Nikon D7000

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Comparing the Nikon D600 vs. D7000 vs. D300s:

I’ve written a previous post comparing the Nikon D7000 vs D90 vs D300s, as well as one comparing the current Nikon dSLR line-up of the Nikon D7000 vs. D5100 vs. D90 vs. D3100.   Now that the full frame Nikon D600 has been introduced (and almost immediately made available for sale), I need to revisit these comparisons to include this latest Nikon dSLR.  I am going to focus on the D600 vs D7000 vs D300s here, with some D90 specs thrown in, but leaving out the D5100 plus the more expensive D800 full frame (FX) model for now until I get the chance to incorporate them into the discussion.

Nikon D600 vs D700 vs D300s compare choose which one decide review full frame fx dx size body weight
Nikon D600 vs Nikon D7000 – comparison of body size and controls of the full frame FX vs the APS-C sized DX format dSLR cameras – image by author, courtesy of Newtonville camera of Newton, Mass.

The introduction of the full frame (a.k.a. FX format) sensor sized Nikon D600 has expanded the Nikon dSLR line-up, and perhaps made it even more challenging to determine which camera is right for you.  To get a sense of where the D600 sits, it is designed to be the first full frame dSLR aimed at the photography “enthusiast” – in both features and price (about $2100).  (Full frame or FX format means that the sensor is the same size as a frame of 35mm film.) It does not have quite all the features, continuous frame rate speed, larger and more rugged body, external controls, and customization options as a professional level dSLR like the Nikon D800, yet it still offers more than enough in terms of image quality, features, controls, and durable construction for most any serious enthusiast.  I would even contend that it is plenty capable as a semi-pro’s full frame body or second body, or even a smaller, lighter weight option for sometime-use by a pro.

Sitting Between the D7000 and D800: The D600 has been described by Nikon as sitting between the APS-C sensor sized (DX) D7000 and the full frame (FX) D800.  What that means is that, first, it has the approximate size, weight, and “feel” of the pro-sumer D7000.  This “FX camera in a DX body” is a desirable feature for a lot of photographers, especially those carrying and using their camera all day such as when traveling.  Plus it incorporates the sophisticated and customizable 39 point autofocus system of the D7000, along with that camera’s “user-friendly” interface and controls (the autofocus system has actually even been improved over the D7000 in terms of greater sensitivity).  This makes it an easy transition for D7000 users wanting to go full frame, or wanting to simultaneously work with both bodies.  Yet is also boasts some technology borrowed from the higher end D800 like the HDMI output, uncompressed video recording, and improved exposure metering.

Nikon D600 vs D700 vs D300s compare choose which one decide review full frame fx dx
Detail of the Nikon D600 full frame dSLR camera – image by author

The Second Highest Rated Sensor:  Previously, in order to offer a high-quality, fully featured yet affordable camera for enthusiasts and semi-pros, the compromise was a smaller sensor – the APS-C sized sensor (or what Nikon calls the DX format) which is about two-thirds of the size of a full frame sensor.  Larger sensors have always been desired for several reasons:  they typically deliver better performance in terms of improved resolution, increased dynamic range, and improved low light / high ISO performance.  In other words, the images have much better detail and can withstand serious cropping, display a fuller range of colors and tones, and are cleaner with less digital noise, especially in low light situations.  And indeed the sensor of the D600 lives up to these expectations – in fact it is the second highest rated sensor on DXOmark, behind only the Nikon D800E and D800 (the D800E is the D800 without the anti-aliasing filter in front of the sensor). So in terms of image quality for the price, the D600 really can’t be beat at this point.

The full frame sensor will also affect the field of view of your lenses. For those moving from an APS-C sized (DX) sensor camera to a full frame body, a 50mm lens will now act as a true 50mm lens – no more 1.5x crop factor to consider. This means that your wide angle lenses will now act as true wide angle lenses, but your telephoto lenses will no longer have quite as much reach as you may be used to.  But in the interest of lens compatibility, Nikon DX lenses can be used with the D600 and the camera will automatically crop the images as if using a DX sized sensor (so the sensor is reduced to 10.5 MP).

I first introduced the Nikon D600 in my post The First Affordable Full Frame dSLR, and there you can learn about a lot of the camera’s specifications and what they mean as far as real-life photographic use.  Here I will try to spell out the difference in specs and how that might affect your choice.  As I always like to point out, when you are trying to determine which camera to purchase or upgrade to, you need to first consider and determine your needs, and then see which camera fills those needs. Not the other way around where you look at the new features and speculate if you really need or will use them. The latest cameras almost always have more impressive features and specifications than the preceding models, but if your needs and shooting style don’t required those upgrades then it is possible that you can save some money and be completely happy with a less expensive or earlier model (and spend your money on better lenses!)

Nikon D600 vs D700 vs D300s compare choose which one decide review full frame fx dx size body weight
Nikon D600 vs Nikon D7000 – comparison of body size and controls of the full frame FX vs the APS-C sized DX format dSLR cameras – Click on this image to have a closer look.  Image by author, courtesy of Newtonville camera of Newton, Mass.

Sensor and Image Quality: The image sensor of the D7000 was greatly improved over both the D90 and the D300s, and now the sensor of the D600 is an even greater leap.  The D7000 has 16.2 megapixels, where the D90 and D300s each have 12.3 megapixels.  The D600 boasts 24.3 megapixels.  In addition to its dramatic improvement in resolution, I noted above the other image quality advantages of a full frame sensor, as well as how that will affect your lenses’ field of view.  This increase in resolution will also allow for more intrusive editing of the files in Photoshop, the ability to crop a picture and still obtain an image with high enough resolution for printing or display, and allow for larger prints.  You can have a look at dxomark.com to compare the sensors – run your mouse along the red-to-green color bar to the right of the Measurement graphs (such as Dynamic Range) to see how these differences affect images.  You can see from the charts that there are some significant improvements over the sensor of the D7000.

Exposure Metering: As with the D7000, the D600 has a 2016 pixel RGB metering sensor – although Nikon has stated that this latest version is improved over the D7000.  Both of these are certainly improved compared to the D90 and D300s, and will result in better TTL metering performance of straightforward and complex lighting scenes, such as back-lit situations.  All of these Nikon cameras offer Matrix metering, Center-weighted average metering, and Spot metering. With center-weighted metering, the D600 offers the option of an 8, 12, 15, or 20mm center circle for its weighting, or simply an old-fashioned Average reading.  The D90 makes use of your choice of a 6, 8, or 10mm center circle for its weighting, while the D7000 and D300s add a 13mm circle option to that.  A nice feature of Nikon dSLR cameras is that the Spot Metering is linked to the active AF Point, so in the image below, the AF Point was placed on the subject’s face, and the camera determined metering there (rather than requiring me to first meter where I wanted and then lock the exposure as Canon Spot Metering requires).

Nikon D600 full frame FX sensor backlit backlighting active d lighting exposure metering spot
Nikon D600 – Use of Spot Metering and Active-D Lighting in severe backlit situation.  As you can see, you still need to know how to make use of the metering modes and determine a proper exposure, as the camera can’t perform magic.  Use of fill flash in this situation resulted in better exposure and contrast on the subject.

Autofocus: The autofocus system of the D600 is similar to the D7000 AF system, with its 39 AF points and 9 more sensitive cross-type points (clustered in the center).  However, you can see that the AF points are spread much more widely across the viewfinder with the DX sized D7000:

Nikon D7000 vs D600 viewfinder DX FX compare choose vs which one af autofocus point 39
Simulated view of Nikon D7000 viewfinder, showing the location of all the autofocus AF points (and the viewfinder grid that can be turned on or off)- image by author.

Nikon D7000 vs D600 viewfinder DX FX compare choose vs which one af autofocus point 39
Simulated view of Nikon D600 viewfinder, showing the location of all the autofocus AF points (viewfinder grid not show but is available to view)- image by author.

Each of these above images show the full simulated framing as seen in the viewfinder, and you can clearly see how the 39 AF Points of the D600 are limited more to the central area of the frame.  This means that you are likely going to have to do some significant “focus-lock and recomposing” as you create interesting compositions where the subject is off-center.  This will also impact the use of the AF Points when using AF-C Continuous Autofocus Mode to track moving subjects.  The moving subject will have to remain within the area of the AF Points in order for the camera to continue tracking it, so you will have to move the camera around to follow the subject more closely.  This again is going to seriously limit your compositions when using AF-C and tracking a subject, as the subject is always going to have to be located in the central part of the frame.  If you are a serious action, sports, bird, or wildlife photographer, you are going to have to seriously consider if this AF Point arrangement of the D600 is going to work for you.  Or else consider using the camera in DX Crop “mode,” where you use just a DX-sized portion of the sensor to capture the image.  Although you will only be making use of 10 megapixels, the AF Points will in effect be spread out over more of the frame, more similar to what you see in the D7000 viewfinder.

As mentioned above, the 39 AF Points of the D600 are more sensitive than those of the D7000, with 33 of them sensitive down to f/8.  This means when you use a teleconverter (such as with a long lens in order to turn a 200mm lens into a 400mm lens) which reduces the effective maximum aperture of your lens by a stop or 2 or 3, you can sill make full use of most of the AF Points.  As with the D7000, you can limit the number of selectable AF Points to 11 if you prefer to manually select your AF Point (as you typically should) and you find 39 too many to contend with.  Since the AF system of the D600 as well as its controls and autofocus Custom Settings are so similar to the D7000, you can have a look at this post Taking Control of your D7000 Autofocus System to begin to learn how to get the most out of it.  The AF systems of the D600 and D7000 (and D300s) allow for you to use the numerous autofocus points in various ways to best capture still subjects (typically using AF-S autofocus mode) or track and capture moving subjects (using AF-C autofocus mode), including Automatic AF point selection, Single Point AF, and Dynamic Area AF using your choice of 9 points, 21 points, all points, or all points with 3D-Tracking.

Regarding the D90 and D300s, the autofocus system of the D90 has 11 autofocus (AF) points with only the center one being the more accurate cross type. The D300s offers 51 AF points with 15 being cross type, and thus is ideal for sports, action, and wildlife – although it has begun to become outdated and superseded by many of the other features of the D7000.

Nikon D600 book ebook guide manual tutorial how to dummies instruction fieldBrief commercial interruption: I would like to mention that I have written an e-book user’s guide for the D7000 called Nikon D7000 Experience, and will be offering an e-book guide for the D600Nikon D600 Experience. The guides discuss not only how to use the features, controls, autofocus systems, and various settings of the cameras, but more importantly when and why to make use of them in your photography.  They also explain the metering modes, aperture and shutter priority modes and manual shooting, focus lock, exposure lock, and more.  Plus they describe all of the Menu options and Custom Settings, with recommended settings.  Learn more about my Full Stop dSLR camera guides here!

Body, Construction and Size/ Weight: The D600 and D7000 (and even the older D90) appear very similar at first glance, and both have a rugged partial magnesium alloy body (top and rear) with a polycarbonate front.  However, the D600 is actually slightly lighter than the D7000: 1.68 lbs. vs 1.7 lbs.  The D300s is slightly larger than the other 2 bodies, and weighs in at 2.2 lbs, with full magnesium construction. The sturdier construction of the D600 and the D7000, including their nice rubber gripping surfaces, creates the feel of a more professional body. The D600, D7000, and D300s all have weather sealing at the memory card and battery doors.  The D600 has a slightly larger rear LCD Monitor at 3.2″ vs. the 3″ rear LCD screen of the D7000 and D300s.

ISO: As mentioned in the Sensor/ Image Quality section above, the high ISO performance of the D600 is improved over the D7000, which was already improved over both the D90 and the D300s. The tests at dxomark.com tell this story.  The native ISO range of the D600 and D7000 is 100-6400 expandable up to 25,600.  The D300s and D90 have a native ISO range of 200-3200 expandable to 6400. This means that with the D600 you can use high ISO settings when required, such as in low light situations, and not have any difficulty with digital noise, particularly in the shadow areas of images. You can view my informal ISO test images on this post of Nikon D600 ISO Test Sample Images to see the excellent high ISO performance when shooting JPEG images.

Controls: The controls of the D600 are very similar to the D7000, with some minor changes such as the locking Mode Dial switch (a nice touch), the different Live View / Movie switch and relocated Record Button, and in the “why did they do that?” category the reversing of the zoom in and zoom out buttons.  The Multi-Selector thumb pad size has also been reduced on the D600, which I find to be less comfortable than the larger D7000 Multi-Selector.  Overall, all of the controls are easily accessible, user friendly, and quick and easy to access and use for changing settings on the fly.  Many controls make use of a button press and then either of the Command Dials to change the setting.  For example, press the AF-Mode Button at the base of the lens and then turn the Main Command Dial to change the AF Mode or the Sub-Command Dial to change the AF Area Mode, as you look on the top LCD Control Panel to see your choices.  I found myself always intuitively turning the wrong dial in conjunction with the ISO Button, but that will just take some practice (one dial enables Auto ISO while the other changes the ISO setting).

Nikon D600 vs D7000 controls buttons size compare side by side
Nikon D600 vs Nikon D7000 – comparison of body size and controls of the full frame FX vs the APS-C sized DX format dSLR cameras – image by author, courtesy of Newtonville camera of Newton, Mass.

The D300s has entirely different switches, dials, and buttons than the D600 and D7000, however this allows for quicker and easier direct access to a few more features and settings on the D300s.  As with the D7000, the D600 offers two customizable user settings (U1, U2) on the mode dial for pre-setting a combination of camera settings and Custom Settings.  For example, you can set up your camera for landscape photography with all the settings you use for that and assign these settings to U1, and then configure your camera for studio/ portrait use and assign that combination of settings to the U2 mode.  You can also assign numerous functions of your choice to certain buttons such as the Fn Button, such as quickly and temporarily changing to Spot Metering Mode or turning on the built-in level display.

Wireless Flash: All of these Nikon cameras allow for advanced wireless lighting using the built in flash as a remote Commander for Nikon Speedlights, allowing you to make use of and remotely control simple or complex off-camera lighting set-ups.

Viewfinder: As with the D7000 and D300s, the D600 has a large, bright 100% optical viewfinder coverage.

Processor: The D90 and D300s have the Nikon Expeed Processor, the D7000 has the improved Expeed II processor, and the D600 boasts the speedier Expeed 3 processor. This allows for more video options including full 1080p HD at all the frame rates and overall faster processing of stills and video files especially when using in-camera processing features while shooting such as Vignetting Control or High ISO Noise Reduction.  The fast processor also allows for quick results when taking in-camera HDR or Multiple Exposure images.

Continuous Shooting Speed: The D600 can shoot at a maximum continuous frame rare of 5.5 frames per second (fps) up to 100 images when shooting JPEG or up to 16 images when shooting at the best RAW setting.  This allows you to capture exactly the right moment of an action situation, or a rapidly changing expression on a subject.  The D90 can shoot 4.5 frames per second (fps) up to 100 images, the D7000 shoots 6 fps up to 100 shots, and the D300s shoots 7 fps – or 8fps with the battery grip. If you often capture action and really need the highest frame rate, such as for sports or wildlife shooting, you are going to have to seriously consider the D300s or D800 over the D600.  Otherwise, 7 or 8 fps is often complete overkill in typical real-life use.

Memory Card: Like the D7000, the D600 accepts 2 SD cards, where the second card can be used in a variety of ways: overflow, JPEG on one / RAW on the other, or mirrored backup of the first card. The D300s uses 1 CF card and 1 SD card, which also can be configured in a variety of ways. The second card can definitely come in handy if one is shooting a lot of still and video files or wants instant back-up of all images.  There is a “trick” for choosing which memory card slot is viewed during image playback:  Press and hold the BKT Button and then press Up on the Multi-Selector and follow the prompts to make your choice.

Battery: The D600 and D7000 both use the high capacity EN-EL15 battery, which will last for over 1000 shots.  TheD600 accepts the optional, new MB-D14 battery grip for the use of two batteries – and to perhaps make the camera more comfortable for some users particularly when using larger lenses or working often in portrait orientation.  Similarly, the D7000 accepts the optional MB-D11 battery pack/ vertical grip,  and the D300s uses the EN-EL3e battery and the optional MB-D10 battery pack/ vertical grip. The D90 also uses the EN-EL3e battery and its optional battery pack/ vertical grip is the MB-D80.

Full HD video: The D600 offers full HD video with manual control and all the usual frame rates (1080p at 30/25/24 fps and 720p at 60/50/30 fps), for up to 20 minutes of recording at the highest settings. As with stills, you can switch to DX (as if you were using a smaller DX sized sensor) for a “telephoto boost,” and it is capable of full time autofocus, though most dedicated videographers still prefer manually focusing. The camera records mono audio but is compatible with optional stereo mics, and has a headphone jack for audio monitoring.  The D90 and D300s offer 720p video at 24 fps, with a 5 minute shooting time. The D7000 improved upon that with full 1080p HD video at 24 fps for up to 20 minutes with full-time continuous autofocus. Plus it offers 720p at 30, 24, and 25 fps.

Price: Just under $2100 – may vary slightly at different retailers.

Shooting Experience: The D600 feels and performs absolutely wonderfully. Its body and controls are comfortable and responsive in the hands, with the exception of what I think is a too-small Multi-Selector pad.   All controls are easily accessible for quickly changing all the essential settings such as autofocusing modes, ISO, white balance, metering modes, bracketing, etc. The Shutter Button is thankfully less sensitive than that of the D7000, thus allowing focus lock or exposure lock using a half-press, without accidentally taking the shot.  The Matrix Metering works great to properly determine exposure in a wide variety of situations, and the Auto White Balance even captures sunset colors nicely rather than turning them into less warm daylight colors as many previous cameras might have done.  The D600 has carried over all of the nice touches from the D7000 such as the optional grid in the viewfinder, the ability to limit the AF points to 11 – for quicker manual selection, the ability to change the continuous low shooting speed between 1 to 5 shots (which Canon has yet to do on their non-pro cameras), and the versatility to change the size of the central spot size for center weighted metering.

Choosing a Camera:  So which camera is best for your needs? At this point I would be hesitant to recommend to D300s to most users, simply due to the fact that it is an “older” model.  While it is still a highly capable camera, the image resolution and many of the features have been improved upon by the current models.  So if you plan to use your dSLR for several more years, just consider how “outdated” it will be in 4 more years.

The D600 and D7000 are similar in so many ways that a big part of the decision comes down to the full frame sensor vs. the APS-C sized sensor.  Of course the D600 has improved resolution, dynamic range, etc, but remember that all that is relative. You can still capture excellent, professional quality images on the D7000, or even the D90.  Pixel peepers will certainly find a difference, but it may not be significant enough for many users.  The full frame will also allow you to capture wider more sweeping views with your wide angle lenses, and indirectly more dramatically shallow depth of field.

This is because depth of field is affected by not only your aperture setting but also by the camera-to-subject distance.  So say that you were to use the full frame D600 to frame a shot with a 50mm focal length and f/2.0 aperture, from 10 feet away.  To “recreate” this same shot with the APS-C sensor-sized D7000 and a 50mm focal length, you would have to back up several feet to have the same field of view.  The full frame sensor will capture a wider field of view, while the APS-C “crops” the scene due to its smaller size.  Even though you use the same f/2.0 aperture setting, the depth of field does not appear as dramatically shallow because the camera-to-subject distance has increased.  So…indirectly…a full frame camera can contribute to more dramatic depth of field. (However, this all gets a bit more complicated and a lot of photographers, including myself until recently, misunderstand the role of the focal length in this – namely that it does not affect this issue: http://www.bluesky-web.com/dofmyth.htm)

However, since the autofocus points of the D600 are grouped more closely to the center of the frame, they are not as useful as the more widely spread AF points of the D7000 for tracking and capturing moving subjects when working in AF-C autofocus mode.  If you intend to shoot lots of sports, action, birds or other wildlife, the D7000 may work better.  The faster continuous frame rate of the D7000 will greatly assist with action photography as well.  Plus the D7000’s DX sensor will “extend” the reach of your telephoto lenses in these situations.  You can always use the D600 in DX Mode to “widen” you AF point spread and “extend” your telephoto reach, but the tradeoff is that you will only be using 10 megapixels of your sensor.

Purchasing these cameras: If you plan to buy any of these cameras, accessories, or anything else through Amazon.com or B and H Photo, I would appreciate it if you use my referral links. Your price will be the same, and they will give me a little commission for referring you, which will help support my blog.  Thank you for supporting my efforts!

Order your D600 today on Amazon or B and H – it is already available and shipping!

Nikon D600 on Amazon (body only or kit)

Nikon D600 at B and H Photo – body only

Nikon D600 at B and H Photo – with the 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR Lens

Purchasing from the UK? Use my Amazon UK referral link here.

 

Nikon D600 book ebook guide manual tutorial how to dummies instruction fieldBrief commercial interruption: And don’t forget, I will be offering an e-book guide for the D600Nikon D600 Experience. The guide discusses not only how to use the features, controls, autofocus systems, and various settings of the cameras, but more importantly when and why to make use of them in your photography.  It also explains the metering modes, aperture and shutter priority modes and manual shooting, focus lock, exposure lock, and more.  Plus it goes over all of the Menu options and Custom Settings, with recommended settings.  Learn more about my Full Stop dSLR camera guides here!

I just learned over on the Nikon Rumors website that there is an app for downloading and viewing your Nikon camera manual on your iPad or iPhone.  The app, called Nikon Manual Viewer, can be downloaded for free.  Once you have downloaded the manual, you can then view it offline at anytime.  It does not appear that Canon has a similar app yet.

Nikon Manual Viewer app ipad iphone guide book tutorial instruction

Be sure to also consider my dSLR camera guides, which can also be downloaded and carried with you on your iPad or computer, including Nikon D7000 Experience and Nikon D5100 Experience.  These guides go beyond the manuals to help you learn not only how, but more importantly when and why to use the features and functions of these versatile cameras.

  

New firmware has been released for the Nikon D7000, version 1.03.  Be sure to update your camera, as it will fix several minor bugs including some settings and displays that have mysteriously changed on their own previously.

Update information on the Nikon site here:

http://support.nikonusa.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/17542

The Nikon D5100 firmware has also been updated for the first time, v 1.01, with fixes including:

  • An error recognizing some memory cards has been addressed.
  • When Selective color from the retouch menu is performed on a picture taken with the image quality set to NEF (RAW)+JPEG and an image size of M or S, the edges of the image may not have changed color. This issue has been resolved.
  • When Metering was set to Matrix metering, the exposure mode set to M (Manual), and the HDR exposure differential set to Auto, the exposure differential was fixed at a value equivalent to 2 EV. This has been changed to enable automatic adjustment of exposure differential so that it is appropriate for the scene.

D5100 firmware upgrade available here:

https://nikoneurope-en.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/50626

Nikon D7000 D5100 firmware update upgrade

In addition to delivering great image quality, exceptional low light/high ISO performance, and rugged construction, the Nikon D7000 is an extremely sophisticated camera that can be highly customized to work exactly how you want or need it to.  Its autofocus system and metering system can be set up and tweaked according to your preferences, its buttons and dials can be assigned and customized for your most-used functions, its frame rates can be adjusted, its white balance fine-tuned, and much more.  I’ve spent a lot of time with the Nikon D7000 as I researched and wrote my e-book user’s guide to the D7000 called Nikon D7000 Experience, and here are the some of the top “tips and tricks” I’ve discovered for setting up and using this powerful dSLR (in no particular order):

(Looking for additional tips for the Nikon D7100? New post here.)

Nikon D7000 tips tricks book guide download how to learn
Detail of the Nikon D7000 – photo by author

1. Take Control of your Autofocus System: In order to always ensure that the camera autofocuses where and how you want, you need to take control of your AF system.  Use AF-S Autofocus Mode and Single Point AF Autofocus Area Mode for still subjects, and use AF-C Autofocus Mode and Dynamic Area AF or 3D-Tracking Autofocus Area Mode for tracking moving subjects.  Select your desired AF point so that the camera focuses on, or begins to track, your intended subject.  Press the AF Mode Button and then turn the Command and Sub-Command Dials to change the Autofocus Mode and Autofocus Area Mode as you view the settings on the top LCD screen.  There is so much more you can do with the AF system, including selecting the number of active AF points and determining exactly how it tracks moving subjects.  I wrote an entire previous post that goes into more detail about the settings and capabilities of the D7000 autofocus system.

2. Set up your Dual SD Memory Card Slots: The two memory card slots of the D7000 can function in a couple different ways, including using one for RAW and the other for JPEG files, saving all your images to both cards simultaneously, using the second card as overflow when the first one fills up, or saving stills to one and movies to the other.  You can set this up in the Shooting Menu under “Role played by card in slot 2.” To set how the cards function for saving videos, use the Shooting Menu > Movie Settings > Destination.

3. Set or Create a Picture Control for your JPEG Images and Movies: If you are shooting in RAW (NEF) or JPEG and will be post-processing your images in Photoshop, Lightroom, or using the Nikon software, then you don’t need to worry about Picture Controls.  If that is the case, set the Picture Control for Standard or Neutral and that way the images that you view on the camera’s rear LCD screen will be close to how they will appear in the actual RAW image file.  However if you are not post-processing, you will want the images to come out of the camera looking as you want them to, so you will need to set, customize, or create a Picture Control that best creates your desired look.  Adjust the contrast, saturation, brightness, and sharpening to achieve the look you are after.  Save the Picture Controls you have created to access them later.  You can even create your own styles using the included software, or find them online and download them.  There are styles to be found online that recreate the look of various roll films including Kodachrome and Velvia.

4. Verify that you Haven’t Over-Exposed Your Highlights: View your histogram along with your image during image review or image playback to confirm that you haven’t over- or under-exposed your image.  To see the Overview image-view that shows the histogram, press up or down on the Multi-controller during image playback to flip through the different available views.  The histogram will show you if your highlights or shadows have run off the graph, indicating that those areas of the image contain no detail in the highlights or shadows other than pure white or pure black.  In the RGB Histogram and Highlights view, the over-exposed highlights will also blink in the tiny image, indicating that those areas of the image have been “blown-out” and that there is no detail other than pure white in those parts of the image.  If you have over- or under-exposed your image, then…

5. Make use of Exposure Compensation: Explore the various options in Custom Setting b3 to customize exactly how exposure compensation works.  Set it so that you press the Exposure Compensation Button first before turning a dial to change EC, or have it set so that you can just turn a dial to quickly and directly change EC.  You can even select which dial you use with Custom Setting f6.  And you can set it so that the EC amount that you dialed in stays set for the subsequent shots, or that it is automatically reset to zero, depending on which controls you use to set EC.  This last option is the most sophisticated and most flexible, and may be the best one to learn and use.  Using this option, On (Auto reset), you can choose to turn a dial to directly adjust EC, but your EC setting will be reset when the camera or exposure meter turns off .  This is because you can still continue to use the Exposure Compensation Button with a Command Dial to set EC, but by setting it this way, EC will not be reset when the camera or meter turns off.  EC will only be automatically reset if you set it directly using the dial without the button.  So if you wish to use EC for just one shot, you can adjust EC with just the dial.  But if you wish to take a series of shots with the same adjusted EC, you can use the button/ dial combination to set it more “permanently.”  Pretty powerful stuff!  This is why you got the D7000, right?  So that you can take advantage of these sophisticated controls!

Brief Commercial Interruption: Are you already getting a little confused?  Want to learn more about these and other features of the D7000?   I recently completed an e-book user’s guide for the Nikon D7000 called Nikon D7000 Experience that explains all of this and much more.  The guide covers all the Menus, Custom Settings, functions and controls of the Nikon D7000, focusing modes, exposure modes, shooting modes, white balance, etc., PLUS when and why you may want to use them when shooting.  As one reader has said, “This book, together with the manual, is all you need to start discovering all the camera’s potential.” It will help you to take control of your camera and the images you create!  Learn more about the features and settings discussed in the ” tips and tricks” here and much more.  To read more about the book, preview it, and purchase it, see my Full Stop bookstore website here!
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Nikon D7000 Experience by Douglas Klostermann

6. Fine-Tune the Exposure Metering Modes: Using Custom Setting b5, you can fine-tune the exposure for each of the different Exposure Metering Modes (Matrix, Center-Weighted Average, Spot), all independently.  For example, if you find that Center-Weighted metering is slightly under-exposing all the time, fine-tune it for +1/3 or +2/3 using Custom Setting b5.  This tweaks the exposure behind the scenes, independent of exposure compensation.  You can still continue to use EC as always, on top of this fine-tuning.

7. Lock Exposure and Focus Independently: Sometimes you need to lock the focus distance before recomposing, or lock the metered exposure setting for one shot or for several shots in a row.  Or sometimes you need to lock both focus and exposure for the same shot, perhaps independently of each other.  By default, the Shutter Button locks focus when you half-press it and exposure is determined when you fully press the Shutter Button to take the shot.  You can use Custom Setting c1 to have the Shutter Button half-press also lock exposure, or better yet use Custom Setting f3 to use the Fn Button for locking exposure.  You can even set it so that you either press and hold the Fn Button or just press it and release.  Then you can use Custom Setting f5 to set the AE-L/AF-L Button for locking focus.  This is known as back-button focusing and that way you can lock these settings independently.  Learning to use back-button focus and even exposure lock can be awkward at first, and you may not fully understand why it is necessary.  But I highly recommend starting to experiment with them, then hopefully getting in the habit of using them all the time – especially if you shoot a lot of action scenes or situations where you are rapidly taking lots of photos (perhaps a wedding and reception), or if you are recomposing your framing between when you focus and when you take the shot.  You may soon find them both indispensable and wonder how you once managed without them!

Nikon D7000 tips tricks how to instruction book download user guide learn
Detail of the Nikon D7000 – photo by author

8. Reverse the Values of the Exposure Indicators: In the viewfinder and on the top LCD screen of the Nikon D7000, the exposure indicator shows the negative values on the right and the positive values on the left.  Perhaps you find this as counter-intuitive as I do.  Ever since grade school, negative values have always been to the left!  Plus with the histogram, the brighter values are shown on the right of the graph, and thus to make use of exposure compensation you would dial to the negative side to correct for over-exposed values, thus moving your histogram to the left.  So why do you have to move the value to the right on the exposure indicator?  It can obviously cause great confusion!  Use Custom Setting f9 to reverse the indicators to the more logical orientation.

9. Put Your Most Used Settings in My Menu: Instead of digging into the menus and Custom Settings all the time to find your most used settings, you can create your own custom menu called My Menu, which is then quickly and easily accessed with the Menu Button.  You can even decide what order to list the items in.  Set up My Menu by selecting Choose Tab in the Recent Settings menu, and select My Menu.  Then Add Items and Rank Items in the order you desire.  You can add items from most all of the Menus and Custom Settings Menus.  Determine what settings you are digging into the menus to look for and change most often, and put them in My Menu, such as maybe Format and White Balance (for more WB options and fine-tuning).  I recommend you include Format since you should re-format your memory card each time you are ready to clear off that card, and not just Erase All.  However, put Format lower down in My Menu so that you don’t have a tragic memory card accident.

10. Make Use of the Other Exposure Modes: While Matrix Metering will do an excellent job of determining the proper exposure of an image the majority of the time, there are some situations where you may wish to use the other exposure modes – Center-Weighted Metering and Spot Metering.  This includes dramatically backlit situations, subjects with a dramatically dark background, scenes that contain a wide range of highlights and shadow areas, or other dramatic lighting situations.  It is best to turn to one of these other modes to ensure you properly meter for the subject and don’t blow the shot.  If the background is not dramatically lighter or darker than the subject, but you still want to ensure that the camera’s metering system concentrates on the subject and not the entire scene, use Center-Weighted.  This is a situation where you may wish to lock in the exposure and recompose if your subject is not going to be in the center in the final framing.  You can even use Custom Setting b4 to change the size of the area being metered with Center-Weighted metering.  If the background is very dark or light and you want the camera to ignore it and just meter on a certain critical area of the scene, use Spot metering.  Again, meter for that critical area, lock the exposure, and recompose.

10a. Quickly Use Spot Metering to Determine a Critical Exposure:  You can use Custom Setting f4 to assign the Depth-of-Field Preview Button to Spot Metering so that you can quickly meter for a precise area without having to take your eye from the viewfinder and change the Metering Mode.  Versatile Custom Settings such as this are a big part of what makes the D7000 such a powerful, customizable camera, and this demonstrates why it is worthwhile to completely understand and take advantage of these advances capabilities.

There are many more great features and settings of the Nikon D7000 to take advantage of.  You have a powerful camera in your hands, so why not learn to take advantage of its advanced features?!  Have a look at my e-book guide Nikon D7000 Experience to learn more about the settings, features, and controls mentioned here, and so much more.  Learn to take control of your camera and the images you create!

Also, please know that there aren’t really any tips or tricks for better photography.  To improve your photography, simply learn your camera inside and out and learn the techniques of dSLR photography (with my e-book!) and then practice, practice, practice taking images, study the results, and look at and learn from the work of talented photographers.

Have a look at that post I mentioned earlier about the autofocus system of the D7000, and another post I’ve written which discusses the Menus and Custom Settings of the D7000.  Some of the same items are addressed, but there is also much additional information to be found in the older posts.

Was this post helpful?  Please let others know about it by clicking the Facebook or Twitter sharing buttons below, linking to it from your blog or website, or mentioning it on a forum.  Thanks!  Want to help support this blog with no cost or effort?  Simply click on the Amazon and B&H Photo logos on the left side of this page to go to those sites and make your purchases.  They will then give me a little referral bonus!

Buy a Nikon dSLR including the D5100, D7000 or D3100, with one of the selected lenses, and save up to $250 on the purchase!  Here is a page on Amazon with the complete instructions.  It involves putting both items in your cart – camera and lens – and then using the proper coupon code:

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This was originally written for the Nikon D7000, but as the Nikon D7100, the Nikon D7000, the Nikon D610 / D600, the Nikon D810 / D800, and the Nikon D5200 / D5300 all share a similar Autofocus system, most of this information will apply to all of them.  And even though some of the models have 51 AF Points instead of the 39 AF Points of the other cameras, all the same settings and actions apply.

The Nikon D7100, the Nikon D7000, the Nikon D610 / D600, the Nikon D810 / D800, and the Nikon D5200 / D5200 dSLRs all share very similar, and quite sophisticated autofocus systems – especially if you are coming from a D90, D5100, or earlier camera.  With their 39 AF points or 51 AF points that can be used independently or together in a variety of ways, its Autofocus Custom Settings that affect many of the functions of the AF system, and the three different Autofocus Modes that are used in various combinations with the four different Autofocus AF-Area Modes, it is no wonder that users are having difficulty figuring it all out. (Plus the D810 offers an additional Group Area AF Area Mode!)

Nikon D600 D7000 autofocus af system 39 point auto focus control learn use how to dummie book guide manual
Some of the Autofocus controls of the Nikon D600, located near the base of the lens (to the left of the FX badge and below the Lens Release Button).

First, the Autofocus Controls on the D810/ D800, D610/ D600, D7100, and D7000 are a bit different than previous cameras.  You can change the Autofocus Mode and AF Area Mode by pressing the AF Mode Button (located inside the Focus Mode Selector switch) and then use the Command Dials to adjust the settings as you view them on the top LCD Control Panel or in the Viewfinder.

Focus Mode Selector – This switch is used to turn on or off autofocus. Set to AF for autofocus and M for manual focus. Be sure to set the similar switch on the lens as well. If your camera does not seem to be autofocusing, be sure to check this switch and the one on your lens.

AF Mode Button – This button, located inside the Focus Mode Selector switch, may be confusing at first to those who have not previously seen or used it on the Nikon D7000 or D600, though you should quickly find that it is a convenient design. It is used to select the Focus Mode as well as the autofocus AF-Area Mode. Press this button and turn the rear Main Command Dial to select the Focus Mode, such as AF-A or AF-C, while viewing the setting on the top Control Panel or in the Viewfinder. Press this button and turn the front Sub-Command Dial to set the AF-Area Mode, such as Single-Point AF or 39-Point Dynamic-Area AF. Again, you can view the selected setting on the top Control Panel or in the Viewfinder. The autofocus system including the Focus Modes and AF-Area Modes will be explained below.

Next you will need to set up some of the autofocus Custom Settings to begin to customize how the AF system functions for your needs (Some of these options may not be available with the D5200):

AF-C priority selection – This setting determines if attaining focus is top priority when you are in Continuous-servo AF (Auto-Focus) Mode (AF-C), or if you just want the shots to be taken even if exact focus is not attained for each shot.  If exact focus is your priority, set on Focus.  If getting the shots at all costs is the priority, set for Release.

AF-S priority selection – This is similar to above, except that this setting is for when you are working in Single-servo AF Mode (AF-S), typically used when your subject is not moving.  Since AF-S is typically used with subjects that are not moving, it makes more sense to make sure focus is attained, thus you should typically select Focus for this setting.

Focus tracking with lock-on – This setting determines how the autofocus system reacts to sudden, dramatic changes in the distance of the subject when you are working in AF-C or AF-A modes.  Decide if you wish to have the camera quickly refocus on a new or closer subject (1-Short), wait awhile until it ideally picks up the intended subject again (5-Long), somewhere in between, or immediately refocus on a new subject at a large distance from the initial subject (Off).  Keep this option in mind with the various AF-C and AF Area Mode configurations, as it may change depending on your subject and situation.  Sometimes you don’t want the camera to quickly refocus on a closer or more distant subject, while other times you do.

AF point illumination – This is used to set whether or not the selected autofocus point (AF Point) is illuminated in the viewfinder.  Since you pretty much always want to know where your camera is focusing, this should be set for On.

Focus point wrap-around – This determines if the AF Point selection will “wrap around” to the other side of the screen when you reach an edge.  In other words, if you are selecting your AF Point (as you should be doing at almost all times) and you reach an AF Point on the far right, when you click right again, do you want to “wrap around” to a focus point on the far left, or do you wish to stop at the edge and not continue to the other side?

Number of focus points – This setting determines the number of autofocus points that are available for selection in your viewfinder.  If you are always selecting your AF Point (as you typically should) you may find that it is quicker and easier, at least at first, to limit the number of AF Points to 11 – AF11.  If you prefer to have all the AF Points available for your selection, set this at AF39 (or AF51 with the D7100).  If you set to 11 AF points your selection will be limited to those 11 AF points, but the additional surrounding AF points will still be active to be used by the camera in the AF-Area Modes and in subject tracking, so the camera is still taking advantage of all the AF points of the autofocus system.

Built-in AF-assist illuminator – This is used to enable or disable the autofocus assist light.  Turn this On to assist you in autofocusing in low light, but be sure to turn it Off if you are working in situations where it will be distracting, unwanted, or unnecessary.

and

Assign AE-L/AF-L button (f4 on the D600 and D7100) – This is to assign the function of the AE-L/AF-L Button.  You may want to use this in conjunction with the Function or Fn Button and use one to lock exposure and the other to lock focus.  In that case, you would typically set this to AF lock only to use this button to lock focus.

I go into much more detail about each these Custom Settings, how you may wish to set them up, and recommended settings in my e-book guides for all the current and previous cameras including Nikon D600 Experience, Nikon D7100 Experience, and Nikon D5200 Experience – but this should get you started.

Nikon D600 book ebook camera guide download manual how to dummies field instruction tutorial     Nikon D7100 book ebook manual tutorial field guide how to learn use dummies

 

Using Autofocus
Now on to using the AF system.  (All of the information below is also adapted from my e-book user’s guides, so I hope you will have a look at them to learn more.)

One of the essential steps in taking a successful photo is controlling where the camera focuses.  If you allow the camera to autofocus by choosing its own Focus Point(s), it typically focuses on the closest object or a person in the scene.  This may or may not be what you want to focus on.  So you should choose where the camera focuses using the autofocus Focus Points.  But first you will need to select an appropriate Autofocus Mode and an Autofocus Area Mode, based on your subject and situation.

Autofocus Modes
The D7100, D7000, D600, and D5200 each have three different Autofocus Modes to choose from, typically depending if your subject is still or moving.  They also have four different Autofocus Area Modes (see below) to specify how many of the AF points are active and how they track a moving object.  You can set these two functions in various combinations.  First the Autofocus Modes:

Single-Servo AF (AF-S)
Use this mode when your subject is stationary, or still and not going to move, or if your subject is not going to move very much, or if the distance between you and the subject is not going to change between the time you lock focus, recompose, and take the shot.  Lock focus on the subject and recompose if necessary.  When using AF-S, you can select from two Autofocus Area Modes, either Single-Point AF where you select the AF point, or Auto-Area AF, where the camera selects the AF point(s) for you.  I suggest you nearly always select your own desired AF point.

Continuous-Servo AF (AF-C)
Use this mode when your subject is moving.  If the subject is moving towards you or away from you, the camera will keep evaluating the focus distance, as long as the Shutter Button is kept half-pressed.  You will need to use this in conjunction with the Autofocus Area Modes to determine if and how the camera tracks the subject laterally to the surrounding AF points, or if it will only track the subject if it remains at the initially selected AF point.  If the subject is going to be difficult to follow or is moving across your field of view, set the AF-Area Mode to one of the Dynamic-Area AF modes or to the 3D-Tracking mode.  Focus on the moving subject with the selected point if using Single-Point, one of the Dynamic Area Modes, or 3D-Tracking, or let the camera select the AF point in Auto-Area AF, and then as long as the Shutter Button remains half-pressed the camera will track the subject as it moves closer or farther in distance.  Depending which AF Area Mode you are using, the camera may also maintain focus or track the subject to some or all of the surrounding focus points if it moves away from the initially selected point.  More about this in the Autofocus Area Modes section just below.

Auto-Servo AF (AF-A)
This mode is a hybrid of the two other focus modes.  It starts in Single-Servo AF (AF-S) mode then changes to Continuous-Servo AF (AF-C) mode if your subject starts moving.  Why shouldn’t you use this all the time, then?  Well, if you are focusing and then recomposing, as you may often be doing, your movement of the camera may fool it into thinking that the subject is moving and your resulting focus may not be where you want it to be, or may not be as accurate as it might be if you are using Single-Servo AF.

Nikon D600 autofocus 39 point af system use learn tutorial how to auto focus mode area
The arrangement and position of the 39 AF points of the Nikon D600, shown with the optional viewfinder grid display.

Manual Focus
Sometimes you may be taking several photos of the same subject from the same distance, or for some other reason want to keep the same focus distance and not have to keep re-focusing and re-composing.  Or you may be taking multiple photos for a panorama.  In these situations, turn off the auto-focus on your lens by switching from AF to M with the camera’s Focus Mode Selector switch and with the A/M switch on the lens itself.  Just remember to switch them back when you are finished.  You may also wish to do this if you want to precisely manually focus with the focus ring on your lens.  For lenses with “full time manual focus” however, you don’t need to switch to M in order to manually override the autofocus with the lens focus ring.  These lenses will have M/A and M on the lens focus mode switch instead of A and M.

Autofocus Area Modes
The Autofocus Area Modes are used to set if just a single AF point is active or else how many AF points surrounding your selected AF point will be used to maintain focus or to track a moving subject if you are using AF-C or AF-A Autofocus Modes.

Single-Point AF
Only one AF point will be active, and surrounding AF points will not become active to maintain focus or to track a subject that moves away from the one selected point.  This is typically used along with Single-Servo AF (AF-S) to focus on a stationary or still subject, or in a situation where you will be reframing the shot after you lock focus at a specific distance.  It can also be used with accuracy with AF-S mode for moving subjects if you take the photo quickly or if you recompose and take the shot quickly after locking in focus, especially if the camera-to-subject distance does not change at all or very much in that period between locking focus and taking the photo.  Use the Multi Selector to choose your active AF point as you look through the viewfinder and use the OK Button to quickly select the center AF point.  Also, remember that Custom Setting a6 allowed you to choose between having all 39 AF points available or to limit the camera to 11 AF points.  If you are just starting out with manually selecting a single Focus Point, you may wish to limit them to 11 now, and when you get the hang of it or when you are using one of the other AF Area Modes described below, increase it to 39 to take full advantage of all the AF points of the D7000 autofocus system.  If you choose Single-Point AF with Continuous-Servo AF (AF-C) or Auto-Servo AF (AF-A) for tracking moving subjects, it will only track the subject as long as it is positioned at the selected AF point, and it will not be tracked laterally to the other, surrounding points.  In other words, the single AF point you select will track a subject if it moves closer or farther away, but the AF system will not follow or track the subject if it moves left, right, up, or down and away from your selected AF point.  To do this, you use Dynamic-Area AF Mode or 3D-Tracking.

Dynamic-Area AF
With the Dynamic-Area AF Modes, you select an AF point to tell the camera where to autofocus, and if your subject briefly moves away from that point to a neighboring point or if you lose the subject from your AF point while panning, the camera will use the surrounding AF points to help maintain focus on it.  Select one of the Dynamic-Area AF options (below) when you are photographing moving or potentially moving subjects using Continuous-Servo AF (AF-C) or Auto-Servo AF (AF-A).  These modes are ideal for a subject moving closer or further from the camera but which may also move laterally away from the selected AF point faster than you can react in order to keep it located at that point, or for when you are panning and following the subject and attempting to keep it located at the selected AF point, but may have a little or a lot of difficulty doing so.  Remember that you need to keep the Shutter Button half-pressed in order for the continuous focusing at the initial point or the surrounding points to occur.  Note that the camera may pick up and start tracking a new subject that falls under the selected AF point if you lose your initial subject, in part determined by your setting for Custom Setting a3.

9-Point Dynamic-Area AF will use the immediate surrounding AF points to help maintain focus on a subject that briefly leaves the selected AF point.  This can be used with predictably moving subjects, like a runner or vehicle moving towards you or one that you can easily follow laterally by panning.

21-Point Dynamic-Area AF will use even more of the surrounding AF Points, more than half the total AF Points, to help maintain focus on a subject that briefly leaves the selected AF point.  This should be used for more unpredictably moving objects, like sports players on a field, which may quickly move further away from your selected AF point before you have a chance to realign that point over the subject.

39-Point Dynamic-Area AF (or 51-Point Dynamic-Area AF with the D7100) will use all of the 39 AF points (or 51 points) to help maintain focus on a subject that briefly leaves the selected AF point.  It can be used for very quick and unpredictably moving subjects, like pets, birds or other wildlife, and all 39 AF points will be used to maintain focus on the subject as you attempt to realign the selected AF point with the subject.

The Dynamic-Area AF Modes are not used to track and maintain focus on a subject that is moving across the various AF points in the frame, but rather are used to stay focused on a moving subject that you attempt to keep located at your selected AF Point.  To track a subject that is moving across the frame, intentionally passing from one AF point to the next, use 3D-Tracking.

Nikon D5200 autofocus af system viewfinder 39 point how to use learn manual guide book instruction dummies tutorial area mode dynamic
A simulated image of the Nikon D5200 viewfinder, showing the autofocus focus points active with 9-Point Dynamic Area AF area mode, when the center AF point is selected. (Image shown at 50% opacity to better view AF points.)

3D-Tracking
This mode is used for subjects moving across the frame in any direction, or subjects moving erratically from side-to-side in the frame, and they are tracked by areas of color.  This is used when you don’t wish to necessarily pan or follow the subject to keep it located in the same part of the frame, but rather when you wish to keep the camera relatively still as the subject moves across the frame.  You may select this option when you are tracking and photographing moving subjects using Continuous-Servo AF (AF-C) or Auto-Servo AF (AF-A).  Again, you choose the initial AF point to locate the subject and begin the tracking.  If the area of color you wish to track is too small or if it blends into the background, this mode might not be very effective.

Auto-Area AF
The camera uses all 39 AF points to detect what it thinks is the subject and automatically choose the appropriate AF point(s).  Typically, the camera will select the nearest subject or a human in the frame, so it may not focus on exactly what you wish to focus on.  That is why it is best to use one of the other modes and select the AF point yourself.

Group Area AF
The Nikon D810 and D4s include the Group Area AF autofocus area mode, which makes use of a group of 5 AF Points arranged in a cross-shaped pattern. And instead of selecting a primary point with the surrounding points being “helper points,” you will actually be selecting the group of five points, which will all be used to attempt to focus on the subject. Unlike the other AF Area Modes with multiple points, the Viewfinder will actually display the four outer points of the group, but for some reason not the central point – perhaps so that you can better view the subject.

Keep in mind that with the other somewhat similar Dynamic Area AF modes, you choose a primary point and attempt to keep the subject located at that point, and the surrounding points act as “helper” points if the subject happens to move away from the primary point. But with Group Area AF you select the entire group of AF Points, and they all work equally to focus on the subject. This mode can be used similar to Single Point AF but when it might be challenging to locate the subject under an individual point. When working in AF-S Focus Mode and using Group Area AF, the selected AF points will give priority to faces if they are present, otherwise they will focus on the closest subject.

 

The next step is to learn to lock focus independent of locking exposure, and customize the camera’s controls to perform these functions how you wish.  But you are going to have to have a look at my e-book guides Nikon D7100 Experience, Nikon D7000 Experience, Nikon D600 Experience and Nikon D5200 Experience to learn about this and many other important functions of your sophisticated Nikon D600, D5200, or D7000!

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To learn about another important reason why you need to take control of your autofocus system, see the related post:

Don’t Let the Locations of the AF Points Dictate Your Composition

What do you do when, with your desired framing, your subject is not located exactly under or near an AF point? Even with all the AF points of an advanced Nikon D7000 and D600, this will often be an issue. Have a look at the above post to learn why this is an issue and how to resolve it.

Still need to purchase your D7100, D7000, D5200 or D600.  Please use my links to have a look at them on Amazon:

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Choosing between the Nikon D5100, D7000, D90, and D3100:

A few months ago I wrote a post comparing the Nikon D90 vs D7000 vs D300s. Now that the D5100 is available, I am updating the comparison and include this new model, the highly competent successor to the Nikon D5000.

Nikon D5100 vs d7000 vs d3100 manual book compare choose
Detail of the Nikon D5100 – photo by author – copyright 2011 – please do not use without permission!

In the Nikon lineup, the D5100 sits just above the D3100, a bit below the aging D90, and a few steps below the highly capable and immensely popular Nikon D7000. You may see some comparison charts that make the cameras appear somewhat (or very) similar at first, but those charts don’t tell the whole story.  They can even be deceptive.  You really need to take a closer look at not just the specifications, but the features and how they are used in real life, and determine which camera is the right tool for your photography.

The D5100 boasts a 16 megapixel image sensor just like the D7000, shoots 4 frames per second in continuous mode, has HD video capability at 24, 25, and 30 fps, and includes a fully adjustable side-mounted rotating screen more similar to the Canon T3i and 60D than to the bottom mounted limited angle screen on the D5000. It is closer in specifications and price to the Canon T3i than the entry level D3100 and should prove to be an excellent option for new dSLR users plus those experienced enthusiasts wishing to upgrade their D50, D60, or even their D3000 to gain additional megapixels, video, and an improved rear LCD screen.

side by side review compare Nikon D5100 vs D7000 vs D3100 vs D90
Nikon 3100, D90, D7000 (D5100, not shown, is virtually the same size as the D3100) – photo by author at Newtonville Camera

Below I will spell out some of the differences in specifications and features, as well as what these differences mean and why they may or may not be important to you and your photography. Generally as the cameras increase in price and capability from the entry level model to the enthusiast pro-sumer model they gain more sophisticated autofocus and exposure metering systems, shoot faster (more frames per second) in continuous shooting mode, have more controls on the camera body for changing settings, have sturdier construction, and offer more menu and custom function options. As I always like to point out, when you are trying to determine which camera to purchase or upgrade to, you need to first consider and determine your needs, and then see which camera fills those needs. Not the other way around where you look at the new features and speculate if you really need or will use them. The latest cameras almost always have more impressive features and specifications than the preceding models, and the more expensive, higher-end models will offer more features and options than the lower-end models, but if your needs and shooting style don’t required those additional features and functions then it is possible that you can save some money and be completely happy with a less expensive model.

Sensor and Image Quality: The sensors of the D7000 and D5100 are greatly improved over the older D90 in a couple of ways (it is the same sensor in both cameras). The D7000 and D5100 have 16.2 megapixel sensors, where the D90 has 12.3 megapixels. The relatively new D3100 has a 14.2 MP sensor. This increase in resolution allows for more intrusive editing of the files in Photoshop, the ability to crop a picture and still obtain an image with high enough resolution for printing or display, and allows for larger prints. In addition, the improved sensor results in better performance at high ISO settings and in low light, better dynamic range, tonal range, and color sensitivity. Have a look at dxomark.com to compare the sensors – run your mouse along the red-to-green color bar to the right some of the graphs, such as Dynamic Range, to see how these differences affect images.

Exposure Metering: The D5100, while sharing a similar sensor to the D7000, does not have the same advanced metering system. It shares the less sophisticated 420 pixel RGB metering sensor of the D3100 and offers matrix metering, non-adjustable center-weighted, and spot metering modes. This system may be more than sufficient for many users, especially those not intending to adjust their exposure settings and dig into their menus in reaction to complex lighting situations. But if your shooting demands require more precise exposure metering and control over the size of the areas being metered, you need to consider the D90 or D7000. The 2016 pixel RGB metering sensor of the D7000 is also improved compared to the D90, and will result in more accurate metering performance of straightforward and complex lighting scenes and situations. Both these cameras offer matrix metering, center-weighted, and spot metering modes. With center-weighted metering on the D90, you can select the size of the center-weighted area to be a 6, 8, or 10mm center circle, and the D7000 adds a 13mm circle option to those.  (If you don’t understand what this means or why you may need it, you probably don’t need it!)

Autofocus: The autofocus systems of the D3100, D5100, and D90 all have 11 autofocus (AF) points with the center one being a more accurate cross-type. These AF systems may be more than sufficient for most users, and they can successfully track moving objects in the frame such as athletes, performers, or animals. However, if you specialize in sports, action, wildlife, or bird photography, you are going to want to consider the much more sophisticated, accurate, and customizable AF system of the D7000. The D7000 boasts a significantly improved AF system of 39 AF points with 9 of them (in the center) being cross type. The AF system of the D7000 allows for you to use these points in various ways including automatic AF point selection, single point AF, and dynamic area AF using your choice of 9 points, 21 points, all points, or all points with 3D-tracking. With the D7000 you can also use a custom function to limit the AF system to 11 points, which may be more manageable for someone who wishes to manually select their AF points.  (Have a look at this article for an in-depth explanation of the D7000 AF system and its capabilities)

review compare Nikon D5100 vs D3100 vs D7000 vs D90 side by side
Nikon 3100, D90, D7000 (D5100, not shown, is virtually the same size as the D3100) – photo by author at Newtonville Camera

Body, Construction and Size/ Weight: The D5100 is just slightly larger and a tiny bit heavier than the D3100, both weighing just over one pound. Both have plastic bodies and more limited buttons and controls that the higher end models. The D90 and D7000 appear very similar at first glance, but the plastic body of the D90 has been upgraded to the partially magnesium alloy body (top and rear) of the D7000. This adds slightly to the weight: 1.5 lbs for the D90 vs. 1.7 lbs for the D7000. The sturdier construction of the D7000 versus the D90 – including its nicer rubber gripping surfaces – creates the impression and feel of a more professional body. The D7000 also has weather sealing at the memory card and battery doors.

The higher end D7000 includes not only the 3″ rear LCD screen but also a top LCD panel for viewing and changing your settings. This is essential for photographers who are constantly changing their settings to deal with various shooting situations. It is worth noting that the magnesium alloy body of the D7000 does not fully extend around the front, and thus the area surrounding the lens mount is plastic. See this image of a D7000 skeleton next to one of a 7D for details. For most users, including even those using the camera daily or in rugged travel situations, the non-magnesium construction of the D5100 should be far more than good enough, strong enough, and durable enough.

Please know that the size and weight of these bodies is a result of their build, features, and capabilities.  Those are the criteria that should be compared first, not the resulting size and weight.  (Also be sure to read this post of Why How it “Feels” is not a valid Criterion for Choosing an dSLR.)

ISO: As mentioned in the Sensor and Image Quality section above, the high ISO performance of the D7000 is greatly improved over the D90. The tests at dxomark.com tell this story, along with the fact that the native ISO range of the D7000 is 100-6400 expandable up to 25,600. The D5100 shares these specifications, and should offer similar results. The D3100 has a native ISO range of 100-3200 expandable to 12800, and the range of the D90 is 200-3200. This means that with the D7000 and D5100 you can use higher ISO settings when required, such as in low light situations, and not have as much difficulty with digital noise, particularly in the shadow areas of images.

Controls: As with construction, the buttons and controls vary with these cameras. The D3100 and D5100 offer limited, basic controls on the exterior of the camera. However you can use the rear LCD screen to quickly change many settings, or else go into the menus. The D7000 offers an extensive array of controls on the camera body, allowing one to quickly change a large number of settings as they work, including focus mode and focus area settings, shooting mode, and exposure mode. The controls of the D7000 are similar to the D90 with some changes including the addition of the shooting mode ring under the mode dial (to change from single shot to high speed continuous to self timer, etc.), and the live-view switch with movie record button inside it. The top AF button of the D90 is incorporated into the AF switch and button at the base of the lens on the D7000. The D7000 also offers more white balance options than the other cameras, plus 2 customizable user settings (U1, U2) on the mode dial, and you can assign functions of your choice to buttons such as the Fn Button.

Menus and Custom Settings: These allow for greater control over customizing how the camera functions. The D5100 has less Menu and Custom Settings options than the D90 and the highly customizable D7000, and more than the D3100 (which offers no custom settings). These settings enable you to customize the operation, function, and controls to work how you want them to, including things like exposure increments, Live View options, tweaking how the autofocus system operates, setting more precise white balance settings, and customizing which button does what. There are ebooks such as my Nikon D7000 Experience and Nikon D5100 Experience which walk you through all of the Menu settings and Custom Settings so that you can set up your camera to work best for how you photograph, and also begin to learn to master all the advanced features, settings, and controls of these powerful dSLR cameras.

 

Brief commercial interruption: I would like to mention that I have written an eBook user’s guide for the Nikon D7000, and one for the Nikon D5100. After spending so much time studying, experimenting, writing about, comparing, and discussing these cameras, I decided to put some that knowledge into eBook form! The guides covers all the Shooting, Setup, and Playback Menu settings and every Custom Function setting – with recommended settings – plus discussions of how, when, and why to use the cameras’ settings and features, (metering modes, aperture and shutter priority modes, advanced autofocus use, focus lock, exposure lock, and more) for everyday and travel use, to help you take better photos.

Click HERE to learn more about Nikon D7000 Experience – and to view a preview, or purchase it!

And see HERE to learn about, preview, and purchase my ebook guide Nikon D5100 Experience.

Wireless Flash: The D7000 includes the feature of advanced wireless lighting using the built in flash as a commander for off-camera Nikon Speedlights. However, the D5100 and D3100 do not have this capability. With the D7000, you can set up one or more Speedlights in remote mode, then trigger them wirelessly with the built in flash of the camera.

Viewfinder: The D5100 has a pentamirror viewfinder with approximately 95% coverage of the actual resulting image, just like the D3100. The higher quality pentaprism viewfinder of the D90 gives 96% coverage of the actual resulting image, while the D7000 has a larger, brighter pentaprism viewfinder with 100% coverage. While in-and-of-itself, a 95% viewfinder works just fine, when you compare it side-by-side with the large, clear view of the D7000, you can see and understand the advantages of a clearer view of your entire scene with a 100% view, pentaprism viewfinder.

Processor: The Nikon D5100 and D3100 use the fast Expeed 2 image processor just like the D7000. This allows for more video options including full 1080p HD at 24fps, overall faster processing of stills and video files, and the ability to maintain fast continuous speed shooting for numerous frames. The D90 has the older Nikon Expeed processor, which is also fast enough to handle its processing needs.

review compare D7000 vs Nikon D5100 vs D3100 vs D90 size
Nikon 3100, D90, D7000 (D5100, not shown, is virtually the same size as the D3100) – photo by author at Newtonville Camera

Continuous Shooting Speed: As you work your way up the Nikon dSLR line-up the cameras’ continuous shooting speed and maximum shots at that rate increases. The D3100 shoots 3 frames per second (fps) in continuous shooting mode, the D5100 shoots 4 fps, and the D7000 shoots 6 fps for up to 100 shots. The D90 can shoot 4.5 fps up to 100 images. If you often capture action and really need the higher frame rate, such as for sports, action, or wildlife shooting, you are going to have to seriously consider the D7000 over the other cameras. Paired with its advanced autofocus system, this fast frame rate can sharply capture moving objects is all types of situations. A nice feature of the D7000 is that you can adjust the low speed continuous mode to shoot anywhere from 1 to 5 fps, using the custom settings.

Memory Card: The D5100, D3100, and D90 all use a single SD memory card. The D7000 accepts 2 SD cards, where the second card can be used in a variety of ways: overflow when the first card fills up, JPEG on one / RAW on the other, or mirrored backup of the first card. The second card can come in handy as well if one is shooting video files, and one card can be designated for stills and the other video.

Battery and Battery Grip: The D5100 and D3100 both use the EN-EL14 battery, and the D7000 uses the new, higher capacity EN-EL15 battery, which will last for over 1000 shots. The D7000 accepts the optional MB-D11 battery pack/ vertical grip which is constructed of magnesium alloy. The D90 uses the EN-EL3e battery and its optional battery pack/ vertical grip is the MB-D80. The D5100 and D3100 don’t accept a battery grip. The battery pack /grip is handy for providing the ability to use a second battery and thus prolonging shooting time, and also creates a larger camera body which some users find more comfortable, especially when shooting in portrait orientation.

Full HD video: The D5100 shoots 1080p and 720p video at 24, 25, and 30 fps. The D3100 shoots 1080p at 24 fps and 720p at 24, 25, and 30 fps. The D7000 also shoots 1080p at 24 fps only and 720p at 24, 25, and 30 fps, up to 20 minutes with full-time continuous autofocus. The D90 offers 720p video at 24 fps, with a 5 minute shooting time.

Ease of Operation: While beginners may find all the buttons, controls, and menus of any dSLR difficult and confusing at first, the menus and controls of the D5100 and D3100 are pretty basic and simple to learn for a dedicated user. The additional controls and menus of the D7000 and D90 are all quite intelligently designed and will become intuitive and straightforward for the more advanced user once they are learned and understood. Again, have a look at helpful guides such as my Nikon D7000 Experience and Nikon D5100 Experience to begin to learn to master all the advanced features, settings, and controls of these powerful dSLR cameras.

If you are interested in comparing the D5100 or D7000 to the comparable Canon models, have a look at these articles:

Nikon D5100 vs. Canon T3i

Nikon D7000 vs. Canon 60D (and 7D)

Purchasing these cameras: If you plan to buy any of these cameras, accessories, or anything else through Amazon.com or Amazon.com UK, I would appreciate it if you use my referral links. Your price will be the same, and they will give me a little something for referring you, which will help support my blog. Thanks! In the USA, use the links throughout this post or use this referral link to Amazon. And for those of you across the pond, click here for my referral link to Amazon UK. Thank you for supporting my efforts!

See the Nikon D5100 with 18-55mm Lens on Amazon $899

See the Nikon D5100 – Body Only on Amazon $799

See the Nikon D7000 – Body Only on Amazon $1199

See the Nikon D7000 and 18-105mm Lens on Amazon $1499

See the Nikon D3100 with 18-55mm Lens on Amazon

See the D90 on Amazon $739 body only or $1049 with 18-105mm lens

Purchasing from the UK? Use my Amazon UK referral link here. If you wish to purchase from B&H Photo, Adorama, or direct from Canon, please click on their logos on the left side of this page or on the Gear page. Thanks!

Accessories and Books: Now that you are on your way to deciding on a camera, you should also start looking into photography gear, accessories, and books. Check out these links, dSLR Photography Gear, Accessories, and Books, which discusses essential gear plus accessories specific to Nikon cameras; Equipment for Travel Photography, which discusses useful and practical photo accessories and equipment for both everyday and travel photography.

And to sum it all up, here is a brief, mostly serious synopsis to help you make the camera decision:

Get a Nikon D3100 if you are new to photography or to digital SLR photography and don’t want to spend a lot of money on a camera because you might only be using it on Auto mode, or if you don’t plan to really “get into” photography beyond taking better photos than you are able to with your compact point-and-shoot and having the ability to use various lenses.  The D3100 is a camera one could outgrow in time if they work at their photography and advance. See the Nikon D3100 on Amazon.

Get a Nikon D5100 if you are new to photography or to digital SLR photography and think you will want to experiment beyond Auto mode, or want to upgrade from an older entry level model because you want higher image quality and more mega-pixels, or HD video. If you have been happy with the features and controls of your previous basic dSLR camera and have not discovered the need, in your use of it, for any specific additional advanced features, there may be no need to look beyond the D5100.  The D5100 is a camera one can grow with, but it is also one a user could outgrow if they are dedicated to their photography and start to require more advanced capabilities. See the Nikon D5100 on Amazon.

Get a Nikon D90 if you have outgrown the capabilities of an older Nikon like a D3000 or D40 through D60 due to your greater experience and more demanding shooting needs which require more direct or sophisticated controls and customization options. Or you have been pretty pleased with your D70 or D80 and its features but wish to upgrade for the increased image quality and mega pixels (or HD video). And/ or you need a more rugged camera for your frequent and demanding shooting and off-the-beaten-path traveling needs. Or if you need the increased 4.5 frames per second continuous rate to shoot sports or action. If you typically shoot on Auto or Program mode, you may not need a D90. If you do not manually select your own focus point and have never used exposure compensation you may not need a D90. If you have never used the AE-Lock [AE-L] button to lock exposure you may not need a D90. If you don’t understand the relationship between aperture, shutter speed and ISO and don’t intend to learn more about it, you may not need a D90. Or unless you plan to dedicate yourself to learning this camera and the principles of SLR photography and grow into this more advanced camera, consider saving the money or using it towards a better lens.  The D90 is a camera one would not outgrow as it has advanced features and capabilities, but its drawback is that it is now outdated. See the Nikon D90 on Amazon.

Get a Nikon D7000 if you have extensive experience with a D3000, D40 through 60, or D70 through D90 camera, and you know and understand most of the D7000’s advanced features and customization options, and you specifically need some of them for your demanding shooting needs. If you haven’t passed the above “criteria” for a D90, you probably don’t need a D7000. If you have never used A aperture priority mode or M manual mode, you probably don’t need a D7000. If you have never used autofocus tracking settings to track a moving subject across your frame and worried how an interfering object would affect your focus you might not need a D7000. If you have never used spot metering to determine a critical exposure level you may not need a D7000. Or unless you plan to dedicate yourself to learning this camera and the principles of SLR photography and grow into this very advanced camera, consider saving the money or using it towards a better lens. However, if you often need to take 100 consecutive photos at the rate of 6 frames per second, you do need the D7000. Immediately. Even if you just sometimes need that. Totally worth it. That’s 16.67 seconds of continuous shooting. Who doesn’t need that? You’d make Eadweard Muybridge proud.  The D7000 is not a camera one would outgrow for a long time, and in fact will meet many of the demands of a professional.  See the Nikon D7000 on Amazon.

(Please note, the D3100, D5100, D90, and D7000 all have these features and capabilities I just listed: manually selected focus points, exposure compensation, AE-Lock, auto-focus tracking, and spot metering. I’m just using them as a determination of your experience level and needs.)

Was this post helpful?  Please let others know about it by clicking the Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ sharing buttons below, or linking to it from your blog or website, or mentioning it on a forum.  Thanks!  Want to help support this blog with no cost or effort?  Simply click on the Amazon and B&H Photo logos on the left side of this page to go to those sites and make your purchases.  They will then give me a little referral bonus!

I’ve recently added two of my e books, Canon T3i Experience and Nikon D7000 Experience to the e book super-site Smashwords.  If you purchase them from that site, you have access to a variety of e book formats so that you can read the guides on all of your devices.  You can download copies of any or all of the formats for one price.  There is PDF format for general computer reading and printing or for transferring to the iPad, MOBI format for Kindle, ePUB format which is becoming the industry standard for a variety of e-readers including the Nook and Sony Reader, or else LRF or PDB for Sony or Palm.

Click here to see and purchase Nikon D7000 Experience on Smashwords, or

Click here to see and purchase Canon T3i Experience on Smashwords.

These two e books (as well as all my other e-books) are now also available at the Apple iBooks store.  You can have a look at all of my available books on iBooks / iTunes here .

In my e-book user’s guide for digital SLRs I include a list of accessories and books, complete with links to purchase these products on Amazon or from the manufacturer. However, the links don’t always work with some e-book formats, so I am posting the list here too. Some accessories may have been updated since this list was last modified, such as the Nikon SB-5000 Speedlight replacing the SB-910, or the Canon 600 EX II-RT Speedlite replacing the 600 EX-RT, so be sure to check for the latest versions of the various accessories.

Below are some accessories that are handy for general and travel photography use with any dSLR camera, plus some of my favorite photography books, and camera-specific accessories mentioned in the texts of my Full Stop camera guides. Click on the links to go to the product or category pages on Amazon.com or the manufacturer’s website. Please note that these are my referral links, and I will receive a small referral fee if you use these links to make your purchases, which helps to support my blog and my work. Thanks!

Contents:

dSLR Photography Accessories
Digital Photography Books

Nikon D850 Accessories
Nikon D500 Accessories
Nikon D750 Accessories
Nikon D810 Accessories
Nikon D7500 / D7200 / D7100 Accessories
Nikon D7000 Accessories
Nikon D5600 / D5500 / D5300 / D5200 / D5100 Accessories
Nikon D610 / D600 Accessories
Nikon Df Accessories
Nikon D3300 Accessories

Canon 5D Mark IV Accessories and 5DS / 5DS R Accessories
Canon 7D Mark II Accessories
Canon 80D / 77D / 70D Accessories
Canon 7D Accessories
Canon 60D Accessories
Canon T5i, T4i, T3i and T2i (EOS 700D, 650D, 600D and 550D) Accessories
Canon 5D Mark III Accessories
Canon 6D Accessories

 


dSLR Photography Accessories

UV Filters – Clear, protective filters for the lenses.  You should have these on at all times to protect your lenses.  Get high quality coated ones, such as B+W, especially for higher quality lenses.   Consider the MRC multi-coated versions for highest quality lenses.  While some argue that any filter may degrade image quality, a high-quality filter will show little effect, and most know that it is cheaper to replace a $100 filter than to repair a $1500 lens.  Use the slim filters for wide angle lenses to avoid vignetting.

Circular Polarizing Filter: Use this outdoors in sunlight to darken the sky, cut through haze and reflections, and increase contrast. Do not use on a wide angle lens as it will cause the sky to change from light to dark and back again across the frame. You have to turn the second ring of the filter to create the amount of lightness or darkness in the sky that you desire, or to reduce or eliminate reflections. It works best when the sun is to your left or right, but does not have any polarizing effect if the sun is directly in front or behind you. Do not use an older linear polarizing filter with a digital camera, as it will interfere with the metering and autofocus systems.

Neutral Density (ND) Filter: If shooting video in bright lighting, you will need to use a dark neutral density (ND) filter on the lens to block light in order to be able to use dramatic wide aperture settings (such as f/ 2.8 or f/4.0). These are also useful with still photography for allowing slow shutter speeds in bright light, such as for photographing waterfalls. They are available in a variety of densities to block out the amount of light to enable you to increase your exposure settings by a certain number of stops, such as 3 stops (0.9), 6 stops (1.8), 10 stops (3.0), etc. For example, when working in M or S mode and the exposure meter reads 1/30s, f/8, ISO 100, but you wish to use and aperture setting of f/2.8 while “holding” the other settings – you can use a 3-stop ND filter and the exposure meter will now read 1/30s, f/2.8, ISO 100, allowing you to obtain the wide aperture setting and resulting shallow depth of field. There are also variable ND filters, where you can adjust one of the filter’s rings to vary the amount of density, as well as the Cokin filter system that makes use of a filter holder that attaches to the front of the lens, which then holds square filters. These are useful to landscape photographers using graduated or split neutral density filters that either gradually or sharply transition from dark to light. Using the square filter in front of the lens, you can then vary the angle and location of the transition to align with the horizon.

Nikon Lens Hoods or Canon Lens Hoods: Use a lens hood on your lens to both prevent flare and to protect the front of the lens when it inevitable bangs against something or drops. Some nicer lenses typically come with a lens hood. With other lenses, buy the corresponding optional hood.

BlackRapid R-Strap: A different, more comfortable way to carry your camera, especially one with a larger or heavier lens. The RS-7 version has a nice curved shoulder strap, the RS-4 is not curved at the shoulder but does have a handy little pocket for memory cards, and the RS-W1 R-Strap is designed for women.

Manfrotto 055XPROB Tripod Legs and Manfrotto 496RC2 Ball Head:  This is an excellent “starter” combination of tripod legs and head for the beginner or enthusiast.  They are sturdy, durable, and well built.  If you know you will be doing a lot of tripod work, such as for studio, landscape, or travel photography, it is best to invest in more advanced (expensive) versions, including lighter carbon fiber legs and a head with additional features.

Insurance: Make sure your equipment is covered by insurance. When I worked in a camera store, people came in on a weekly basis to replace the equipment that was stolen from their car, trunk, luggage, while traveling, or was in a fire. You may need special insurance or a rider if your homeowner or renter’s insurance does not cover it. I use the policy available through NANPA, though you have to join NANPA to get it. This insurance is primarily for the equipment only, so you are not paying for liability coverage geared toward a business as you are with many other photo equipment insurance plans. Please note that the NANPA membership fee covers you annually from July – they don’t pro-rate, so you will not get a full year if you join at any other time. (If you happen to join NANPA to get their insurance, mention my name as a referrer, and I save on my next membership renewal!)

Silica Packs: Keep these in your camera bags to absorb moisture. Consider using real ones that you buy in solid cases instead of the little packs that you found in your new pants pocket that may break open over time.

Sto-Fen Omni Bounce Diffuser: Works great on the optional external flash units (note some Nikon flashes come with a diffuser like this). Do not use this on your flash outdoors because all it will do outside is cause your flash to work harder. I know you see lots of people doing it. They didn’t bother reading how to use it. Don’t imitate them. Use a direct bare or gelled flash outdoors. These diffusers are designed to work as a diffuser when bounced off a surface and angled at 45 degrees or so. Not straight on, and not bouncing off the sky.

Giottos Rocket Air Blaster: Always have this manual air blower handy for getting dust off lenses in a hurry, because blowing on them with your mouth – no matter how careful – inevitably leads to spittle on the lenses. Also use for manually cleaning the sensor, carefully following sensor cleaning instructions.

Dust-Aid Platinum dSLR Sensor Filter Cleaner: If the Air Blaster does not remove all the dust during sensor cleaning, you can move to a “silicon stamp,” such as this one. This is slightly more invasive, as you will be touching the sensor with the cleaning device. Be sure to carefully read and follow the Dust-Aid instructions, as well as the manual’s sensor cleaning instructions, particularly the correct way to raise the mirror and access the sensor.

Lens Pen Cleaning System: Works great for cleaning off mysterious spots and smudges that appear on the lens. Blow dust off the lens first with the Rocket Air Blaster, brush it with the Lens Pen brush, and then follow the instructions for using the Lens Pen.

Digital Grey Card: Used to measure and set accurate custom white balance.

Rosco Strobist Collection Flash Gels: Use these to balance the color temperature of your flash to the color temperature of the ambient light in order to have a single WB setting that neutralizes the color cast of the entire scene. Tape them in place or use the LumiQuest Gel Holder which attaches to your flash with the Honl Speed Strap, an overpriced strip of Velcro.

M Rock Holster Bag: Carry and protect your camera and walk-around lens in a holster style bag from M Rock. I used the Yellowstone style extensively in my travels throughout South America, and I love its durability and extra little features like a built-in rain cover, micro-fiber cleaning cloth, zippered interior pocket, adjustable interior, and extra strap. Be sure to get the model that fits your body and lens.

Sandisk Extreme CF Memory Cards (CompactFlash for Canon 7D, Canon 5D Mk II, 5D Mk III):  I suggest getting a couple 16 GB or 32 GB CF cards to store your photos – more if traveling.  Be sure to check the Sandisk site for current rebates.

Sandisk Extreme Pro CF Memory Cards:  For an even faster CF memory card, look at the Extreme Pro version, which saves at 90MB/s over 60 MB/s of the Extreme CF cards.

SanDisk Extreme Pro UDMA 7 CF Memory Card:  This CF memory card will allow you to take full advantage of the high speed continuous shooting of the 5D Mk III (or the 7D) to capture up to the maximum 16,270 continuous JPEG images or 18 RAW images in a single burst (7D rates are 130 JPEG / 25 RAW).

Sandisk Extreme SD Memory Cards: I suggest getting a couple 16GB, 32GB (class 10), or higher capacity Secure Digital (SD) cards to capture and store your photos – or more cards if traveling. Again, be sure to check the Sandisk site for current rebates. The Extreme SD cards are currently available in the 45 MB/s speed and the faster 80 MB/s speed.

Sandisk Extreme Pro UHS-1 SD Memory Cards: To take full advantage of the Continuous Shooting Drive Mode of the 70D and capture up to the maximum 65 continuous JPEG images or 16 RAW images in a single burst, you will need one of the fast Sandisk Extreme Pro UHS-1 SD Memory Cards (or similar card from another brand), which saves at 95MB/s.

Eye-Fi Wireless Flash Memory Card: This SD memory card can be used to automatically upload photos wirelessly via Wi-Fi to your computer during shooting or afterwards.

Card Reader: Use this to transfer image files from the memory cards to your computer if your computer does not have a card reader built in. They may be faster than the camera’s USB cable and will save camera batteries.

Stereo Microphones: The Rode VideoMic or the Rode VideoMic Pro are good-quality affordable external stereo microphones for recording audio while shooting video. They mount to the camera’s Hot Shoe.

Camera’s USB Cable: Always have the included camera USB cable when traveling, as a back-up method of transferring image files to your computer.

Lens and Body Caps: Don’t forget to have these in your camera bag, to protect lenses and camera body when switching and storing them.

Camera Wrap: For protecting your camera while carrying it around in dusty, misty, or sandy situations, or for protection when storing it.

Rainhood or Rainsleeve: For protecting your camera while using it in dusty, misty, rainy, or sandy situations.

Adobe Photoshop CS6 or new Adobe C.C., and/ or Adobe Lightroom 5: These software programs are essential for editing, processing, retouching, and manipulating your photographs, especially if you are shooting in RAW. Lightroom is designed specifically for photographers and is the processing program of choice for many of them, but it does not have the manipulation capabilities of Photoshop. Take advantage of Adobe’s significant student and teacher discounts if applicable.

Nikon Capture NX2: If you are not using Photoshop, this software will enable you to process and retouch your JPEG or RAW files, and correct things such color, contrast, and sharpening.

Camera Bags and Travel Gear: For additional gear that is helpful for travel situations, including various camera bags for different situations, have a look at my travel gear blog post:

http://blog.dojoklo.com/2009/12/01/assignment-guatemala-gear/


Digital Photography Books

Understanding Exposure: How to Shoot Great Photos with Any Camera by Bryan Peterson

Learning to See Creatively: Design, Color & Composition in Photography by Bryan Peterson

The Photographer’s Eye: Composition and Design for Better Digital Photos by Michael Freeman

The Photographer’s Mind: Creative Thinking for Better Digital Photos by Michael Freeman

Available Light: Photographic Techniques for Using Existing Light Sources by Don Marr

On-Camera Flash Techniques for Digital Wedding and Portrait Photography by Neil van Niekerk

Speedliter’s Handbook: Learning to Craft Light with Canon Speedlites by Syl Arena

Digital Photographer’s Complete Guide to HD Video by Rob Sheppard and Michael Gunchen.

Canon Speedlite System Digital Field Guide by Michael Corsentino

Nikon Speedlight Handbook: Flash Techniques for Digital Photographers by Stephanie Zettl

The New Complete Guide to Digital Photography by Michael Freeman – a comprehensive general reference guide with brief explanations of nearly every aspect of digital photography.

New Epson Complete Guide to Digital Printing by Rob Sheppard.

More Essential Digital Photography Books are listed in this post.

 


Nikon D850 Accessories

Nikon D850 User’s Manuals – For PDF downloads of the Nikon D850 User’s Manual and D850 Menu Guide, see the webpage and below:

http://downloadcenter.nikonimglib.com/en/products/359/D850.html

Nikon EN-EL15a Rechargeable Battery: It is always good to have an extra battery or two, especially when traveling or when photographing all day or for an event.

Nikon MB-D18 Battery Pack/ Grip: This accessory will enable you to use an additional EN-EL15a battery, or eight alkaline, lithium, or Ni-MH AA batteries, or an EN-EL18 battery with the use of the optional BL-5 Battery Chamber Cover. This allows you to shoot longer without having to change batteries, and can allow you to share EN-EL18 batteries with the Nikon D5 body. It also increases the size of the D850 body which may be more comfortable for some shooters, especially when shooting vertically in portrait orientation. There is also an MB-D18 Battery Pack kit that comes with the battery pack, plus the BL-5 Cover and an EN-EL18b battery.

MC-30 Remote Release Cord: This corded remote will allow you to trigger the shutter of the camera remotely, thus allowing either self-portraits or the ability to release the shutter without pressing the Shutter Button thus preventing possible camera shake.

WR-T10/ WR-R10 /WR-A10 Wireless Remote Controller, Transceiver, and Adapter: This wireless remote set will allow you to trigger the shutter of the camera remotely, thus allowing either self-portraits or the ability to release the shutter without pressing the Shutter Button thus preventing possible camera shake. The WR set communicates via radio frequencies, and does not require direct line-of-sight between the camera and the remote. You can even use multiple WR-R10 receivers on multiple cameras and trigger them simultaneously with one WR-T10 remote transmitter. The WR-1 Wireless Remote Controller will allow even greater wireless control over one or multiple cameras with their own WR-1 or WR-R10 units.

Nikon SB-910 or Nikon SB-700 Speedlight Flash: These external flashes will give you significant flash power and control over output and direction. They have adjustable and rotating heads so that you can use indirect and bounce flash. They can also be used as commanders to trigger remote Speedlight flashes.

Nikon SB-5000 Speedlight Flash: In addition to offering all the functions of the above flash units, this top of the line Nikon Speedlight offers optical wireless control, as well as wireless radio control (when used with the WR-A10 Wireless Remote Adapter and WR-R10 Wireless Remote Controller). The radio control can be triggered nearly 100 feet away and does not require line-of-sight. The flash also contains a cooling system that will allow 100 or more consecutive shots at full power.

SU-800 Wireless Speedlight Commander: This unit is mounted on the camera’s hot shoe, and will allow you to wirelessly control and trigger one or multiple remote Speedlights.

Nikon WT-7 Wireless Transmitter: This can be used to wirelessly transmit your images and videos to an FTP server, computer, tablet, or smart-phone as you shoot, or even use the computer or smart device to remotely and wirelessly release the camera’s shutter. It also offers a wired Ethernet port for a wired (tethered) connection. You will also need Nikon’s Camera Control Pro 2 software for the tethered or wireless computer connection, which allows you to remotely change numerous camera settings. However for certain situations and uses, an Eye-Fi SD memory card may be a more convenient and less expensive solution for wireless transmission of full sized images.

Nikon GP-1 or GP-1A GPS Unit: Use this GPS receiver for automatic geotagging of your images including location, altitude data, and UTC time. Remember that you can also make use of the camera’s wireless capabilities to add time and location data from your smart phone to the images on the camera, and thus perform similar capabilities as a GPS device.

ME-1 Stereo Microphone: An external, stereo mic to record much better sound during movie shooting that the built-in mic. The Rode VideoMic or the Rode VideoMic Pro are also good-quality affordable external stereo microphones for recording audio while shooting video. They each mount to the camera’s Hot Shoe and connect via the External Microphone connector terminal on the side of the camera. More advanced (expensive) models and lavalier mics are recommended for professional use, along with an audio mixer such as a BeachTek dSLR audio adapter, or an external audio recorder such as the Zoom H6 Portable Recorder.

Nikon ES-2 Film Digitizing Adapter Set: This accessory for digitizing negatives using your camera includes holders for 35mm film strips and slides, and attaches to the AF-S Micro 60mm f/2.8G ED lens. This can be used with the Negative Digitizer feature of the D850 (accessed via the Live View i Button Menu), to more easily “scan” your negatives.

Nikon Capture NX-D: If you are not using Photoshop or Lightroom, this software will enable you to process and retouch your JPEG or RAW files, and make image adjustments such as color, contrast, sharpening, and noise. This free software is available for download from the Nikon website. (http://nikonimglib.com/ncnxd/)

High-Speed A to C Type, HDMI to Mini-HDMI Cable: Use this HDMI cable to connect the camera to an HDMI CEC compatible TV (or other external HDMI device), and then view images, slideshows, or video from the camera. By accessing the Setup Menu item HDMI > Device control > On, you will also be able to then control the image playback using the TV remote.

 


Nikon D500 Accessories

Nikon EN-EL15 Rechargeable Battery: It is always good to have an extra battery or two, especially when traveling or when photographing all day or for an event. Be sure to use the newer Li-Ion20 type of EN-EL15 battery for best results. Nikon will replace your older EN-EL15 Li-ion01 batteries with the newer version, for free. See this link for further information:

https://support.nikonusa.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/19541

Nikon MB-D17 Battery Pack/ Grip: This accessory will enable you to use an additional EN-EL15 battery, or eight alkaline, lithium, or Ni-MH AA batteries, or an EN-EL18 battery with the use of the optional BL-5 Battery Chamber Cover. This allows you to shoot longer without having to change batteries, and can allow you to share EN-EL18 batteries with the Nikon D5 body. It also increases the size of the D500 body which may be more comfortable for some shooters, especially when shooting vertically in portrait orientation.

MC-30 Remote Release Cord: This corded remote will allow you to trigger the shutter of the camera remotely, thus allowing either self-portraits or the ability to release the shutter without pressing the Shutter Button thus preventing possible camera shake.

WR-T10/ WR-R10 /WR-A10 Wireless Remote Controller, Transceiver, and Adapter: This wireless remote set will allow you to trigger the shutter of the camera remotely, thus allowing either self-portraits or the ability to release the shutter without pressing the Shutter Button thus preventing possible camera shake. The WR set communicates via radio frequencies, and does not require direct line-of-sight between the camera and the remote. You can even use multiple WR-R10 receivers on multiple cameras and trigger them simultaneously with one WR-T10 remote transmitter. The WR-1 Wireless Remote Controller will allow even greater wireless control over one or multiple cameras with their own WR-1 or WR-R10 units.

Nikon SB-910 or Nikon SB-700 Speedlight Flash: These external flashes will give you significant flash power and control over output and direction. They have adjustable and rotating heads so that you can use indirect and bounce flash. They can also be used as commanders to trigger remote Speedlight flashes.

Nikon SB-5000 Speedlight Flash: In addition to offering all the functions of the above flash units, this top of the line Nikon Speedlight offers optical wireless control, as well as wireless radio control (when used with using the WR-A10 Wireless Remote Adapter and WR-R10 Wireless Remote Controller). The radio control can be triggered nearly 100 feet away and does not require line-of-sight. The flash also contains a cooling system that will allow 100 or more consecutive shots at full power.

SU-800 Wireless Speedlight Commander: This unit is mounted on the camera’s hot shoe, and will allow you to wirelessly control and trigger one or multiple remote Speedlights.

Nikon WT-7A Wireless Transmitter: This can be used to wirelessly transmit your images and videos to an FTP server, computer, tablet, or smart-phone as you shoot, or even use the computer or smart device to remotely and wirelessly release the camera’s shutter. It also offers a wired Ethernet port for a wired (tethered) connection. You will also need Nikon’s Camera Control Pro 2 software for the tethered or wireless computer connection, which allows you to remotely change numerous camera settings. However for certain situations and uses, an Eye-Fi SD memory card may be a more convenient and less expensive solution for wireless transmission of full sized images.

Nikon GP-1 or GP-1A GPS Unit: Use this GPS receiver for automatic geotagging of your images including location, altitude data, and UTC time. Remember that you can also make use of the camera’s wireless capabilities to add time and location data from your smart phone to the images on the camera, and thus perform similar capabilities as a GPS device.

ME-1 Stereo Microphone: An external, stereo mic to record much better sound during movie shooting that the built-in mic. The Rode VideoMic or the Rode VideoMic Pro are also good-quality affordable external stereo microphones for recording audio while shooting video. They each mount to the camera’s Hot Shoe and connect via the External Microphone connector terminal on the side of the camera. More advanced (expensive) models and lavalier mics are recommended for professional use, along with an audio mixer such as one of the BeachTek Audio Adapters, or an external audio recorder such as the Zoom H6 Portable Recorder.

Nikon Capture NX-D: If you are not using Photoshop or Lightroom, this software will enable you to process and retouch your JPEG or RAW files, and make image adjustments such as color, contrast, sharpening, and noise. This free software is available for download from the Nikon website: http://nikonimglib.com/ncnxd/#

High-Speed A to C Type, HDMI to Mini-HDMI Cable: Use this HDMI cable to connect the camera to an HDMI CEC compatible TV (or other external HDMI device), and then view images, slideshows, or video from the camera. By accessing the Setup Menu item HDMI > Device control > On, you will also be able to then control the image playback using the TV remote.

Lexar 64GB Professional 2933x XQD card: The maximum continuous burst capacity specifications given by Nikon for the D500 are based on the use of this card. When set for RAW L image files and DX Image Area, this XQD card can capture up to the maximum 200 14-bit lossless compressed or 12-bit uncompressed images, without filling the buffer and having to pause. Sony also offers numerous XQD cards that are compatible with the D500, as listed on page 385 of the Nikon D500 User’s Manual.

SanDisk Extreme Pro UHS-II 280MBs SD: This is a very fast SD type card that appears to be working well with the D500. There have been issues reported with SD cards from Lexar and Transcend, which are caused by the card and not the camera. Nikon has released a firmware update that creates a workaround for errors when using a problematic UHS-II card, though it reverts to using it as a slower UHS-I card. The memory card manufacturers are working to resolve this issue.


Nikon D750 Accessories

Nikon EN-EL15 Rechargeable Battery: It is always good to have an extra battery or two, especially when traveling or when photographing all day or for an event.

Nikon MB-D16 Battery Pack/ Grip: This accessory will enable you to use a second EN-EL15 battery or else use six AA batteries, thus allowing you to shoot longer without having to change batteries. It also increases the size of the D750 body which may be more comfortable for some shooters, especially when shooting vertically in portrait orientation.

MC-DC2 Remote Release Cord: This corded remote will allow you to trigger the shutter of the camera remotely, thus allowing either self-portraits or the ability to release the shutter without pressing the Shutter Button thus preventing possible camera shake.

WR-R10/ WR-T10 Wireless Remote Controller and Transceiver: This wireless remote will allow you to trigger the shutter of the camera remotely, thus allowing either self-portraits or the ability to release the shutter without pressing the Shutter Button thus preventing possible camera shake. The WR set communicates via radio frequencies, and does not require direct line-of-sight between the camera and the remote. You can even use multiple WR-R10 receivers on multiple cameras and trigger them simultaneously with one WR-T10 remote transmitter. The WR-1 Wireless Remote Controller will allow even greater wireless control over one or multiple cameras with their own WR-1 or WR-R10 units.

Nikon SB-910 or Nikon SB-700 Speedlight Flash: These external flashes will give you significant flash power and control over output and direction. They have adjustable and rotating heads so that you can use indirect and bounce flash. They can also be used as commanders to trigger remote Speedlight flashes.

Nikon SB-5000 Speedlight Flash: In addition to offering all the functions of the above flash units, this top of the line Nikon Speedlight offers optical wireless control, as well as wireless radio control (when used with using the WR-A10 Wireless Remote Adapter and WR-R10 Wireless Remote Controller). The radio control can be triggered nearly 100 feet away and does not require line-of-sight. The flash also contains a cooling system that will allow 100 or more consecutive shots at full power.

SU-800 Wireless Speedlight Commander: This unit is mounted on the camera’s hot shoe, and will allow you to wirelessly control and trigger one or multiple remote Speedlights.

Nikon WT-5A Wireless Transmitter with the Nikon UT-1 Communication Unit: These can be used together to wirelessly transmit your images to a computer, tablet, or smart-phone as you shoot, or even use the computer or smart device to remotely and wirelessly release the camera’s shutter. The two units can also be purchased together: WT-5A and UT-1. You will also need Nikon’s Camera Control Pro 2 software for the tethered or wireless computer connection. The Nikon UT-1 Communication Unit when used alone will allow you to connect the camera to a computer or FTP server via an Ethernet cable, rather than wirelessly. However for certain situations and uses, an Eye-Fi SD memory card may be a more convenient and less expensive solution for wireless transmission.

Nikon GP-1 or GP-1A GPS Unit: Use this GPS receiver for automatic geotagging of your images including location, altitude data, and UTC time.

ME-1 Stereo Microphone: An external, stereo mic to record much better sound during movie shooting that the built-in mic. The Rode VideoMic or the Rode VideoMic Pro are also good-quality affordable external stereo microphones for recording audio while shooting video. They each mount to the camera’s Hot Shoe and connect via the External Microphone connector terminal on the side of the camera. More advanced (expensive) models and lavalier mics are recommended for professional use, along with an audio mixer such as the BeachTek DXA-SLR Pro Audio Adapter, or Mini Pro version, or an external audio recorder such as the Zoom H6 Portable Recorder.

Nikon Capture NX-D: If you are not using Photoshop, this software will enable you to process and retouch your JPEG or RAW files, and make image adjustments such as color, contrast, sharpening, and noise. This free software is available for download from the Nikon website: http://nikonimglib.com/ncnxd/#

High-Speed A to C Type, HDMI to Mini-HDMI Cable: Use this HDMI cable to connect the camera to an HDMI CEC compatible TV (or other external HDMI device), and then view images, slideshows, or video from the camera. By accessing the Setup Menu item HDMI > Device control > On, you will also be able to then control the image playback using the TV remote.


Nikon D810 Accessories

Nikon EN-EL15 Rechargeable Battery: It is always good to have an extra battery or two, especially when traveling or when photographing all day or for an event.

Nikon MB-D12 Battery Pack/ Grip: This accessory will enable you to use a second EN-EL15 battery or else use eight AA batteries, thus allowing you to shoot longer without having to change batteries. It also increases the size of the D810 body which may be more comfortable for some shooters, especially when shooting vertically in portrait orientation. And its use with AA batteries will enable the maximum 7 frames per second continuous shooting speed when using DX Image Area. If you wish to use the larger EN-EL18 battery (used with the D4 body) with this MB-D12 battery grip, you can purchase the optional BL-5 Battery Chamber Cover which accepts the EN-EL18 battery.

MC-DC2 Remote Release Cord: This corded remote will allow you to trigger the shutter of the camera remotely, thus allowing either self-portraits or the ability to release the shutter without pressing the Shutter Button thus preventing possible camera shake.

MC-30A Remote Release Cord: Another basic corded remote release, with a larger thumb button that enables you to hold it down to keep the shutter open for Bulb shooting.

MC-36a Remote Shutter Release Cord: A multi-function corded remote for shutter release with an intervalometer, which attaches via the ten-pin connector.

WR-R10/ WR-T10 Wireless Remote Controller and Transceiver: This wireless remote will allow you to trigger the shutter of the camera remotely, thus allowing either self-portraits or the ability to release the shutter without pressing the Shutter Button thus preventing possible camera shake. The WR set communicates via radio frequencies, and thus does not require direct line-of-sight between the camera and the remote. You can even use multiple WR-R10 receivers on multiple cameras and trigger them simultaneously with one WR-T10 remote transmitter. The WR-1 Wireless Remote Controller will allow even greater wireless control over one or multiple cameras with their own WR-1 or WR-R10 units.

Nikon SB-910 or Nikon SB-700 Speedlight Flash: These external flashes will give you significant flash power and control over output and direction. They have adjustable and rotating heads so that you can use indirect and bounce flash. They can also be used as commanders to trigger remote Speedlight flashes.

Nikon SB-5000 Speedlight Flash: In addition to offering all the functions of the above flash units, this top of the line Nikon Speedlight offers optical wireless control, as well as wireless radio control (when used with using the WR-A10 Wireless Remote Adapter and WR-R10 Wireless Remote Controller). The radio control can be triggered nearly 100 feet away and does not require line-of-sight. The flash also contains a cooling system that will allow 100 or more consecutive shots at full power.

SU-800 Wireless Speedlight Commander: This unit is mounted on the camera’s hot shoe, and will allow you to wirelessly control and trigger one or multiple remote Speedlights.

Nikon WT-5A Wireless Transmitter with the Nikon UT-1 Communication Unit: These can be used together to wirelessly transmit your images to a computer, tablet, or smart-phone as you shoot, or even use the computer or smart device to remotely and wirelessly release the camera’s shutter. The two units can also be purchased together: WT-5A and UT-1. You will also need Nikon’s Camera Control Pro 2 software for the tethered or wireless computer connection. The Nikon UT-1 Communication Unit when used alone will allow you to connect the camera to a computer or FTP sever via an Ethernet cable, rather than wirelessly. However for certain situations and uses, an Eye-Fi SD memory card may be more convenient and less expensive.

Nikon GP-1 or GP-1A GPS Unit: Use this GPS receiver for automatic geotagging of your images including location, altitude data, and UTC time.

ME-1 Stereo Microphone: An external, stereo mic to record much better sound during movie shooting that the built-in mic. The Rode VideoMic or the Rode VideoMic Pro are also good-quality affordable external stereo microphones for recording audio while shooting video. They each mount to the camera’s Hot Shoe and connect via the External Microphone connector terminal on the side of the camera. More advanced (expensive) models and lavalier mics are recommended for professional use, along with an audio mixer such as the BeachTek DXA-SLR Pro Audio Adapter, or Mini Pro version, or an external audio recorder such as the Zoom H6 Portable Recorder.

Nikon Capture NX-D: If you are not using Photoshop, this software will enable you to process and retouch your JPEG, TIFF, or RAW files, and make image adjustments such as color, contrast, sharpening, and noise. This free software is available for download from the Nikon website: http://nikonimglib.com/ncnxd/#

High-Speed A to C Type, HDMI to Mini-HDMI Cable: Use this HDMI cable to connect the camera to an HDMI CEC compatible TV, and then view images and slideshows from the camera. By accessing the Setup Menu item HDMI > Device control > On, you will also be able to then control the image playback using the TV remote.

Nikon D810 dSLR Filmmaker’s Kit: This package, costing about $5,000, includes the D810 camera plus everything one needs to get started with dSLR HD filmmaking. In addition to the body, the kit includes three prime lenses which are all f/1.8 (35mm, 50mm, 85mm), a video recorder with HDMI cable, the ME-1 Stereo microphone, variable ND filters so that you can take advantage of wide apertures even in brighter lighting, and two EN-EL15 batteries.

Sandisk Extreme CF Memory Cards: I suggest getting a couple 32 GB or higher CompactFlash (CF) cards to store your photos – more if traveling. Be sure to check the Sandisk site for current rebates. This card’s speed is 120 MB/s, so to achieve the buffer rates of the D810 listed in the manual you will need to use the CF card listed just below.

SanDisk Extreme Pro UMDA 7 CF Memory Card: For an even faster CF memory card, look at the Extreme Pro version, which is rated at 160 MB/s, higher than the 120 MB/s speed of the Extreme CF cards. This is the minimum card needed to achieve the buffer capacity rates listed in the D810 manual on page 489.

SanDisk Extreme Pro SDHC UHS-I SD Memory Cards: If you plan to use the camera’s SD card slot, I suggest getting a couple 32GB or higher capacity Secure Digital (SD) cards to capture and store your photos – more if traveling. Review the various ways that the camera’s two memory card slots can be used with the Primary slot selection and Secondary slot function items of the Shooting Menu. Again, be sure to check the SanDisk site for current rebates. This card is rated at 95 MB/s speed, so you may need the above CF card to achieve the maximum the buffer capacity of the D810.


Nikon D7500 / D7200 / D7100 Accessories

Nikon EN-EL15 Rechargable Battery: It is always good to have an extra battery or two, especially when traveling or when photographing all day or for an event.

Nikon MB-D15 Battery Pack/ Grip: This accessory will enable you to use a second EN-EL15 battery or else use AA batteries, thus allowing you to shoot longer without having to change batteries. It also increases the size of the D7100 body which may be more comfortable for some shooters, especially when shooting vertically in portrait orientation.

Nikon ML-L3 Wireless Remote Controller or WR-R10/ WR-T10 Wireless Remote Controller and Transceiver: These wireless remotes will allow you to trigger the shutter of the camera remotely, thus allowing either self-portraits or the ability to release the shutter without pressing the Shutter Button thus preventing possible camera shake. The WR set communicates via radio frequencies, and thus does not require direct line-of-sight between the camera and the remote. You can even use multiple WR-R10 receivers on multiple cameras and trigger them simultaneously with one WR-T10 remote transmitter. The new WR-1 Wireless Remote Controller will allow even greater wireless control over one or multiple cameras with their own WR-1 or WR-R10 unit.

MC-DC2 Remote Release Cord: This remote will allow you to trigger the shutter of the camera remotely, but is attached to the camera via a cable, rather than being wireless.

Nikon SB-910 (or SB-900, SB-800, SB-700, SB-600, SB-500) Speedlight Flash: These external flashes will give you greatly increased flash power and control compared to the built-in flash. They also have adjustable and rotating heads so that you can use indirect and bounce flash. All of them can be used as remote flashes controlled by the built-in flash, and with the exception of the SB-600 all can be used as commanders to trigger remote flashes.

Nikon SB-5000 Speedlight Flash: In addition to offering all the functions of the above flash units, this top of the line Nikon Speedlight offers optical wireless control, as well as wireless radio control (when used with using the WR-A10 Wireless Remote Adapter and WR-R10 Wireless Remote Controller). The radio control can be triggered nearly 100 feet away and does not require line-of-sight. The flash also contains a cooling system that will allow 100 or more consecutive shots at full power.

Nikon WU-1a Wireless Mobile Adapter: This can be used to wirelessly transmit your images to a tablet or smart-phone as you shoot, share your images, or even use your smart phone or tablet to remotely release the camera’s shutter – all with Nikon’s Wireless Mobile Adapter Utility app:

http://nikonasia-en.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/7494/~/wireless-mobile-adaptor-utility-download

Nikon GP-1 GPS Unit: / GP-1A GPS Unit (check compatibly with your camera here.) Use this GPS receiver for automatic geotagging of your images including location, altitude data, and UTC time.

Nikon ME-1 Stereo Microphone: An external, stereo mic to record much better sound during movie shooting that the built-in mic. Other options include the Rode VideoMic or the Rode VideoMic Pro, which are good-quality affordable external stereo microphones for recording audio while shooting video. They mount to the camera’s Hot Shoe.

UT-1 Communication Unit: This unit is used with an Ethernet cable or wirelessly with the WT-5a Wireless Transmitter to connect to a network and transfer images to a computer or server, or to control the camera remotely from your computer. You can also purchase these two units, the UT-1 and WT-5a as a bundle.

Nikon Capture NX2: If you are not using Photoshop, this software will enable you to process and retouch your JPEG or RAW files, and correct things such color, contrast, and sharpening.


Nikon D7000 Accessories

Nikon EN-EL15 Rechargable Battery: It is always good to have an extra battery or two, especially when traveling or when photographing all day or for an event.

Nikon MB-D11 Battery Pack/ Grip: This accessory will enable you to use a second EN-EL15 battery or else use AA batteries, thus allowing you to shoot longer without having to change batteries. It also increases the size of the D7000 body which may be more comfortable for some shooters, especially when shooting vertically in portrait orientation.

Nikon ML-L3 Wireless Remote or MC-DC2 Remote Release Cord: These remotes will allow you to trigger the shutter of the camera remotely, thus allowing either self-portraits or the ability to release the shutter without pressing the Shutter Button thus preventing possible camera shake.

Nikon SB-910, SB-900, SB-800, SB-700, or SB-600 Speedlight Flashes: These external flashes will give you greatly increased flash power and control compared to the built-in flash. They also have adjustable and rotating heads so that you can use indirect and bounce flash. All of them can be used as remote flashes controlled by the built-in flash, and with the exception of the SB-600 all can be used as commanders to trigger remote flashes.

Nikon WT-4A Wireless Transmitter: This can be used to wirelessly transmit your images to a computer as you shoot. However for certain situations and uses, an Eye-Fi SD memory card may be more convenient.

Nikon Capture NX2: If you are not using Photoshop, this software will enable you to process and retouch your JPEG or RAW files, and correct things such color, contrast, and sharpening.


Nikon D5600 / D5500 / D5300 / D5200 / D5100 Accessories

Nikon EN-EL14a Rechargable Battery: It is always good to have an extra battery or two, especially when traveling or when photographing all day or for an event.

Battery Pack/ Grip: This third-party accessory will enable you to use two EN-EL14a batteries, thus allowing you to shoot longer without having to change batteries. It also increases the size of the D5600 body which may be more comfortable for some shooters, especially when shooting vertically in portrait orientation.

Grip Base Extension: There is also a third-party non-battery-pack grip, or grip base extender that is designed to simply enlarge the size of the body in order to make the camera easier to hold for some users, but does not hold additional batteries.

Nikon ML-L3 Wireless Remote Controller or WR-R10/ WR-T10 Wireless Remote Controller and Transceiver: These wireless remotes will allow you to trigger the shutter of the camera remotely, thus allowing either self-portraits or the ability to release the shutter without pressing the Shutter Button thus preventing possible camera shake. The WR set communicates via radio frequencies, and thus does not require direct line-of-sight between the camera and the remote. You can even use multiple WR-R10 receivers on multiple cameras and trigger them simultaneously with one WR-T10 remote transmitter.

MC-DC2 Remote Release Cord: This remote will allow you to trigger the shutter of the camera remotely, but is attached to the camera via a cable, rather than being wireless.

Nikon GP-1 or GP-1A GPS Unit: Use this GPS receiver for automatic geotagging of your images including location, altitude data, and UTC time.

Nikon SB-910 or SB-700 Speedlight Flash: These external flashes will give you greatly increased flash power and control compared to the built-in flash. They also have adjustable and rotating heads so that you can use indirect and bounce flash. And they can be used as commanders to control and trigger multiple remote flashes.

Nikon WU-1a Wireless Mobile Adapter: (Nikon D5200, D7100, D3200 and later cameras only) This can be used to wirelessly transmit your images to a tablet or smart-phone as you shoot, share your images, or even use your smart phone or tablet to remotely release the camera’s shutter – all with Nikon’s Wireless Mobile Adapter Utility app:

http://nikonasia-en.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/7494/~/wireless-mobile-adaptor-utility-download

Nikon GP-1 GPS Unit: / GP-1A GPS Unit (check compatibly with your camera here.) (Not needed for D5300) Use this GPS receiver for automatic geotagging of your images including location, altitude data, and UTC time. Using this accessory, you images will also be automatically located on a map, such as when uploaded to the Flickr photo website.

ME-1 Stereo Microphone or ME-W1 Wireless Microphone: External, stereo mics to record much better sound during movie shooting that the built-in mic. The Rode VideoMic or the Rode VideoMic Pro are also good-quality affordable external stereo microphones for recording audio while shooting video. They each mount to the camera’s Hot Shoe and connect via the External Microphone connector terminal on the side of the camera.

Nikon Capture NX-D: If you are not using Photoshop or Lightroom, this software will enable you to process and retouch your JPEG or RAW files, and make image adjustments such as color, contrast, sharpening, and noise. This free software is available for download from the Nikon website: http://nikonimglib.com/ncnxd/#

High-Speed A to C Type, HDMI to Mini-HDMI Cable: Use this HDMI cable to connect the D5600 to an HDMI CEC compatible TV, and then view movies, images, and slideshows from the camera. By accessing the Playback Menu item HDMI > Device control > On, you will also be able to then control the image or video playback using the TV remote. Note that movies may not display properly, depending on the Frame size / Frame rate settings at which they were recorded.


Nikon D610 / D600 Accessories

Nikon EN-EL15 Rechargable Battery: It is always good to have an extra battery or two, especially when traveling or when photographing all day or for an event.

Nikon MB-D14 Battery Pack/ Grip: This accessory will enable you to use a second EN-EL15 battery or else use AA batteries, thus allowing you to shoot longer without having to change batteries. It also increases the size of the D600 body which may be more comfortable for some shooters, especially when shooting vertically in portrait orientation.

Nikon ML-L3 Wireless Remote or MC-DC2 Remote Release Cord: These remotes will allow you to trigger the shutter of the camera remotely, thus allowing either self-portraits or the ability to release the shutter without pressing the Shutter Button thus preventing possible camera shake.

Nikon SB-910 (or SB-900, SB-800, SB-700, SB-600, SB-500) Speedlight Flash: These external flashes will give you greatly increased flash power and control compared to the built-in flash. They also have adjustable and rotating heads so that you can use indirect and bounce flash. All of them can be used as remote flashes controlled by the built-in flash, and with the exception of the SB-600 all can be used as commanders to trigger remote flashes.

Nikon SB-5000 Speedlight Flash: In addition to offering all the functions of the above flash units, this top of the line Nikon Speedlight offers optical wireless control, as well as wireless radio control (when used with using the WR-A10 Wireless Remote Adapter and WR-R10 Wireless Remote Controller). The radio control can be triggered nearly 100 feet away and does not require line-of-sight. The flash also contains a cooling system that will allow 100 or more consecutive shots at full power.

Nikon WU-1b Wireless Mobile Adapter: This can be used to wirelessly transmit your images to a tablet or smart-phone as you shoot, or even use the smart device to remotely release the shutter. However for certain situations and uses, an Eye-Fi SD memory card may be more convenient.

Nikon GP-1 GPS Unit: / GP-1A GPS Unit (check compatibly with your camera here.) Use this GPS receiver for automatic geotagging of your images including location, altitude data, and UTC time.

ME-1 Stereo Microphone: An external, stereo mic to record much better sound during movie shooting that the built-in mic.

Nikon Capture NX2: If you are not using Photoshop, this software will enable you to process and retouch your JPEG or RAW files, and correct things such color, contrast, and sharpening.


Nikon Df Accessories

Nikon Df User’s Manual – For a PDF download of the Nikon Df manual, see the webpage below:

https://support.nikonusa.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/18767

AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G Special Edition Lens: This lens, with its silver ring, is specifically designed to match the retro-style of the Df – though it contains the same optics of the non-special AF-S 50mm f/1.8 lens.

Nikon EN-EL14a Rechargeable Battery: It is always good to have an extra battery or two, especially when traveling or when photographing all day or for an event.

WR-R10/ WR-T10 Wireless Remote Controller and Transceiver: This wireless remote will allow you to trigger the shutter of the camera remotely, thus allowing either self-portraits or the ability to release the shutter without pressing the Shutter Button thus preventing possible camera shake. The WR set communicates via radio frequencies, and thus does not require direct line-of-sight between the camera and the remote. You can even use multiple WR-R10 receivers on multiple cameras and trigger them simultaneously with one WR-T10 remote transmitter. The new WR-1 Wireless Remote Controller will allow even greater wireless control over one or multiple cameras with their own WR-1 or WR-R10 units.

AR-3 Cable Release Cord: This remote will allow you to trigger the shutter of the camera remotely, but is attached to the camera via a cable, rather than being wireless. In keeping with the styling of the Df, it is a “retro” cable-release with a plunger.

MC-DC2 Remote Release Cord: This is also a straightforward corded remote used to trigger the shutter of the camera, and is plugged into the Accessory Terminal of the Df.

Nikon SB-910 or Nikon SB-700 Speedlight Flash: These external flashes will give you significant flash power and control over output and direction. They have adjustable and rotating heads so that you can use indirect and bounce flash. They can also be used as commanders to trigger remote Speedlight flashes.

Nikon SB-400 Speedlight: This is a much smaller and less powerful flash than the versatile SB-910, and is closer to the strength of a typical built-in flash. However you can angle it for bounce-flash purposes.

SU-800 Wireless Speedlight Commander: This unit is mounted on the camera’s hot shoe, and will allow you to wirelessly control and trigger one or multiple remote Speedlights.

Nikon WU-1a Wireless Mobile Adapter: This can be used to wirelessly transmit your images to a tablet or smart-phone as you shoot, share your images, or even use your smart phone or tablet to remotely autofocus and release the camera’s shutter.

Wireless Mobile Utility: To get started with Wi-Fi, you will also need to download Nikon’s Wireless Mobile Utility app, which is available for both iOS and Android. Note that the iPad app is available as an “iPhone Only” app in the Apple App Store, though it can still be used on the iPad. You can find links to both versions of the app below, along with links to both versions of the Wireless Mobile Utility User’s Manuals:

http://nikonasia-en.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/7494/~/wireless-mobile-adaptor-utility-download

Nikon GP-1A GPS Unit: Use this GPS receiver for automatic geotagging of your images including location, altitude data, and UTC time.

Nikon Capture NX2: If you are not using Photoshop, this software will enable you to process and retouch your JPEG or RAW files, and correct things such color, contrast, sharpening, and noise. This version is in the process of being replaced with Capture NX-D.

CF-DC6 Semi-Soft Case or CF-DC5 Semi-Soft Case: The CF-DC6 is a retro-styled leatherette case specially designed for the Df, and is available in Black or in light Brown. The CF-DC5 is of a more contemporary style and materials.

Leather Strap in Black or in Brown: You can pair the retro-styled CF-DC6 case with a leather strap, available in similar colors.

Gariz Leather Half-Case: There is also a very nice looking leather half-case by a third-party named Gariz. It is available in black and brown, and covers the grip area and lower part of the Df body, but also allows you to open and access the battery/ memory card compartment and the side terminal covers, without removing the case. It lengthens the body of the camera in order to provide a replacement tripod socket (since the camera’s is used for attaching the case), and perhaps to enlarge the camera to offer a better grip.

Screen Protectors: This pair of screen protectors is specifically sized for the LCD screens of the Df. While I have not personally used them, and thus cannot vouch for their quality or usefulness, previous versions of this brand have gained good reviews.

High-Speed A to C Type, HDMI to Mini-HDMI Cable: Use this HDMI cable to connect the Df to an HDMI CEC compatible TV, and then view images and slideshows from the camera. By accessing the Setup Menu item HDMI > Device control > On, you will also be able to then control the image playback using the TV remote.


Nikon D3300 Accessories

Nikon D3300 Manuals: The D3300 Reference Manual can be obtained as a PDF file from the Nikon website at this link:

https://support.nikonusa.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/18824

Nikon WU-1a Wireless Mobile Adapter: This can be used to wirelessly transmit your images to a tablet or smart-phone as you shoot, to share your images, or even to use your smart phone or tablet to remotely release the camera’s shutter – all with Nikon’s Wireless Mobile Adapter Utility app.

Wireless Mobile Utility:To get started with Wi-Fi, you will first need to download Nikon’s Wireless Mobile Utility app, which is available for both iOS and Android. Note that the iPad app is available as an “iPhone Only” app in the Apple App Store, though it can still be used on the iPad. You can find links to both versions of the app below, along with links to both versions of the Wireless Mobile Utility User’s Manuals:

http://nikonasia-en.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/7494/~/wireless-mobile-adaptor-utility-download

Nikon EN-EL14a Rechargeable Battery: It is always good to have an extra battery or two, especially when traveling or when photographing all day or for an event.

Battery Pack/ Grip: This third-party accessory will enable you to use two EN-EL14a batteries, thus allowing you to shoot longer without having to change batteries. It also increases the size of the D3300 body which may be more comfortable for some shooters, especially when shooting vertically in portrait orientation.

Nikon ML-L3 Wireless Remote Controller or WR-R10/ WR-T10 Wireless Remote Controller and Transceiver: These wireless remotes will allow you to trigger the shutter of the camera remotely, thus allowing either self-portraits or the ability to release the shutter without pressing the Shutter Button thus preventing possible camera shake. The WR set communicates via radio frequencies, and thus does not require direct line-of-sight between the camera and the remote. You can even use multiple WR-R10 receivers on multiple cameras and trigger them simultaneously with one WR-T10 remote transmitter. The new WR-1 Wireless Remote Controller will allow even greater wireless control over one or multiple cameras with their own WR-1 or WR-R10 unit.

MC-DC2 Remote Release Cord: This remote will allow you to trigger the shutter of the camera remotely, but is attached to the camera via a cable, rather than being wireless.

DK-5 Eyepiece Cap:When using any of the Release Modes such as Self-Timer or Remote, where your eye is not at the Viewfinder, be sure to cover the Viewfinder with a piece of tape or this optional eyepiece cap in order to prevent stray light from entering the camera and modifying the exposure settings.

Nikon SB-910 or SB-700 Speedlight Flash: These external flashes will give you greatly increased flash power and control compared to the built-in flash. They also have adjustable and rotating heads so that you can use indirect and bounce flash. And they can be used as remote flashes triggered by the built-in flash, and as commanders to control and trigger multiple remote flashes.

ME-1 Stereo Microphone: An external, stereo mic to record much better sound during movie shooting that the built-in mic. The Rode VideoMic or the Rode VideoMic Pro are also good-quality affordable external stereo microphones for recording audio while shooting video. They each mount to the camera’s Hot Shoe and connect via the External Microphone connector terminal on the side of the camera.

Nikon Capture NX2: If you are not using Photoshop, this software will enable you to process and retouch your JPEG or RAW files, and correct things such color, contrast, and sharpening.

High-Speed A to C Type, HDMI to Mini-HDMI Cable: Use this HDMI cable to connect the D3300 to an HDMI CEC compatible TV, and then view movies, images, and slideshows from the camera. By accessing the Playback Menu item HDMI > Device control > On, you will also be able to then control the image or video playback using the TV remote. Note that movies may not display properly, depending on the Frame size / Frame rate settings at which they were recorded.



Canon 5D Mark IV Accessories and Canon 5DS / 5DS R Accessories

Canon LP-E6N Battery: It is always good to have an extra battery or two, especially when traveling or when photographing all day or for an event.

Canon BG-E20 Battery Grip: This optional battery pack and grip for the 5DIV will enable you to use two LP-E6N batteries, thus allowing you to shoot longer without having to change batteries. The grip replicates the controls of the body and also increases the size of the 5D Mark IV body which may be more comfortable for some shooters, especially when using the camera in the vertical position.

Canon Remote Switch RS-80N3 or Canon Wireless Remote Control RC-6: These remotes will allow you to trigger the shutter of the camera remotely, allowing either self-portraits or the ability to release the shutter without pressing the Shutter Button thus preventing possible camera shake. There is also the Timer Remote Controller TC-80N3 for time-lapse or long exposure photography.

Canon Speedlite 600EX II-RT: This external flash will give you the most flash power and control of the Canon Speedlites, as well as continuous shooting support. It has an adjustable and rotating head so that you can use indirect and bounce flash, and includes a diffuser plus color filters for white balance. The 600EX II-RT also allows optical wireless functionality plus is compatible with the radio wave wireless flash system when controlled and triggered by the Speedlite Transmitter ST-E3-RT.

Speedlite Transmitter ST-E3-RT: Use this radio wave wireless transmitter to control and trigger up to 5 groups of 15 flashes, up to 30 meters, with no line-of-site required. Compatible with the Canon 600EX II-RT Speedlite.

Note that either the 600EX II-RT Speedlite or the ST-E3-RT Transmitter can also act as a remote camera trigger for the 5D Mark IV. If either one of these units is in the Hot Shoe of the 5D Mark IV, another one of these units can fire the camera remotely, for a single frame, with the press of a button.

Speedlite 430EX III-RT or Speedlite 320EX: These external flashes will provide less flash power and control, and fewer features than the top of the line 600EX II-RT, however they may meet your needs if you don’t make extensive use of a flash. They also have adjustable and rotating heads so that you can use indirect and bounce flash. The 430EX III-RT allows optical wireless functionality plus is compatible with Canon’s radio wave wireless flash system when controlled and triggered by the Speedlite Transmitter ST-E3-RT or a 600EX II-RT. The 430EX III-RT offers an optional bounce adapter and color filter. The 320EX has a built in LED light for lighting video.

Canon HTC-100 HDMI cable: Use this HDMI cable to connect the 5D Mark IV to an HDMI CEC compatible TV, and then view movies, images, and slideshows from the camera. By setting the Control over HDMI menu item to Enable (Playback 3 Menu), you will also be able to then control the image or video playback using the TV remote.

WFT-E7A Wireless File Transmitter Version 2: This optional device enables fast wireless or wired Ethernet transfer of images from the camera to a computer or smart device such as an iPad or tablet. It also offers remote control and linked shooting capabilities, and offers built-in Bluetooth function.


Canon 7D Mark II Accessories

Canon LP-E6N Battery: It is always good to have an extra battery or two, especially when traveling or when photographing all day or for an event.

Canon BG-E16 Battery Grip: This optional battery pack and grip will enable you to use two LP-E6N batteries or six AA/ LR6 batteries, thus allowing you to shoot longer without having to change batteries. The grip replicates the controls of the body and also increases the size of the 7D Mark II body which may be more comfortable for some shooters, especially when using the camera in the vertical position.

Canon Remote Switch RS-80N3 or Canon Wireless Remote Control RC-6: These remotes will allow you to trigger the shutter of the camera remotely, allowing either self-portraits or the ability to release the shutter without pressing the Shutter Button thus preventing possible camera shake. There is also the Timer Remote Controller TC-80N3 for time-lapse or long exposure photography.

Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT: This most recently introduced external flash will give you the most flash power and control of the Canon Speedlites. It has an adjustable and rotating head so that you can use indirect and bounce flash, and is compatible with a specially designed color filter holder and gels (see below). The 600EX-RT also allows infrared wireless functionality plus is compatible with the new radio wave wireless flash system when controlled and triggered by the Speedlite Transmitter ST-E3-RT.

Speedlite Transmitter ST-E3-RT: Use this radio wave wireless transmitter to control and trigger up to 5 groups of 15 flashes, up to 30 meters, with no line-of-site required. Currently only compatible with the Canon 600EX-RT Speedlite.

Note that either the 600EX-RT Speedlite or the ST-E3-RT Transmitter can also act as a remote camera trigger for the 7D Mark II. If either one of these units is in the Hot Shoe of the 7D Mark II, another one of these units can fire the camera remotely, for a single frame, with the press of a button.

Canon SCH-E1 Color Filter Holder: This plastic holder attaches to the front of the 600EX-RT Speedlite and holds the gels of the Canon Color Filter Set. Use these filters (gels) to balance the color temperature of your flash to the color temperature of the ambient light in order to have a single White Balance setting that neutralizes the color cast of the entire scene.

Canon Speedlite 580EX II or Speedlite 430EX II or Speedlite 320EX: These external flashes will give you varying levels of flash power and control, with the 580EX II being the most powerful of the group. They also have adjustable and rotating heads so that you can use indirect and bounce flash. The 320EX also has a built in LED light for lighting video. To attach color filters to these models see the Rosco Strobist Collection Flash Gels section below.

Canon HTC-100 HDMI cable: Use this HDMI cable to connect the 7D Mark II to an HDMI CEC compatible TV, and then view movies, images, and slideshows from the camera. By setting the Control over HDMI menu item to Enable (Playback 3 Menu), you will also be able to then control the image or video playback using the TV remote.

WFT-E7A Wireless File Transmitter Version 2: This optional device enables fast wireless or wired Ethernet transfer of images from the camera to a computer or smart device such as an iPad or tablet. It also offers remote control and linked shooting capabilities, and offers built-in Bluetooth function. The device attaches to the base of the 7D Mark II, and is a similar size and shape as the optional battery grip.

Eh-S Super Precision Matte Focusing Screen: The 7D Mark II is able to accept this optional focusing screen, which is designed for manual focusing. However, you will need to be using a lens with a maximum aperture of f/2.8 or larger, or else it will make the Viewfinder appear darker than the standard focusing screen. This screen will display the out-of-focus areas of the scene more dramatically out-of-focus, thus helping you to better view what is in-focus. Be sure to change the C.Fn 3 Custom Function item of the Focusing Screen for Eh-S, if you make use of this screen.

 


Canon 80D / 77D / 70D Accessories

Canon LP-E6 Battery: It is always good to have an extra battery or two, especially when traveling or when photographing all day or for an event.

Canon BG-E14 Battery Grip: This optional battery pack and grip will enable you to use two LP-E6 batteries or six AA/ CR6 batteries, thus allowing you to shoot longer without having to change batteries. The grip replicates the controls of the body and also increases the size of the 70D body which may be more comfortable for some shooters, especially when using the camera in the vertical position.

Canon GP-E2 GPS Receiver: Use this GPS receiver for automatic geotagging of your images including location and altitude data, a digital compass, and UTC time.

Canon Remote Switch RS-80N3 or Canon Wireless Remote Control RC-6: These remotes will allow you to trigger the shutter of the camera remotely, allowing either self-portraits or the ability to release the shutter without pressing the Shutter Button thus preventing possible camera shake. There is also the Timer Remote Controller TC-80N3 for time-lapse or long exposure photography.

Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT: This most recently introduced external flash will give you the most flash power and control of the Canon Speedlites. It has an adjustable and rotating head so that you can use indirect and bounce flash, and is compatible with a specially designed color filter holder and gels (see below). The 600EX-RT also allows infrared wireless functionality plus is compatible with the new radio wave wireless flash system when controlled and triggered by the Speedlite Transmitter ST-E3-RT.

Speedlite Transmitter ST-E3-RT: Use this radio wave wireless transmitter to control and trigger up to 5 groups of 15 flashes, up to 30 meters, with no line-of-site required. Currently only compatible with the Canon 600EX-RT Speedlite.

Note that either the 600EX-RT Speedlite or the ST-E3-RT Transmitter can also act as a remote camera trigger for the 70D. If either one of these units is in the hotshoe of the 70D, another one of these units can fire the camera remotely, for a single frame, with the press of a button.

Canon SCH-E1 Color Filter Holder: This plastic holder attaches to the front of the 600EX-RT Speedlite and holds the gels of the Canon Color Filter Set. Use these filters (gels) to balance the color temperature of your flash to the color temperature of the ambient light in order to have a single White Balance setting that neutralizes the color cast of the entire scene.

Canon Speedlite 580EX II or Speedlite 430EX II or Speedlite 320EX: These external flashes will give you varying levels of flash power and control, with the 580EX II being the most powerful of the group. They also have adjustable and rotating heads so that you can use indirect and bounce flash. The 320EX also has a built in LED light for lighting video. To attach color filters to these models see the Rosco Strobist Collection Flash Gels section just above.

Canon HTC-100 HDMI cable: Use this HDMI cable to connect the 70D to an HDMI CEC compatible TV, and then view movies, images, and slideshows from the camera. By setting the Control over HDMI menu item to Enable (Playback 3 menu), you will also be able to then control the image or video playback using the TV remote. Use the Canon AVC-DC400ST Stereo AV cable for non-HD TV sets.


Canon 7D Accessories (see also the Canon 5D Mark III Accessories section for the new Canon 600EX-RT flash and its accessories)

Canon LP-E6 Battery:  It is always good to have an extra battery or two, especially when traveling or when photographing all day or for an event.

Canon BG-E7 Battery Grip:   This accessory will enable you to use two LP-E6 batteries, (or else use six AA batteries), thus allowing you to shoot longer without having to change batteries.  It also increases the size of the 7D body which may be more comfortable for some shooters, especially when shooting vertically in portrait orientation.

Canon Remote Switch RS-60E3 or Canon Wireless Remote Control RC-6:  These remotes will allow you to trigger the shutter of the camera remotely, thus allowing either self-portraits or the ability to release the shutter without pressing the Shutter Button thus preventing possible camera shake.

Canon Speedlite 580EX II or Speedlite 430EX II or Speedlite 320EX: These external flashes will give you greatly increased flash power and control compared to the built-in flash. They also have adjustable and rotating heads so that you can use indirect and bounce flash. All of them can be used as remote flashes controlled by the built-in flash. The 320EX also has a built in LED light for lighting video.  (see also the Canon 5D Mark III Accessories section for the new Canon 600EX-RT flash and its accessories).

Canon WFT-E5A Wireless File Transmitter:  Use this accessory to wirelessly transmit your images from the camera to a computer over a Wi-Fi or Gigabit Ethernet connection.  It can also be used to wirelessly control the camera via a web-enabled mobile device.

Canon GP-E2 GPS Receiver:  Use this GPS receiver for automatic geotagging of your images including location and altitude data, a digital compass, and UTC time.


Canon 60D Accessories (see also the 5D Mark III section for the new Canon 600EX-RT flash and its accessories)

Canon LP-E6 Battery: It is always good to have an extra battery or two, especially when traveling or when photographing all day or for an event.

Canon BG-E9 Battery Grip: This accessory will enable you to use two LP-E6 batteries, (or else use six AA batteries), thus allowing you to shoot longer without having to change batteries. It also increases the size of the 60D body which may be more comfortable for some shooters, especially when shooting vertically in portrait orientation.

Canon Remote Switch RS-60E3 or Canon Wireless Remote Control RC-6: These remotes will allow you to trigger the shutter of the camera remotely, thus allowing either self-portraits or the ability to release the shutter without pressing the Shutter Button thus preventing possible camera shake.

Canon Speedlite 580EX II or Speedlite 430EX II or Speedlite 320EX: These external flashes will give you greatly increased flash power and control compared to the built-in flash. They also have adjustable and rotating heads so that you can use indirect and bounce flash. All of them can be used as remote flashes controlled by the built-in flash. The 320EX also has a built in LED light for lighting video.

Canon Hand Strap E2: This hand strap provides a more secure grip and allows for easier single hand operation of the camera. It attaches on the right side of the 60D and your right hand slips between it and the camera.

Canon EF-D Focusing Screen: This is the grid focusing screen to help you keep your compositions and horizons straight and level.


Canon Rebel T5i/700D, T4i/650D, T3i/600D, and T2i/550D Accessories

Canon LP-E8 Battery: It is always good to have an extra battery or two, especially when traveling or when photographing all day or for an event.

Canon BG-E8 Battery Grip: This accessory will enable you to use two LP-E8 batteries, (or else use six AA batteries), thus allowing you to shoot longer without having to change batteries. It also increases the size of the camera’s body which may be more comfortable for some shooters, especially when shooting vertically in portrait orientation.

Canon GP-E2 GPS Receiver: Use this GPS receiver for automatic geotagging of your images including location and altitude data, a digital compass, and UTC time.

Canon Remote Switch RS-60E3 or Canon Wireless Remote Control RC-6: These remotes will allow you to trigger the shutter of the camera remotely, thus allowing either self-portraits or the ability to release the shutter without pressing the Shutter Button thus preventing possible camera shake.

Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT: This most recently introduced external flash will give you the most flash power and control of the Canon Speedlites. It has an adjustable and rotating head so that you can use indirect and bounce flash, and is compatible with a specially designed color filter holder and gels (see below). The 600EX-RT also allows infrared wireless functionality plus is compatible with the new radio wave wireless flash system when controlled and triggered by the Speedlite Transmitter ST-E3-RT.

Speedlite Transmitter ST-E3-RT: Use this radio wave wireless transmitter to control and trigger up to 5 groups of 15 flashes, up to 30 meters, with no line-of-site required. Currently only compatible with the Canon 600EX-RT Speedlite.

Note that either the 600EX-RT Speedlite or the ST-E3-RT Transmitter can also act as a remote camera trigger for the T4i. If either one of these units is in the hotshoe of the T4i, another one of these units can fire the camera remotely, for a single frame, with the press of a button.

Canon SCH-E1 Color Filter Holder: This plastic holder attaches to the front of the 600EX-RT Speedlite and holds the gels of the Canon Color Filter Set. Use these filters (gels) to balance the color temperature of your flash to the color temperature of the ambient light in order to have a single White Balance setting that neutralizes the color cast of the entire scene.

Canon Speedlite 580EX II or Speedlite 430EX II or Speedlite 320EX: These external flashes will give you greatly increased flash power and control compared to the built-in flash. They also have adjustable and rotating heads so that you can use indirect and bounce flash. All of them can be used as remote flashes controlled by the built-in flash. The 320EX also has a built in LED light for lighting video.

Canon Hand Strap E2: This hand strap, used with or without the battery grip, provides a more secure grip and allows for easier single hand operation of the camera. It attaches on the right side of the camera and your right hand slips between it and the camera.


Canon EOS 5D Mark III Accessories

Sandisk Extreme CF Memory Cards:  I suggest getting a couple 16GB, 32GB, or higher capacity CompactFlash (CF) cards to capture and store your photos – more if traveling.  Be sure to check the Sandisk site for current rebates.

Sandisk Extreme Pro CF Memory Cards:  For an even faster CF memory card, look at the Extreme Pro version, which saves at 90MB/s over 60 MB/s of the Extreme CF cards.

Sandisk Extreme SD Memory Cards:  If you plan to use the camera’s second card slot, I suggest getting a couple 16GB, 32GB, or higher capacity Secure Digital (SD) cards to capture and store your photos – more if traveling.  Review the various ways that the camera’s second card slot can be used.  Again, be sure to check the Sandisk site for current rebates.

Sandisk Extreme Pro SD Memory Cards:  For an even faster SD memory card, look at the Extreme Pro version, which saves at 95MB/s over 30 MB/s of the Extreme SD cards.

SanDisk Extreme Pro UDMA 7 CF Memory Card:  This CF memory card will allow you to take full advantage of the high speed continuous shooting of the 5D Mk III to capture up to the maximum 16,270 continuous JPEG images or 18 RAW images in a single burst.

Canon LP-E6 Battery:  It is always good to have an extra battery or two, especially when traveling or when photographing all day or for an event.

Canon BG-E11 Battery Grip:   This optional battery pack and grip will enable you to use two LP-E6 batteries or six AA/ CR6 batteries, thus allowing you to shoot longer without having to change batteries.  The grip replicates the controls of the body and also increases the size of the 5D Mk III body which may be more comfortable for some shooters, especially when using the camera in the vertical position.

Canon WFT-E7A Wireless File Transmitter:  Use this accessory to wirelessly transmit your images from the camera to a computer over a Wi-Fi or Gigabit Ethernet connection.  It can also be used to wirelessly control the camera via a web-enabled mobile device.

Canon GP-E2 GPS Receiver:  Use this GPS receiver for automatic geotagging of your images including location and altitude data, a digital compass, and UTC time.

Canon Remote Switch RS-80N3 or Canon Wireless Remote Control RC-6:  These remotes will allow you to trigger the shutter of the camera remotely, thus allowing either self-portraits or the ability to release the shutter without pressing the Shutter Button thus preventing possible camera shake.  There is also the Timer Remote Controller TC-80N3 for time-lapse or long exposure photography.

Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT:  This most recently introduced external flash will give you the most flash power and control of the Canon Speedlites.  It has an adjustable and rotating head so that you can use indirect and bounce flash, and is compatible with a specially designed color filter holder and gels (see below).  The 600EX-RT also allows infrared wireless functionality plus is compatible with the new radio wave wireless flash system when controlled and triggered by the Speedlite Transmitter ST-E3-RT.  The AF assist beam of the Canon 600EX-RT is the only current Speedlite designed to be compatible with the 61 point autofocus system of the 5D Mk III.

Speedlite Transmitter ST-E3-RT:  Use this radio wave wireless transmitter to control and trigger up to 5 groups of 15 flashes, up to 30 meters, with no line-of-site required.  Currently only compatible with the Canon 600EX-RT Speedlite.

Note that either the 600EX-RT Speedlite or the ST-E3-RT Transmitter can also act as a remote camera trigger for the 5D Mk III.  If either one of these units is in the hotshoe of the 5D Mk III, another one of these units can fire the camera remotely, for a single frame, with the press of a button.

Canon SCH-E1 Color Filter Holder:  This plastic holder attaches to the front of the 600EX-RT Speedlight and holds the gels of the Canon Color Filter Set.  Use these filters (gels) to balance the color temperature of your flash to the color temperature of the ambient light in order to have a single WB setting that neutralizes the color cast of the entire scene.

Canon Speedlite 580EX II or Speedlite 430EX II or Speedlite 320EX:  These external flashes will give you varying levels of flash power and control, with the 580EXII being the most powerful of the group.  They also have adjustable and rotating heads so that you can use indirect and bounce flash.  The 320EX also has a built in LED light for lighting video.  To attach color filters to these models see the Rosco Strobist Collection Flash Gels section just above.

Sto-Fen Omni Bounce Diffuser for the Canon 580EXII or for the Canon 600EX-RT:  Works great on the optional external flash units like the Canon 580EX II Speedlite or the newer 600EX-RT Speedlite.  Do not use this on your flash outdoors because all it will do outside is cause your flash to work harder.  I know you see lots of people doing it.  They didn’t bother reading how to use it – don’t imitate them!  Use a direct bare or gelled flash outdoors.  These diffusers are designed to work as a diffuser when bounced off a surface and angled at 45 degrees or so, not straight on, and not bouncing off the sky.


Canon EOS 6D Accessories

Canon LP-E6 Battery: It is always good to have an extra battery or two, especially when traveling or when photographing all day or for an event.

Canon BG-E13 Battery Grip: This optional battery pack and grip will enable you to use two LP-E6 batteries or six AA/ CR6 batteries, thus allowing you to shoot longer without having to change batteries. The grip replicates the controls of the body and also increases the size of the 6D body which may be more comfortable for some shooters, especially when using the camera in the vertical position.

Canon GP-E2 GPS Receiver: Use this GPS receiver for automatic geotagging of your images including location and altitude data, a digital compass, and UTC time. However the EOS 6D (WG) has built-in GPS, so this accessory is generally not necessary. Ironically, the GP-E2 is not compatible with the EOS 6D (N), the model that is sold in certain regions without built-in Wi-Fi and GPS.

Canon Remote Switch RS-80N3 or Canon Wireless Remote Control RC-6: These remotes will allow you to trigger the shutter of the camera remotely, allowing either self-portraits or the ability to release the shutter without pressing the Shutter Button thus preventing possible camera shake. There is also the Timer Remote Controller TC-80N3 for time-lapse or long exposure photography.

Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT: This most recently introduced external flash will give you the most flash power and control of the Canon Speedlites. It has an adjustable and rotating head so that you can use indirect and bounce flash, and is compatible with a specially designed color filter holder and gels (see below). The 600EX-RT also allows infrared wireless functionality plus is compatible with the new radio wave wireless flash system when controlled and triggered by the Speedlite Transmitter ST-E3-RT.

Speedlite Transmitter ST-E3-RT: Use this radio wave wireless transmitter to control and trigger up to 5 groups of 15 flashes, up to 30 meters, with no line-of-site required. Currently only compatible with the Canon 600EX-RT Speedlite.

Note that either the 600EX-RT Speedlite or the ST-E3-RT Transmitter can also act as a remote camera trigger for the 6D. If either one of these units is in the hotshoe of the 6D, another one of these units can fire the camera remotely, for a single frame, with the press of a button.

Canon SCH-E1 Color Filter Holder: This plastic holder attaches to the front of the 600EX-RT Speedlite and holds the gels of the Canon Color Filter Set. Use these filters (gels) to balance the color temperature of your flash to the color temperature of the ambient light in order to have a single White Balance setting that neutralizes the color cast of the entire scene.

Canon Speedlite 580EX II or Speedlite 430EX II or Speedlite 320EX: These external flashes will give you varying levels of flash power and control, with the 580EX II being the most powerful of the group. They also have adjustable and rotating heads so that you can use indirect and bounce flash. The 320EX also has a built in LED light for lighting video. To attach color filters to these models see the Rosco Strobist Collection Flash Gels section just above.

Viewfinder Focusing Screens: The optional Canon Eg-S Super Precision Matte focusing screen is designed to assist with manual focusing, and the optional Canon Eg-D Precision Matte focusing screen provides a grid in the Viewfinder to help keep your compositions straight and level.

I’ve spent a significant amount of time with the new Nikon D7000 as I was researching and writing my ebook user’s guide Nikon D7000 Experience. It has been interesting to contrast it with the recent Canon 60D, as they sit in a somewhat similar position in each brand’s current dSLR line-up.

They are both excellent cameras and are both highly customizable for you to set up for the way you shoot. But I have to say I’m incredibly impressed with the higher amount of customization options offered by the D7000. Nikon offers the opportunity for advanced shooters to fine-tune many settings of the D7000 – options that the 60D just doesn’t have.

Nikon D7000

Advanced settings of the Nikon D7000 include:

White Balance – many more fluorescent options and the ability to tweek any of the WB settings along the blue-amber and green-magenta axes – including the ability to make blue-amber adjustments on the fly without going into the menus by using the WB button. The 60D not only doesn’t offer this level of adjustment, it doesn’t even have a WB button on the body of the camera.

Frame Rate – The Continuous Low release (drive) mode can be set for between 1 to 5 fps. Canon only offers 3fps in Low Speed Continuous. This is not such a big deal on the 60D because High Speed Continuous is 5.3 fps. However with the Canon 7D, this would have been an incredibly helpful option. The 8 fps of High Speed is blazing fast, typically too fast for real life use as the scene barely changes from image to image yet the large files can quickly fill up a card. But then 3 fps is too slow for action use. I have long wished for a 5 or 6 fps option on the 7D.

Metering – With the D7000 you can change the size of the area metered in Center-Weighted Area metering mode if you wish for more or less precision or if you are working with a subject of a particular size. The camera can be set to meter a circle of various sizes: 6mm, 8mm, 10mm, 13mm, or even an average of the entire scene (Average will act like a very dumbed down Matrix (Evaluative) Metering and just average the entire frame and not take selected AF points into consideration). The 60D does not offer this ability but does offer Center Weighted metering mode and Partial metering mode (which meters a center circle that is 6.5% of the viewfinder). Both cameras offer Spot Metering for very precise metering.

Exposure – In the D7000 you can fine tune the default settings of each of the metering modes to slightly under- or over-expose. This is an adjustment done behind the scenes and not exposure compensation. This is something I would find very handy on my 50D because it always overexposes by about 1/3 a stop in Evaluative Metering mode. So instead of using -1/3 exposure compensation all the time, I finally settled on using Center Weighted Average metering. But with the D7000, you can fine tune the camera to always underexpose. For example if you were to have this slight overexposure problem in Matrix metering, you could fine-tune Matrix for -1/3 and then it would be fixed. You could use exposure compensation on top of that when necessary. You can also customize the controls for exposure compensation (EC) so that your EC adjustment applies to only the next photo taken or to all subsequent photos.

Autofocus – The D7000 offers AF Fine Tune (or AF Micro-Adjustment as Canon users may know it) to slightly fine tune the autofocus of multiple lenses if any of them are slightly back- or front-focusing. This feature was on the 50D but was disappointingly dropped from the 60D. The D7000 also allows you to choose from all the AF points or just 11 of them, which could be helpful to those just getting the hang of selecting their own AF point instead of allowing the camera to choose what it thinks you wish to focus on. (You should nearly always be choosing your own AF point!)

So as you can see, the D7000 offers many advanced customization and fine-tune options in the Menus and Custom Settings that the 60D just doesn’t offer. Keep in mind however that these are pretty advanced features, and if you are not going to be making use of them, don’t be swayed by them when choosing a camera.

For a more detailed comparison of these two cameras, see my post Nikon D7000 vs. Canon 60D.

If you would like to learn more about all the Menu and Custom Settings of the Nikon D7000 or the Menu items and Custom Functions of the Canon 60D, be sure to have a look at my ebook user’s guides for each of these cameras:

Nikon D7000 Experience – The Still Photographer’s Guide to the Nikon D7000

Your World 60D – The Still Photographer’s Guide to the Canon 60D

In these books I cover all of the menus and custom settings, along with their recommended settings for general photography and travel photography use. These kinds of settings are what make these cameras very powerful and precise tools that you can – and should – set up to work for the way you photograph. They are worth learning, understanding and making use of.

If you wish to compare the Canon 60D with the other Canon dSLRs, see this post Canon 5D vs. 7D vs. 60D vs. 550D/T2i and if you wish to compare the Nikon D7000 with the other Nikon dSLRs, see this post Nikon D7000 vs. D90 vs. D300s.

Nikon D7000 User’s Guide

I have completed a Nikon D7000 e book user’s guide, Nikon D7000 Experience – The Still Photographer’s Guide to Operation and Image Creation that goes beyond the D7000 manual to help you learn when and why to use the various controls, features, and custom settings of this powerful camera.  As one reader has said, “This book, together with the manual that came with your camera, is all you need to start discovering the full potential of the D7000.”

Nikon D7000 book guide manual download tutorial how to instruction Nikon D7000 Experience ebook

The Nikon D7000 is an incredibly powerful and customizable image-making tool, and in order to get the most out of it you will need to learn how to take advantage of its features, controls, and custom settings.  Like my previous ebooks, including the bestselling Your World 60D, Nikon D7000 Experience not only covers the various settings, functions and controls of the Nikon D7000, but it also explains when and why to use them for your photography. And it describes every D7000 Shooting, Setup, and Playback Menu Setting and every Custom Setting, with recommended settings to get you started quickly, including Movie Mode menu settings. Note that it focuses on still-photography and not video except for a brief introduction to video menus and settings to get you up and running. Sections include:

  • Setting Up Your D7000 – All of the D7000 Custom Settings and Shooting, Setup, and Playback Menu settings, including movie mode menus, with brief descriptions and recommended settings for practical, everyday use. Set up and customize the powerful advanced features of your dSLR to work best for the way you photograph.
  • Auto Focusing Modes and Area Modes and Release (Drive) Modes – How they differ, how and when to use them to capture sharp images of both still and moving subjects. Also how and when to use focus lock.
  • Aperture Priority Mode (A) and Shutter Priority Mode (S) – How and when to use them to create dramatic depth of field or to freeze or express motion.
  • Exposure Metering Modes of the Nikon D7000 – How they differ, how and when to use them for correct exposures in every situation. Also how to make use of exposure lock.
  • Histograms, Exposure Compensation, Bracketing, and White Balance – Understanding and using these features for adjusting to the proper exposure in challenging lighting situations.
  • Composition – Brief tips, techniques, and explanations, including the creative use of depth of field.
  • The Image Taking Process – A descriptive tutorial for using the settings and controls you just learned to take photos.
  • Photography Accessories – The most useful accessories for day-to-day and travel photography.
  • Introduction to Video Settings – Some basic settings to get you started.

This digital guide to the Nikon D7000 is a 63 page PDF document (also available in Kindle and Nook formats) that builds upon the information found in the D7000 manual, to help one begin to master their dSLR and learn to use the Nikon D7000 to its full capabilities.  The guide cuts through all the information thrown at you in the manual and focuses on essential settings and information to help you get out there shooting in the real world. It is packed with helpful information applicable to the new and intermediate dSLR photographer – to begin to turn you into an advanced digital photographer!

View a preview of it here.  The preview shows the table of contents, a bit of the intro, a page of the Menu Settings, a page of the Custom Settings, and a couple text pages.

Author: Douglas Klostermann
Format:
PDF – Instant Download – read on your computer, print on your printer, transfer to your iPad, Android, or other tablet, transfer to your Kindle, Nook or other e-reader.
Page Count:
63 pages, illustrated
Price:
$9.99
(plus 6.25% sales tax for residents of Massachusetts)
Secure payment with PayPal or Credit card

Buy Now with PayPal! or Buy Now

This version is a PDF format e-book, 8.5″x11″, which can be read on your computer screen, printed on your printer, taken with you on your laptop, and can also be read on the iPad, Android or other tablets, Kindle, Nook, or other e-readers.

 

Other versions of Nikon D7000 Experience e-book are available:

The Kindle edition is available on Amazon.com
The Nook edition is available at BarnesandNoble.com
The iPad and iPhone version is available through Apple’s iTunes or through the iBooks App

What Readers of Nikon D7000 Experience are Saying:

It’s the first guide I’ve read which has taken me through all the settings in an understandable way. I now feel that I have control over the camera.
-Peter S.

I would recommend this to anyone who wants to get a quick start to using the D7000.  Manuals are nice, but this eBook highlights the important information and gives a quick easy to understand explanation of most all of the functions and controls.
-Ray M.

This manual is a clearly written, concise and useful explanation of the rationale for the seemingly infinite and often confusing settings options for the D7000. Used in conjunction with the Nikon manual I feel a bit more confident in understanding how to at last proceed in getting better photographs.
-WLS

I found the Nikon manual good for understanding how to set things up but not much on the why – this book really focuses on the “why.”
-Benoit A.

This book, together with the manual that came with your camera, is all you need to start discovering the full potential of the D7000.
-Max M.

It’s clear, concise and gets to the heart of the camera’s multiple and often confusing options. Very highly recommended – for experienced user and beginner alike.  As previous reviewers have remarked, the official manual is very good on what to do, but not so clear on why.
-GSA

See and buy your D7000 on Amazon and help support this blog!

Nikon D7000 with 18-105mm kit lens on Amazon.com

Nikon D7000 body only on Amazon.com

Any other purchase on Amazon.com

I suppose I should join the photo blogger holiday tradition of putting together a holiday and Christmas gift guide for photographers or those who are shopping for the photographer in their life! If you plan to purchase any of these items through Amazon.com, I you can use the product links I set up throughout this post, which will bring you right to that product’s page on Amazon. (Amazon will then reward me with a small referral reward for my effort, which will help support my blog. Thanks! If you are in the UK or wish to purchase from B+H, see the end of this post for link information.) And now on to the shopping:

The first thing you are going to need is the Canon 24-105mm f/4 lens Mug or Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 lens Mug to drink your hot cocoa or hazelnut coffee as you are unwrapping the rest of your gifts. These extremely popular and awesomely realistic mugs, complete with rubber ring grips, have a wide f/4 or f/2.8 opening which enables them to take in copious amounts of liquid just as your lens takes in all that light. The lens caps protects your beverage when not in use – no UV filter needed.
Canon lens mug 24-105mm f/4 Nikon Lens 24-70mm f/2.8 mug

The best gift of the season for most photographers would most likely be a brand new digital dSLR camera to upgrade what they are currently shooting with – one with a few more megapixes, improved autofocus system, faster continuous shooting speeds, and some new bells and whistles.

For many photographers this will be the new Canon EOS 60D body only or the Canon 60D with 18-135mm kit lens. The EOS 60D has continued Canon’s tradition of ease of use, great ergonomics and controls, fantastic image quality and low light performance, plus added a swiveling real LCD screen. And full HD video with more frame rate options than the competitors.
canon eos 60d
For Nikon shooters the best choice is the brand new, highly sought-after Nikon D7000. The Nikon D7000 body only or D7000 with 18-105mm lens cost a bit more than the 60D, but they provide the additional features to justify the higher cost: faster continuous shooting rate, partial magnesium body, more advanced and customizable autofocus system, and two SD memory card slots to save all those shots and HD movies. Either one makes a excellent camera that is capable of producing high quality images.
Nikon D7000
Of course you are going to want some new lenses to go with these cameras. Why not step up to the professional quality lenses to see that immediate improvement in image quality, color, contrast, as well as lens and autofocus performance? For Canon this means the L series of lenses. Expand your focal range or fill in some gaps with a high quality wide angle zoom, standard zoom, or telephoto zoom.

For wide angle zooms, look at either the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM or the EF 17-40mm f/4L USM

For standard zooms, which make for a great “walk-around” lens, consider the Canon EF 24-70 f/2.8L USM or EF 24-105 f/4L IS USM


And in the telephoto zoom range, look at the EF 70-200, f/2.8L II IS USM or the much less expensive and lighter EF 70-200, f/4L IS USM

One of these lenses in each pair will be both more expensive AND heavier, so be sure and handle them first before you decide on one.

This may also be a good time to start experimenting with prime lenses. Their extra wide maximum apertures will allow you to use them in much lower light, and will create great, smooth background blurring for awesome portraits. Depending on how closely you like to work to your subject, a few to consider are the Canon 35mm f/2, Canon 50mm f/1.8 II for about $100, Canon 50mm f/1.4 (a little more costly 50mm), or the Canon 85mm f/1.8.

An extremely fun lens to work with is the Canon EF 100mm f.2.8 Macro USM. It is incredibly sharp, has dramatically narrow depth of field at f/2.8, and works as a great portrait lens too. If you have never used a macro, go try one out and experience what makes them so cool. The 60D and D7000 images just above were taken with this lens, as well as the cool close up shots of the following post comparing the Nikon D7000 vs D90 vs D300s.

If you need just one versatile lens for everyday use or for travel, the three lenses to consider are the EF 24-105 f/4L IS USM in the L series lenses, or else the EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS or EF-S 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS.

Of course with any of these lenses, be sure to protect them with a clear or UV filter, preferably a high quality, coated B+W brand UV filter. You can read a lot more about these lenses and how to choose between them in my earlier post, Best Lenses for Everyday and Travel Photography.

Possibly the most comfortable way to carry your camera around all day, especially when using a larger, heavier lens, is the BlackRapid RS-7 Camera Strap. I highly recommended this strap, and I use the older RS-4 version daily. They have made some steady, welcomed improvements on them, including the curved shoulder pad of the RS-7, the quick release strap, and the improved connecting hardware. The base that screws into your camera is a lower profile, stronger single piece, and the securing screw surface on the clasp ring is smooth rather than knurled so that it will no longer scratch up your camera bottom. The strap is comfortable, easy to use, quick, strong, and rugged. I often use it in conjunction with wearing a backpack, and although the straps fight for space against each other on my shoulder, it still works fine. There is also now a version designed for women, the RS-W1 plus a new woman’s version in just black. They are also introducing 2 different pieces of hardware which will allow you to attach your camera to a tripod without removing the R-Strap’s base that is already attached to your camera.

You are going to need something to carry all this equipment around in. My current favorite is the Lowepro Compu Trekker AW backpack, which is now called the Lowepro ProRunner 350 AW. I use this as both my airline carry-on and my working bag during the day. The size works perfectly for both needs. It easily fits the airline carry-on size, including smaller international requirements in some regions, yet fits more that it would first appear. With careful configuration of the interior dividers, I can fit 2 Canon bodies, three lenses, a 580EX II flash, its diffuser, 2 external hard drives in cases, a couple memory card cases, and some filters. In the outside pocket, I have a couple battery chargers, extra batteries, medium Rocket Blower, miscellaneous cords, caps, and accessories. In the rear pocket designed for a laptop, I easily fit a 32″ 5 in 1 reflector. The pack is extremely comfortable, has tons of padding on the straps and the back so that its weight never bothers me and I don’t feel the reflector in my back. I often wear it for hours a day while working, and it is never a problem. The Pro Runner 450 AW might be a better carry on size so that you could carry more gear on the plane with you (if it fits the airline’s requirements) but it would be too big for daily use. There are also rolling versions of these, with an “x” in the name, thought the retractable handles and wheels add weight and size to the bags.


For adventure videographers, the item of the year is the GoPro HD HERO Cam, which you attach to your helmet, head, mountain bike, snowboard, skateboard, motorcycle, or whatever to shoot professional quality, point of view video. It comes in a variety of packages with different mounts. Film and share your adventures in full HD video! Click the image to see it on Amazon or click here to learn more and but direct at the GoPro website.


And to save all those images you are taking, memory cards will make great stocking stuffers. I like Sandisk Extreme 16 GB SD cards. If you still use CF cards, be sure to get the SanDisk Extreme 16GB CF cards. Use a Sandisk card reader to upload the images to your computer, rather than from the camera directly, in order to save the camera batteries. This Sandisk Card Reader is for the CF cards, and the 5 in 1 reads SD cards.

And for some basic stocking stuffers, here are a few simple but essential items for keeping your camera and lenses clean:

Giottos Medium Rocket Blower in the medium or large size. Always have it handy for getting dust off lenses in a hurry, because blowing on them – no matter how careful – leads to spittle on the lenses 5% of the time when it doesn’t matter and 95% of the time when you are in the most critical situations.

Pearstone LP-1 Lens Pen – Works great for cleaning off mysterious spots, smudges, and fingerprints that always appear on the lens (this is why I always use UV filters) as well as that a-fore-mentioned spittle. There is a retractable brush on one end and a cleaning head on the other end. Twist the cap to load the cleaning tip with the carbon based cleaning material, then remove the cap and use. Please read the instructions and visit the LensPen website to fully learn how to use it properly.

For more photography equipment and accessories like those above, be sure to see this previous post Equipment for Travel (and Everyday) Photography.

To edit and save all your photos, you are going to need some hard drive space and some software:

External Hard Drives – The Iomega Ego 1TB and a Lacie Rugged USB 1TB work great both at home and when traveling. There is a FireWire version of the Lacie Rugged 500GB also. Both are built solid and sturdy, and each fit perfectly in the Case Logic Portable Hard Drive Case made for these types of drives. Get the cases in different colors so you can quickly differentiate your different drives. For storage at home, consider a couple Western Digital My Book 1TB External Hard Drives.

Post-Production – After taking all these wonderful images with your new equipment, you are going to need to organize, edit, and work on all your photos. And for that, of course you are going to need Adobe Photoshop CS4 and/ or Adobe Lightroom 3. You can start off with the trial versions that you can download from the Adobe site, but sooner or later you are going to have to get the real versions. Use that student discount if you can!

Also be sure to consider all the great photo books to help you learn to use your equipment, improve you images and compositions, and be inspired. I’ve put together a post of several of my favorites that you can read here. The most recent addition to the bookshelf is:

The Photographer’s Mind: How to See and Shoot Better Digital Photos by Michael Freeman
Every time I read Freeman’s The Photographer’s Eye, I lament, usually aloud, “why doesn’t he have more books like this?” Well, my wishes appear to have been answered. His next book The Photographer’s Mind has just come out.

And don’t forget the eBooks I put together for setting up and learning to use you Canon dSLR:

Your World 60D – The Still Photographer’s Guide to Operation and Image Creation with the Canon 60D – an eBook user’s guide and tutorial I wrote to help get you up and running with the 60D, quickly and competently. You can learn more about it at this post here. In addition to the PDF version, which also looks great on the iPad, it is also available in a Kindle edition on Amazon.com here and a Nook verion on BarnesandNoble.com Plus, for the Rebel T2i / EOS 550D, I have written T2i Experience – a similar guide for Canon T2i / 550D users.

Purchasing: If you plan to purchase cameras, photo equipment, books, or anything else from Amazon.com I encourage you to do so through any of the Amazon referral links I’ve set up. Just click on the equipment name or book title within this post and you will be taken to that Amazon page. Or click here to go directly to Amazon or click on the Amazon.com logo below, and start shopping. Thanks, I appreciate your support!

If you are in the UK, you can click here for the UK Amazon referral link.

For those interested in purchasing through B&H Photo, Adorama, or directly from Canon, I have set up affiliate links with them as well – find them on the left side of this page.

Happy Holidays, and I hope you get everything on your list!

Comparing the Nikon D300s vs. D7000 vs. D90:

Since the Nikon D5100 was recently announced, I have updated this post to include all the current Nikon dSLR offerings. Read the updated post Nikon D5100 vs D7000 vs D90 vs D3100 here.

Just as Canon has made the decision between its consumer and pro-sumer dSLR cameras difficult due to the fact that they all share so many features, now so has Nikon with the release of the extremely admired new Nikon D7000. Although the D7000 sits above the Nikon D5100 and between the Nikon D90 and the Nikon D300s in price and features, its impressive new sensor, increase in megapixels and resolution, improved autofocus (AF) system, and construction and controls have made it a viable upgrade not only to the D90, but it some aspects it even challenges the more expensive, semi-professional D300s. Have its impressive specs created a lame duck of the D300s?

Nikon D7000 vs D300s vs D90 macro lens
photo by the author

As I always like to point out, when you are trying to determine which camera to purchase or upgrade to, you need to first consider and determine your needs, and then see which camera fills those needs. Not the other way around where you look at the new features and speculate if you really need or will use them. The latest cameras almost always have more impressive features and specifications than the preceding models, but if your needs and shooting style don’t required those upgrades then it is possible that you can save some money and be completely happy with a less expensive or earlier model.

Sensor and Image Quality: The sensor of the D7000 is greatly improved over both the D90 and the D300s in a couple of ways. The D7000 has 16.2 megapixels, where the D90 and D300s each have 12.3 megapixels. This increase in resolution allows for more intrusive editing of the files in Photoshop, the ability to crop a picture and still obtain an image with high enough resolution for printing or display, and allows for larger prints. In addition, the improved sensor, manufactured by Sony, results in better performance at high ISO settings and in low light, better dynamic range, tonal range, and color sensitivity. Have a look at dxomark.com to compare the sensors – run your mouse along the red-to-green color bar to the right of the graphs to see how these differences affect images.

Exposure Metering: The 2016 pixel RGB metering sensor of the D7000 is also improved compared to the D90 and D300s, and will result in better TTL metering performance of straightforward and complex lighting scenes and situations. All three cameras offer matrix metering, center-weighted, and spot metering. With center-weighted metering, the D90 can make use of your choice of a 6, 8, or 10mm center circle for its weighting, while the D7000 and D300s add a 13mm circle option to that.

Autofocus: The autofocus system of the D90 has 11 autofocus (AF) points with the center one being the more accurate cross type. The D7000 boasts a significantly improved AF system of 39 AF points with 9 of them being cross type. The D300s offers 51 AF points with 15 being cross type. The AF systems of the D7000 and D300s allow for you to use these points in various ways including automatic AF point selection, single point AF, and dynamic area AF using your choice of 9 points, 21 points, all points, or all points with 3D-tracking. With the D7000 you can also use a custom function to limit the AF system to 11 points, which may be more manageable for someone who wishes to manually select their AF points.

Nikon D7000 vs D300s vs D90 macro lens
photo by the author

Body, Construction and Size/ Weight: The D90 and D7000 appear very similar at first glance, but the plastic body of the D90 has been upgraded to the partially magnesium alloy body (top and rear) of the D7000. This adds slightly to the weight: 1.5 lbs for the D90 vs. 1.7 lbs for the D7000. The D300s is slightly larger than the other 2 bodies, and weighs in at 2.2 lbs, with full magnesium construction. The sturdier construction of the D7000 vs. the D90, including its nicer rubber gripping surfaces, creates the impression and feel of a more professional body. The D7000 and D300s have weather sealing at the memory card and battery doors. All 3 cameras have a 3″ rear LCD screen as well as a top LCD panel. It is worth noting that the magnesium alloy body of the D7000 does not fully extend around the front, and thus the area surrounding the lens mount, which plays an important role in supporting a heavy lens, is plastic. See this image of a D7000 skeleton next to one of a 7D for details.

ISO: As mentioned in the Sensor/IQ section above, the high ISO performance of the D7000 is greatly improved over both the D90 and the D300s. The tests at dxomark.com tell this story, along with the fact that the native ISO range of the D7000 is 100-6400 expandable up to 25,600. The other two cameras have a native ISO range of 200-3200 expandable to 6400. This means that with the D7000 you can use higher ISO settings when required, such as in low light situations, and not have as much difficulty with digital noise, particularly in the shadow areas of images. Early reports indicate that the high ISO performance is excellent.

Controls: The controls of the D7000 are similar to the D90 with some changes including the addition of the shooting mode ring under the mode dial (to change from single shot to high speed continuous to self timer, etc.), and the live-view switch with movie record button inside it. The top AF button of the D90 is incorporated into the AF switch and button at the base of the lens on the D7000. The D300s has entirely different switches, dials, and buttons than the other two cameras, however this allows for quicker and easier access to more features on the D300s since the D300s has more controls and settings directly available on the body. The D7000 also offers more white balance options than the other two cameras, plus 2 customizable user settings (U1, U2) on the mode dial, and you can assign functions of your choice to buttons such as the Fn Button.

Wireless Flash: All three cameras allow for advanced wireless lighting using the built in flash with Nikon Speedlights.

Brief commercial interruption: I would like to mention that I have written an eBook user’s guide for the Nikon D7000. After spending so much time studying, experimenting, writing about, comparing, and discussing the camera, I decided to put some that knowledge into eBook form! The guide covers all the Shooting, Setup, and Playback Menu settings and Custom Setting options – with recommended settings – plus discussions of how, when, and why to use the cameras’ settings and features, (metering modes, aperture and shutter priority modes, advanced autofocus use, focus lock, exposure lock, and more) for everyday and travel use, to help you take better photos. Click HERE to learn more about it – Nikon D7000 Experience – and to view a preview, or purchase it!

Viewfinder: The D90 has a viewfinder with 96% coverage of the actual resulting image, while the D7000 and D300s have improved large, bright 100% viewfinder coverage.

Nikon D7000 vs. D90 vs. D300s macro lens
photo by the author

Processor: The D90 and D300s have the Nikon Expeed Processor, while the D7000 has the improved Expeed II processor. This allows for more video options including full 1080p HD at 24fps, and overall faster processing of stills and video files.

Continuous Shooting Speed: The D90 can shoot 4.5 frames per second (fps) up to 100 images, the D7000 shoots 6 fps up to 100 shots, and the D300s shoots 7 fps – or 8fps with the battery grip. If you often capture action and really need the higher frame rate, such as for sports or wildlife shooting, you are going to have to seriously consider the D300s over the D7000. Otherwise, 7 or 8 fps is often complete overkill in typical real-life use.

Memory Card: The D90 uses a single SD memory card. The D7000 accepts 2 SD cards, where the second card can be used in a variety of ways: overflow, JPEG on one / RAW on the other, or mirrored backup of the first card. The D300s uses 1 CF card and 1 SD card, which also can be configured in a variety of ways. The second card can come in handy as well if one is shooting a lot of video files.

Battery: The D7000 uses the new, higher capacity EN-EL15 battery, which will last for over 1000 shots, and accepts the optional MB-D11 battery pack/ vertical grip which is constructed of magnesium alloy. The D300s uses the EN-EL3e battery and the optional MB-D10 battery pack/ vertical grip. The D90 also uses the EN-EL3e battery and its optional battery pack/ vertical grip is the MB-D80.

Full HD video: The D90 and D300s offer 720p video at 24 fps, with a 5 minute shooting time. The D7000 improves this tremendously with full 1080p HD video at 24 fps for up to 20 minutes with full-time continuous autofocus. Plus it offers 720p at 30, 24, and 25 fps.

Price: See below

Shooting Experience: The D7000 feels and performs great. After spending some time with the D7000, and getting over all its quirky differences vs. Canons – as far as menus, custom functions, and buttons/ controls – I’m really beginning to become attached to it. I actually prefer some of the controls it provides vs. the Canons plus some of the options it provides, such as the optional grid in the viewfinder, the ability to limit the AF points to 11 including the 9 cross type points – for quicker manual selection, the ability to change the continuous low shooting speed between 1 to 5 shots (I complained over a year ago that the 7D should have had that feature as its 8 fps is usually overkill for me), and the versatility to change the size of the central spot size for center weighted metering. Also, thank goodness the D7000 includes the ability to reverse the + and – directions of exposure compensation, because the Nikon default is just plain wrong!

So as you can see, the D7000 truly is an improvement over the D90 in every way, and an improvement over the D300s in many ways. Unless you have a couple very specific needs that only the D300s can accommodate – such as faster continuous shooting speeds, direct access to certain controls and settings, and a full magnesium alloy body – then it may be difficult to justify the older D300s over the new D7000.

Purchasing these cameras: If you plan to buy any of these cameras, accessories, or anything else through Amazon.com or Amazon.com UK, I would appreciate it if you use my referral links. Your price will be the same, and they will give me a little something for referring you, which will help support my blog. Thanks! In the USA, use the links throughout this post or use this referral link to Amazon. And for those of you across the pond, click here for my referral link to Amazon UK. If you are in another country, click on one of my Amazon links, scroll to the bottom of the page, and click on your country for your local Amazon. Thank you for supporting my efforts!

See and buy the Nikon D7000 – Body Only on Amazon $1199

See and buy the Nikon D7000 and 18-105mm Lens on Amazon $1499

See and buy the D90 on Amazon $739 body only or $1049 with 18-105mm lens

See and buy the D300s on Amazon $1449 body only

Purchasing from the UK? Use my Amazon UK referral link here. If you are in another country, click on an Amazon link, scroll to the bottom of the page, and click on your country for your local Amazon. If you wish to purchase from B+H Photo please click the link below. Thanks!

Accessories and Books: Now that you are on your way to deciding on a camera, you should also start looking into photography gear, accessories, and books. Check out these links, dSLR Photography Gear, Accessories, and Books, which discusses essential gear plus accessories specific to Nikon cameras; Equipment for Travel Photography, which discusses useful and practical photo accessories and equipment for both everyday and travel photography.

DPReview has excellent, very thorough reviews of all of these cameras, including one just published for the D7000.

(Sorry for the wrong link to the Essential Digital Photo Books – you can find that list HERE:
http://blog.dojoklo.com/2010/10/06/essential-digital-photography-books/)

Just when you thought it was difficult to choose between the latest offerings from Canon – the 7D vs 60D vs. T3i / 600D – Nikon comes out with the D7000! The Nikon D7000 is a competitor to both the Canon 60D and some say to the 7D, and I guess it is up to the forums and early users to really figure out where it stands. (See the comparison of the Canon dSLR line-up – 7D, 60D, T2i here and the comparison of the Nikon dSLR line-up – D7000, D90, D300s – in this post.)

I spent a couple months writing eBook user’s guides to both the Canon 60D (Your World 60D) and the Nikon D7000 (Nikon D7000 Experience), so I’ve spent considerable time with each of these cameras and know their features and controls inside and out. Check out these ebook guides to learn more about using and photographing with these cameras including all of their Menu settings and Custom Function settings (with recommended settings) plus discussions of how, when, and why to use the cameras’ settings and features, (metering modes, aperture and shutter priority modes, advanced autofocus use, focus lock, exposure lock, and more) for everyday and travel use, to help you take better photos.

Canon 60D vs Nikon D7000
Image of a Canon 60D taken with a Nikon D7000 and Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 – by the author

Comparing their features on paper, the Canon 60D and the Nikon D7000 are incredibly similar. One model is slightly better in one area, and the other model wins out in another area. With both models, it appears that you pretty much get what you pay for. Pay a couple hundred dollars more for the D7000, and you get a camera that rewards you for that extra cost.

Here is how the Canon 60D and the Nikon D7000 compare:

Canon 60D: (see it on Amazon)
18 megapixels
ISO 100-6400 expanded to 12800
HD Video with more fps options
3″ Articulating rear LCD screen
9 point autofocus system – all cross type
5.3 frames per second maximum burst rate
construction: aluminum chassis with polycarbonate body
single SD card
wireless flash triggering
96% viewfinder
size – slightly bigger but lighter
$1099

Nikon D7000: (see it on Amazon)
16.2 megapixels
ISO 100-6400 expanded to 25600
HD Video with full time autofocus
3″ fixed rear LCD screen
39 point autofocus system – with 9 cross type
6 frames per second maximum burst rate
construction: magnesium chassis with partial magnesium alloy body
dual SD cards
wireless flash triggering
100% viewfinder
size – slightly smaller but heavier
$1199

Here is a more in-depth exploration of these features:

Megapixels: Canon’s 18MP is more than the Nikon’s 16MP, which gives you slightly more cropping and enlarging ability with the 60D. To see how this affects images quality, you are going to have to look at the tests at dxomark.com. ISO performance is very similar, with the D7000 having a slight edge. And as far as color sensitivity, dynamic range, and tonal range, the sensor of the D7000 performs noticeable better. But, be aware that dxomark tests the sensors, but not in conjunction with the camera’s processor, so it is not a complete indication on the final image. A camera processes the images captured by the sensor, even when shooting in RAW, to produce optimal image quality – such as applying a bit of noise reduction, maybe tweeking the color. So it is likely that any “shortcomings” of a particular model’s sensor are addressed by that camera’s processor.

Nikon D7000 vs Canon 60D
Image of a Nikon D7000 taken with a Canon 60D and EF 100m f/2.8 Macro lens – by the author

ISO: You typically shouldn’t be shooting over 1600, maybe 3200 if absolutely necessary, so this is no big deal to most users. But since the megapixel race is over, ISO has become the current benchmark for comparison. It gives the pixel peepers and forum folks something to argue about. Again, check out the tests at dxomark.com to see that they show pretty similar ISO performance, with the D7000 slightly better. DPReview says the D7000 is arguably the best performing sensor for high ISO/ low noise in the consumer class (along with the Sony A55 since they have the same sensor. Did you know that little nugget? Sony manufactures sensors used by numerous other camera ).

HD Video: Canon offers 60fps which I understand is very important to videographers, and Nikon doesn’t shoot 30fps or 25fps at 1080p as Canon does. Nikon offers full time autofocus which may be slow and cumbersome and thus isn’t a big deal to videographers. We will have to see how well that works – early reports say not so great.

LCD screen: the articulating screen of the 60D could come in handy for several types of shooters. There are many times I could have benefited from a rotating screen such as when I was on my belly in wet grass trying to crane my neck to see through my viewfinder and capture a subject and her active dogs from grass level.

Auto focus system: This is a difficult comparison. The 39 AF point system of the Nikon offers both many more AF points plus customization capabilities for how it operates and tracks moving objects that rival the 7D (see Custom Functions/Custom Settings section below). However, only 9 of those points are the more accurate cross type, while all 9 points of the 60D are cross type. The 39 point system of the Nikon might be better for situations where you let the camera choose the AF points to track motion, such as sports, action, and wildlife. But you should often otherwise be choosing the AF point yourself. So with the Nikon, you may want to limit selection to 11 points (Custom Setting a6). If you want a Canon body with a more advanced AF system than the 9 points and basic tracking of the 60D, and overall more accurate than the D7000, have a look at the incredibly advanced and customizable AF system of the 7D with 19 AF points, all cross type.

Maximum burst rate: Close, but Nikon wins this one by a hair. Either rate should be fast enough for most photographer’s needs. The Nikon has the nice feature of being able to change the low speed continuous rate from between 1 to 5 fps. I had previously complained that the 7D should have had this feature since its 8 fps is often overkill. The 5.3 fps of the 60D is great, so it doesn’t really require the ability to change the fps beyond the available 3 or 5.3. Also note that the Canon will allow a continuous burst rate of 58 continuous photos in highest quality JPEG and 16 in highest quality RAW, while the Nikon is limited to a much lower 31 JPEG and 10 RAW before its buffer fills.

Construction: Nikon wins this one, but Canon saves weight with its construction. And I assure you both are more than strong enough for everyday, even abusive use. That being said, the partial metal body (magnesium allow on top and rear) and rubber grip material of the Nikon has a nicer feel and is a great detail that the 60D should have had. I think it is one of the main reasons for the increased price of the D7000 over the 60D. It is worth noting that the magnesium alloy body of the D7000 does not fully extend around the front, and thus the area surrounding the lens mount, which plays quite an important role in supporting a large, heavy lens, is plastic. See this image of a D7000 skeleton next to one of a 7D for details. Kind of an ugly sight for those trying to compare the D7000 to the 7D. Important details like this demonstrate why, in the end, the D7000 just ain’t no 7D competitor. Sorry, the name of this post will just have to remain Canon 60D vs. Nikon D7000!

SD Memory cards: I’m not sure the appeal of 2 memory cards in the Nikon, and why that might be better than just using one larger capacity card? Is it really useful or just a bell/ whistle? You can use the two cards of the D7000 in four ways: overflow, JPEG / RAW, backup, or stills / movies, so maybe that is kind of cool, but I actually prefer to be dealing with just one card at a time at this point.

Wireless, remote flash triggering: A super-cool feature available on both cameras using the built in flash to trigger off camera flashes.

Viewfinder: Nikon wins this one with slightly bigger size, though I don’t know how the actual brightness and view compares. It is a shame the 60D viewfinder view is not 99% or 100% of the actual resulting image like the Nikon. In reality, you won’t notice any shortcomings with either the 60D or the D7000 viewfinder once you start using it. The D7000 includes the option of displaying the grid in the viewfinder, which the 7D also has, and I wish the 60D did as well.

Size and Weight: Not a major difference, you will have to see how they feel in your hands.

Metering: They each have different metering systems, so it is difficult to compare. I’m sure they will both perform quite well. In addition to Evaluative/Matrix and Spot in both of them, the Canon has Center-Weighted and Partial, while the Nikon doesn’t have Partial but has the ability to change the size of the center area in Center-Weighted mode, which sounds pretty cool but may be more of a “set it once to your preference and forget it” thing. Depends on how quick and easy it is to access it in the menus, on the fly.

Processor: This is a pretty important component in the comparison and can really help resolve if the D7000 sits closer to the 7D or the 60D. I don’t yet know enough about the performance of Canon’s Digic IV vs. Nikon’s Expeed II to comment on this. The larger maximum burst buffer of the 60D may point to a more powerful processor. However the dual Digic IV processors of the 7D are able to handle much longer bursts of many more images than the single processor of the D7000 (and the 60D) – again, another very important reason the D7000 is not actually head to head with the 7D.

Custom Functions/ Custom Settings: Despite what I say below in the Controls and Menu section, the Custom Settings of the D7000 are far more sophisticated than those of the 60D, and in that respect make it much more of a contender with the Canon 7D. With the D7000, you can change the size of the center area metered in Center Weighted Metering Mode (not possible on 60D or 7D), you can change the frame rate of Continuous Low Speed between 1 and 5 frames per second (not possible on 60D or 7D), you can give buttons a “hold” feature or not, where you press and release instead of having to hold it down when turning another dial to dial-in a setting (“hold” means the camera does the holding, not you). With the D7000 you can set the autofocus tracking to be nearly as sophisticated as the 7D in terms of how to react to objects that come between you and your intended subject, and also in setting focus priority or release priority (take the picture only when focus is attained or take it immediately even without necessarily attaining focus). You can limit the number of AF points to 11 if you don’t wish to deal will all 39, you can fine-tune focus adjustment for different lenses like the 7D AF microadjustment (not possible on the 60D), plus you can fine-tune exposure adjustment for each individual exposure mode (to set a baseline compensation behind the scenes and not have to use exposure compensation every time, if you feel one of those modes is consistently over- or under-exposing). You can fine-tune the white balance for many more standard fluorescent options without having to have a Kelvin cheat sheet, as you might need to set the same temperature settings on a Canon. All very impressive, and all features that the 60D and certainly the 7D should have but don’t. Also, while I like the two rear thumb buttons of the 60D 7D for exposure and focus lock, you can set the AE-L/AF-L and Fn buttons (and preview button) of the D7000 to take on similar operations.

Controls and Menus: As a Canon user, I find the controls and menus of the Canons to be incredibly practical and intuitive. As a photography instructor, I try to be open-minded about the Nikon controls, notations, and menus, but continue to find them incredibly irritating, nonsensical, and not nearly as intuitive and user-friendly as Canons. I also think that the consistency of the controls and menus across the Canon line, from the 550D to the 5D MkII points to intelligent and thoughtful design. You can pick up any model and go to work, then quickly and intuitively change the ISO setting or metering mode. On the Canons, the controls are not scatted about in seemingly random places that change dramatically from model to model. Please don’t think I’m just a Canon guy on a rant here. Have a look at the controls on the top, back, and front of the D300s vs. the D7000 – essential controls are completely different. Why is that? Functions that are switches at the rear of one are a button at the top of the other, or marked dial switches on the rear become an unlabeled button on the front. The standard dSLR mode dial completely disappears and becomes a trio of buttons on one Nikon but not the other? I challenge you to pick up a D7000 and change the AF area mode to single point AF. The first time I picked it up I searched the camera’s buttons, switches, and menus for 15 minutes and never found it.  I handed it to my camera store co-worker and he failed as well! (Spoiler alert! It is done with the unmarked button located inside the Auto/ Manual focus switch near the lens mount in conjunction with a command dial.) Wait, so a switch that is C/S/M (continuous/ single/ manual) on one Nikon becomes AF/M (autofocus/ manual) on the other? So the same switch now partially controls a different function? Where are AF-C and AF-S (auto-focus continuous/ single modes) found now? Oh, who knows! (Actually, the same place as above, with the unmarked button and the other command dial.) As you can see, this is maddening to a photography instructor or salesperson who must deal with a number of different models and who is attempting to quickly demonstrate these very functions. I’m not even going to start on my feeling for Nikon menus!

Keep in mind, this all doesn’t really matter if you buy and use one of these cameras- you get that one and learn its controls. But I feel it does point to an intelligent consistency on Canon’s part, and as an architect in an earlier life, I highly appreciate good design and intuitive wayfinding. And also many photographers work with two bodies which are often different models of the same brand, and the ability to switch between a Canon 50D and a 5D Mk II without skipping a beat is how it should be. You can actually forget which one you have in your hands and it doesn’t matter. But once you do learn all the controls on the body of the D7000, you have an incredible amount of control at your fingertips.

edit:  After much more experience with various Nikon cameras, I no longer have any issues with their menus – once you get used to the Canon or the Nikon menu system it really is no big deal.  I still do think that the ability to seamlessly go from a 60D or 7D to a 5D Mk II with all the controls being the much the same is awesome (with the exception of the thumb multi-controller now becoming a pad on the 60D) and many photographers working with two bodies do this often – as opposed to going from a D90 or D7000 to a D300s, where there are some dramatic differences (which I do understand make sense in relation to the capability of the bodies, yet must aggravate those photographers working with two of these different bodies…).

Price: The Nikon is $100 to $200 more than the 60D (depending on current specials), and people are saying it is a cheaper competitor to the 7D. But if you study them closely, you can see that it does actually sit between the two. While the D7000 has an advanced AF system and tremendous customizing capabilities, details like the partial vs. full magnesium body construction and the single vs. dual processors of the D7000 vs 7D demonstrate why they are not exactly head to head competitors. The D7000 definitely offers at least $200 of improvements over the 60D, if not more, and is being very well received among photo enthusiasts just as the Canon 7D was last year – you pay a bit more and you get more features. Oddly, DPReview has suggested that the pro-sumer D7000 is a viable upgrade to the Nikon D300s, a higher end, more expensive semi-pro camera. So this makes the decision a bit more complicated for the Nikon D7000 vs. D300s comparison.

Quality Control: There have been numerous reports on the Internet of faulty D7000 bodies. The issues are mainly the bad pixel problem and the front/ back focusing issue. While this type of reaction seems to occur every time any new camera model comes out, there seems to be legitimacy to these complaints. My local camera store (where I worked for a time) reports that they continue to experience these issues with their customers. For the pixel peepers who insist on a clean sensor, nearly every D7000 body tested was found to have bad pixels out of the box. The firmware upgrade fixed some of cameras with bad pixels but not all of them. (What is the fix exactly? Pixel mapping?). Several pixel peeping customers also had front or back focus issues, and went through 2 or 3 bodies to find one they could accept. (see This Lens is Soft and Other Myths for an article about front/ back focus and quality control.)  Also, some of the official Nikon EN-EL15 batteries are larger than others – yes physically larger – and do not properly fit or get stuck in the D7000 body. As far as Canon 60D QC issues or exchanges: none. Zero. (But perhaps Canon customers aren’t so picky…!  Who knows.)  And for their report on repairs and customer service for Canon and Nikon in general: Repairs with Nikon cameras is a daily, ongoing issue. They see Nikons come back, both new and older models, and it sometimes takes sending the camera / lens / flash 3 or 4 times to Nikon to resolve the problem or the customer gives up by then. A few Canon models come in for repair, typically 4-6 year old heavily used Rebels that stop functioning properly. Canon repair is reported as excellent, customer service incredibly helpful, and turnaround is quick. Pile of brand new, defective Nikons returned over two month period: 15. Number of defective Canons: 0. Please note, this is the store’s report, not my opinion or bias, but I think it is worth taking this into account when choosing a dSLR system.

edit 2011-09-29: When any new camera comes out, there is an outcry of “this problem” and “that problem.” Some are exaggerated because you only read about the few bad ones and not the tens of thousands of good ones. Some are possibly over-reactions by people not fully understanding the new or advanced features or nuances of the latest model.  But I wanted to speak from personal experience while working at a camera store and comment on the issues that were being discussed in forums which proved to be real. The scope of the issues in the overall picture (of tens or hundreds of thousands of bodies made), however, should be taken into account, as well as the fact that the returns and exchanges may have been prompted in whole or in part by the internet reports, thus creating a circular chain of whatnot (I’m sure there is a term for this!).

Just keep in perspective, while your camera is a precious object to you, there are literally hundreds of thousands of the same body manufactured. It is a consumer electronics item, just a (precision) hunk of metal, plastic, and 100’s of tiny screws. It is a tool to be used towards an end goal of great photos, not an end unto itself.  (If you wish to learn to take control of your camera and capture great photos, please have a look at my dSLR camera guides such as Nikon D7000 Experience.)

Know that C and N are reputable companies and will make right any genuine issue you may encounter (within your warranty period!).  And while it is frustrating if you encounter a bad pixel, I think it is a marvel of technology that any sensor can be manufactured with 16 million pixels that all work!

Conclusion: Hey look! They are incredibly similar! (other than quality control issues) Both are capable of taking high quality digital images. They are both leaps and bounds better – and cheaper – than the same level dSLRs of just a few years ago. I do like the specifications of the expanded autofocus system, the slightly better sensor performance, the larger viewfinder, the custom setting options, and the partial magnesium alloy body construction of the D7000. Yet the 60D has the additional HD video frame rates, 9 out of 9 cross type AF points, and the articulating screen. You pay a few hundred dollars more for the Nikon, and you get a camera with body construction and features that are a bit better than the 60D. However, if you don’t actually need, understand, or wish to learn how to use all these additional features of the D7000, there is no point in paying for them. (If you are going to leave the camera in Auto or Program mode and let the camera choose the autofocus points, you definitely don’t need a D7000!) In the end, it totally comes down to which one you are more comfortable with – which one feels better, which one’s buttons and controls work best for the way you work, which one’s menus make better sense to you, which one’s custom functions allow you to make the customizations you want to make, and how much money you want to spend. Or which system you want to invest in for the long-term, as far as all the lenses, flash, and accessories you are going to accumulate. Or which camera brand your friends use so that you can go to them for help. Just choose one, learn to use it well, and get out and take photos! That’s what digital SLRs are all about.

Canon didn’t drop the ball with the xxD line, as some have said. It’s just that they reconfigured their price points and naming conventions. The 7D replaced the 50D months ago, and it was widely agreed to be a dramatic, spectacular, and successful improvement. That was very much like the Nikon D90 to D7000 improvement we see now. Canon definitely took the 50D to the next level with the 7D. But then they needed a high-end consumer model to offer between the entry level Rebel line and the semi-pro 7D. Hence the highly capable 60D. So who wins? The consumer. The digital photographer. Cheesy, but true.

If you wish to compare the Nikon D7000 vs the Nikon D90 vs the D300s, have a look at this post.

Purchasing? If you are planning to buy either of these cameras from Amazon.com (or other equipment, accessories, or simply anything else), please use the links below and I will get a little something for referring you, which will help support my blog. Thanks!

see and buy the Canon EOS 60D – Body Only

see and buy the Canon EOS 60D with 18-135mm lens

see and buy the Nikon D7000 – Body Only

see and buy the Nikon D7000 with 18-105mm lens

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It is one thing to know that your cool new Canon or Nikon digital SLR provides you with 3 or 4 different metering modes. It’s another thing to know how and when to actually use them in the field or in different real life situations. The Canon 5D, 7D, 60D, 50D and T3i all offer four different metering modes – Evaluative, Center-Weighted, Partial, and Spot – as I’m sure you have thoroughly read about in your manual, right? Nikons, like the D7000, D51000, and D3100 generally have three different modes: Matrix, Center-Weighted, and Spot. I’ll try to cut to the chase and simplify the explanations and their uses.  Note that there are some important differences between how they work for Canon and Nikon cameras, particularly the Spot mode.

Canon T3i T2i 60D metering mode partial spot viewfinder
The viewfinder of the Canon T3i (T2i and 60D similar) showing the areas evaluated for Partial Metering (superimposed grey area) and Spot Metering (black circle in center).

Evaluative (Canon) or Matrix (Nikon): This is the default mode for your camera, and it can be used for almost every situation you shoot. Yes, maybe 90% of the time, maybe more. The camera evaluates the entire scene, as divided into several zones, and chooses the best exposure based on its knowledge of thousands of potential image situations. The current metering systems are so good, they can even be relied on for backlit or other challenging lighting situations. An important feature of this mode is that advanced cameras such as the Canon 7D, Canon 60D or Nikon D7000, D5100 take into account the selected focus point in its determination of exposure settings. It is assuming your focus point is on your most important subject, so under challenging and critical situations, it is wise to confirm that the camera has chosen the focus point you want (well, this is always wise). Even better, you should typically manually choose the focus point or cluster of focus points, as the camera has no idea what your intended image is. So in special situations, such as dramatically back-lit scenes or a situation with bright light plus deep shadows, make sure you are not using the center point to focus and meter, and then recomposing to take the shot – because some of the zones that the camera evaluated are now no longer in your shot after recomposing, and other new areas are, so the camera has set exposure for an image other than the one you are taking.


San Miguel Duenas, Guatemala

Partial (Canon only): This mode meters a smaller area, about 9.4%, in the center of the scene on the 7D and 6.5% with the 60D. Nikons do not have this mode, though some Nikons such as the D7000 offer the ability to change the size of the Center-Weighted Metering circle (see Center-Weighted Metering below), so it makes up for this.  The area is approximately a circle that reaches to the top and bottom focus points, and the metering system ignores the rest of the frame. This mode is useful where there is a dramatic difference in lighting between the foreground or subject and the background. For example, when your subject is backlit – maybe standing in front of a bright window or the sun – and consequently their face is in shadow. I know I said evaluative mode can often handle this type of situation, but if you want the face or subject to be properly exposed and not risk blowing the shot, it is worth it to quickly switch to Partial metering mode. Again, another time to use this is when there is a wide range of light in your scene, from bright sunlight to deep shadows. Remember, this mode is not linked to your focus point. The partial area that is metered is always in the center, so meter on the part of the scene that is most critical and that you want properly exposed, using the central area of the viewfinder, lock in that exposure, then recompose and take the shot.


Campo Nuevo, Guatemala

Important Note about Locking In the Metered Exposure: The metered exposure setting is sometimes locked in by pressing the shutter button half-way down or sometimes not “locked” until the image is taken (depending on your camera, or current shooting mode, or how you set it up – read your manual!).  The shutter button also typically locks focus (unless you have changed that setting).  If you wish to lock in focus and exposure separately, which you often will need to do, on a Canon use the AF-Lock (for focus) button and/ or the AE-Lock (for exposure) button – which looks like this: * – to lock in one of them before locking in the other with the half-press or full press of the shutter button. On the Nikons, you have to set one of your buttons to be the exposure lock button, either the AE-L/AF-L Button or the Fn Button on some cameras like the D7000. I suggest first metering on the subject and locking in that exposure by pressing the appropriate button, then recomposing and locking in focus right before or as you take the photo. Or else learning the advanced methods of back button focusing. Get in the habit of knowing how to do this instinctively, and if you need to hold or just press the particular button, so that it comes naturally during critical situations. On the 7D and D7000 and other cameras you can also customize how these buttons perform or set other buttons to do these tasks. You can see in the viewfinder that you have locked focus when the focus dot is lit. You can see that exposure is locked with the AE-L indication in the Nikon viewfinder or the * symbol in the Canon viewfinder.

Locking exposure and focus, independently, each in the brief seconds before you take a shot? Confusing? A little, but not impossible to figure out with some experimentation and practice. Remember, this is why you bought the fancy dSLR, so that you could make use of all these advanced features and take your photos to another level!

Center-Weighted Average: This metering mode is sort of a cross between Evaluative and Partial metering. It acknowledges that the subject is in the center and requires special metering attention, but it also takes into account all the other zones. Again, this is not linked to the focus point, but always to the center, so if your subject is off center – which it typically should be for a more dynamic image – you need to lock in exposure on your subject and then recompose. I have found that with the Canon 50D, this mode is actually more consistent than Evaluative metering, which often over exposes by 1/3 or 1/2 a stop.  Note that you can use the Custom Settings of the D7000 to change the size of the center area being weighted.

This mode can be used when you want to ensure that the subject is properly exposed, but you also want the camera to consider the background. However, if the background is much darker or lighter than the subject, and you want the camera to expose only for the subject and ignore the background, use Spot Metering…


San Miguel Duenas, Guatemala

Spot: This mode meters a small center area, 2.3% of the frame with the 7D, 2.8% with the 60D, and 2.5% with the D5100 and D7000. This area is indicated by the small circle in the center of the viewfinder of the 7D and 60D. There is no center circle in the Nikon viewfinder and you will soon find out why.  So when do you want to use Spot metering? This, again, is useful for scenes with great variation in light and shadow, or in very critical situations. One of the most common ways to use it is when metering for proper exposure on a dramatically lit face or subject, but the exposure of the rest of the scene is unimportant. Or perhaps your subject is set against a plain but consistent background, like a bird against a large blue sky. It is also used to determine proper exposure of a subject before switching the camera to manual for a controlled studio shot, or a critical shot or series of shots where the lighting is not going to change. If your background is completely dark or extremely bright, and you don’t want the exposure system to consider it at all when determining the exposure of you subject, use Spot rather than Center-Weighted or Partial. With Canon cameras, the Spot that is used to evaluate the exposure is in the center of the frame, and is often indicated by a small circle. However, with Nikon cameras like the D5100 and D7000, the Spot surrounds the active focus point and is not necessarily in the center of the frame unless you are using the center AF point. So it is wise to become familiar with how your camera operates.

A fifth metering mode is Manual metering, which isn’t actually a mode in your camera, but is a method of metering. This is where you use a light meter or use your camera as a light meter (such as described at the end in the Spot section above) and then manually set your exposure based on the meter readings. This is used when you want ultimate control of the metering and exposure.

You can learn much more about the Exposure modes of specific cameras, including the 60D, T3i, D7000 and D5100, in my e-book users guide. See my e-book website, Full Stop to learn more about them or click the banner below! The guides also go into much more detail about setting up the related metering mode Custom Functions/Custom Settings and camera controls.

full stop dslr photo photography camera manual guide for dummies canon nikon

I recently ran across an interesting article which takes this discussion to another level by addressing the use of different metering modes in the very specific situation of a wedding. Since one of the main subjects in typically all in white, and the other in black, the metering mode you select and where you meter can make a dramatic difference in the exposure. While that article is specific to weddings, it is useful and helpful to read to further understand how the different modes work, and how special situations might call for some extra thought.