This being a semi-professional Nikon, we get the tank-like body construction to match/justify the price tag. About a third larger again than its maker’s equally new D3100 DSLR for beginners, the D7000 feels weighty with or without any optic attached at a body only 690g, so attaching the provided shoulder strap is a practical necessity if you’re going to be lugging it around most of the day. With a grip tall enough to wrap four fingers around, at least we were able to get a properly firm hold on the D7000 for shooting handheld, though an improvement would have been if its manufacturer had provided a finger moulded design for your digits to sink into, and for it to be made slightly wider still. A compatible battery grip is also available, if users do not just want back-up power, but something meatier to hold onto as well.
Naturally, we get HDMI output for hooking the camera up directly to a flat panel TV or monitor and this is hidden under a chunky rubber flat at the side where standard AV out and USB connections also lurk, along with a port for external (stereo) microphone attachment for budding videographers.
‘Chunky’ is a fitting description for this model though fortunately it remains usable with it, main controls falling readily within finger or thumb reach without too much of a stretch.
These include familiar front and back command dials to speed operation with a combined spin and button press, plus a 9-option shooting mode dial, including the creative regulars of program, aperture priority, shutter priority and manual. It omits however, the pre-optimised scene modes for shooting portraits, landscapes, night scenes et al found on the likes of the D3100 and more family friendly alternatives. That said there is a dedicated scene mode option, along with regular auto and a couple of user customisable settings. The dial itself has just the right amount of give, clicking firmly into place at each turn, while a second ring immediately below enables the camera’s various drives modes to be selected – and once selected, locked off.
Across the over side of the top plate and over the hump housing the pop-up flash with vacant accessory shoe, we get the aforementioned rectangular LCD display window, revealing which chosen settings are in currently in play without the user otherwise having to refer to the main screen, and equally enabling rapid adjustments. Dedicated buttons for altering metering and exposure (+/- 5EV) sit just in front, whilst buttons enabling one-press access to ISO and image quality settings sit to the left of the LCD at the back. A thumb press with the left hand, a twist of the rear command dial with the right, plus a glance down at the display window, and we were able to get at the settings we wanted in a thrice. There’s nothing unduly fiddly about this DSLR.