Last weekend at WonderCon, the opportunity finally presented itself to shoot some video with the D7000. I was really looking forward to that, because I’d heard that the D7000 finally gave Nikon shooters the video features the Canon crowd has been enjoying for years.
There was also a bit of trepidation, because we had heard the same thing about the D90 and video when, in fact, the D90 video capabilities pretty much sucked rocks (to use the technical term.)
This was far from Scientific. I didn’t have any nice Zacuto or Red Rock Micro gear for harnessing the camera, so it was pretty much run-and-gun with a Rhode Stereo mic mounted in the D7000’s hot shoe, and a StroboFrame bracket for a bit of weight and stability (the D7000 is a pretty compact camera, which makes it a bit dodgey for doing long, hand-held shots without extra bulk for support.)
A guy from a charity group called The California Browncoats, a bunch of fellow Joss Whedon fans, was nice enough to let me shoot a promo video about their organization, so here it is … Nothing fancy, or groundbreaking, just a test run of the camera.
The D7000 is miles ahead of where the D90 was, and I believe it’s out in front of everything in the Canon line except for the 5D Mk. II, and that’s only because of the 5D’s full-size sensor. The D7000 gives you full manual or automatic control, a selection of video formats up to 1080p (I shot 720p, since it was for the web, and uses less editing resources), and a healthy selection of frame rates from 24 to 60 fps.
Canon users didn’t even have this many choices, or variety of control options when the 5D first came out (and still don’t.)
The external audio jack is a huge help, although I haven’t figured out how to get audio to phones out of the A/V jack. I was hoping it would be like one of the Canon camcorders where you could switch between A/V and audio, but haven’t found a way to do it yet.
Video quality is excellent. Frankly, this shoot would have come out better if I had a zFinder or other magnifying eyepiece on the camera, but I was winging it with the LCD screen and a lot of ambient light.
Using manual focus is probably the best way to go as long as you do have a viewfinder … The auto focus options, particularly the continuous servo mode, will drive you nuts while you are shooting. Yes, you give up the auto-recognition and face tracking features of the camera, but for real filmmaking you’re pretty much going to want to put this on manual everything anyway.
Workflow was H.264 -> Apple ProRes 422 in FCP -> H.264 for upload. I didn’t do any color correction for this test. It looks remarkably good considering I had the ISO on the camera jacked to about 1600, and the lighting in the Moscone Center is pretty dungeon-esque.
As for the results, I’m a happy camper. The D7000 is the real deal for video.
Now us long-time Nikon shooters can keep our glass and have our videos too!