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There is certainly room for a easily pocketable, high-specced, magnesium alloy bodied compact digicam as represented by the Coolpix P7700, which succeeds the P7100 model.
The lens is an f2.0 Nikkor, with a 35 SLR equivalent of 28-200mm.
The 7.5cm LCD screen is a vari-angle that swings 180 degrees laterally and vertically, making it an ideal finder for movie shooting, with the camera held at waist level.
Maximum still image size is 4000×3000 pixels, or 34x25cm as a print.
Movies at 1920×1080 pixels can be shot in MPEG4.
I immediately liked the rubberised speed grip on the camera, then quickly fell into sync with it simply by looking at the top deck: at left is a small dial and central button that takes you into image quality settings, ISO figure, white balance, auto bracketting, My Menu and picture control.
At right of the top deck is the main mode dial, offering entrée to auto shooting, PASM, movie record, CSM (custom movie settings), scene modes (portrait, sports, beach etc), effects (mono, cross processing, soften, etc), U1 to U3 (user settings).
Further right is the zoom lever and shutter button, plus the exposure compensation dial, Function 2 button and power on/off. The Function 1 button is located on the camera’s front.
As I said, I fell easily into sync because I could simply look at the latter set of controls and assess exactly where the camera was, settings-wise. Just like a film camera!
The camera’s rear is reasonably full with more controls: surrounding the four way rotating selector dial as well as buttons for replay, erase, menu, AE/AF lock and display options.
Unusually, there is no movie record button: you set the mode dial to movie, then press the shutter button. Makes sense to me! But of course, this means you can’t captures stills while recording video.
Usefully, there is a virtual horizon display for both vertical and horizontal photography.
The camera performed surprisingly well, right up to ISO 3200, with a loss of definition noticeable in the latter. By ISO 6400 equivalent the noise and definition loss were far too high.
One to two seconds after startup I could shoot my first shot; subsequent shots came in at 1-2 seconds apart.
I was surprised to find there was a noticeable amount of barrel and pincushion distortion at the wide and tele ends of the zoom range, respectively.
Quality: above average, with natural colour noticeable.
Why you would buy it: enjoyable, external photo controls; light too.
Why you wouldn’t: nothing to report.
I found out one novel feature when dealing with the P7700 in the early minutes of reviewership: if the LCD screen is closed, screen inwards, the camera will not start up. I guess it’s to avoid accidental battery drain. Nice touch!
For me, this is one of the more desirable compacts on the market, with many useful features. It would particularly suit the more experienced photographer but, in contrast, could easily be deployed as the family snapshot camera.
Image Sensor: 12.2 million effective pixels.
Metering: Matrix, centre-weighted and spot.
Sensor: 15mm CMOS.
Lens: f2-4/6.0-42.8mm (28-200mm as 35 SLR equivalent).
Exposure Modes: Auto, Program AE, shutter and aperture priority, manual.
Shutter Speed: 60 to 1/4000 second.
Continuous Speed: 3, 8fps.
Memory: SD/SDHC/SDXC cards plus 86MB internal memory.
Image Sizes (pixels): 4000×3000 to 640×480. Movies: 1920×1080, 1280×720, 640×480 at 30fps.
Viewfinder: 7.5cm LCD (921,000 pixels).
File Formats: JPEG, NRW (RAW), MPO (3D), WAV, MPEG4
ISO Sensitivity: Auto, 80 to 6400.
Interface: USB 3.0, AV, HDMI mini, DC input, external stereo mic, accessory terminal.
Power: Rechargeable lithium ion battery, AC adaptor.
Dimensions: 118.5×72.5×50.4 WHDmm.
Weight: 392 g (inc battery and SD card).
Price: Get a price on the Nikon Coolpix P7700 at Amazon.