Canon EOS 7DThe 7D features a brand new 18MP CMOS sensor. This is a fractionally higher resolution than previous APS-C models but not excessively so. It outputs at 5184 x 3456 pixels, in a choice or combination of .CR2 Raw files and JPEGs. Data is converted as a 14-bit process, rather than the standard 12-bit, for extra tone. For processing power, the 7D utilises dual DIGIC IV processors, outputting in eight channels for added speed, allowing the camera to shoot up to eight frames per second.
The processing power is also better able to deal with noise levels, with levels at ISO 6400 similar to those at ISO 1600 from the previous DIGIC III processor. It also allows for an expanded Hi-1 setting of ISO 12,800. The metering system is a 63-zone dual layer arrangement that analyses focus, colour and luminance information (known as iFCL). Exposure compensation is available up to +/-5EV, and up to 8EV using the exposure bracketing, though only a maximum of +/-3EV can be shown on the top screen. The autofocus uses 19 cross type points, 10 more than the 60D.
The viewfinder offers an impressive full 100% field of view and a 1x magnification for a larger view. The shooting info appears underneath the image, but the focus and grid points are projected onto the viewfinder and can therefore be turned on and off to allow it to be clear of unused AF points.
The 7D is also the first EOS model to feature a dual axis electronic level, which is viewable through the viewfinder to avoid unwanted pitch and roll. The rear LCD screen is a 3in Clear View II TFT, with 920k-dot resolution, anti-reflection coating and an ambient light sensor.
Canon has improved on the class-leading video by offering full manual exposure when shooting, and full 1080p HD at 30, 25, or 24fps. Video can also be captured at up to 60fps at lower resolutions.
Overall Score; 20/20
The Nikon D7000 is keen to stand apart from the older Nikon range as an all-new camera. Indeed, to dispel the myth of it being a D90 replacement, it's worth pointing out that both cameras will continue to run in the current Nikon range for the time being and the gap between one and the next is fairly considerable.
The Nikon D7000 adopts a new 16.2-megapixel CMOS sensor, suggesting that the megapixel count for DSLR cameras is clearly still on the rise. The APS-C size of the sensor means the usual 1.5x magnification applies (i.e. 18mm is the same as 27mm in a full-frame 35mm equivalent). Paired up with the Expeed 2 image processing engine, the D7000 also boasts Nikon's latest hardware for speedy processing and the capability to expand the already well-specified ISO 100-6400 sensitivity to a top-end Hi2 setting - the equivalent of ISO 25,600.
For those looking to reel off bursts of images in continuous shooting mode, the D7000 offers a pleasing 6fps. Considered in the context against the Nikon D300s's 7fps, and side by side to the Canon 60D's 5.3fps, this is a well-specified offering that will prove tempting to those enthusiasts looking for speed as well as resolution and all-round capability.
Elsewhere there's an all-new 2,016 pixel RGB metering module and a brand new 39-point AF system with nine cross-type sensors, dubbed the Multi-CAM 4800DX. The rear of the camera has a fixed 3in, 920k-dot LCD screen and a viewfinder sat above this gives a full 100% field-of-view to ensure that exactly what you frame by eye is what you capture.
To store your images there are twin SD card slots that can be utilised simultaneously or user-defined to operate in an overflow or stills/video format. It's interesting to see the omission of a CF card slot, which seems to now be exclusively reserved for more pro-grade models.
Overall Score; 19/20