This might give some indication of how serious Nikon is in positioning itself as a serious player in the prosumer compact space. It's a competitive field though, with the Panasonic LX5, Canon PowerShot S95, Samsung EX1 and, of course, the aforementioned Canon G12 all vying for attention.
Design and features
The first thing you'll notice about holding this camera is how sturdy and well made it feels. Flanked by all-black grips and dials, the P7000 looks like a professional photographer's camera on his or her day off.
There are manual controls via the top mode dial, alongside scene modes, a dedicated video option, low-light mode and user-customisable options. Around the back is a very nice 3-inch LCD screen (920,000 dots). The optical viewfinder (more like a rangefinder style, as it doesn't give an exact image of what you're seeing through the lens because of its position) is fitted out with a dioptre adjustment. Exposure compensation, bracketing, white balance, ISO control and more is easily accessible from the many additional dials that hover above the top panel, which is great news for those who don't like delving into menus to change settings.
Click through for a complete photo gallery. (Credit: Nikon)
Sensor-wise, the P7000 is equipped with a 10.1-megapixel CCD, and at 1/1.7 inch it puts it on par with the slightly larger-than-the-norm sensor used in other compacts like the Canon PowerShot S95.
The 7.1x optical zoom lens, at 28mm wide angle, is certainly more far-reaching than any of its direct competitors. It opens to a maximum aperture of f/2.8-5.6 and also has a built-in Neutral Density (ND) filter to help photographers shoot at lower shutter speeds even in bright light. The P7000 is HD-video ready, able to record at 720p with an external microphone jack.
Unlike the P6000 though, GPS functionality has been dropped from this model, so no geotagging images here. Connectivity is provided via mini-HDMI and AV out at the side of the camera.
|Nikon P7000||Canon G12||Panasonic LX5||Canon S95|
|10-megapixel CCD||10-megapixel CCD||10.1-megapixel CCD||10-megapixel CCD|
|3-inch, 920,000-dot LCD||2.8-inch, 461,000-dot LCD||3-inch, 460,000-dot LCD||3-inch, 461,000-dot LCD|
|7.1x optical zoom||5x optical zoom||4x optical zoom||3.8x optical zoom|
|HD video (720p, 24fps)||HD video (720p, 24fps)||HD video (AVCHD Lite, 720p, 30fps)||HD video (H.264, 720p, 24fps)|
|Pop-up flash, hotshoe||Built-in flash, hotshoe||Pop-up flash, hotshoe||Built-in flash|
General shooting metrics (in seconds)
- Time to first shot
- JPEG shot-to-shot time
- RAW shot-to-shot time
- Shutter lag
- Nikon Coolpix P700022.14.90.3
- Canon PowerShot S9184.108.40.206.4
Continuous shooting speed (longer bars indicate better performance)
- Nikon Coolpix P70001.15
- Canon PowerShot S951.9
Of particular note here is the P7000's slow RAW processing time. The camera takes almost four seconds to process each RAW image once it has been taken.
The P7000 produces clean, mostly noise-free JPEG images at ISO levels up to 800, with good detail and natural colour rendition. The lens also gets to demonstrate its sharpness best in these conditions. ISO 1600 and beyond produces noisy results, and 6400 is best avoided unless you want to do some serious noise reduction in post-processing.
An image taken using the P7000's low light mode. Click the image above for the full resolution shot. (Credit: CBSi)
Unfortunately, at the time of this review the NRW (RAW) format that the P7000 produces is not compatible with any software apart from Nikon's own (supplied with the camera). This also makes it difficult for us to be able to provide concrete conclusions about the camera's RAW performance as the files can't be read by Adobe Camera Raw, or Adobe DNG converter, which are the two tools we use for our RAW image analysis. However, in the meantime, here is a sample of the P7000's RAW performance against its JPEG rendition, converted using Nikon's ViewNX 2 software.
A RAW image from the P7000 (top) compared to in-camera JPEG (bottom), showing very similar results. (Credit: CBSi)
Thanks to the f/2.8 lens, the P7000 is a pretty good performer at macro shots, being able to deliver some pleasing bokeh. The low light mode, which reduces the resolution to 3 megapixels in order to take a shot, produces better images than the equivalent photo taken using regular shooting options, though again the high ISO rating makes for noisy images. Chromatic aberrations are pleasingly low, but the lens does have distortion issues at its widest. There are distortion adjustment settings available in-camera to compensate for this.
The P7000 takes some pretty impressive macro shots. (Credit: CBSi)
Video quality is the best we've seen from a Coolpix camera so far, and it does allow you to use the optical zoom while filming. It's still not as impressive as the video results delivered by the Canon PowerShot S95 though.
Click each image below for JPEGs straight from the P7000. No post-processing has been done to alter these photos, and images were taken using no particular settings (it was on either Normal or Fine quality).
Exposure: 1/230, f/6.3, ISO 100
Exposure: 1/918, f/3.2, ISO 100
Exposure: 1/196, f/2.8, ISO 100, +0.3EV
Exposure: 1/2, f/2.8, ISO 400
The P7000 is the pick of the Coolpix bunch so far, with excellent image quality and a stack of features, despite its somewhat slow performance.