Nikon has just entered the high performance compact camera market with the brand new Coolpix P7700. Obviously their answer to cameras like the Fujifilm X10 and the Canon G15, the Nikon P7700 offers similar quality and built to photographers who want to go light and fast, but don’t want to sacrifice quality.
Much like the X10, which this camera is sure to be compared to, the Coolpix P7700 features a 1/1.7″ 12.2 megapixel CMOS sensor, a 7.1X optical ED VR zoom lens that offers an effective view of 28-200mm, 1,080p Full HD video with stereo sound, a 3-inch Vari-angle LCD panel and of course, metal dials and a classic look and feel.
We knew that it was only a matter of time before Nikon brought something like this out, and it looks like they did a very nice job with design and usability. Following the trend of putting hard click PSAM and EV=/- dials on the top deck, the Coolpix P7700 offers everything from full manual control to a wide variety of auto exposure and scene modes, as well as three customizable user banks, video and a host of other creative editing modes and features.
As a functional outdoor camera, the P7700 has fast autofocus, no noticeable shutter lag, and a high speed continuous firing rate of 8 frames per second (up to 6 shots.) It’s fast enough for sports, diverse enough for general outdoor photography and compact enough for travel and adventure.
With a sensor that’s larger than most compact cameras, a fast f/2.0 lens at 28mm (f/4 at 200mm), and good high ISO performance, the P7700 takes great pictures. It does zoom with VR; it does macro, and reviews show that image quality is as good or better as any other camera in its class. We all know that Nikon image processing technology does great with low light and high ISO, and from what I’ve seen, the P7700 performs well in a variety of conditions, both inside and out.
The P7700 also has a built-in flash that can function as a wireless commander and it can control a single off camera Speedlight in full Nikon CLS TTL mode. Or, you can slide a Nikon SB-910, SB-700 or SB-400, or the SU-800 Wireless Commander onto the hot shoe and use that to control your off camera flashes. A small camera that works seamlessly into Nikon’s CLS system? Pretty cool.
The Nikon Coolpix P7700 offers great quality and wide flexibility for photographers. Essentially, Nikon has taken a lot of the impressive technology that’s found in the J1 and J2 series cameras and stuck it in a box with dials and buttons, which means that you don’t have to scroll around through the menus in order to change your settings. Pick it up, turn it on, rotate dials and shoot. Just like a real camera.
I’m a huge fan of today’s compact cameras, because they allow you both freedom to explore and experiment with your photography in situations where you don’t want to carry around your DSLR or extra lenses. Convenience and quality without weight and additional lenses. In my style of outdoor photography, I especially like the flexibility of having a zoom. Sure, this size camera doesn’t offer quite the same image quality as the bigger sensor compacts like the X100, but the zoom gives you much more creative options. Plus, at only $496, it’s half the price. For what I do with my little camera, I’ll take that trade any day.
Finally, I’ve sold photos to pro clients with my X10, including a few that are destined for rather large reproductions. It’s already paid for itself, so in the end, I really don’t feel like I’m trading all that much.
I see the Coolpix P7700 as a totally comparable option to the X10 and give kudos to Nikon for coming out with this stylish and functional camera. If you’re thinking about getting a compact camera, this one is definitely worth a look.
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