The Nikon Coolpix P7000 is being pitched by the imaging giant as the crowning glory of its compact Coolpix range to date, aimed squarely at the dedicated snapper who needs a high spec compact digital camera that still manages to pack many of the settings and options of a full DSLR. Is it a yay or nay from us? Only once you’ve delved into our Nikon Coolpix P7000 review will you know whether to raise a royal cheer or blow a common raspberry.
If you’re already a dedicated follower of the Coolpix brand then you’ll remember that the predecessor of the Nikon Coolpix P7000 was released about a year ago, and it only takes seconds to realise how many changes have been made since the P6000.
Even the basic shape of the Nikon Coolpix P7000 has altered dramatically from its forebear – it’s much chunkier and heavier (360g including battery and SD card) and feels reassuringly solid in the hand, despite the front grip having reduced in size. The LCD monitor has noticeably expanded from 2.7″ to 3.00″ and boasts much more detailed images care of the 921,000 dots and a wide viewing angle.
The megapixel count on the Nikon Coolpix P7000 has been reduced, however, from 13.5 to a more modest 10.1 but it still makes use of the same large scale 1/1.7-inch image sensor as the P6000. No restraints with the optical zoom, on the other hand, which has increased to a wide-angle 7.1x (the 35mm format equivalent to 28-200mm) and glides smoothly (albeit with a low growl) in operation.
The other major transformation in the Nikon Coolpix P7000 is the sheer volume of manual controls which bristle along the top and back like quills on a porcupine. Alongside the usual mode dial (which contains three custom settings and a new Low Noise Night Mode), tiny power button and shutter-with-zoom-ring, the camera now sports an added dedicated manual control dial for fast launching the likes of white balance, ISO and picture quality, plus a large supplementary dial for EV compensation. Somehow Nikon have also managed to squeeze on to the same level a programmable Av/Tv button which perches dangerously close to the edge and is fiddly to locate but is still extremely useful.
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One of the new features that can be preset via the Av/Tv button on the Nikon Coolpix P7000 is an electronic Virtual Horizon that’s a Godsend when trying to keep your landscapes in perspective. While the new-improved LCD is an undoubted asset when framing up, the option of using the supplied viewfinder in very bright conditions remains – the down side is that because this is an optical rather than electronic system, only 80% of the frame is viewable – maybe this could be addressed next time.
The other raw issue with the Nikon Coolpix P7000 is the, er, RAW issue. The P6000 offered RAW images using Nikon’s own NRW file types which could then be converted only with their own ViewNX software (which wasn’t Mac friendly). The new machine now carries ViewNX 2 which is Mac friendly for the upgraded NRW+ RAW files – three cheers, except each Fine RAW image takes seven seconds to complete so you’re unlikely to do much continuous shooting in this mode.
The good news is that the Nikon Coolpix P7000 has dispensed with the lame GPS tagging system of its predecessor, reduced the unnecessarily high ISO 6400 setting to 3200 and installed 720p HD movie-making, complete with an external microphone input for stereo recording. Both still and movie picture quality is exceptionally good, even in the high ISO settings using the in-built noise reduction. The top end PowerShot G shooters now have a serious rival.