"Thank you, Nikonians, for helping me to learn to love my D7000!"
Kingston Springs, US
A little history:
My parents gave me a Nikon FG way back when I was in high school, and I enjoyed playing with it--even took a class and learned to develop and print B&W film. But the high cost of film and processing combined with my limited income meant I did not take a whole lot of pictures. I was more interested in music, anyway.
When the digital era dawned, I was intrigued but cameras were expensive. But in 2006, I finally bought a Nikon Coolpix L3. It was cheap, but boy, was I disappointed with the shutterlag and the dull tint of the images. It was a fun toy, but frustrating to use. In 2007, I bought myself a D40 with the 18-55mm kit lens and a 55-200mm for around $600 at the local Best Buy. That seemed like a lot of money at the time, but I had done my research and it was a genuine bargain, all things considered. I loved that camera right out of the box and over the years, I've learned a lot about photography by exploring its possibilities.
Well, when the D7000 was announced last year, NAS began to insinuate itself big time and I found myself suffering from severe gear lust. There were things about the D40 which frustrated me (e.g. low frame rate, indirect controls) and it was clear the D7000 provided almost unlimited potential. I became obsessed.
Well, about two months ago, I gave in and bought the D7000 kit with the 18-105mm VR. Without really reading the manual, I clicked off some photos. Huh?! They were awful. I read the (cryptic, badly translated) manual and tried again. Better, but noticeably "soft." Well, to make a long story short, I consulted Nikonians forums and found out that my handholding technique was faulty, not the camera. Moreover, I came to understand that the camera's very sophisticated metering, focus modes and picture controls work VERY differently from the D40 and require a whole other level of thinking before I press the shutter. I bought Thom Hogan's massive book and have read it through now, twice, and I just now feel like I've got a handle on what's going on with this camera. When I've got my act together, the D7000 takes amazing pictures. But it is not as "forgiving" as my D40.
I get the sense from reading these forums that my story is not unusual. Going from a D40 to a D7000 is a HUGE step up and is frankly intimidating. I very much appreciate the time you Nikonians take to share your knowledge with the world of camera enthusiasts like me.
I apologize for the long post, but I want you all to know that Nikonians has been such a valuable resource during this transition, I've been inspired me to upgrade to a Silver membership. And I have even started shooting RAW...
#1. "RE: Thank you, Nikonians, for helping me to learn to love my D7000!" In response to Reply # 0
Hi Rodger, and welcome to Nikonians and the D7000!
I've been using mine for a few months now, and really enjoy it. I used to sell the Nikon FG, way back when I worked part-time in a camera store!
I started in Nikon slrs with an FM2, and in digital DSLRs with a D70s, then a D300 (which I still have and love) and then the D7000. The D7000, with a fast prime, is my favourite street shooting and general carry around kit. The image quality is superb. When I go to events, I use both it and my D300.
I regularly read Thom's blog, but have never owned one of his manuals - I understand that they're very detailed and cover every possible thing.
Don't be intimidated by the D7000, with regular use it will become second nature. I've yet to use the U1 or U2 modes, but should try them. Normally I shoot in aperture priority with auto-ISO (max. 1600, min. shutter speed 200) which really works well for street shooting and candids.
I'm also a chronic NAS sufferer, although currently it's in remmission. It was flaring up a little bit today, but I've successfully suppressed the idea about the 85 f/1.4 AF-S G for the ...oops - dang - it's started again!
Enjoyed reading your post and look forward to seeing some of your images!
#4. "RE: Thank you, Nikonians, for helping me to learn to love my D7000!" In response to Reply # 3
Port Charlotte, US
Phil is right on. The large number of options is a bit much to handle at first glance. I decided to just master the basics - how to change aperture, shutter, Aperture priority mode, Shutter priority mode, Programed mode, Remote release, ISO, auto-focus and metering. How to read the displays in the viewer and LCD display.
I also read several articles on when to use the different AF and metering types. There are also several good settings threads for the D7000 to help you select the best options for shooting.
For the first few weeks I concentrated only on those issues until I had them down as second nature. My photography improved greatly. Then I started on adding the more useful options.
It's the old 80/20 rule. You'll use 20% of the options for 80% of your photography. Knowing the other options are there is great because that gives you a bunch of new things to experiment with down the road.
"Red is gray and yellow white, but we decide which is right ....and which is an illusion"
#5. "RE: Thank you, Nikonians, for helping me to learn to love my D7000!" In response to Reply # 4
Can I join your club?
Although I migrated from a D70 to the D7000. Adding those zeros has made a huge difference.
I took my first 50 or so shots in auto mode at my son's Jiu Jitsu class last Wednesday under relatively low light condiditons. I was truly amazed at how nice the shots were. Started believing that the learning curve wasn't going to be that steep.
Yesterday brought me back down to earth. Tried taking some shots in high contrast situation - kids swimming in the back yard with bright, direct sunlight. The combination of the very dark, shady background and the kids playing in the pool/sun really challenged the camera (well, me). A little fill flash would have solved my problem, but I wanted to figure out the focus and exposure lock settings. Turned out to be too complicated - need to go to the manual and/or wait for Hogan's book to arrive.
In any case, I've seen how well this camera can perform even in my untrained hands. I'm looking forward to getting to the point that use is second nature.