Within the space of about a month's time, Nikon has introduced latest-generation entry and prosumer DSLR models with their DX (APS-C) sensor. The D3100 reached market in mid-September 2010 and was followed by the D7000 in October. Both cameras have upped the resolution for Nikon cropped-sensor cameras past the 12.3 megapixel ceiling of the last generation, but to slightly different levels: 14.2 megapixels in the D3100 and 16.2 in the higher performance D7000. The D3100 is the follow-on to the D3000 while the D7000 will slot, pricewise, into the new lineup about midway between the D90 and D300s.
Both the D3000 and D90 remain on Nikon USA's website as of this writing, but expect them to fade from view in the not too distant future. It's not clear if the D7000 is the D90 successor, but it could be - "D100" was unavailable because Nikon used up that designation on a 6 megapixel DSLR back in 2002.
More significantly, the D7000 comes equipped with Nikon's new EXPEED 2 processing system, a new 39 point autofocus (AF) system (with 9 cross-point sensors) and a new 2016 pixel RGB 3D matrix metering system. There is a 1080p HD video capability with automatic AF, an up to 6 frame per second (FPS) continuous shooting rate and the ability to capture up to 100 images continuously, a shutter rated for 150,000 cycles and dual memory card slots. The body is a magnesium and composite blend, weather sealed, and features a 3.0-inch LCD monitor.
About the time you start to think the D7000 specs sound more like pro and less like consumer, automatic and scene shooting modes that supplement standard DSLR manual exposure options hedge Nikon's bet and broaden the camera's potential audience. Native ISO range is 100 to 6400, expandable two stops to 25600. You can get a D7000 as a body-only, or packaged in kit form with the stabilized (VR) 18-105mm zoom lens, as was our review unit. Here's the coverage offered by the kit lens:
Lens compatibility and functionality is the same as pro-level Nikons (over 60 lenses in the current catalog and most F mount glass dating back to 1959).
The camera has no internal memory and can utilize SD/SDHC/SDXC memory media. Nikon includes a Li-ion battery and charger, rubber eyecup, USB and AV cables, camera strap, monitor cover, body cap, hot shoe cover, complete printed user manual and CD-ROM software with each camera.
New processing system, new AF system, new matrix metering system - let's go shoot the newest Nikon and see what we get.
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