Cameras for video: nikon d7000

At the top end of Nikon's APS-C format 'consumer' range, the D7000 doesn't claim to be a professional camera, though a browse through its features list quickly suggests otherwise. It's the most proficient Nikon DSLR for movie recording, even above and beyond the full-frame D3s (the latter's older sensor accommodates inferior Motion-JPEG recording only).

Autofocus

With the ability to use single (AF-S) or full time (AF-A) autofocus, the D7000 has among the most responsive live view focusing systems to be found in a DSLR camera. However, the continuous autofocus, as per that of the D5100, isn't quite quick enough to keep up with all subjects, plus the audible clicking sound of autofocus is picked up in shots.

Furthermore the AF seems lazy when zooming the lens, often resulting in an out of focus shot that needs a half shutter depression to coax the system back into play. However, compared to much of the competition it is an effective autofocus system overall - just not a patch on many Compact System Cameras or Sony's A55.

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Manual control

Where the D7000 outdoes its D5100 cousin is with the addition of manual control. Manual mode allows for adjustment of shutter and aperture as a means to set exposure, though the latter can only be adjusted outside of live view mode - an oddity as this means a lot of unnecessary flicking of switches and dials just to set the aperture as desired.

Although it appears that Aperture and Shutter Priority modes are also available, they're not, as the values displayed on screen are nothing more than relics from stills shooting that the camera ignores in practice. Using the camera in its auto mode is most proficient as real time exposure compensation and exposure lock are both available and make it easy to fix exposure/brightness as required.

The D7000's 1080p movies are captured at the cinematic 24 frames per second frame rate and output as MOV files. H.264 compression means quality is good, though the 175MB/minute rate is less than some other models out there and this shows in the final captures - although decent, they've not for the same cutting detail and smoothness as from, say, the Canon EOS 7D (which we'll look at later in this article).

Audio

Sound is dealt with using an on-board microphone or there's a 3.5mm mic jack for third party microphones. The latter is particularly useful as sound is a little muffled; it sounds 'squashed' and over-compressed when recorded from the camera body.

Nikon D7000 Key video specs

Approx price: £1,059 with 18-105mm kit lens
Sensor: APS-C sized (1.5x magnification)
Maximum resolution:1080p capture (1920x1080px)
Frame rate: 24fps (1080p) / 25/30fps (720p)
Compression: H.264 compression for video and Linear PCM audio (mono)
Audio support: 3.5mm audio jack for external microphones (stereo)
File format: MOV
Exposure mode:
Programme mode with exposure compensation & AEL; Manual mode with live shutter control and pre-determined aperture control
Focus modes: Single autofocus (AF-S), Full-time autofocus (AF-A), Manual focus
Connectivity: HDMI-C out, A/V out