Nikon Coolpix P7700 Review
- Fast aperture lens
- Lots of dials for full manual control
- Gorgeous 3-inch fully articulated screen
- Fast shooter (8fps)
- Slow recycle time between shots
- Dynamic range slightly on the lower side
The Nikon Coolpix P7700 is a behemoth. It's huge, it's bulky and it's intimidating. But it is so deliciously feature packed that we can't seem to let go of this camera. We love the P7700 and given its price, it's probably the best camera for anyone looking to experiment with photography without having to invest in thousands more for a DSLR. Extensive manual controls, RAW shooting, great image quality and a fast aperture lens make this camera quite a desirable piece of equipment we'd love to include in our camera bag.
The Nikon Coolpix P7000 was Nikon’s foray into the enthusiast camera space and though it resembled something from the competition, it did put at the user’s disposal a load of easy-to-use dials and manual features. However, the camera was slow, and though the lens sported an impressive 28-200mm focal length, lost out in the aperture arena with a maximum aperture of f/2.8-5.6.
The Coolpix P7700 is Nikon’s refinement of the older models, the P7100 and P7000. It swaps out the 10 megapixel CCD sensor for a 1/1.7” BSI-CMOS sensor and while the focal length remains the same, Nikon has improved the aperture range, bringing it down to f/2.0-4.0. There’s also second generation Vibration Reduction built into the lens that is supposed to allow 4 stops worth of hand holding. We’ve spent a lot of time with this gorgeous hung of black craftsmanship and we’re quite eager to share our thoughts with you, so here they are.
Build and Ergonomics:
Black beast is probably the most appropriate way to describe this gorgeous hunk of craftsmanship. The minute you lift the camera into your hands, you will feel the sturdy build. The camera weights almost 400 grams, which is quite a lot for most point and shoots, but not something new for this category. This camera looks and feels like it can take abuse (and it really can. We tried.), with the lens being the only vulnerable entity on this otherwise camera that could very well be a tank. To fix the issue, Nikon supplies a lens cap, but unfortunately no tether to keep it affixed to the camera. We’re not sure if this is a problem that we can easily overlook as a scratched front element, or worse, a cracked one, could essentially render the camera useless. Good news is, the Nikon Coolpix P7700 does have a filter thread at the front of the lens and therefore, a UV filter could be attached in order to protect it.
A solid build is easy to achieve. Just make the whole thing out of metal and you should be good, but the trade-offs generally are ergonomics. The story of the Coolpix P7700 is only somewhat different. The camera has a very nice deep-grooved handgrip that would be comfortable for almost any size of hands (unless you’re a giant). What we like about this camera in particular is the large number of dials. Yes, we may have a borderline dial fetish, but the P7700 actually does a good job of putting ALL the controls at your fingertips. There is a primary dial on the front grip placed where your index finger would naturally go. There is another horizontal dial at the back right next to where the thumb would sit, making the manual operation of this camera a piece of a very, very delicious cake. Along with these two dials and a mode dial, there is a secondary dial on the top-left of the camera that gives quick access to options such as ISO, White Balance settings, Bracketing, Image Quality etc. In all our use of the P7700, we only needed to enter the dreaded Nikon menu once, and that was to see what the menu actually contained.
Along with the many dials, we found two “fn” buttons on the camera, which can be configured from within the menu to perform custom functions like switching between AF modes, switching Image settings etc. Each fn button can be associated with three other buttons to give quick access to a total of 6 features, eliminating the need to ever go into the menu.
Finally on the left we’ve got a tiny little switch to raise the flash. The switch is well sized, big enough to never get missed and small enough to never be obtrusive. It’s quite rare to find something on a camera that is just so perfect. The back has the usual host of buttons along with a jog dial that doubles up as more buttons to control more features. All in all, the Coolpix P7700 puts every form of control you may need right at your finger (or thumb) tips, without making the whole package seem too overwhelming. Yes, if this is your first advanced point and shoot camera and you lack the experience of using high end imaging machines, then we strongly suggest you get cozy by the fire with the user manual, which we promise you is an excellent cheat sheet to getting to know your camera.
All in all, the ergonomics and build of this camera scream professional. For first timers, the P7700 might seem a little intimidating, but in all honesty, it’s just a sheep in a wolf’s skin. It might look like a scary block of dials and switches and buttons, but in reality, each of those dials, switches and buttons does exactly what it’s supposed to.
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