An all-too brief trip to India last week with cellist, singer and actor Matthew Sharp on tour with his show Johnny’s Midnight Goggles. This time we were in Mumbai and Lavasa for a few shows and I took the time to test out the new Nikon D7000 which I have on loan from them.

In an attempt to give my back a rest, I left at home my D3, D2x and D200 and many lenses and instead just packed the D7000, 24-70, 70-200, 10.5 and 60mm macro. Then for video, I added a channel of radio mics and my trusty Miller DS20 tripod which is ideal for location work. The bag was un-recognisably light which made Heathrow a pleasure. Normally my stills bags (Lowepro Vertex 300) weighs in at around 20Kg, which can make flying a little tricky since my hand luggage technically weights more often than my checked-in bag. The Miller tripod is superb since it breaks down to head and legs and weight 4Kg in total and fits nicely in my hold bag.

The D7000 was a joy to use. Superb image quality both in stills and video and works well with radio mics too. In a 10 minute break I filmed Matt playing some Bach in the foyer of the venue. It drew a crowd but was a good opportunity to test the D7000 with radio mics. The big problem, and it’s a massive one in my opinion, is that there’s no way to monitor the sound on the camera. The body really needs a headphone mini-jack output so you can listen to the sound while filming. Then on screen it would be nice to have the visual representation of the levels too in dB.

Here’s a little video I very quickly edited of the Back in Lavasa. It’s not great at all by any means in terms of production but for a quick 10 minute window, it is ok and serves to highlight the flexibility of the D7000. It’s been edited in Final Cut and graded in Magic Bullet. One thing to note is that the camera shoots a lovely flat video in standard mode with lots of shadow detail. This is great since it allow in the grade for the picture to be properly finessed and many cameras in the realm of the D7000 use compression which hampers the grading process. So far on initial inspection, the D7000 isn’t like this.

More thoughts to follow, such as how the camera would benefit from have a live histogram on the LCD, or ideally peaking and zebras, but in the meantime, enjoy Matthew and his incredible cello!