Wow. If the various articles and commententary that I'm reading on the internet are any indication, Nikon has caused a lot of drool to hit the floor today among photography enthusiasts. I'm talking about the just announced Nikon D7000, successor to the enthusiast level D90 DSLR. (I'm leaning towards calling it the D7k-- it has a nice ring to it, no?).
The reason for the drool is that Nikon has delivered (surprisingly, in my opinion) on all the speculation that's been floating around for this camera, which I first mentioned here. In essence, if there was something that anyone thought was lacking in the D90, the D7000 pretty much has it. 100% viewfinder: check. Weather sealed body: check. Improved video: check. The kitchen sink: check. Check out Nikon USA or DP Review for the full rundown, but here are the main improvements:
100% viewfinder vs 96% for D90.
Magnesium Alloy body with weather sealing vs. polycarbonate unsealed body.
39 autofocus points (with auto focus fine tuning) vs. 11 points.
Continuous shooting at 6fps vs. 4.5fps
16 Megapixels vs. 12.
Native ISO range of 100-6400 (with boost to 25600) vs. 200-3200 (6400)
Maximum shutter of 1/8000 vs 1/4000
Improved metering system.
Improved 1080p HD Movie mode.
Dual SD/SDHC/SDXC card slots.
So what does that all add up too? These aren't trivial changes. Basically, Nikon has put a pro level camera in a D90 body. It's not so much an upgrade to the D90 as it is a shrunken D300s. On paper that sounds fantastic. I've used a D300 and love it, but definitely prefer the smaller form factor of the D90/D7k.
So I'm definitely purchasing this camera, right?
Note: this will be for sale in October for $1199.95 (body only).
Update 9/17: my resolve to wait for image samples lasted less than 48 hours-- I just preordered a body only version of the D7000 from B&H. I figure, even if the image quality isn't improved, it can't be worse, and I'm more interested in the new professional features of this camera anyway.