The Nikon Coolpix P7000 is a highly advanced compact digital camera. In terms of overall quality it is one of the best compact digital cameras you can buy. It is likely to appeal to the serious photographer, perhaps as a back up to a Digital SLR. Picture quality and features are impressive.
I like the way the camera is laid out. Various buttons and dials give you easy access to change key features quickly. To make the most of the Coolpix P7000 there is a lot to learn, but time spent experimenting with this camera will be well worth it in the long term.
Why Buy The Nikon Coolpix P7000
It is not always possible or practical to carry a Digital SLR everywhere you go. If you are looking for a high quality compact camera with a wide range of features and offering top drawer picture quality then the Coolpix P7000 is a good choice.
77 x 114.2 x 44.8mm
Nikon has equipped the Coolpix P7000 with a wide range of features. They are similar to those that you would expect to find on a Digital SLR.
Starting with the more standard features these include 10 megapixels and a 7.1x optical zoom lens. The focal length is equivalent to 28 - 200m in 35mm format. This means that the camera is capable of taking wide angle shots as well as having a decent amount of zoom available for more distant subjects. The lens has a maximum aperture of f/2.8. This can help to pull in extra light when lighting levels start to dip.
Sensor size plays a part in image quality. Nikon have used a sensor that is a little bigger than standard at 1/1.7 inches. A RAW mode has been included for anyone who would like maximum detail to work with when manipulating images on a computer.
Manual exposure modes including aperture priority and shutter priority will appeal to the more serious photographer. Manual focusing is included too. Moving subjects are catered for by subject tracking focus. Extra control is available through being able to adjust levels of contrast, saturation and sharpening.
Features designed to help picture quality include different image stabilisation settings and a Best Shot Selector. With Best Shot Selector you fire off a number of photos and the Coolpix P7000 saves what it believes to be the highest quality exposure.
Talking of quality the 3 inch LCD screen is made up of 921,000 pixels. This produces much greater clarity than most compact digital cameras and compares well with the screen quality on offer from Digital SLRs.
You can personalise the Coolpix P7000 through three different custom settings. There is also the option to add a wide angle conversion lens as well as a remote control.
Video clips are catered for through a High Definition movie mode. You can also shoot time lapse movies. This is a feature you tend not to see very often. In this mode the Coolpix P7000 fires off still images at predefined intervals.
More basic features include a smile shutter (takes a picture automatically if the camera detects someone is smiling), red eye fix, skin softening and a blink warning.
Not surprisingly the Coolpix P7000 carries a bit of extra weight when compared to most compact digital cameras. Having said that it has a lighter feel to what is probably its main competitor the Canon Powershot G12. This is a camera not only with plenty of features, but with plenty of buttons and dials to match.
Starting off on the top of the camera is an innovation I really like. This is a dial that gives you fast access to six main features that you are likely to want to change on a regular basis. These include white balance, bracketing and ISO.
Moving sideways you find the hot shoe and main shooting mode control dial. There are also the on / off button, a dial to control exposure compensation, the shutter button and zoom ring. A further button lets you decide what dials should change shutter speed and aperture size when the Coolpix P7000 is in manual mode.
On the back of the camera is a button to pop up the flash unit, viewfinder focusing dial, viewfinder and the first selection wheel or jog dial. Next comes a thumb rest followed by a button for auto focus / auto exposure lock.
Four more buttons are for switching between using the viewfinder and LCD screen, placing the Coolpix P7000 into review mode, accessing the menu system and deleting images.
A further, larger selection wheel doubles up to give you access to flash modes, focus type, macro mode and the self timer. In the centre of the wheel is a button to confirm settings.
The shooting menu runs to 13 items. In addition there are 14 items on the playback menu and 25 setup options.
Image Quality - See Sample Images Below
Outdoor Scenic Shot 1
In my first test The Coolpix P7000 gets most things right. Sharpness levels are good and there is only a little sharpness lost as you hit the edges of the photo. The sky is smooth with no evidence of grain. The low sun at the time of year the photo was taken can cause cameras a big problem, but in this instance the Coolpix P7000 still manages to show a good level of detail in the lightest areas of the shot.
Outdoor Scenic Shot 2
With the lens zoomed out sharpness is still good, but there is not the same difference in quality here between the Coolpix P7000 and cheaper digital cameras. There is a small amount of grain in the sky in the most distant parts of the shot where the sky is grey. This is only likely to be an issue with extra large prints.
Outdoor Scenic Shot 3
This camera offers a bit of extra zoom power over other cameras with a similar price range and specification. You can see the difference that makes in this shot. Sharpness is good once again and the scene is handled well.
This is another shot where the Coolpix P7000 performs that bit better than most cheaper models. The clarity of the shot is very good. There is very little drift in sharpness as you move out towards the edges of the shot.
One of the features I really like about the Coolpix P7000 is how easy it is to adjust white balance to your own requirements. This allows you to fine tune the colour temperature of any shot to a much greater degree. So if you want to add a bit of extra warmth to a portrait shot then it is easy to do. I like the colour of this shot, but if it is not to your own personal taste it is easy to experiment a little to come up with something that is.
Indoor Portrait With Flash
The most noticeable difference between this shot and those taken with cheaper cameras is that this shot is brighter. The light reaches right into areas such as the hair and right out to the corners too. These are areas that can be darker in shots taken by cheaper cameras. Despite the extra brightness the Coolpix P7000 still retains a sure touch when it comes to colour. There is still a natural look to the skin tones.
Indoor Portrait Without Flash
A better quality digital camera like this one keeps noise down to a minimum when the light is not perfect. This helps to add extra definition to the shot and add extra clarity. I am impressed by the picture quality of all three of my portrait tests.
My macro test shot is an example of a Nikon digital camera managing to add extra brightness to a shot. Despite the fairly close proximity of the camera to the subject the camera is still able to produce a well lit image. Sharpness is very good too, as you might expect.
Having tested plenty of Nikon digital cameras over the years their better quality cameras produce a great combination of natural looking colours and a bright, vibrant look to their photos. This is one area where I feel they outperform almost every other brand.
Noise levels have been kept low in all my test shots. This is an area where digital cameras in general have improved over the years, but good quality cameras like the Coolpix P7000 still have an edge in this area.
Picture Quality Summary
If you pay more you expect better quality and that is the case with the Coolpix P7000. It produces sharp, colourful shots and handles most photo opportunities very well.
Shutter Lag Times
Single Shot With Flash
Five Shots With Flash
Turn on Time
Ease of Use
Easy to use? Not really. This is because of the range of features on offer, but I will say that Nikon have done a good job with how the camera is laid out with buttons and dials giving you speedy access to main features.
Points I Like
General features - picture quality - bright photos - fast single shot shutter response - handling
Where it Could Improve
Wide angle shots could show a little more detail
There is a lot to like about the Nikon Coolpix P7000. It has plenty of features and offers top level picture quality. It is at the more expensive end of the market, but even so my view is it is worth paying the extra if you can afford it for the extra quality it brings.
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