A little beauty
The low-down: This 12 megapixel camera has a 24–100mm (film equivalent) zoom lens. As well as having one of the widest angle focal lengths it is also relatively fast (bright, is how Nikon put it) maximum aperture of f1.8. The lens is image stabilised. Construction quality is excellent and the all-black finish is elegant. Ergonomics are good with a dedicated movie button. As well as the usual Scene modes the camera has manual over-rides of the P,A,S and M type, as befits a camera for serious use. The flash pops up above and to one side of the lens, so the risk of red-eye is diminished. The 75mm LCD is high resolution of 921,000 dots. Movie capture is in MOV H.264 compression and in full 1080p resolution. HDMI out connects direct to an HD TV.
Like: Image quality is very good. The high pixel density led us to expect noise, but it is not a problem. Nor is there any fudging noise reduction at low ISO settings. This is just about the best image quality we have seen from a Nikon compact. Automatic exposure, focus and white balance are all outstanding. Macro shooting is particularly fine.
Dislike: The battery is charged in camera. We prefer a separate charger.
Verdict: This is an excellent compact from a company that hasn’t done so well in this segment of the market. It earns its place alongside Nikon’s excellent range of DSLRs. It has the same indestructible feel and intuitive controls as the company’s best. And at $500 is well priced. What’s more, as we expect with a serious camera but don’t get so often, it comes with a 187 page user’s manual.