Nikon Coolpix P7000 Preview

October 1, 2010 | Mark Goldstein | Comment | |
Nikon Coolpix P7000 Preview Image

Ahead of our full review next week, here's a quick preview of the Nikon Coolpix P7000 camera, including some full-size sample photos.

Nikon have gone back to the drawing board with the new P7000, a premium compact camera aimed at the advanced user or DSLR owner. While the previous P6000 was a good attempt to usurp the market-leader, the Canon G-series, it suffered from a few fundamental flaws which ultimately meant that we couldn’t revcommend it too strongly. They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and that’s certainly the case with the new P7000 which looks at first glance like an exact doppleganger of the equally new Canon PowerShot G12.

The P7000 now sports three external dials on its top plate for setting the shooting mode, exposure compensation and 6 other key settings, plus there’s a Function button on the front of the camera which can be assigned a specific setting, and also three User shooting modes - this is certainly one of the more customisable cameras that we’ve seen on the Photography Blog test bench.

Nikon Coolpix P7000 Preview

The P7000 gets one up on the G12 by offering a bigger 7.1x zoom with a versatile 28-200mm focal range. Fans of true optical viewfinders will be delighted to hear that Nikon have retained one on the P7000, albeit a small and rather dim finder that we’d probably only use as a last resort when the high-resolution 921k-dot LCD screen can’t be viewed clearly. Another film-inspired feature is the built-in ND (neutral density) filter, useful for slowing down the shutter speed in very bright conditions.

An ISO range of 100-6400 is approaching DSLR-like specifications, although the noise in our higher-ISO full-size samples is very obvious, despite the 1/1.7-in. type CCD imaging sensor being larger than those used by most compacts. At lower ISO speeds, though, the images are very clean, so the early signs are that the P7000 has a perfectly usable ISO range of 100-800, with 1600 not looking too bad either.

Nikon Coolpix P7000 Preview

One of the drawbacks of the P6000 - the slow RAW processing times - doesn’t seem to have been cured on the P7000, with the camera taking around 4 seconds to record a RAW + Fine JPEG to the memory card, during which you can’t take another picture or operate the menu system. This is a shame as in most other respects the P7000 initially seems like a snappy performer, with a quick start-up time, negligible shutter lag and fast, accurate auto-focusing - all the things that the demanding photographer wants from a premium compact.

Other standout features include the step zoom function, which quickly sets the focal length to one of seven preset options, mimicking the selection of a prime lens,  a virtual horizon to help keep your landscapes straight, the new and enhanced NRW (RAW) format, and the now obligatory 720p movie mode complete with stereo sound, an external mic port and a HDMI connector.

Nikon Coolpix P7000 Preview

Priced at £489.99 / €580.00 / $499.95, the Nikon P7000 is admittedly more expensive than a lot of DSLRs - read our full review next week to find out if it’s worth the investment.

Nikon Coolpix P7000 Preview JPEG Images

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