The D7000 is an excellent underwater camera that fulfils many briefs for Nikon users underwater. As the replacement for the D90 it is currently the best model for those wanting to get into Nikon SLR underwater photography. But more serious shooters should not dismiss it, thinking it wholly part of the D90 lineage. It packs plenty of pro-features into its small frame (100% viewfinder, 1/320th synch, 14-bit A/D converter etc). The reality is that the D7000 is also the best DX Nikon out there, an important point for those wanting to use the Tokina 10-17mm. This camera is certain to have a very wide appeal.
The D7000 brings impressive image quality, extra resolution from 16MP, very useable high ISO performance and full HD video to Nikon shooters. I would choose one every time over the D300s (and obviously any other DX Nikon), and I would understand any D300 owner who was tempted to upgrade, despite, at first glance, this appearing as a sideways move. Autofocus is probably the only area it lags marginally behind the D300 for underwater photography (trumping it in most others), but it is so close as to be of little significance.
The image quality for video is excellent and the autofocus in this mode works well for all but the most challenging, erratic moving, subjects (e.g. individual fish swimming). It is very capable of producing excellent quality footage underwater. However, I can’t endorse buying and SLR solely for video, because there is no doubt that a dedicated video camera remains a better tool (in the unpredictable and uncontrollable) underwater world for most subjects. But if you want the ability to shoot both from one system, it is by far the best yet from Nikon.
There is little doubt this is an important camera for Nikon shooters and Nauticam have certainly stolen a march on their competitors by getting such a quality housing available so quickly. The Nauticam NA-D7000 is loaded with featured and characterised with intelligent engineering solutions, designed to make underwater photography easier for the user. There are plenty of people on the Wetpixel forums who are expecting deliveries in the next few days.
That said, there are some other impressive housings in development (such as Aquatica and Subal) and if you don’t need to dive with the D7000 immediately, you might want to wait and see those released next year. At Wetpixel, we are hoping to organise a group test of D7000 housings in Jan/Feb (if you are a housing manufacturer, please contact Adam Hanlon to get your product included). But having tried the Nauticam in a range of conditions, these other manufacturers are going to have to come up with something pretty special to make a more compelling option for this excellent little camera.
Alex Mustard November 2010.
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