Nikon's latest P-series advanced compact enters a very competitive market. However, a range of modifications make the Nikon Coolpix P7000 more competitive than ever. How does it fair on the WDC test bench?

Product Overview

Overall rating:

89%
Overall score:89%
Features:90%
Value:90%
Performance:80%
Image Quality:90%
Design:95%

Pros:

  • Design, Image quality, Ample LCD screen

Cons:

  • Incredibly sluggish Raw capture and processing, Slow AF

Product:

Nikon Coolpix P7000

Manufacturer:

Price as reviewed:

£480.00

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Nikon has long been producing high-end compacts aimed at those who want full manual functionality without the bulk, and often the cost, of a DSLR. The Nikon Coolpix P7000 is the latest of these models, and features a complete body redesign and a tweaked specification. Is it enough to crown Nikon as king of the enthusiast compact market?

 

Nikon Coolpix P7000 review – Features

 

Nikon Coolpix P7000 sample image 

Click here for full size sample images from the Nikon Coolpix P7000

 

The Nikon Coolpix P7000 sees a host of changes, relative to the previous P6000, in an effort to stay ahead of the crowd.

First of all, modifications have been made to the camera’s sensor. While it boasts the same larger-than-average 1/1.7in-sized CCD sensor as its predecessor, the resolution has been shrunk from 13.5MP down to 10.1MP in a bid for higher performance with less image noise. Nikon undoubtedly has confidence in the new performance capability as the new EXPEED C2 image processor combines to reach an ISO range up to 6400 (equivalent in ‘Hi 1′ mode) at full resolution. A low noise night mode also features, specifically designed to reduce noise at the high end of the ISO range. Alas, the previous 2.7in, 230k-dot model has gone to the scrapheap, and taking its place is an eye-catching 3in, 921k-dot LCD screen which is as well specified as any.

The Nikon Coolpix P7000 now also has almost double the focal range of the P6000 – the wideangle Nikkor 7.1x optical zoom now covers a range of 28-200mm in 35mm equivalent terms. The lens is also further supported by lens-shift Vibration Reduction (VR) which will help to guard images from the perils of camera shake.

The Nikon Coolpix P7000 now also supports movie capture at 720p HD resolution, complete with stereo sound and at a rate of 30 frames per second. Not only that but it also has a standard 3.5mm microphone jack and an HDMI out for video playback.

Rounding off the new features is an Electronic Virtual Horizon mode. When activated, a small spirit-level-like graphic appears at the centre of the LCD screen, complete with horizontal dividing line and arrow which, when the camera is perfectly level, lights up blue to affirm horizontal level – great for avoiding wonky horizons.

Oddly enough, however, the GPS (Global Positioning Satellite) geo-tagging feature from the previous P6000 is nowhere to be seen in the newer incarnation. Possibly for the benefits of cost and conserving battery power, this is one clear difference omitted from the newer model. 

One of the benefits of an enthusiast compact such as the Nikon Coolpix P7000, is the expandability of the model to meet any advanced photographic needs. For example, the P7000’s hotshoe will house any of Nikon’s range of SB Speedlites and offer full i-TTL flash control. The camera also features an adaptor ring to which you can affix a wideangle converter lens boosting the optics to a wideangle of 21mm in equivalent terms.

 

Design

Nikon Coolpix P7000 review – Design

While the basic design principles of the P7000 remain much the same as previous versions, the button layout has changed almost in its entirety.

The camera’s top-plate sees the introduction of three new controls: On the far left sits a dial offering quick and simple access to a range of adjustments including picture quality, ISO setting, white balance and bracketing. The far right also sees alterations – where previously a large command dial had sat, there is now one offering quick exposure compensation adjustment, along with a small LED to indicate its activation.

The rear of the camera also features a re-working of button layout. The ample 3in LCD screen now fills more of the rear of the camera and sits almost flush to the bottom and the left of the body. As a result, menu and playback buttons that had previously sat to the left of the LCD screen have been relocated to the main control point on the right. The delete buttons, display button, AE-L / AF-L buttons and a small command dial are also housed to the right side of the LCD. Another alteration to the rear of the camera is a redesign of the main mode dial – out with the standard d-pad design, replaced by a multi-functional dial that combines a rotating outer ring with the same four-way directional d-pad.

The overall design has changed quite fundamentally from the P6000. The model now looks much more like a direct sibling, rather than distant cousin, to Canon’s G11 and G12.

Performance

Nikon Coolpix P7000 review – Performance

The first point of note is the P7000’s speed in operation, or lack thereof. While the autofocus is a little sluggish, the Raw capture speed is positively sloth-like. If you’re a photographer who only shoots JPEGs then this isn’t going to be an issue for you – shot-to-shot speed when shooting solely JPEG is absoluetly fine. However, when shooting Raw files (or Raw+JPEG) you’re confronted with a wait of up to five seconds while the P7000 processes the image and clears its buffer. No other control of the camera can take place during this time. 

Outside of the disappointing Raw processing speed, it’s fair to say the P7000 otherwise generally impresses. The 3in LCD screen, with a 921k-dot resolution, is as bright and clear as its competitors. For those more used to, or who prefer, a more conventional way of composing and capturing images, the optical viewfinder has also received improvements. It is now larger and appears brighter, while a dioptre adjustment also features. However with only 80% field of view – that’s a fifth of the final frame not visible in the viewfinder – there are obvious limitations here.

In general use, the menu system is easy enough to negotiate. The addition of the command dial on the rear of the camera aids operation in both capture and menu navigation, as does the new dial on the top of the camera offering quick access to common adjustments. The exposure compensation dial can be fairly easily knocked out of place however, so the illumination of its LED upon activation is of utmost importance.

Image Quality and Value

Nikon Coolpix P7000 review – Image Quality

Nikon Coolpix P7000 sample image

Despite some misgivings with the P7000, image quality certainly isn’t an area that poses any worries. The reduction in resolution of the camera’s sensor has aided noise control throughout the ISO range, and even at ISO 1600 noise is far from intrusive. The P7000 displays an impressive dynamic range, managing both highlights and shadows admirably and displaying a good tonal range. Colours are pleasingly natural in a range of conditions, while the optics perform well in producing sharp images. JPEG processing can be a bit of an issue with regards to losing fine detail in compression, though this can be easily avoided by simply capturing Raw files (this does mean having to deal with the slow processing though).

Nikon Coolpix P7000 review – Value

At around £479, the Nikon P7000 is priced, albeit competitively, towards the higher-end of the market. Despite improving on the previous model in many areas there are new issues. Overall, however, it’s still a very good enthusiast compact and some £50 less than its Canon G12 rival.

Verdict

Nikon Coolpix P7000 review – Verdict

At around £479, the Nikon P7000 is priced, albeit competitively, towards the higher-end of the market. Despite improving on the previous model in many areas there are new issues. Overall, however, it’s still a very good enthusiast compact and some £50 less than its Canon G12 rival.

Verdict

If you’re the kind of photographer for whom Raw capture holds no appeal, then there’s very little to complain about with the Nikon Coolpix P7000. The problem is that if you’re considering an advanced compact then there’s every chance that Raw capture is exactly what you’re looking for and the P7000’s extensive delay in its capture is very limiting. Although it’s a fantastic advanced compact overall it’s this single issue that causes the P7000 to just miss out on a WDC gold award.

Full Specification

Power:
Rechargeable lithium-ion battery
Dimensions:
114.2 x 77.0 x 44.8mm

Weight:
360g (with battery & card)
Memory Card:
SD/SDHC/SDXC

Connectivity:
USB 2.0 Hi-Speed, HDMI mini connector, AV out (PAL / NTSC switchable)
Metering System:
Matrix, Centre-weighted average, Spot, Spot AF area

ISO Range:
ISO 100-3200 (6400 extended High-1)
White Balance:
Auto / Daylight / Incandescent / Fluorescent FL1 / Fluorescent FL2 / Fluorescent FL3 / Cloudy/ Flash/ Manual (Kelvin adjustment) / Custom 1/2/3

Flash Modes:
Auto, Auto with red-eye reduction, Fill flash, Manual (1/64 – full power), Slow sync, Rear curtain sync, Flash exposure compensation +/- 2EV in 1/3 stop increments
Exposure Modes:
PASM, Custom U1/U2/U3, Low Light Noise mode, 18 scene modes, Movie

Shutter Speeds:
60 – 1/2000 seconds
File Formats:
JPEG, Raw (NRW format)

Lens:
7.1x zoom (28-200mm) f/2.8-5.6
LCD:
3in, 921k-dot LCD

Sensor:
10.1 megapixels, 1/1.7-in CCD, 10.39MP total

  1. 1. Nikon Coolpix P7000 review - Features
  2. 2. Design
  3. 3. Performance
  4. 4. Image Quality and Value
  5. 5. Verdict
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