Nikon Coolpix P7700
Nikon takes a step forward with its latest flagship
compact camera, but is this Coolpix still
playing catch up?
P7000, a camera that looked so similar to Canon’s G12, it was
uncanny. In terms of performance however, the 10-megapix-
el P7000 seriously lagged its rival, with a slow overall operating speed that made the camera frustrating to use. Things
improved with Nikon’s follow-up to that model, the P7100,
but shot-to-shot times, particularly when shooting RAW images, were still annoyingly slow.
Now comes the P7700, which increases the resolution of
its 1/1.7-inch, backside illuminated CMOS image sensor to 12. 2
megapixels while offering a brand new lens with better specs:
a 7.1x (28-200mm equivalent) zoom with a maximum aperture
of f/2 at the wide end and f/4 at telephoto. And, for a change,
the P7700 has a different look than Canon’s latest G-series
cameras, with a more rectangular design and a fully articulating, 3-inch, left-hinged, vari-angle LCD screen on back. ( The previous model’s LCD only tilted out from the camera body.)
On the downside, Nikon’s done away with the optical viewfinder on this camera, so you’ll have to compose all your shots
via the flip-out display. On the plus side, they’ve finally added
full 1080p, HD video shooting on the P7700 and a stereo mic
jack, for a better overall video experience.
While all these features are nice upgrades, they’re not exactly revolutionary. Canon, for its part, has already released
the PowerShot G1 X, which uses a large, 1.5-inch, 14.3-mega-
pixel CMOS sensor that was a dynamite performer in low light
at high ISOs during our testing. (Check out our review of the G1
X in the May 2012 issue of PDN.)
Meanwhile, Sony has introduced both the slim, 20.2-mega-
pixel Cyber-shot RX100, which uses a 1-inch sensor (TIME
named the RX100 an “invention of the year” for 2012), and
the RX1, a compact system camera, which, for the first time,
Compared to the previous models, the top of the Nikon P7700 looks
like it’s been lopped off. That’s because the optical viewfinder has been
eliminated to make room for the bigger lens.
boasts a 24.3-megapixel, full-frame CMOS sensor. Now that’s
what I call revolutionary!
Having said all that, the Nikon P7700 has enough improvements and new features that it should certainly be considered
by Nikon fans looking for a solid portable camera. Here’s more
of what I thought of this new flagship Coolpix camera.
The first thing you’ll notice about the P7700, if you’re familiar
with the previous two models, is that it appears that the top of
the camera has been lopped off. This is not merely an esthetic
choice, though I do like the simpler, more rectangular shape of
the P7700 compared to its predecessors. The camera’s new,
bigger, brighter lens takes up extra space, so instead of making
the camera top heavy by stacking the optical viewfinder above
the larger lens, Nikon decided to get rid of the top section of the
camera altogether, which housed the optical viewfinder.
Some photographers clearly will not like this choice by
Nikon. Personally though, I’m not particularly upset. While
optical viewfinders help out when shooting in bright light,
they’re so tiny on compact cameras and their accuracy when
shooting with a 7x zoom lens is so spotty, I tend not to use
them at all.
The P7700’s squared off design also makes it more portable
and less susceptible to getting snagged in your bag. Overall,
the camera looks and feels solid, with a comfortable, rubberized handgrip and a professional black-matte magnesium
alloy body. Another side product of having a bigger, faster