Big and beautiful
THE LOW-DOWN: This 10 megapixel camera comes with a 28–200mm (film equivalent) image-stabilised lens. It is the replacement for the P7000 which was not reviewed well at its release. Nikon have been quick to respond to criticism and this iteration is outstanding. Construction is excellent, with most camera functions accessible from knobs and buttons on the body. There is the boon of an optical viewfinder, small but useful. There is an interesting suite of effects which includes a zoom effect in which the lens really does zoom during exposure – weird but wonderful. Video tops out at 720 lines which is below par these days when 1080 is the norm. The high resolution 75mm LCD swivels on the vertical plane which is good for waist level and overhead shooting. There are two customisable function buttons. The 130 page printed user manual is comprehensive and essential.
LIKE: The image quality is exceptionally fine. At lower ISO speeds there is neither noise nor noise-reduction smudging of detail. The lens is sharp at all focal lengths. Jpegs are excellent and RAW files even better.
DISLIKE: The bulk. This is a big camera — compared with the competing Panasonic LX5 or Canon S 100 it is huge. The Nikon has more external controls and the advantage of the optical viewfinder and it is the same size as the Canon G12, but it is still stretching the definition of a compact.
VERDICT: The P7100 is unquestionably big but it is also a beautiful thing to hold and to use. Like the company’s DSLRs this camera has well thought out ergonomics, although you will need the owner’s manual to master the options. In the end it is the image quality that matters, and on this criterion the P7100 is a winner.