Love this camera. If you are an enthusiast, this camera is a worthy upgrade from a D3100 or D5100; lots of buttons and dials for quick changes, two custom modes, tight and quiet shutter, viewfinder grid and virtual horizon, built-in flash commander mode, dual card slots, bright 100% viewfinder, and more. Love it. Love Nikon ergonomics.
Only one problem that almost made me return it: skin tones were terrible, especially compared to the king of skin tones, my trusty Fuji S5 Pro. With the same lens (the Nikon 17-55), I took some raw and jpeg pictures (raw ones processed in Lightroom 4 and Dxo 7.5) and compared them to the raw and jpeg ones from the Fuji. The D7000 jpeg were shot in the Portrait and Standard picture modes. The Standard mode was downright wrong: too contrasty and saturated (I used it for a couple of shots, just to test it since it's the default one). The Portrait mode was also bad: skin tones were a horrid combination of green, orange, and yellow. No pink. This is where I almost returned the camera.
Yet, I couldn't do it. I loved everything else about it. Did some online research and found out others were complaining about the same issue. One photographer recommended customizing the Neutral picture mode by shifting Hue to -1. That was good advice.
After much testing with wife and children as test subjects, I came up with a custom picture mode that gives me skin tones that I like (don't tell anyone, but I might like them even better than the Fuji ones, well, almost. My non-photographer wife still likes the Fuji colors better).
First, I use an ExpoImaging ExpoDisc 77mm Digital White Balance Filter - Neutral
to get the perfect white balance for my jpegs (I also tried the Expodisc Portrait, but it's too warm for my taste). I know I could shoot raw and not have to worry about white balance for every shot, and I do shoot raw for income shots, but for family and friends shots, I shoot jpeg, and the Expodisc helps me nail the white balance every time (and it's really quick to set up on Nikon DSLRs). The Expodisc is expensive, but I'm a price maven and like to get my stuff used at a discount :-). You may also play with a cheaper alternative (ColorRight) or use auto white balance; the D7000 gets the white balance right most of the time, especially outdoor.
Okay, so here it is.
Custom Neutral picture mode (saved as Neutral1 because I have lots of imagination):
:: +5 sharpening (D7000 is soft by default). This can be changed to +4 or +6 depending on taste;
:: +1 saturation (D7000 skin tones are on the pale side by default);
:: -1 hue
:: -1 contrast
:: ADL auto (some recommend switching ADL off, but I didn't notice any color shift in skin tones with ADL off)
:: EV (exposure compensation) either on 0 (indoor) or 0 to -3 (outdoor). D7000 tends to overexpose outdoor sometimes.
Voilà. Now I get the skin tones I like. Try it out. See if it works for you.