Nikon Coolpix P7000

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.


8.2
CNET Rating
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User Rating

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Nikon certainly kept its P6000 upgraders waiting with this release, which totally overhauls the design and shooting feel ... and it looks just like a Canon PowerShot G-series camera?

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.

Nikon Coolpix P7000Nikon Coolpix P7000Nikon Coolpix P7000Nikon Coolpix P7000Nikon Coolpix P7000Nikon Coolpix P7000Nikon Coolpix P7000

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.

Compared to

P7000 vs. competitors

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
360g 351g 231g 170g

Performance

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 S952.42.22.50.4

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.

Image quality

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.

P7000 low light mode

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.

P7000 RAW vs. JPEG

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.

P7000 macro

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.

Image samples

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

(Credit: CBSi)

Conclusion

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.

Nikon has released a firmware update for the P7000 to reduce RAW processing times, which can be downloaded here (Windows) or here (Mac).

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Post comment as
Alexandr
4
Rating
 

Alexandr posted a review   

The Good:Not a bad sensor

The Bad:Not a good sensor, not a good lens, not a good video

Coolpix 5700 has 35 – 280 lens, 1/1.8" sensor. There is no reason to buy P7000 if you have 5700, for example. It would be clever decision for Nikon to remake 5700 with new 1/1.7" sensor!

 

suzie posted a comment   

i believe they removed the gps because it was slow and took up to 15mins to get satellite reception.

 

DJ posted a comment   

Was hanging out for this camera, but disappointed at the removal of the GPS and move away from standard AA batteries. The P6000 looked like a good "trekking" camera, but did not receive the quality reviews I had hoped.

Now we have quality, but not so good away from a powerpoint and still have to carry a separate GPS logger.

Will investigate it anyway and might just go for the P6000 afterall.




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User Reviews / Comments  Nikon Coolpix P7000

  • Alexandr

    Alexandr

    Rating4

    "Coolpix 5700 has 35 – 280 lens, 1/1.8" sensor. There is no reason to buy P7000 if you have 5700, for example. It would be clever decision for Nikon to remake 5700 with new 1/1.7" sensor!"

  • suzie

    suzie

    "i believe they removed the gps because it was slow and took up to 15mins to get satellite reception."

  • DJ

    DJ

    "Was hanging out for this camera, but disappointed at the removal of the GPS and move away from standard AA batteries. The P6000 looked like a good "trekking" camera, but did not receive the qualit..."

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