Nikon D7000 – What do all these buttons do?

Having inherited a fair amount of previously unknown Nikon gear from my late father, I have been put in a position where I have a lot of camera gear that I have never seen before. Being a long time user of Canon products, I am left in a position of shock and awe where I am viewing the back of the D7000 and wondering, very genuinely, what exactly do all these levers and buttons do? By digital standards this camera is actually considered old having come out in 2010, but loaded up in a way that is very “future-proof” making it still quite good by today’s standards. Needing only a firmware update, and update of lens data, and battery charging, the camera is in good order.

I don’t plan on outlining what each of those things do (this would turn into quite a long and dry post if I did), but I will share my observations.

Firstly – the camera is shockingly heavy. The body by itself, with battery loaded, weighs in at a hefty two pounds. Some of the lenses that were packed with it (to be shown and reviewed later) weigh as much as two more pounds. This is said to be a “professional” model, but I could not picture a National Geographic photographer standing up in the back of a truck in the middle of Africa zooming in on lions with the driver saying “get your photo before we get eaten” lugging around one of these things with a 300mm lens or more. At least that’s my “prosumer” opinion, which nobody asked for.

Secondly – The camera is shockingly complicated at first glance when compared to Canon. Discovering that there is a “primary” dial on the back side and a “secondary” dial on the front helped a lot. In the world of canon there’s one dial and its function depends on what mode you’re in.

Thirdly – The light meter is backwards.

On Canon cameras (left) if the dot is too far to the right, toward the “+” you’re over exposed and if it’s too far to the left, toward the “-” you’re under exposed. On Nikon (right), the exact opposite is true, making manual photos extremely confusing at first, particularly if you’re trying to just over expose a picture a little and you have the dot going toward the right, then your picture comes out dim and you scratch your head. Then again, a lifelong Nikon user would look at a Canon and say they’re backwards.

My initial impressions – The first thing to do is download a manual. Second thing to do is visit this site and look up YouTube videos from this guy. That should give you a good crash course in the language of “Nikonese.” Whether you pronounce it “N-eye-con” as Americans do or “Nick-on” as the British do, it’s a fine product. The shutter release is lightning-fast and very responsive, to the point that I find myself taking a lot of pictures by accident. I’m not going to say it’s better or worse than Canon – that would send me into a never ending war of fanboyism that is entirely unnecessary. Both make very fine products, and Pentax makes a fine product. The reality is that, especially when talking about digital “DSLR” class cameras, the quality gap is quite narrow. It’s an outstanding camera that I look forward to shooting a lot of new photos with.

Photos are already starting to appear on this site that I have shot, but I have to include some here. What fun would it be if I didn’t? Both of these were shot with the 50mm f/1.4 lens pictured above. And by the way – shoot photos, not each other!

The day this billboard went live my wife and I both got texts with a picture of this. Very sweet, we are both on a Coke billboard.
The same day out looking for that billboard I stumbled on a car show and shot this engine of a restored Chevy.

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