Saturday, 5 March 2011

D7000 hands on

I ordered the camera from Digital Camera Warehouse for a gold coin under $1300, delivered.

When it arrived the first test was to see what worked in my D80 Ikelite housing. Nothing was the answer, couldn't even close the housing with the D7000 inside. The camera body is just too thick, front to back, to fit at all. I was always going to buy a new housing but in the pursuit of knowledge I had to try. I have since ordered an Ikelite housing from Digital Diver for $1672 delivered. It arrives in a few days.

Why Ikelite? Well, I have all the ports, like the see-through acrylic and extra space for tweaking and I can afford them. Other housings like Nauticam, Subal and Aquatica may be smaller and sleeker but they are also thousands more expensive and wouldn't improve my photos.

One drawback with an Ike housing is that you can't pop the camera flash up and use fibre optic flash sync, but there are stirrings in my little grey cells that may overcome this. A future project.

Initial impressions of the camera.

The larger 3" screen is wonderful. The INFO button which fills the review screen with all the camera settings will be nice underwater for ageing eyes. I'm starting to find the top LCD screen difficult to read.

AF during video will be an issue. SLR lenses make lots of noise while autofocusing and that is all perfectly recorded by the mic, so you either have to ditch the audio track or prevent continuous AF for video. AF-S will be the way to go for me. You start and stop recording with the dedicated video button but you can tap the shutter button at any time to refocus.

I'll be leaving the "sticky buttons" or "Release button to use dial" option (f7 in the control menu) permanently on. That means you tap and release a button, like ISO or WB, and then make changes with the control dial. Much easier in a housing than trying to use both hands.

f6 in the control menu is another must for me. That's the "Menus and Playback OFF" setting, which means you can make A and S changes with the dials while image review is still on. With my D80 I was always trying to make quick exposure changes after a shot but would actually be flipping to the next image, very frustrating.

There are 2 user settings available on the mode dial which are used to save sets of commonly required settings. I have set U1 for intervalometer recording where I want the image size small, and U2 for RAW underwater with WB 5260K. Then I can leave the camera on jpeg fine and Auto WB for normal use.

The intervalometer is a blast. You can choose the shooting interval, say 1 shot every 5 sec, and how many shots up to 999. Using Quicktime 7 Pro you can turn the image sequence into a timelapse movie at frame rates ranging from 10sec/frame to 60frames/sec. Here's one of me painting our front fence. 3hrs in 17sec.

A playback frame rate of 25fps would give a 40sec movie from 999 frames.

AF for stills seems very fast and the shutter action seems lightning fast too. I keep expecting the second clunk of the mirror returning but it has already happened.

That's what has exited me so far. I'll chat about image quality and functionality underwater in the next instalment.

1 comment:

  1. OK I was wrong about the D7000 not fitting in the D80 housing. It actually does fit. Must have not cleared one of the controls at my first attempt.

    Front and rear control dials, +/- EV, On/Off and focus lock work but there is no access to video switch. Some of the buttons to the left of the screen would be useable with a small reshaping of the rubber push button ends.