Wed 09-Feb-11 11:37 PM | edited Thu 10-Feb-11 03:22 AM by dm1dave
I think this was a pretty good test even with the differing ISO values. In fact it shows how well the D7000 stands up against the D700 at least up to ISO-1600.
While you and others see the D7000 image as being softer then the D700 I do not think that is the case at all. Many things other than resolution can affect our perception of image sharpness.
In discussing an exposure issue Thom Hogan said that the D7000 processes image somewhat differently than other Nikons. The image gamma tends to be a bit higher from the D7000 then it is from the D90 or D700. This causes the images to look slightly brighter with lower contrast. This is one of the reasons people feel that the D7000 has a tendancy to overexpos. The higher gamma increases the mid tone values of the image and as a result the images have a little lower contrast and often look less sharp.
Look at the blue color in your two images above. It is not quit the same. The D7000 is a bit lighter and washed out. The fact that the D700 image is a little darker and has more contrast makes it look sharper then the lower contrast D7000 image when in fact both images are equally sharp.
Here I opened the D7000 image in Photoshop and ajusted the Gamma. Image > Adjustments > Exposure... Then moved the Gamma slider to the Left to a value of 1.27. I made no other adjustments. I made no ajustments to the D700 imange.
I can see no significant difference in sharpness (or noise, or detail) between the images. Both images are what I would expect to see of a deep crop, strait out of the camera with no sharpening applied.
To further illustrate... I copied a small square (indicated by the red border) from the original D700 image a pasted onto the D7000 image. Except for a bit of misalignment (Mostly noticeable in the “o” in Wyoming) you would have a very difficult time being able tell this had been done without the red outline.