Nikon D7000 DSLR hands-on

In case you haven't heard this morning, Nikon's just lifted the curtains on its 16.2 megapixel D7000 imager for the "social photographer" market, and naturally, we had to get our hands on it. This dual SDXC-wielding DSLR closely resembles the slightly lighter D90, but the little superficial tweaks didn't escape our eyes: the first thing we noticed was that the continuous shooting option button -- previously on right-hand side of the top screen -- has been transformed into a secondary dial on the left. We found this to be slightly fiddly as we had to press on a tiny neighboring unlock button to rotate said dial. There's also a new live view switch and video record button (à la D3100), which are more intuitive than the D90's configuration. As for ergonomics, the D7000's grip is also very comparable with the D90's, except we prefer the latter's for its longer piece of rubber grip to cover the full length of our right thumb. More after the break.%Gallery-102292%

One of the D7000's killer features is its speedy EXPEED 2 image processor, and it really does live up to its promise -- we were amazed by its much improved AF speed (which is much needed for its high-end 39-point AF system, naturally) and superb shutter response; our poor D90 quickly felt like an outdated device with its less snappy shutter sound. Sadly though, not all of this goodness made it to the camera's video continuous AF function -- much like the D3100, we had to keep things slow and steady for an accurate tracking. On the bright side, the camera sports a stereo mic input socket (meaning you can minimize the amount of motor noise polluting your full-HD video clips), as well as a sharp screen with great viewing angles from all directions, along with a virtual horizon to help you balance the camera.

The only real concern we had with our particular prototype was that its thumb-scroll wheel didn't let us scroll through captured images -- even Nikon's Japanese rep was bewildered by this seemingly missing feature, so here's hoping that it'll be reinstated before the camera hits the shops later this month. For now, help yourselves with our hands-on photos and walk-through video.

Update: Turns out the scroll wheel "bug" is to do with a silly default "off" setting in "Customized command dials -- Menus and playback." But seriously, why would we want that? [Thanks, Michael W.]