I love my Nikon D40x, the camera that has gotten me through the last 3 years of this blog. I know the in’s and out’s of that camera, the effect of each setting, and, of course, its limitations. Seeing (and quite often hearing about) my frustrations with my beloved D40x led my sweet husband to gift me Nikon’s new DX camera, the D7000, as my 9th anniversary gift. I’ve been waiting two months to get my hands on this camera and I couldn’t be more excited about its recent arrival. However, I by no means have mastered my new camera yet (the color seems a little off, don’t have the focusing quite down, and there are about 100 settings I still need to research), but bear with me while I work through it all. First order of business, take a closer look at my #1 complaint with the D40x—noise at low ISOs and worthless pictures at high ISO’s. Here are some straight out of the camera (SOOC) shots at the same settings (note that the D40x’s ISO of Hi 1 seems to be the equivalent of the D7000’s ISO of 6400 because the ap and s/s metered the same), same lens (35mm 1.8), same light, same tripod set-up from the D40x and D7000. (Please pardon my under a minute set up of this shot. This odd little German smoker Santa—he burns incense out of his mouth—reminds me of the four Christmas’s I spent in Germany.)
D40x: SOOC, 1.8, 1/500, ISO Hi 1 D7000: SOOC, 1.8, 1/500, ISO 6400
The difference in, obviously, noise but also light, blacks, and color is remarkable to me. It may not mean much here for a wooden Santa, but for a kid’s face, well you can imagine.
Three things this exercise taught me: 1) the D7000 has about 20 ISO levels compared to the D40x’s 6, which means I have a lot more room to tweak; 2) the focal point in shots from the D7000 stay pretty sharp way up into the high ISO’s (the Santa in the shot above at 6400 is still clearly focused, the D40x loses this at around ISO 800 and definitely by 1600); and, 3) I couldn’t even focus the Santa smoker properly with the D40x on the tripod because he’s off center and the D40x only has 3 focus points (compared to the D7000’s option to go up to 39) straight down the middle.
Definitely way more than most of you want/need to know, but just know that I’m very excited about my new toy. Thanks, Jonathan! I hope you feel like you’re reaping the benefits, too.