Nikon make leaked D7000, lenses and SB700 official

After a number of recent leaks on the inter-web, Nikon has today officially announced the D7000, new AF-S 35mm f/1.4G, refreshed the AF-S 200mm f/2G VR (with VR II and Nano Crystal coat) and rolled out a new SB-700 flash. Introduced initially as a replacement to the D90, my own opinion is that the D7000 will eventually replace the D300s as the semi-pro APS-C format DSLR (the D7000 has a particularly advanced spec), leaving way for new pro-level FX (full-frame) cameras. Few pros use APS-C crop DSLRs these days, as evidenced by Nikon's rush to add FX lenses.

Detailed information on the new camera and lenses can be found here.
The big news apart from the metal body, 100 percent viewfinder coverage and 16.2MP CMOS sensor is the HD movie mode. Besides now recording up to 20 mins using H.264 AVC it boasts 1080(24p), which should be attractive to pro film-makers, though at the optional 25fps / 30fps settings resolution drops to 720p. The price is attractive too at £1100 / 1303 Euros, including tax, body only. The lens to get is not the 18-105mm VR, which is available in the kit option, but the recently updated 18-200mm VR II.

AF-S 35mm f/1.4 G

The AF-S 35mm f/1.4G is Nikon's first redesign since the manual focus 35mm f/1.4 Ai-S of 1982. I guess Nikon mean business, and it wouldn't really surprise me if they brought back the Noct Nikkor 58mm f/1.2, and 800mm f/5.6 IFED, suitably updated for the 21st century. However, there's still nothing innovative here, competitive maybe, but innovative, no. With the exception of the AF-S 12-24mm f/2.8 and the 200-400mm f/4 VR II, the latter of which I recently reviewed for the UK's Digital Photographer magazine, Nikon are still playing catch-up to Canon. All the same, I am pleased to see them compete. It's also highly likely that the new 35mm above will outperform the current Canon version, though that is due a refresh anytime soon.

AF-S 200mm f/2G ED VR II

Long before the blog, as jobbing freelance journalists, we wrote the launch piece on the original AF-S 200mm f2 VR for Nikon Pro, the magazine for NPS (Nikon Professional Services). At the time it was a really significant story, as it signaled Nikon's intentions to add VR (Vibration Reduction aka image stabilisation) to their super-telephoto lenses. Before that, Nikon's only pro telephoto to feature VR was actually a zoom, the superb AF-S 200-400mm f/4 VR IFED, which was introduced only in 2003, alongside the underrated and ill-fated D2H. This new model maintains the same optical construction (which is just as well as the original is said to be Nikon's sharpest telephoto) but adds Nano Crystal Coat (usually a coating on a single element) to reduce internal flare and ghosting, and Nikon's 2nd generation VR (VR II), with up to four-stops compensation (with excellent technique). It also has a new A/M auto-focus control. Nikon are adding this to all their super-telephotos, and it's a nice feature. The existing real-time manual override M/A option is quite sensitive and prone to accidental operation. The new A/M mode makes the manual focus ring slightly less responsive to inadvertent use. Sales start on the 1st October 2010 at a RRP of £5300 / 6277 Euros inc tax.

Speedlight SB-700

Although invited to the press launch in London (as a regular contributor to several highly-regarded photo-magazines in the UK) I couldn't make it, so I haven't seen the SB-700 in the flesh. However, in terms of dimensions this looks very much like the now discontinued SB-800, and therefore much more compact than the decent but rather hulking SB-900. Notice the slave flash (SU-4 type) receiving window above the battery compartment, that makes it useful for multiple flash set-ups, instead of using a PocketWizard remote. Unfortunately, while it has the essential manual flash modes (with 8-stops to 1/128), it seems it lacks the crucial PC socket found on the higher-end pro models. What's more, the GN is low at 28m at ISO100 (set to 35mm zoom). Pity.


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