D7000 vs 7D: Auto Exposure Teaser #2

I’m still in the logistics/planning stage for my D7000 vs 7D exposure comparison. There are a maddeningly number of variables to account for in comparing the exposure between two completely different makes of camera. For starters, differing default tone curves, even within the same raw processing application! I’d prefer to use the same raw processor for both cameras and Lightroom is my first choice since that’s what most people use yet Lightroom’s default raw processing profile (Adobe Standard) produces drastically different output between the 7D and D7000. I get much closer results if I change Lightroom’s processing profile to each Camera’s default neutral profile.

Other thorny comparison variables include differing white balance, nominal ISO , color responses, lens t-stops, and on and on. Not to mention framing issues between lenses and AF point placement in the photo (since each camera heavily weights metering on the active autofocus point). This is going to take a while.

In the meantime here’s another teaser, a moderately-low contrast daytime landscape of Lake Tahoe. This D7000 exposure is hot, hot, hot, within shouting distance of the right edge of the histogram, yet all channels (red, green, blue) are below raw clipping levels. This image actually shows a hint of JPEG histogram clipping on the D7000’s LCD for the “neutral” picture control, but shows lots of sky clipping when processed using the camera’s “landscape” and “vivid” picture controls. This might explain why some D7000 owners have reported overexposure problems. Evaluation of photos like this one will come down to how you define overexposure. If you’re a raw shooter then this photo is deliciously exposed to the right, full of signal and a complete lack of blue-channel sky noise, ready for some serious post-processing. If you’re a JPEG shooter then things aren’t as rosy and the photo is probably overexposed if you were hoping to avoid any post processing. The 7D metered the same scene 1 2/3 stops below the D7000.

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