compare more with the Canon 7D it would be better to go for. I come from no where having a Sony A200 and just want to do a proper step up. In fact I wanted to buy the 60D with 18-200 lens kit last week, but there were no stock so I’m giving the Nikon a second thought.
    Thanks for your very useful information.

    • Hi Luna,

      The Canon 60D and D7000 are still much more comparable than the D7000 and 7D, in my opinion. Choosing between the Canon and the Nikon, though, should probably depend more on what type of work you do and which manufacturer is better suited to your needs. For example, the 60D has better video options than the D7000 (with the exception of full time AF), and it has a higher resolution sensor. If you do a lot of landscape photography, or portraiture, then the resolution of the 60D might be more important to you. On the other hand, the D7000 might turn out to have a better AF system, so if you do a lot of action photography, it might make more sense…. etc. And then you’ll need to take into account the cost of lenses. Nikon lenses tend to be more expensive… so that’s something to figure into the picture too.

      Either way, you’re going to get a great camera! I’d focus more on meeting your own needs than trying to determine which is absolutely the best camera; there’s always going to be some dispute there.

      – Matthew

      • Thanks Matthew, you answered my question. Yes I’m quite aware of all the painfull discussions around Nikon and Canon fans, totally unnecessary!

          • LOL, ok… fair enough. It’s an 11% gain. But the fact is that if, for example, your horizon isn’t quite level and you have to crop down a bit… you start losing megapixels very quickly, and it can make a difference.

            – Matthew

          • Nice to see you have a sense of humour. It can, yes, but it’s only a very slight difference and it’s not enough to be a deciding factor. It’s just that there are a lot of amateurs who buy these cameras and, when hearing someone say “If you do a lot of landscape photography, or portraiture, then the resolution of the 60D might be more important to you”, would easily believe it’s what they need.

  • Canon has the smallest of all the APS-C sensors. Even SIGMA has a larger sensor than the tiny one that Canon uses. That tiny sensor was created for the 300D entry level camera. Why doesn’t the 7D use APS-H? Only then I would consider it. I never buy a small sensor camera again.

    • Is this really that big a deal? This is a pretty insignificant difference in sensor size. It’s also worth keeping in mind that a smaller sensor provides greater apparent depth of field, which some photographers prefer anyway… especially when they’re forced to use larger aperture lenses.

  • Great article in general, but I think you got one thing wrong with the D300s.

    It shoots 7 fps in Jpeg and 12 bit RAW. It’s only in 14 bit RAW that it slows down to 2.5 fps.

    • Very true… I was referring to 14-bit depth, which is what the 7D shoots full time in RAW. I’ve been shooting with the D300s nearly every day for the last 2 months, and there is a very definite drop in quality (especially shadow detail) at 12-bit (but I love the camera). I don’t know why anyone would use 12-bit if the camera performed as well at its best quality… but that was the point of my comment. It seems that these lower quality settings were almost intentionally included to make the camera look better on paper.

      – Matthew

      • WTF?! I’d love to see raw files that show a marked difference between 12-bit and 14-bit. The difference just isn’t there. 14-bit is a gimmick for these cameras, since they really don’t show more dynamic range with anything higher than 12-bit.

        • Micah,

          The differences in the files is primarily in the shadows, but it is also most marked in the degree to which the files hold up to manipulation. There are dozens of comparisons already posted on the internet, and you can Google them just as well as I can… and you presumably have and are not convinced (or don’t care enough about the issue to have searched, I suppose), so I won’t waste our time with more comparisons. But for those of you who have not already dismissed 14-bit, I think that this article at least provides the theoretical fundamentals of why those extra data in the shadows are so important:

          I’d also refer you to the article on the Luminous Landscape about “exposing to the right” for the same reason.

          – Matthew

          • The article from 2003? Of course that’s still applicable…?!

            I’ve tested this before with the d300 and there’s no difference in real world shots. However, to give you the benefit of the doubt, I tested my d700 with res charts and my color checker. I could just barely detect a difference. The difference was about 1/6 of a stop, 5 stops below zone 0. There aren’t many (if ANY!) lenses that will render 15 stops (?!) in full daylight. Full daylight or flash would be necessary to take advantage of this, because this difference disappears above base ISO or under extremely long exposures because of lower SNR (read: greater senor noise).

            So in effect, shooting 14-bit is like a healthy young person refusing to leave the house without wearing five pairs of underwear. There might be some abstractly useful, barely demonstrable advantage, but the bulk is enough to make you look like a fool. And bulk there is indeed–30-50% larger files so you can carry around extra noise that might (under proper alignment of celestial bodies) render a fraction of a stop of detail 5 stops below zone 0, where you can’t realistically use it.

            I do have to say thank you for forcing me to confirm what I knew all along. The current sensors are putting out 12bits or less of DR. Shooting to any higher bit depth is pointless, obsessive behaviour.

  • You seem to be adamant that the 7D will have better AF than the D7000. Here are a few things to add:

    – The D7000 has 39 AF points vs 7D that has 19. This means that each of Nikons points cover a smaller area therefore reducing the likelihood of focusing on an unintended target. The 7D has spot-focus to reduce the AF area which would work for single point AF but would leave gaps when tracking.

    – Focus points that are further away from the centre of the lens tend to be less accurate than central ones as there is lens design to be taken into consideration.

    – I don’t quite understand what you mean when you say “there is a very serious reason to believe that the 7D’s 19 cross-type sensors will out-perform the D7000′s 9”. Firstly, even though a 7D uses dual diagonal sensors, they haven’t proven to be any more accurate than a Nikon dual axis. They may well lock on quicker due to the possibility that the contrast would be picked up more quickly with the more axis that are present. Canon specifies an accuracy of 1/3 times DOF at f2.8 for its high precision point. Nikon specifies a cross sensor to work at f5.6. Now on paper those two are worlds apart. Looking at that the Canon sounds much better. Then why is it that people are shooting very accurately at f1.4 on a f5.6 cross sensor? Whereas canon users constantly say to get that accuracy with a canon you need to use the centre point (cross type f2.8). This basically implies that a Nikon f5.6 sensor is as accurate as a Canon f2.8. On a 7D only the centre point is f2.8 the rest are f5.6. On a Nikon the central group are all X-type f5.6. It sounds to me that Nikon are much more precise in their tolerances and what they send out across the board. There are endless people all over the net complaining about AF issues with their Canons. I’ve seen endless oof images at wide apertures. On the flip side, there is very little of that coming from Nikon users.

    Marketing spiel is just that. You never really know what is what unless you’ve read very precise specifications and tested.

  • Matthew, excellent points. I thought I was the only one who saw the inherent value in going with the 7D over the D7000, until I read your post and a few others. Props to Nikon for the hype and media tour de force they’re pulling here, but the D300s is not equivalent to the 7D; therefore, one cannot assume the 7D is beaten along with the D300s.

    On top of this, consider that you can buy a body-only 7D online for $1299, only $100 more than the D7000 retail thanks to the fact that the Canon has been around for a few years. Then go buy a lens or two and you’ll instantly get the extra money back from cheaper Canon lenses.

    Weatherproofing 90% of a body??? That’s like sealing a submarine except for the hatch; where do we think the weather will get in? With the whole weatherproofing thing, it’s either all or none. Anything in between is wasted effort.

    • Agreed… people are clearly getting a little carried away about the D7000, though it does look like it’ll be a really great mid-level camera.

      I’d be a little hesitant to buy a 7D from a place advertising at $1299, though. The cheapest reliable prices that I’m finding are still right around $1500 online… the places listing for less tend to be those ones that call you up after you place your order and say “Oh, by the way… you got the body only. If you want the battery and charger and the strap, that’ll be another $250”. (Happened to me with the Canon 20D :) Needless to say, I canceled the order )

      – Matthew

      • I had those pressure selling experiences a few years ago also. I did get a 7D recently for the price I mentioned above, but of course, I did my research and read lots of reviews.

        You said SD cards may have an advantage? From what I’ve heard, CF is more expensive generally but has higher read/write rates.

        • Well, I’m glad to hear that someone has managed to get a price like that without getting ripped off :)

          You’re right…. CF cards are generally quite a bit faster. If I’m not mistaken, the fastest SD cards are Class 10, which is 10MB/s, whereas many of my CF cards state 60MB/s. For some people, though, SD cards may still have some advantages. Obviously, they must be fast enough to perform at the speed required by the camera to record HD video and still photo bursts, so that’s not a big deal, and many people don’t mind spending more time transferring the files to their computer later. They’re smaller, cheaper, already available in large storage capacities (64 Gigs, etc), and they can be locked, which some people claim helps protect against accidental deletion or corruption of files during transfer. But I think the main advantage, for many shooters, is that they are fast enough to get the job done and are significantly less expensive.

          – Matthew

          • OK, I’m wrong… that’s what I get for using Wikipedia as a quick reference. SDHC Class 10 cards are not as slow as claimed; they are 22-23 MB/s (at least, the Panasonic Gold series). Still, much slower than CF, and I believe that their sustained write speeds are slower.

            – Matthew

  • I was a bit confused by one point. Your review surmises that the 7D will be better at focusing in low light because it has more cross-type autofocus points. At the same time, you say the D7000 has .5 EV better sensitivity in its focusing sensors. Wouldn’t these cross each other out to a certain degree?

    • JB,

      That’s a good point. When I say that the 7D will be better as focusing in lower light, this really amounts to lighting situations in which there is less detail to work with (rather than a lower amount of absolute light). With more of your subject in the dark or in shadow, there are usually two focusing problems… A) low general contrast or B) less detail and fewer lines for the camera to work with. Essentially, a horizontal sensor will best pull focus on vertical lines. A cross type sensor will detect horizontal and vertical lines equally well, giving you a much better chance of focusing when there’s limited detail to focus on. I find that the 7D and the D300s both are able to focus just about any time that there’s enough light for me to be able to see detail myself. The biggest problem comes when shooting at night when strobe will be the main light source.

      – Matthew

  • I gave it to Nikon emotional users a point for being loyal to their brand. I have been using nikon for many years and had been waiting for D7000 for very long so I could purchase it but after reading many articles and looking at $1200 price tag discouraged me from buying it. I see 7D as more of a capable camera then D7000 (professionally). It is more like comparing D90 to D300s so you can not compare apples(D7000) with oranges (7D). 7D is much sturdier, rough and fast with 19 cross type sensors and great lineup of lenses then D7000 (half plastic , half magnesium body). . D7000 on paper is $300 less then 7D but in reality with kit lens difference of price is only $100 to $150. I would have purchased D7000 if it was sold at $1000 (body) but unfortunately it is very close to 7D price ( Kit) , I am leaning toward buying 7D (professional ) camera. I will wait until Novemebr to see if prices come down and purchase D7000 if it is sold at $1000 price tag, otherwise I will purchase 7D. For me (D7000 is D90 and 7D is D300s in comparison).

    • Before buying a 7d – google on the autofocus problems. It’s inherent to the camera. We are trading from 7d to D7000 because of this. The 7D is nearly incapable of sharp autofocused images at f1.4 using Canon’s 50mm lens. We’ve seen this on a number of bodies – not just ours. Google it…

      • Tom,

        I’ve heard a bit about this seen a thread on this subject at dpreview, and it seems to be a problem with the lens rather than the body. Several people said that once they had had the lens serviced, it produced sharp focus. Either way, this isn’t an argument against buying the camera, just against using this particular lens with it if you get a bad one. In my case, I’ve only ever used the f1.8, which is dirt cheap and extremely sharp (but the bokeh isn’t quite as smooth).

        This is, however, exactly the sort of thing that I’d expect people to notice with the 7D (and now with the 60D) because of the very high receptor density of the sensor, as I mentioned in my earlier article comparing it to the 5D Mark II.

        – Matthew

  • Hello Matthew. I see the point you are trying to make defending the RB channel AF of the Canon. I don’t know too much about this but here goes.

    You dismiss the advent of RGB AF because the green channel is low contrast. But in the picture you posted in your example the green channel has actually more contrast from the guys shorts to the background. More contrast than the blue channel. It so happens that the focus in on the guy outlining just that. So you see it actually can be very useful and it depends on the picture you are trying to take. Having more information to draw from is always more useful. I would say in that picture the red and green channel are the two more useful channels.

    Would like to hear your thoughts… Thanks Good day..

    • Hi Kristian,

      I chose this photo specifically because it contains so much green, and is therefore is the most likely for the green channel to show the most contrast… I didn’t want to pick a straw man. So yes, there is some decent contrast between parts of the subject and the background, but even so, it’s still very flat… and it’s still not the most contrasty channel available. The camera would have chosen the Red channel to focus with instead, disregarding (for the purpose) the other channels. To my eye (and histogram) the blue channel has the most contrast in the shorts, especially the ridge detail… but it’s a little silly for me to focus so much on a single photo. The photo was intended to be more of an illustration for people not very familiar with the concept of RGB channels being black and white, etc. My experience, though, having worked with hundreds of channel masks, the green channel is almost always the lowest contrast. I’m certainly willing to admit that there may be instances when the green channel really WOULD make a difference… I agree… information is always better. However, my experience is that those instances will be rare… whereas cross-type sensors are extremely important for an AF system… so I’d much rather have a lot more cross-types than the green channel.

      But cross-type vs. horizontal is another discussion, and one about which I’m sure you can find a wealth of information.

      Incidentally, I don’t consider myself to be defending the Canon here. As you know, I shoot Nikon even more than I shoot Canon… and they’re both great systems, and I’m perfectly happy to recommend Nikon equipment. I did recommend the Nikon D7000 over the Canon 60D, for instance. I just don’t think these cameras are equals, and that’s that :)

      – Matthew

  • Mathew, you’re obviously a fanboy of canon. Dollar for dollar, the D7000 is the clear winner here. After D7000’s release, street price will drop even further. Your article is a joke!

  • Matthew,

    I appreciate your very informative response. Please pardon my enthusiasm, like many Nikon users, I’m giddy with anticipation, truly delighted at the prospect of owning a camera that wasn’t within my budget until recently.

    For the past few weeks I’ve read scores of blogs that have heralded the coming of this DSLR camera, with specifications that imply an affordable technological tour de force, that’s worthy of all the hype and accolade that it has received since it’s debut.

    Now, please indulge me if you will, at the thought of Nikon’s new young Champion, the D7000, ready to take on all challengers, if only in theory!

    I acknowledge the Canon 7D as being a highly capable & extremely sophisticated camera as well, But the title of this article is “Nikon D7000 vs. Canon 7D : Cheaper AND Better?”, Well, the D7000 is cheaper and with the given spec’s, it has the potential to be just as good if not better, dollar for dollar!

    Time will tell my friend………:-)

  • In light of the fact that Canon’s 7D has a limited color spectrum compared to the FULL color spectrum of the Nikon D7000, combined with the fact that even though Canon can shoot video at 60fps, it can cannot auto focus video!!, Nikon is the first to implement HD Video with full time auto-focus!!, That is HUGE!!!!!! Along with a list of other key features that are worthy of a 7D price. The Nikon D7000 has TKO’d the D60 and is willing to go toe-to-toe with Canon’s 7D….

    In the words of Micheal Buffer “Let’s get ready to rumble!!!!!”

    • Neil,

      Of course, I expected that there would be people on both side of this issue, although with the 7D, I think the matter is pretty clear (though, as I say, not overwhelming), so I don’t want to nitpick every little objection that my readers bring up. But, I might as well at least address a couple of issues here, since it’s something that’s come up twice now.

      First, about the color spectrum. I assume that you mean here that the Canon 7D doesn’t use RGB for AF, since it does have as wide an imaging spectrum as the Nikon, and it does use full RGB for metering.

      Stop and think for a few moments about what an a color RGB image is, or better yet, open a few images in Photoshop and take a look at the “Channels” palette. An RGB image is composed of 3 black and white channels, one corresponding to each primary. As you may know, you can duplicate your red channel and replace your blue channel with it, for example… there is nothing inherently “red” or “blue” about each one. Since CMOS and CCD sensors use about twice as many green receptors as any other (because of the way that our eyes see) the green channel usually has the most detail information, but the lowest contrast. Again, those of you who do a lot of isolating and masking in Photoshop know that green is the channel Least likely to be used to create a new mask.

      The 7D does use color data to assist in AF; it uses the high contrast Red and Blue channels (its metering sensor uses two layers, an RG and a BG). The Nikon uses all three channels, ie, the full RGB spectrum, but keep in mind that because the green channel is typically low contrast, it’s not usually going to be much more useful than the composite RGB brightness data that our cameras have always used; I take the fact that it claims to be RGB as more of a gimmick than an actual engineering feat. So, on the basis of color data, there will be (extremely) few circumstances in practical use when the added color channel will be helpful in pulling focus… if any.

      On the other hand, the Canon 7D uses 19 cross-type sensors (rather than just horizontal). Nikon clearly understands the importance of cross-types; they gave the D300s 15 of them in its 51 point array. So why not give them to the D7000? The obvious reason is that they’re expensive, and that the D7000’s AF system is intended to be slightly scaled down (fewer AF points, fewer cross type sensors) from the much more expensive D300s (RGB aside). So, there is no reason to think that the D7000’s RGB system will produce better results than Canon’s color assisted AF, but there is a very serious reason to believe that the 7D’s 19 cross-type sensors will out-perform the D7000’s 9.

      Now lets move on to video. First of all, not only does the D7000 not shoot video at 60 fps, it only shoots 1080p at 24 fps! No 25, no 30. Since these should have been easy to implement in the firmware, my guess is that the camera’s processor simply can’t handle more than 24. This is a major limitation. Yes, some film-makers prefer 24, but 30 is obviously smoother and a more common video frame rate.

      And yes, the 7D DOES have AF during video. It’s not full time… you have to press the shutter button to pull focus. If I weren’t going to manual focus (as most film-makers prefer), I’d rather only have the camera trying to pull focus when I want it to. But yes, in the end, the D7000 has an advantage there…. it does have full time AF. So perhaps some will see this as a significant issue; I don’t.

      If I have time later, I’ll work some of the details of this response (with examples) into the main text.

      – Matthew

  • Hello Mathew,
    I have read that Nikon’s metering system can see full colors. While Canon’s 7D can only see two colors, other bodies can only see black and white.
    What is the deal on this?

    Many of my Canon friends felt betrayed by Canon when they read the 7000D specs. I think the debate on 60D VS D7000 and 7D VS D7000 will get ever more intense.

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