Many enthusiast and professional photographers who lean towards Nikon have been waiting for the company to produce a high-end compact camera. Has the Nikon Coolpix P7000 finally given them what they want?
There is no question that Nikon has moved in leaps and bounds from previous P-series models, making significant improvements across the board in handling, features and performance. The changes are significant enough that this feels like a completely new camera, not one in the Coolpix P series.The decision to reduce the number of pixels has paid off, because unlike its predecessor the resolution of the P7000 is consistent all the way through to high sensitivities, as demonstrated by my pictures taken at a music gig (see Noise, Resolution and Sensitivity). The larger photosites are more able to capture light, and as a result the dynamic range has been improved.
The slow image processing and viewing is a frustration and an issue that needs addressing. It renders the raw shooting mode suitable mainly for settings where the wait is not an issue. The decision to include a viewfinder will please enthusiasts, but its use is limited. However, Nikon users may have finally got what they wished for: a high-end compact camera that offers good handling, features and performance. The Coolpix P7000 stands its ground against increasingly stiff competition, and although it does not represent new ground at this level, it is certainly the best Nikon has offered to date.