The 1/1.7in 10.1Mp CCD sensor is one of the larger sizes used by compact cameras, but it’s no match for some of the mirrorless models out there. Yet keeping the sensor resolution at 10Mp help maintain a better individual pixel size when compared to higher resolution models. This in turn results in better detail rendition, better noise performance and the possibility of shallower depths of field, a great creative advantage over other compacts.
Attach your own flashgun if you need an extra burst of light
The improved Expeed C2 image processing delivers quite impressive ISO performance results, especially at low speeds. But even at the fastest settings noise control is respectable, with images captured with a sensitivity of up to ISO 3200 revealing minimal amounts of noise. Again, the P7100 ignores current trends as it doesn’t sport full HD video; being limited to a 720p HD movie mode. Regardless, the footage it produces is smooth and crisp while sound reproduction has a wide spectrum and is crystal clear.
Given the exhaustive range of control and customisation on offer, the P7100 might prove hard to resist for enthusiast photographers with manual operation inclinations. Likewise for pros who need an easy, compact camera to carry along but want to keep the same level of flexibility when shooting that a DSLR offers.
While the plethora of physical controls may well prove too intimidating for a less advanced users, it is this versatility that makes it an ideal camera for a beginner too. The Coolpix P7100 would certainly help to improve technique, as it has the perfect balance of auto modes with plenty of scene selection and intelligent functions to get started with and full and easy manual control for later experimentation
That said, the price tag on this camera will by itself exclude most happy snappers, but you do get what you pay for, as the Nikon Coolpix P7100 has no major flaws and delivers very satisfying images. With the PowerShot G12 over a year old now, the pressure is on Canon to match Nikon’s accomplished well-designed rival, but why wait? ®
Catherine Monfils is a professional photographer specialising in portraiture, lifestyle and fashion.
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Nikon Coolpix P7100 compact camera
It's not £500 quid anywhere.
"That said, the price tag on this camera will by itself exclude most happy snappers"
Why is this even mentioned when the link to amazon.co.uk shows their price as £359 and others as low as £333?
mmm, Nokia N8
maynot have as big a lens but has better performance in many respects, acts as a phone, mobile office and kid amuser (games) while costing a lot less.
I too was interested in this camera for it's wide aperture until I found the following comparison...
"A camera's overall image quality score takes into account: color depth, dynamic range and low light performance.
Snapsort uses metrics from DXOMark to determine how good a camera's overall image quality is."
That kind of did it for me. Not that I'll get a G12 as I have a G9 already and know the limitations. I think my most likely pick up is from one or more of: Canon S100 for a take everywhere; Micro 4/3rds or LX5 for when I don't want to carry the big DSLR.
How's the lens?
I'm not sure I can afford a new camera at all yet, but my camera ogling is currently split between the Olympus XZ-1, the Fuji X10 and this camera.
It seems that this camera with it's 28-200mm equivalent f/2.8-5.6 lens can actually give you at most f/2.8 at 28mm, f/3.2 at 35mm, f/3.5 at 50mm, f/4 at 85mm, f/4.5 at 105mm and f/5.6 at full telephoto (200mm equiv).
The XZ-1 has a f/1.8-2.8 lens running from 28mm to 112mm equivalent, giving you f/1.8 at 28mm, f/2 at 35mm and 50mm, f/2.2 at 85mm, f2.5 at 105mm and beyond.
I've not found any such detailed information for the X10, but it runs from f/2.0 at 28mm and f/2.8 at 112mm.
In terms of sensors both the X10 and XZ-1 seem to have 1/1.7" sensors while this has a slightly smaller 1/1.8" sensor. Additionally the X10 is based on a CMOS sensor wheras the other two use CCDs. And the X10 has a lovely mag alloy body. On the other hand it is significantly more expensive.
On paper the XZ-1 still wins in terms of selective depth of (in-focus) field, and is just about the cheapest (although the P7100 is not much more currently and may drop lower). The X-10 may be better for low light photography with it's CMOS sensor, but it's slightly slower lens may offset that. I think the XZ1 the slowest of the three in terms of shot-to-shot time (though I've not seen the P7100 and X10 compared in that respect). And it has the worst handgrip and no viewfinder (though that doesn't matter much to me personally).
But I think the XZ-1 has the sharpest lens, though certainly the latter two have acceptably sharp lenses. The XZ-1 lens is a pocket rocket though, only let down by a tendency towards barrel distortion out wide.
I haven't seen proper comparisons in terms of handling yet. I suspect the P7100 and X10 are neck and neck. Oh, I don't know, but then I don't actually think I can afford the outlay at the moment anyway.
The review for the V1 a few days back put a price tag on the device that was enormous. If you did a quick google you could get it for nearly £300 cheaper.
I dont think you need to take the pricetag on the review as gospel.