This brick of a camera boasts a battleship-tough build and comprehensively featured control layout with rangefinder-style dials that resemble a digital SLR with the lens mount removed. So for DSLR owners who want a more portable alternative that feels and handles in a similar way, this is the camera to go for. In terms of portability it’s a squeeze for a jacket pocket, but we managed it.
Also DSLR-like are its response times, the P7000 powered up and ready for the first shot in just over a second. JPEG and Nikon Raw format (NRW+) images and 1280x720p video (with stereo sound) are composed via optical viewfinder or 3-inch, 920k-dot resolution LCD that is match for any DSLR’s.
To allow a bit of compositional variety, Nikon has stuck an f/2.8, 7.1x optical zoom lens on the front of the P7000, that can be retracted within the body when not in use. With a focal range equivalent to 28-200mmm in 35mm film terms, it proves as useful for wide-angle compositions as candid portraiture and can be utilised when recording movies.
The P7000’s integral 1/1.7-inch CCD offers an acceptably modest 10.1 effective megapixels; a good thing if you want to avoid image noise at higher ISO settings, which here are expandable from the standard ISO100 to ISO3200, right up to ISO6400 via ‘Hi’ setting.
Like a child’s activity centre, photographers will be spoilt for choice as to what to spin, twist, press, or prod first here. There’s a retro-looking analogue dial to control exposure compensation (+/-3EV). You also get a familiar shooting mode dial with 11 auto and manual options. A third dedicated dial contains key settings governing the likes of ISO adjustment, white balance and image quality, plus in between there’s a vacant hotshoe for mounting accessory flash – one of Nikon’s Speedlight series – whilst otherwise the built-in bulb is unobtrusively sunk into the top plate.
Nikon has included its exposure adjusting D-Lighting technology here – working well if attempting to preserve both highlight and shadow detail in the same shot. More unusual is the spirit level accessed in its Virtual Horizon function, so the user can make sure they’re shooting with the camera level and steady.
The combination of lens and sensor delivers well-defined results that leap off the screen, although there’s a tendency to underexpose shots to preserve highlight detail. Stay at ISO800 or below to avoid noise.
Nikon terms its P7000 the ‘ultimate Coolpix’ and it certainly feels like it. In virtually every sense it is a heavyweight among digital compacts.
Nikon P7000 launch date: Out now, link Nikon
Nikon P7000 price: £320-£360 online