[ad#Google Adsense Text]
In 2010, Nikon finally released a compact camera that could compete against some other high quality premium compact cameras. The P7000. The revamped Coolpix certainly has the look of quality. With the new Nikon P7000`s classic black body and a range of manual dials, it seems on the surface perfect for photographers who know what they`re doing and want more control and quality from their digital compact camera.
With Nikon well in the ascendency in the DSLR market, the company is attempting to make hay while the sun shines. The Canon G-series has long been the choice of anyone looking for a premium compact. However, the G-series Canon has had some formidable competition in the form of the Panasonic LX-5 and recently the Olympus XZ-1.
The headline features include:
- 10.1MP High Resolution Sensor
- 3″ Ultra High Resolution Display
- 7.1x 28-200mm Zoom Lens (35mm Equiv.)
- HD Video at 720p Resolution
- High-Speed Shooting at Up to 1.3 FPS
- Subject Tracking Auto Focus
- Greatly Enhanced Low-Light Photography
- 18 Scene Modes
The P7000 aims squarely at the Canon G12 though. The all-metal Nikon P7000 could be just the camera to sway Canon users away from their camera too.
With fancy features thin on the ground and enough manual controls to keep the most experienced photographers happy, the P7000 makes a huge first impression.
Nikon has a ton of creative control, here is a quick list:
• Dial controls for key functions including ISO, white balance, bracketing, exposure compensation and more.
• PSAM (Program, Shutter, Aperture, Manual) exposure control, custom function control.
• ISO can be set as high as 6400 at full resolution; 12,800 in Low noise Night Mode (3-Megapixel).
• Tone Level Information provides photographers with 9 levels of grey scale information about the scene for fine exposure analysis according to user’s creative needs.
• In-camera editing functions include Exposure Compensation, COOLPIX Picture Control, Noise Reduction Filter, Quick Retouch, D-Lighting and Active D-Lighting.
• Electronic Virtual Horizon Display enables precise leveling of the camera in landscape or portrait orientation during LCD monitor shooting.
• COOLPIX Picture Control can be customized for Image Sharpening, Contrast, Saturation, Filter Effects, and Tone.
The Nikon P7000 looks the business. Clad in gunmetal black and following the G12`s approach of scattering the toplate with dials and buttons. The Nikon P7000 is a snap to set up. The menu system is excellent, as is the 3-inch, 921,000-pixel monitor, but you won`t have to poke it into action much.
On the left-hand side a dial allows you to choose from Quality, ISO, white balance and bracketing. Select one and push the button in the centre and the current settings are displayed on the screen for you to change with a spin of the rear-mounted click wheel. You also get a dedicated PASM dial, as well as an exposure compensation dial that allows you to dial in plus or minus three stops.
The back of the camera is similarly busy. The flash is manually-activated, while the four-way direction pad acts as a shortcut to flash settings, the self-timer and has two buttons dedicated to the focus mode. The first allows you choose from normal, macro, infinity and a manual mode.
The latter blows up the centre of the frame – pushing the D-pad up or down moves focus backwards and forwards. It works well, although it`s not exactly fast enough for moving subjects. The other focus button allows you to choose your focus zone. You can select it yourself, or have it track a subject, or prioritise faces.
In use the Nikon P7000 works extremely well, give or take a few instances of lag when accessing the menu system. It certainly feels like it`ll take the odd knock and thwack.
Image quality is superb – it`s that simple. Test shots from the 28-200mm f/2.8-5.6 lens were crisp and sharp, and showed no signs of the chromatic aberration that afflicted Nikon`s cheaper S8000 superzoom.
The wide range of available apertures is useful as well – although if you can we`d urge shooting at wider apertures. Comparing images, shots taken at f/2.8 were considerably sharper than those taken at f/8.
The P7000`s ISO sensitivity can be pushed as high as 6400, and Nikon`s recent strength when it comes to low-light photography shines through. A few years ago you`d have been laughed at for suggesting that compact cameras would eventually produce usable images at ISO 1600, but the Nikon P7000 just about manages it.
Indeed, the images it produced at ISO 3200 were printable as well, although some decent noise-reduction software is going to be desirable. As ever, only the topmost setting produced fatally flawed images. ISO 6400 might be tempting for photographers looking to make the most of ambient light, but you`ll have to deal with severe grain and pronounced colour shifts to be able to use it.
It`s an enormously capable performer as well. The Coolpix P7000 is ready to shoot in under a second and a half, and offers a decently-specced continuous drive mode, at least for a compact. In 28.1 seconds it shot at a rate of 1.4fps, which is more than reasonable for most purposes.
The only drawback was the processing time afterwards – the camera sat with a “Please wait for the camera to finish recording” message for around another half minute. Shooting in the P7000`s RAW mode produced more finger-drumming and reduced the continuous buffer to a measly five shots, but speed was un-impacted.
The Coolpix P7000`s video is as well-specced as you might expect for a top end stills camera, but Nikon has resisted the urge to really push the boat out.
So, for instance, you get 720p, 24fps recording rather than AVCHD recording, or a 1080p mode.Quite frankly, 720P is a perfect balance of quality and file size for a little compact camera. However, we have no doubt that the next iteration of this camera will have 1080P, you have to keep up with the hype at some point. I just wish it did 60 and 120 frames progressive per second at 720.
As it is, the Nikon P7000`s EXPEED C2 processor handles motion well, and the wind-cutting feature works well. Crucially, the image stabilisation is also excellent, which means using the full 200mm length of the lens is a real option.
Usefully, you can even use the optical zoom while recording without the sound of the motor being picked up by the internal microphone. For more serious jobs, a 3.5mm mic-in port is supplied on the left hand edge of the camera.
There`s a huge amount to love about the P7000. It`s small, it`s tough, the lens is cracking and it takes great pictures.
The manual dials all over the camera are definite plus points, and for photographers who know what they`re doing it`s fast to use, making none of the compromises that normally afflict compacts.
If you already have a DSLR and want a backup without investing in another interchangeable lens camera, the P7000 is a great choice. We love its performance and image quality.
Where To BUY, check out these related links.
If you enjoy our site, then the best way to say “thank you” is by supporting our sponsors. You can buy one of these products at our preferred vendors Adorama or Amazon. Whichever way you choose, your support is greatly appreciated!
[ad#Google Adsense Large Box]