Contrary to what you may have concluded based on all of my Nikon D7000 complaints, I actually use this camera a lot. Not only do I use it, I actually like it. Is it the best camera I have ever owned? No. Is it the best digital camera I have owned or used? No. The D3's were better and still are. Are the D3's 3x as good? Probably not even close.
I thought I should probably jot some things down about it's good points rather than just harping on the things that bother me. I really do not want to give anyone the impression that in some way the D7000 is not worthwhile. It may be the best DSLR for the money ever. In fact the reason I am so very troubled with some of it's eccentricities is that the camera is so good in many ways that it's only natural for me to expect perfection.
At this particular moment I would say the D7000 is everything the D70 was and more. Of course it's more, the D70 was like a decade ago. What I mean is that the D7000 is kind of earth shattering in the same way the D70 was. Good image sensor, good focusing system, small body, reasonably fast, etc. for far far less money than anything else Nikon offered at the time. More than a couple of pro's latched on to the D70 when it came out because it was so very capable - even compared to the highest end Nikons of the time.
- Small body with some very high imaging performance. Actually crazy good image quality. Once you have your lenses dialed in (not an easy task and one that is a must do for most D7000's) It really does knock your socks off.
- Amazing AF performance and features in a non-pro body. As good as the D3s? Probably not but not so far off. The "3d" tracking is amazingly good. The new controls for selecting amongst the various AF operations is also a welcome handling refinement. That little switch-y thing combined with a completely different control was sort of cumbersome.
- Very healthy set of dedicated controls for a cheap small camera.
- Extremely solid feeling. It does not feel like a creaking plastic blob. Yea I know that it is of hybrid construction but it feels really good for only a few dollars more than the next model down and infinitely better than the D80/D90.
- Full featured TTL flash commander built in. Nothing new but for a camera in this price range?
- Not bad viewfinder - yes the D3/D700 etc are better but this one is as close as it gets for a DX.
- Fast and responsive. Make that very responsive. Forget frame rates for a second. This camera feels better and more responsive than any DX camera I have used (except for the D2H). This is a huge thing for me. If you are frame rate crazy it may not quite be up to "pro specs" and the buffer may run out after you are blasting at full speed for a bit. For me and most regular people - super responsive. I have never come close to running out of buffer with the D7000. Everything from power up to focusing to shutter response is just perfect - meaning it gets out of the way.
- Really good color and gradation for a DX digital. Decent dynamic range for a DX digital. Far better than what came before. Oh also the best DX noise performance. Personally I only rarely use anything above ISO 400 but when I do I am not utterly disappointed. I am impressed.
- Full range lens compatibility - this is big for me. It might be for you unless you have an unlimited lens budget.
- Live view - very useful live view for the few circumstances where I use it.
- Two card slots - in a "consumer" camera. This is awesome.
- Despite my complaints the focusing can be fantastic - hence my frustration with some lenses/circumstances. You have seen where my 18mm AIS is just crazy bad. What I haven't shown you is how crazy good my 135mm F2 AIS is. It's one of those things that can drive you nuts. If this camera can focus an 135mm f2 at full aperture up close to critical accuracy why the heck is it useless for a 18mm f3.5? Why? why? why?
I could probably go on and on but won't. I just wanted to be clear that I didn't hate this camera. In fact I like it, a lot. The only thing missing is a decent wide angle. I got rid of my Nikon 12-24 when I stopped shooting DX regularly. I never really warmed up to that lens. It wasn't bad. I guess the price/value thing somehow irritated me subconsciously.
The DX promise of smaller, faster, cheaper just did not seem to be the case for the 12-24. Small = nope. Fast, are you kidding - f4. Cheap, ha - $1100. All that and it won't cover FX? So I need a replacement. I will not be going with the 12-24 nor the 10-24. For me I will be going with the Nikon 16-35 f4.
Why the 16-35 f4? For starters I know that the D7000 will not be my last DX body. I also know that I will most likely get another FX body sooner rather than later. If I need super wide, I have a 14mm f2.8. Couple that with the absolutely stellar performance, even better than the 14-24. Speed - f4 without VR is slow, f4 with VR is easily as good as f2.8. Maybe better. Last but certainly not least is that the 16-35mm is far far more convienient for me based on my experience. On DX there are many occasions where it will be the only lens I need. Sort of a 24-50. Perfect. It also dovetails very nicely with my 28-70. The 24 top end is not really a good "only lens" scenario for what I need. The icing on the cake is that the 16-24 is only a couple of bucks more than the 12-24 or the 10-24. How can this make be?
For me my "investment" lenses will only be FX/DX dual purpose superlative lenses. If I buy another DX lens for whatever reason it will be fantastically cheap, small, and light. It will not be huge, cumbersome, and expensive with no FX or crazy speed/quality upside. 17-55 f2.8 or 12-24, no freaking way. 35mm 1.8 for less than 200 bucks or 18-55 VR for about a hundred bucks - absolutely.