D7000 vs D90 in low light

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Mar 2, 2007
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Southwest Florida
I am considering 'upgrading' my D90 to a refurbished D7000 largely for an improvement in low light performance. I love my D90, it's alway there when I need it but the D7000, refurbished by Nikon US and sold at adorama for $744, seems like a good deal. For those of you with experience using both, have you found the D7000 to shoot with lower noise in low light than the D90?

I am using a Nikon 16-85mm f3.5-5.6 as my primary walk around lens and with an upcoming trip to Europe I would like to be able to maximize performance in museums, cathedrals,etc where flash photography is prohibited. I realize a faster lens is another option but I plan on bringing only one lens and above the lens suites me well for most situations.
Bob
 
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Feb 28, 2011
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Not only is it better but when you do get noise it's a different kind of noise than you
get with the D90 and it cleans up real easy... :wink:
 
Joined
Mar 17, 2010
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Portage, IN
I shot a wedding using a d7k and a d90 at the same time. The files from the d7k were some much nicer to work with, and I would recommend(and have) the camera over the d90 any day.
 
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Jan 13, 2008
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My comfortable limit on the D300 (D90 sensor) was ISO1600 with 3200 as a last resort.
The D7K that I still shoot I'm fine with ISO5000 and will go 6400 if I have to. Do it! :biggrin:

here's one at ISO6400
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
 
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Jan 21, 2012
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Canada
The D7000 has about 1 to 1.5 stops advantage over the D90, and in addition to that you get some extra resolution. ISO1600 files on the D7000 are quite close to ISO800 files on the D90 for example, and ISO3200 are a bit better than ISO1600 on the D90.

There is also more recoverable shadow detail in the D7000 files. This might be due to the 14bit RAW file option, I don't know. The RAW files behave a bit differently when pulling back highlights though I found, at least in Aperture.


There are a few other advantages to the D7000 besides IQ, namely the AF system (although more complex), the frame rate, the somewhat weather sealed body with more external controls, and a bunch of little added features. Normally I'd follow the advice to "skip a generation" but with the reduced price of the D7000 I'd say it could be worth it to upgrade now.
 
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Mar 2, 2007
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  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone, I am going to do it. Now before she sees the bill I need to let my wife know that the sale of the D90/battery grip will help offset the cost of the D7000. She's French, so if I stress the improved low light performance shooting the Louvre, Sacre Cur, etc. on our trip I think she will agree to my plan.
 
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Joined
Jan 23, 2012
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Japan
I used both extensively in low light. There isn't a lot in it at ISO 1600, or even at ISO 3200. ISO 6400 is usable on the D7k with some care (3200 is about as far as I'd take the D90)

I'd not want to take the D90 to ISO 6400 though. The difference in performance at high ISO isn't as huge as some make it out to be, it's mostly the D7k has a more pleasant grain pattern which is easier to deal with.

If you need that ISO 6400 at a pinch the D7k is the way to go, if not then full frame is the only way to get a really decent step up IMO
 
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Jan 18, 2012
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UK
I agree with Mr Baz, at the minute I shoot with both and I find both very comparable up to 3200, its very rare I go above that though.
 
Joined
Nov 30, 2011
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I shoot both a D90 and D7000, and I think the difference is incredible. I dont like going over ISO 1000 on my D90 but I will rock 3200 on the D7000 all day long
 
Joined
Jan 23, 2012
Messages
427
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Japan
I've looked closely at files from both models I used and there just isn't a lot of difference at 1600/3200. The D7k has probably better retention of colours, a bit but that's about it. Maybe a finer grain pattern but I couldn't honestly say it was a big difference. Whilst I'm not a DxO fan by any means even their scores support that (ie low light score is pretty close)

Not to knock the D7k I'd push it to ISO 6400 at times (about as far as you can go IMO with APS-C and get decent prints) Only thing that looks more impressive is those Fuji Trans sensors which seem really good in low light.
 

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