Nikon P7000 Mini - Review

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Nikon P7000 Mini - Review

Postby fgbrault » Sat Apr 30, 2011 4:12 pm

Updated 5/17/11

The P7000 is not perfect, but I love it and I love it more the more I use it. I think the image quality, both JPEG and Raw (although I prefer RAW for the slightly better dynamic range, and ability to post process) ) is excellent. That is my first priority and so I am pleased. I wanted a "pocket" camera the had a telephoto range of at least 28mm to 200mm. I also wanted some kind of optical viewfinder and RAW capability. The only camera that met each of these needs was the P7000.

The main faults I find with the P7000 are:

1. Its auto focus occasionally has problems (more so when you get to its maximum focal length of 200mm) in quickly getting focus and sometimes has some real problems in low contrast situations. On those occasions I am managing to get good focus, but sometimes it takes a while. Also. it has a pretty good manual focus mode. Sometimes it beeps that it has focus, but when you press the shutter it delays until it gets accurate focus. I guess this is better than its beeping and getting a blurred photo because it actually is not in focus. Now I take the picture and wait until I see the processing light blinking (if you press the shutter before getting the focus lock beep it will take the picture whether in focus or not). It has a number of automatic focus modes, but I have not worked with them long enough to know which is best in every situation. . I have never owned a compact camera with a focal length of 200mm and I saw a post from a person who has two other compacts with 200mm capability and he noted that the P7000, is better at focusing at 200mm than his other compacts. As I said above, these are only occasional problems and normally focus works well and it focuses very quickly indeed.

2. It is a bit slow in processing images in RAW. There are times when I am pressing the shutter for the next frame and I have hold the shutter down a second for it to finish processing the previous frame (it takes a little under 2 seconds to process). JPEG is is faster, but I have not really used JPEG so I don't know how much difference that would make.

The main things I like about the P7000 are:

1. Excellent image quality. I simply do not miss my DSLR in most situations.

2. RAW files - I really like to post process my photos and RAW is best for that. Also, I want as much dynamic range as is possible and again RAW gives the best results. However, I should point out that the JPEG engine is excellent and a number of P7000 owners have posted that they use JPEG only or RAW only infrequently.

3. SLR feel - It more than any compact I have owned gives me the feel that I am working with a DSLR. Features like a separate dial for exposure compensation and separate dials for aperture and shutter speed give it this DSLR feel. Also, I like having 5 f/stop bracketing. It will take an external flash too, although it will not do remote triggering from the camera itself. I believe you need two external flashes for that.

4. Focal Range - The 28 to 200mm (equivalent) focal range pretty much meets my needs. Occasionally, I would like to go wider. Nikon does offer a converter that gets down to 21mm (I don't think this is available yet). I also would like even more on the telephoto end. But, you can't have everything in one camera. :)

5. Compact size and relatively low weight - The P7000 is about the largest and heaviest compact that meets my needs. I want a compact that I can carry with me at all times. The size and weight are such that I can carry the P7000 around with me in a pocket and not have it bother me. In cooler weather I am normally wearing a jacket and carry the camera in a jacket pocket. In warm weather I am wearing shorts which have fairly large pockets and again can easily carry the camera in a front pocket. The only time when it is a tight fit is when I am wearing jeans and no jacket. However, I can still squeeze it into a front pocket. When the camera is closed it is actually is a little less wide than my Panasonic LX3, as the lens does not protrude as much.

6. Optical viewfinder - There are many situations where I find it difficult to really see the image in an LCD. Even though the P7000 has an excellent LCD, I find the optical viewfinder very useful at times, although it is small, shows only about 80% of the actual field of view and does not have parallax correction. Parallax is only an issue when you are fairly close to the subject. Also at slower shutter speeds being able to press the camera against your cheek helps to stabilize it.

7. Manual automatic focus - This allows you to move the focus spot around the screen so that you do not have to recompose after focusing on the area you want sharpest. This is especially useful when doing macro work where depth of field is so limited.

I do not use the video, so I have no comments on that feature.

The P7000 is one of those cameras that generally brings great pleasure, but on occasion can be a bit exasperating. :) It can be a little challenging at times, but I have come to love it. I am very pleased that I chose the P7000. I can think of no other compact that can match its picture quality and focal range at the long end.

My P7000 Gallery is here.
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