Nikon Coolpix P7800 Review: Just A Slightly Improved P7700

Nikon Coolpix P7800 Review: It Is Just An Improved P7700?

This is the complete review of the Nikon Coolpix P7800. One of the biggest criticisms of the Nikon Coolpix P7700, which was introduced several years ago, was the missing optical viewfinder, which previous models still had.

With the new P7800 model, Nikon is now implementing a practical solution by providing this digital camera, which is otherwise technically largely identical to the P7700, with an electronic viewfinder with VGA resolution.

With its back-illuminated, 12 megapixel 1/1.7″ CMOS sensor and the F2 to F4 fast 7.1x zoom of 28 to 200 millimeters, the Nikon Coolpix P7800 can still score as a high-end compact camera.

Nikon Coolpix P7800 Pros And Cons

Pros

  • Excellent ergonomics through numerous dedicated controls
  • Wide range of functions including flash shoe
  • Bright 7.1x zoom
  • Return of the (now electronic) viewfinder

Cons

  • Large (but handy) housing
  • Video recording only with max. 30 fps
  • Small sensor limits image quality
  • Slightly slow autofocus

 

nikon coolpix p7800

The Nikon Coolpix P7800, like its predecessor the P7700, has a 7.1x optical zoom of 28-200 mm (KB) at a speed of F2 (WW) to F4 (Tele). [Photo: Nikon]

Not all interested parties and photographers were happy with the predecessor of the Nikon Coolpix P7800. It lacked the optical viewfinder, which had a long tradition in the P-series. With the P7800, Nikon now brings the viewfinder back, but in the form of an EVF. Apart from that, little has changed compared to its predecessor. We have tested how the Nikon Coolpix P7800 proves itself in practice and with the utilization of the test software

In fact, the new electronic viewfinder seems to be the only new feature on the Nikon Coolpix P7800, otherwise, the technology of the P7700 has obviously proven itself.

In our test, the P7700 also scored well with its good picture quality and rich features, as well as the accessory connection options.

Due to the viewfinder, the housing dimensions increase only minimally, and the new feature is even less reflected in the weight.

The 0.5-centimeter monitor built into the viewfinder and the three-inch (7.5-centimeter diagonal) swivel-mounted screen at the rear has a resolution of 921,000 pixels, which corresponds to a VGA resolution (640 x 480 pixels).

The dioptre correction from -3 to +1 DPT allows the use without glasses in case of slight ametropia.

The back-illuminated 1/1.7″ CMOS sensor has a resolution of 12 megapixels and offers a sensitivity range from ISO 100 to 6,400.

The slightly larger sensor diagonal compared to conventional compact cameras, together with the moderate resolution and back-illumination, is intended to ensure high image quality with little disturbing noise.

With the F2 (wide angle) to F4 (telephoto) 7.1x zoom, Nikon relies on two ED lenses to ensure high image quality. The construction consists of 13 lenses arranged in ten groups, including the optical image stabilizer.

The iris diaphragm with its seven lamellae is intended to contribute to a soft bokeh. The optical zoom ranges from 28 to 200 millimeters corresponding to 35 mm.

nikon coolpix p7800
The back-exposed 1/1.7″ CMOS sensor of the Nikon Coolpix P7800 has a resolution of 12 megapixels and also allows the recording of Full HD videos at 25p or 30p. [Photo: Nikon]

The P7800 has full auto and scene modes as well as semi-automatic and manual control options – including video recording. The latter has a maximum resolution of Full-HD (1,920 x 1,080 pixels) at 30 frames per second.

The sound is recorded in stereo via the integrated microphone, but an external microphone can also be connected via the 3.5 mm jack socket.

In general, the connection possibilities are great. The TTL system hot shoe allows the attachment of Nikon system flashguns, also a GPS or the WLAN adapter WU-1a can be attached. The latter allows not only the transfer of photos to a smartphone but also the control of the camera from the smartphone including live image transfer.

Classically, the Nikon P7800 can also be controlled by a wireless or cable remote release, which is quite rare for compact cameras.

Not only the two control wheels, the two programmable Fn buttons, and the exposure compensation wheel should ensure good operation, but also the user memories on the program dial so that the user can always access preferred presets.

The Nikon Coolpix P7800 takes serial images at up to eight photos per second, ambitious photographers can even use the NRW raw data storage format to develop the images themselves later on the PC.

The Nikon Coolpix P7800 is available since the end of 2013 at a price of almost 550 dollars at market launch and still available as a used model for more than ten years later. Despite the slightly better equipment in the form of the electronic viewfinder, it costs the same as the previous model from 2012.

 

nikon coolpix p7800

The biggest innovation of the Nikon Coolpix P7800: The electronic viewfinder. It has a resolution of 921,000 pixels (VGA). [Photo: Nikon]

Ergonomics and Workmanship

As with its ancestors, the Nikon Coolpix P7800’s main focus is on functionality. Consequently, the camera presents itself in a somewhat ragged dress with many humps and oriels. But in the hand, the P7800 is a pleasure to hold, it can be held securely, the controls are pleasantly large and easy to grip.

The rather voluminous case certainly also contributes a good part to this, whereby the camera remains pleasantly light with a weight of around 400 grams. However, the Coolpix P7800 isn’t really compact anymore, it’s already too bulging in a jacket pocket and is clearly too big for a trouser pocket. But this was already the case with the predecessor, although Nikon had rationalized away the optical viewfinder.

The P7800 now has a viewfinder again, but an electronic one. It is quite small, but nevertheless it can be seen almost completely even by the wearer of glasses. In addition, the viewfinder image has a very fine resolution of around 921,000 pixels.

In practice, however, the Nikon Coolpix P7800 does not automatically switch between the electronic viewfinder (EVF) and the rear display. If you forget to press the corresponding button, you will see a dark display or look into a black viewfinder eyepiece. The EVF is pleasantly bright and easy to use even in sunlight, but the image may be a bit more contrasty.

nikon coolpix p7800

TTL system hot-shoe, a large program dial with user memories, an exposure correction wheel, as well as an Fn button and dial are all on the top of the Nikon Coolpix P7800. [Photo: Nikon]

At first glance, everything on the rear display appears to have remained the same. It still has a resolution of 921,000 pixels and is therefore very detailed.

However, Nikon has improved the technology: The display is now based on an RGBW matrix, additional white diodes give it a higher maximum brightness and reduce the energy consumption at the same time.

As a result, the Nikon Coolpix P7800 shoots about 20 shots more than its predecessor with one battery charge, but with a maximum of 350 shots, it does not really have much stamina.

On the other hand, it’s nice that Nikon has kept the practical folding / rotating hinge for the display. This allows the viewfinder image on the monitor to be easily seen and conveniently controlled in virtually any position.

In daily photographic practice, what counts most is how quickly and comfortably a camera can be operated. And that’s where the Nikon Coolpix P7800 has a lot to offer. So it comes with its own dial for exposure correction – a good idea!

The program selector wheel is richly equipped with options and can be used to call up three user-defined camera configurations. There is also a quick menu for direct access to the most important parameters.

But here, Nikon would have liked to accommodate a few more functions. Thus, sometimes a trip to the main menu is necessary, and one has to find one’s way around in it. It’s a pity that Nikon denies the P7800 a touchscreen, the direct command input via fingertip would surely simplify the operation even more.

 

nikon coolpix p7800

 

The housing of the P7800 is largely made of plastic, only the top plate is made of metal. Nevertheless, the camera makes a robust impression, as nothing crackles or creaks when it is packed tightly.

Moreover, the HDMI and USB jacks disappear under a neat flap and not under fiddly rubber plugs.

Less successful is the fact that the tripod thread is not on the optical axis. But those who do not want to take panorama pictures will not be bothered by this. But it is true that an inserted quick-release plate blocks access to the combined battery and memory card compartment.

On the other hand, it is praiseworthy that Nikon includes a full battery charger with the Coolpix P7800. This way, one energy dispenser can be charged while a second battery supplies the camera with power on the move.

Equipment And Features

The fact that the Nikon Coolpix P7800 has turned out so big despite its comparatively small sensor (more on this in the image quality section) is certainly to a large extent due to its lens.

It zooms from 28 millimeters in wide-angle to a respectable 200 millimeters telephoto focal length (all data refer to 35 mm). With F2.0 to F4.0 it is extremely fast, and the diameter of the lens is correspondingly large.

When the camera is switched off, the lens retracts almost completely into the housing, and when switched on, it extends again at lightning speed. The lens is protected by a simple clip-on cover. A protective curtain that closes automatically would be nicer.

nikon coolpix p7800

The Nikon Coolpix P7800 is generous with its shooting functions – both for novices and comfortable photographers as well as for photographers with higher demands. If you don’t want to spend a lot of time with the right shooting settings, leave this to the intelligent fully automatic mode or select one of the numerous scene programs. The Nikon Coolpix P7800 is ideal when you want effective pictures – numerous effects can distort the images. And as usual with Nikon, this can also be done afterwards in playback mode – that’s how it should be!

nikon coolpix p7800

nikon coolpix p7800

 

For photographers who don’t want to leave the optimum camera settings to the automatic controls, the Nikon Coolpix P7800 offers DSLR-level features. Especially easy is the exposure correction, for which Nikon has provided a separate setting wheel. Also praiseworthy is the fact that the Nikon Coolpix P7800 offers an AE lock button, optionally it also holds the current focus position.

The autofocus works exclusively by measuring the contrast on the image sensor. Thus, the Coolpix P7800 isn’t exactly fast with a shutter release delay of between 0.4 and 0.85 seconds, but the focus is very accurate.

The automatic system selects one of nine fields to focus; with manual focus, the photographer has 99 fields to choose from. Alternatively, automatic face recognition helps to focus on the portrait. The camera even offers object tracking, keeping the subject in focus even when shooting in series.

The Coolpix P7800 leaves nothing to be desired in terms of flash exposure. Their onboard flash is not particularly powerful and must be unlocked manually in any case. For this purpose, the noble compact comes with an ISO shoe for system flash units and integrates itself into the “Nikon Creative Lighting System”.

The internal flash can even be used as a master for a wireless flash setup. As befits a sophisticated camera, the flash exposure of the P7800 can be adjusted separately. In general, the Coolpix P7800 can be adapted to the photographer’s ideas and the requirements of the subject to a very large extent. This applies, for example, to white balance, internal image processing (sharpness, contrast, etc.), or the upper limit of ISO auto.

In terms of photo functions, the P7800 is really well positioned. But how does it look like when it comes to video recordings? When shooting video, the first thing you notice is that the P7800 records with a maximum of 30 full frames at 1,920 x 1,080 pixels. However, the somewhat low frame rate is almost the only limitation you have to live with on the P7800. For example, the P7800 allows manual exposure control when shooting movies, or regulates the exposure with the aperture priority. Alternatively, one of the subject programs can be selected for movie recording. The autofocus adjusts the focus on demand, very slowly but without annoying pumping. Also, very leisurely zoom drives are done, but this is not a disadvantage at all. The disadvantage is rather that the optical image stabilizer is not very effective when shooting movies – quite different from when taking pictures.

The Coolpix P7800 does without a WiFi module, remote control via app or fixed transfer of recordings to social networks are not possible by default. However, its USB interface accepts the optional WiFi module WU-1a, which can be used to upgrade wireless remote control via a mobile device for a small price. Nikon has also denied the camera an integrated GPS module, alternatively it can locate shots using the optional GP-1 GPS add-on module for the ISO shoe.

Image Quality Of The Nikon Coolpix P7800

The heart of the Nikon Coolpix P7800 is an image converter in 1/1.7-inch format with a resolution of around 12 megapixels. Thus, the sensor resolution is not very high, but in view of the rather small sensor area it is certainly high enough. As with its predecessor, the image converter is designed in BSI technology, i.e. it improves the energy yield through backward exposure.

Will that be enough for the P7800 to deliver decent image quality? We have not only pursued this question in practice but also with the usage of the test software where we retrieve precise measurements.

nikon coolpix p7800

A look at the data quickly shows why Nikon believes the ISO automatic to be at most ISO 800: up to this ISO level, the signal-to-noise ratio remains acceptably high.

Although the curve hardly sinks any further, even at higher ISO levels, the texture sharpness decreases rapidly. This is clear evidence that only smoke suppression prevents even worse values for the signal-to-noise ratio.

Even beyond ISO 200, the finest image details fall victim to noise reduction; at the latest from ISO 800, this loss of detail also becomes visible. So it doesn’t help that the grain size of the noise is always pleasantly small – the P7800 has a rather small sensor that quickly reaches its limits when the light fades.

To save your breath, however, the small image converter already shows a large depth of field at open aperture, so the fast lens of the P7800 rarely needs to be stopped down. On the contrary: Already at F4 the resolution is lower than at F2.8 – resolution-reducing diffraction effects become noticeable early on due to the small sensor surface of the camera.

Ideally, the lens resolves around 45 line pairs per millimeter (lp/mm) – a decent value. However, this does not apply to the longest focal length of 200 millimeters, where the resolving power does not exceed a modest 35 lp/mm.

Another shortcoming is that the resolution decreases strongly in the image corners, especially in the wide-angle range. At the shortest focal length, the lens also has a powerful barrel shape – in short, it is less suitable for architectural shots.

In terms of resolution and noise behavior, the Coolpix P7800 can’t hide the fact that it’s a compact camera – albeit a good one. But how does it look like when it comes to colors and contrasts? Surprisingly good: up to ISO 800, the camera processes a scene contrast of almost ten aperture stops – quite respectable considering the small sensor.

Nikon has tuned the tonal value curve rather reservedly than crisply, which is quite ok for a camera with a professional paint job. There’s also nothing to complain about on the whole when it comes to color reproduction, the Coolpix P7800 displays colors in a typically Nikon manner in a reserved and very natural way. Only orange and cyan are likely to be even more reservedly saturated.

Conclusions: Is The Nikon Coolpix P7800 Worth It?

With the Coolpix P7800, Nikon introduces an electronic viewfinder, eliminating the biggest annoyance of its predecessor.

This EVF is a little small, but it has proven itself in practice – except that the camera does not automatically switch between viewfinder and display. But that’s basically it with the new features – GPS and WiFi are still only available with optional accessories.

Compared to the small 1/1.7 inch sensor, the P7800 is quite large, which is certainly also due to its fast zoom lens. The Coolpix isn’t really compact anymore, but on the other hand, Nikon has accommodated a pleasing number of dedicated controls on its voluminous case.

The Coolpix P7800’s feature set is high and reaches almost the DSLR level. This cannot be said of the image quality.

Discerning photographers will only use the P7800 at a very low ISO level, and as a snapshot camera, it is suitable for up to around ISO 1,600, although its autofocus is a little slow.

All in all, the P7800 is a very well equipped camera at a very attractive price, but the small sensor sets visible limits in terms of image quality.

Profile

Profile
Manufacturer Nikon
Model Coolpix P7800
Price approx. 430 dollars at market launch, much cheaper now
Sensor Resolution 12 megapixels
Max. Image resolution 4.000 x 3.000
(aspect ratio) (4:3)
Lens F2-4/28-200 mm
Filter thread 40.5 mm
Viewfinder electronically
Resolution 921.000
Dioptre correction -3 to +1 dpt.
LCD monitor 3″
Resolution 921.000
rotatable yes
swiveling yes
as Viewfinder yes
Video output
AV and HDMI
(per PAL/NTSC)
Automatic programming yes
Automatic aperture control yes
Automatic timer yes
manual exposure yes
BULB long time exposure
Scene mode programs
Portrait yes
Children/baby
Landscape yes
Macro yes
Sports/action yes
More 14 additional scene modes
Exposure metering Multi-field, centre-weighted Integral, Spot
Flash yes
Flash connection TTL system hot shoe
Remote release Infrared (optional)
Interval recording yes
Storage medium SD, SDHC, SDXC
Video mode
Format MOV
Codec H.264
Resolution (max.) 1.920 x 1.080
at frame rate 30 frames/s
Sensitivity
automatically ISO 80-800 (upper limit adjustable)
extended ISO 80-1,600
manually ISO 80-6.400
White balance
Automatic yes
Sun yes
Clouds yes
Fluorescent lamp yes
Incandescent lamp yes
Miscellaneous Flash, manual color temperature selection
Manually yes
Autofocus
Number of measurement fields 9
AF auxiliary light Red-orange
Speed approx. 0.4-0.9 s
Languages English
More 35 additional languages
Weight
(ready for operation)
400 g
Zoom
Zoom adjustment motorized via ring rocker
One-hand operation
(zoom and shutter release)
yes
Trip during
.Saving possible.
Battery life about 350 pictures (according to CIPA)
– = “not applicable” or “not available

This test of the Nikon Coolpix P7800 was created with DXOMARK Analyzer.

Brief assessment

Pros

  • Excellent ergonomics through numerous dedicated controls
  • Wide range of functions including flash shoe
  • Bright 7.1x zoom
  • Return of the (now electronic) viewfinder

Cons

  • Large (but handy) housing
  • Video recording only with max. 30 fps
  • Small sensor limits image quality
  • Slightly slow autofocus

Nikon Coolpix P7800 Datasheet

Electronics

Sensor CMOS sensor 1/1.7″ 7.6 x 5.7 mm (crop factor 4.6) 12.2 megapixels (effective)
Pixelpitch 1.9 µm
Photo resolution
4.000 x 3.000 pixels (4:3)
3.264 x 2.448 pixels (4:3)
2.272 x 1.704 pixels (4:3)
1.600 x 1.200 pixels (4:3)
640 x 480 pixels (4:3)
Image formats JPG, RAW
Color depth 24 bits (8 bits per color channel)
Metadata Exif (version 2.2), DCF standard
Video resolution
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 30 p
1.280 x 720 (16:9) 30 p
960 x 540 (16:9) 30 p
Video format
AVI (Codec H.264)
Audio format (video) WAV

Lens

Focal length 28 to 200 mm (35mm equivalent) 7.1x zoom4x digital zoom
Sharpness range 50 cm to infinity (wide angle) 80 cm to infinity (telephoto)
Macro area 2 cm (wide angle) 50 cm (telephoto)
Aperture F2 to F8 (wide angle) F4 to F8 (telephoto)
Autofocus yes
Autofocus functions Single AF, Continuous AF, Area AF, Manual, AF Assist Light

Viewfinder and Display

Display 3.0″ TFT LCD monitor with 921,000 pixels
Video finder Video viewfinder available, dioptre compensation (-3.0 to 1.0 DPT)

Exposure

Exposure metering Center-weighted integral metering, matrix/multi-field metering over 256 fields, spot metering, AF-AE coupling
Exposure times 1/4,000 to 60 s (automatic)
Exposure control Programmed automatic, Shutter priority, Aperture priority, Manual
Exposure Compensation -3.0 to +3.0 EV with step size of 1/3 EV
Photosensitivity ISO 80 to ISO 1,600 (automatic) ISO 80 to ISO 6,400 (manual)
Remote access available
Scene modes Twilight, documents, fireworks, backlight, indoor, landscape, night scene, night portrait, close-up, portrait, sunset, food, sports/action, and beach/snow
Picture effects Soft focus, Cross development, Defocus for more harmonious bokeh, Painting, High key, Creative black and white mode, Low key, Selective color, Sepia, Zoom-in effect
White balance Clouds, sun, flash light, fluorescent lamp, incandescent light
Continuous shooting Continuous shooting function max. 8 fps at highest resolution and max. 6 stored photos
Self-timer Self-timer with 2 or 1 s interval, special features: or 10 s (optional)

Flashgun Of The Nikon Coolpix P7800

Flash built-in flash (flip up) Flash shoe: Nikon, standard center contact
Flash range 0.5 to 10.0 m at wide angle – 0.5 to 5.5 m at telephoto Flash range
at ISO AE7 (ISO 100)
Flash code
Guide number 7 (ISO 100)
Flash functions Auto, fill-flash, flash on, flash off, slow sync, flash on second shutter curtain, red-eye reduction

Equipment And Features

Image stabilizer optical image stabilizer
Memory
SD
Internal memory yes (86 MByte)
Microphone Stereo
Power supply unit Power supply connection
Power supply 1 x Nikon EN-EL14 (lithium-ion (Li-Ion), 7.4 V, 1,030 mAh) 350 images according to CIPA standard
Playback functions Red eye retouching, image index
Voice memo Voice memo (WAV format)
Face recognition Face recognition, smile recognition
Image parameters Noise Reduction
Connections Data interfaces: USB video output: yes (HDMI output Micro (Type D))
Supported direct printing methods PictBridge
Tripod thread 1/4″
Special features and miscellaneous Metal BodyEXPEED
C2 Image ProcessorBSS Best Shot Selector
to automatically select the sharpest images from a captured series of imagesShake Warning DisplayPortrait Auto Focuswith Face DetectionImage Copy Function
(memory card <> internal memory)Noise-Reduced
Night Scene from (ISO 800 to ISO 12.800)
D-Lighting technology for in-camera compensation between light and dark image areasLong-term noise reduction
(for exposure times from 1/4 s)
Date stampSpeech memo functionStereomicrophoneTime-lapse videosS/W videosSepia-VideoWorld clock
with time zone selectionOptical
image stabilization in photo and video mode (VR)
Virtual horizon leveling aidSwitchable
ND (Neutral Gray Filter)
Three user memory exposure correction
Video -2 to 2 EV in 1/3 EV steps

Size and weight

Weight 399 g (ready for operation)
Dimensions W x H x D 118 x 78 x 50 mm

Miscellaneous

standard accessory Nikon BS-1 (Hot Shoe Cover) Nikon EN-EL14 Special Battery Nikon
HC-CP17 Lens Accessories Nikon
LC-CP26 Lens Accessories Nikon
MH-24 Charger for Special Batteries Nikon
UC-E16 USB Cable Lens Cap
HN-CP26;
Carrying StrapCamera SoftwareViewNX 2
additional accessories Nikon EH-5B Power supplyNikon
EN-EL14 Special rechargeable battery cardRemote releaseMC-DC2; Remote release ;L-3; GPS receiver GP-1; Stereo microphone ME-1; Lens hood HN-CP17
USB
—-

 

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Peter Dench
I am Peter Dench. Digital Photographer, born in London 1972, currently living in Deerfield, near Chicago. I have numerous photography expositions and also working in model photography. In this website, PhotoPoint, I usually review cameras provided by local dealers in Illinois and by the manufacturers. Sometimes I, Peter Dench, review lenses too, but only when I have a suitable camera for them. Please let me know in the comments if I can improve any of these articles.