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?
The differences between the Coolpix P6000 and the P7000 do not just end at the ergonomics; there are changes right across the board. Nikon follows the trend of reducing the number of pixels, in this case from 13.5 million pixels in the P6000 to 10.1 million pixels, in favour of lower levels of noise and potentially greater resolution at higher sensitivity settings. With a sensor the same size as that in the P6000 (1/1.7in), this means the photosites in the P7000 are larger and less densely packed together.
Image: The P7000 boasts the largest focal range in its class, so fine detail can be obtained from a good distance
Nikon has opted for a lens with a longer 7.1x optical zoom, giving a focal range of 6-42.6mm, which is the same view as a 28-200mm lens on a 35mm camera. This offers greater flexibility than all the P7000’s competitors and predecessors, but with such a vast focal range it will be interesting to see the impact this has on image quality. The lens construction consists of 11 elements, two of which are ED glass elements to reduce chromatic aberrations. To help prevent camera shake there is an optical lens-shift Vibration Reduction (VR) system. There is a 60-1/4000sec shutter speed range, which is good for a compact, although the 1/4000sec is only available in manual and aperture priority modes.
Image: The built-in 4-stop ND filter allows slower shutter speeds. This scene was captured at 1/8sec at f/8 and ISO 100, whereas without the filter it would have been 1/100sec
New features in the P-series range include an internal neutral density (ND) filter equivalent to around 4 stops, which enables slower shutter speeds in bright conditions, such as those used to blur moving water in daylight. Nikon has introduced an electronic virtual horizon in all its latest DSLR releases, and this is also present in its top-end compact model. This nifty feature indicates whether the camera is level, shown when the line in the compass-like circle turns green. It works in both landscape and portrait orientation. Perhaps surprisingly, Nikon has opted not to include GPS this time round, which was present in the P6000.
For the enthusiast photographer, the P7000 offers a host of features enabling manual control and creativity. Further to this, it is compatible with the optional extra of a flashgun and can be used with any of Nikon’s Speedlight flashguns. There is also a wideangle converter that can be attached by removing the metal ring around the lens. This extends the 28mm wideangle to 21mm.
What is included with the camera, however, is the View NX2 software to transfer and view images. This is compatible with the new NRW+raw format.