I've now decided that my camera definitely had a problem.
So I went and exchanged it today, and tried the new one in store. New one immediately seemed better, and although I was very limited in my testing options in-store, before buying, I was almost 100% confident that this camera didn't have the fault (whatever that may be) the previous one did.
I came home and fired a couple of shots, almost identical to ones I took with the old camera, the evening before.
I've uploaded a set of crops to my gallery (click on my signature), for all of you to take a look. As they say, pictures say a 1000 words. All pictures are 100% crops, and unprocessed in any other way. They also retain their EXIF info. All were taken during the night (as I work during the day, and the days are very short now), with my 35mm f1.8 lens, but in sufficiently lit environments, and with sufficiently high shutter speeds. There's some variation in shutter speeds, aperture, ISO and focus distance between different examples though, as I wanted to cover a range of scenarios. The first 17 pictures have been taken with the old camera, in most cases, there are two examples of the same detail taken using the viewfinder (pictures labelled "VF") to focus, then one taken using LiveView ("LV") to focus. The last 4 pictures (two pairs) were taken with the new camera and they are prefixed with "NEW". They show that the new camera doesn't have the problem the old one has.
There are only 17 pictures here from the old camera, even though I've taken hundreds. I mostly took between 5-10 shots using the viewfinder, and just one using LiveView, and in nearly every instance, LiveView was sharp, and all images taken using the viewfinder were soft/blurry/OOF.
These were all handheld, and are in no way scientific and "proper" tests, but they satisfy me that there definitely was a problem with the old camera, and that the new camera is ok.
I don't know if there was a better way to present all these pictures to you, I found it pretty painful to upload them here, the process was a bit confusing. Also, you seem to have to press "show EXIF info" under each one to see that.
I am now SO looking forward to working with this camera, getting to know it better, getting the best out of it, and learning and having fun in the process.
Thank you to everyone here who contributed with their opinion or advice.
#2. "RE: D7000 - example shots taken with old and new (replacement) camera" In response to Reply # 1
>One thing does seem a bit odd though. The curtain >shots.....the first was very soft and the second got much >better with the old camera. How come?
> >Jim >
Yes, the first is taken using the viewfinder (VF), and the second is taken using LiveView (LV), unlike most other shots, where I have two shots taken through the viewfinder, then one using liveview.
One thing I don't really have an explanation for is how I managed to take nearly identical shots with the viewfinder and liveview about a week ago (although there was still a difference, but much less exaggerated than in the handheld shots), when i was taking shots of the test chart (regretabbly I erased all those). The difference was that they were taken on a tripod, with a remote, mirror-up, etc, so everything one can do to minimise camera shake.
But one fact remains, and that is that with the old camera, I was pretty much unable to take any sharp shots, when using the camera in the normal way, i.e. handheld, with normal shutter speeds, etc, and the new one is definitely a huge improvement, and doesn't seem to have this issue.
#3. "RE: D7000 - example shots taken with old and new (replacement) camera" In response to Reply # 2 Fri 17-Dec-10 04:57 PM by richardd300
The forums got lively today! I am glad that you, like me, are now pleased with your purchase. Get rid of this latest bowt of snow affecting us here in North Wales and maybe I'll be able to get out and do some more shooting with mine.