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Nikon P7100 Review

Nikon P7100 Review

Nikon P7100 Review

With the P7100 Nikon limits itself to detail improvements compared to the P7000. This digital camera is still the best Nikon offers in the compact camera segment. These include a large 7.1x zoom of 28-200 millimetres, a 1/1.7-inch image sensor with a relatively moderate ten-megapixel resolution and a robust housing with many adjustment wheels and knobs to save the demanding amateur photographer from trips into the menu.

Short evaluation

Pros

  • Comprehensive equipment with all basic functions and many extras
  • High quality workmanship
  • Up to ISO 400 very good image quality, good up to ISO 800
  • Many control knobs and wheels
  • High resolution and foldable display

Cons

  • Very small optical viewfinder
  • Tripod thread not in the optical axis
  • Camera locks while writing to memory card

Nikon P7100 Review

 

 

Nikon P7100 Review

 

Nikon P7100 Review

The new Nikon Coolpix P7100 is aimed at high-end compact camera buyers. Nikon has taken the criticism levelled at the predecessor model to heart and improved the camera only in a few details: It now has a pan screen that can be folded up and down. It measures 7.5 centimeters diagonally and resolves fine 921,000 pixels. Another improvement is a third control wheel located on the front of the camera. It complements the rear thumbwheel and the wheel on the four-way rocker. What has remained is the optical viewfinder, which sets the P7100 apart from most of its competitors. The optical 7.1x zoom ranges from the equivalent of 28 to 200 mm focal length and is optically image-stabilized. The optical structure has two ED glass elements to reduce chromatic aberrations, the swing-in gray filter allows a more flexible exposure design.

Nikon P7100 Review

The P7100 also features a system flash shoe and the option of fully manual operation – but if you prefer, you can also use the automatic motif with face recognition. Even effects such as “cross-development” or “selective color” are included with the P7100. Not only the high-quality lens but also the relatively large 1/1.7″ sensor with a moderate resolution of 10 megapixels should contribute to the good image quality. For example, the quite large pixels compared to a 16-megapixel sensor with 1/2.3″ provide a noiseless image and a higher dynamic range. As an alternative to JPEG, the images can also be saved in RAW format so that they can be better edited later on the computer. In addition, Nikon has improved the reaction times of the camera, the P7100 should now be fast: Switch-on time, shutter release delay and focusing time are said to have been significantly shortened compared to the P7000. HD video recording at 24 frames per second and use of the optical zoom during recording and an HDMI interface with CEC support complete the functionality of the Coolpix.

Nikon P7100 Review

Ergonomics and workmanship

The Nikon P7100 feels very solid! The front and top of the housing are made of magnesium alloy, while the back is made of plastic. Despite the barely pronounced handle, the camera can be easily grabbed and held by hand, while the balance can be held well due to the high weight of 400 grams. The case is littered with controls that may seem confusing at first glance. The ambitious amateur photographer, on the other hand, will be pleased with this, as the important photographic settings can be made directly. Program selector wheel with its own memory, exposure correction wheel, rear and front control dial and a function wheel with knob make the heart of a technology geeks beat faster. Only the front dial is unusually placed like it takes getting used to. In fact, it makes most sense to place the index finger on the shutter release button and zoom lever while the middle finger rests on and operates the front e-dial. The remaining two fingers have enough space underneath and the thumb finds a holding recess on the back. The handle and the hollow are rubberized, but a bit too smooth.

Nikon P7100 Review

Nikon has placed the metal tripod thread unfavorably on the underside of the camera. It is not located in the optical axis and also directly next to the battery and memory card compartment, so that this is inevitably blocked when the removable disk is attached. After all, the camera on the tripod can also alternatively be supplied with power by a power supply unit. There is no remote trigger connection, but there is an infrared remote control receiver on the front of the camera. When testing the P7000, we had praised the high-resolution screen, but criticized its firm mounting. Nikon heard us and has now fitted the display with a hinged hinge. At least above the head and on the ground you can take pictures comfortably. However, one swivel joint is still missing.

Nikon P7100 Review

Photographers usually complain about a lack of optical viewfinders on cameras. This criticism runs into nowhere with the P7100, because it has one. However, it is quite small, so that one finds something to criticize. We also don’t find the opening mechanism of the flash to be quite optimal. On the one hand it has to be operated manually, on the other hand the flash jumps just high enough to make the flash tube visible. If you want to flash professionally, you should use the TTL system flash shoe and use one of the smaller system flashes. The large ones also work, but the balance doesn’t quite fit the camera as well.

Equipment

Actually, it would be easier to list which features the Nikon P7100 does not have: One would only have to think of an empty screen, then the list would be roughly complete. The high degree of customizability should be emphasized, for example. Assignable keys, a user menu and three user memories on the program selector wheel. The white balance memory also offers three manual memories. On the program selector wheel, the scene mode programs had to be moved together to a single setting. This won’t bother ambitious photographers, because they have access to the four programs P, A, S and M. Only those who want to expose for longer than 60 seconds, for example using the bulb function, can look into the tube. Those who enjoy experimenting can dare to try out a total of ten picture effects. Since these offer some configurable parameters, they do not wear out so quickly, sufficient variations are possible. The P7100 even offers a panorama program, hidden in the scene mode programs.

Nikon P7100 Review

The video mode must also be activated via the program wheel, as the P7100 does not have a separate video button for the quick start of filming. The camera is primarily aimed at photographers. The maximum video resolution of 1,280 x 720 pixels does not achieve FullHD. Nevertheless, the P7100 offers some modern features that you won’t want to miss anymore, such as the optical zoom that can be used during recording, which can be tamed at video speed via the menu, the microphone input and the space-saving MP4 format for video recordings.

Nikon P7100 Review

 

In photo mode, for example, the P7100 can record RAW images in NEF format, which can also be used parallel to JPEG if desired. What is annoying is that the camera blocks during the saving process. Fortunately, this is relatively short, but can be too long for exciting, action-packed scenes. If desired, the P7100 can even record serial photos with flash, and even bracketing is no problem. Even the so rare interval function can be found in the camera menu. Tracking autofocus for moving subjects, exposure area preselection, different types of exposure metering, picture-style adjustment of image processing, face recognition and much more, the P7100 also has to offer.

Nikon P7100 Review

Compared to the P7000, the P7100 has also increased speed. The camera reacts faster overall, the operation runs more smoothly. The most annoying thing is the short second of remembrance when saving images. The resolution delay is also extremely short, reaching 0.01 to 0.03 seconds. The autofocus, however, has not become faster. That’s not to say that it’s slow: with 0.24 seconds at wide-angle it’s even very fast, but in telescopic position at half speed the focusing time doubles to 0.48 seconds. In a dark environment, a focusing light helps to find the right focus point. Thus, the photographer should not rely on the fast autofocus, otherwise he is left with a weaker subject contrast or in the telescopic position of the lens.

Nikon P7100 Review

Picture quality

In relation to a 20 x 30 centimetre printout, the sharpness of the lens image from the centre to the edge of the image is without fault or blame at any adjustable aperture and focal length. If you take a more critical look at the resolution performance at 50 percent contrast, however, differences become apparent. The highest resolution is achieved up to aperture F4 in wide angle and at medium focal length, but the resolution in wide angle falls clearly towards the edge of the picture. At F5,6 and F8 the diffraction becomes noticeable, the absolute resolution decreases, but becomes more even up to the image edge, as here the resolution is hardly affected by the diffraction. Since the lens has a low maximum aperture of F5.6 at the telephoto end, the resolution is somewhat more modest here than in wide-angle with open aperture.

The distortion is also obvious. While it is clearly barrel-shaped at wide-angle, it is slightly cushion-shaped at medium and long focal lengths. You can avoid this by activating the distortion correction in the menu. Vignetting, on the other hand, plays practically no role. Although it is strongest in wide-angle with an open aperture, it is hardly noticeable even there. The chromatic aberrations are quite different. On average, they are not conspicuous, but in the wide angle there can be quite visible color fringes at the edges of the picture, which cannot be eliminated by fading, but on the contrary even increase.

Nikon P7100 Review

The Coolpix P7100 cuts a good figure with noise, especially up to ISO 400, but ISO 800 doesn’t look that bad either. The camera suppresses color noise so effectively that it doesn’t matter at all, but the brightness noise increases with increasing sensitivity and becomes visible from ISO 1,600. Correspondingly, the signal-to-noise ratio decreases and already falls below the still acceptable value of 35 dB at ISO 800. The input dynamics, on the other hand, are still good at this sensitivity, but the highest value of 10.2 f-stops is achieved at ISO 100 and 200. From ISO 1.600 the ability to record high contrast differences decreases noticeably, which is not reprehensible for a compact camera. If one looks at the image details depending on the ISO sensitivity, a high sharpness of detail can be seen at ISO 100 and 200, but at ISO 400 one can already see a slight loss of detail, which is still acceptable. From ISO 800, however, you can no longer overlook the structural losses, ISO 3,200 and 6,400 should be avoided rather.

Nikon P7100 Review

The preparation of the tonal value curve is relatively reserved, the P7100 is professionally neutral. For crisp picture results, it can’t hurt to share the mid-tone contrasts somewhat. The manual white balance is very accurate, the overall color deviation is in the range, while some cyan and violet tones are interpreted more freely by the Coolpix, giving a more bluish hue or a highly saturated one. Here, too, it can be seen that the camera can differentiate sufficiently fine colour gradations up to ISO 800, but from ISO 1.600 many fine nuances are lost. The same applies to the brightness levels.

Bottom line

Workmanship, equipment, operation – the Nikon Coolpix P7100 really doesn’t do anything wrong here. The camera offers everything a photographer’s heart desires. Only those who want to film in high quality will perhaps miss the FullHD resolution. In terms of image quality, the P7100 is and remains a compact camera and thus quickly reaches its limits at higher sensitivities or with diminishing ambient light, but, unlike conventional compact cameras, reaches these limits later. It’s a bit painful that Nikon doesn’t offer a particularly fast lens like the Olympus in the XZ-1 or Fujifilm in the X10, but instead relies on a large zoom range. On the other hand, the buyer has a good alternative with the P7100 and can either opt for light intensity with the competition or zoom intensity with the P7100.

Fact sheet

Fact sheet
Manufacturer Nikon
Model Coolpix P7100
Price approx. 530 EUR
Sensor Resolution 10 megapixels
Max. Image resolution 3.648 x 2.736
(aspect ratio) 4:3
Lens F2,8-5,6/28-200 mm
Filter threads
Viewfinder optical
Diopter correction yes
LCD monitor 3″
Disbandment 921.000
rotatable
swivelling yes
as viewfinder yes
Video output
AV and HDMI
(per PAL/NTSC)
Program automation yes
Aperture priority yes
Aperture priority yes
manual exposure yes
BULB long-term exposure
Scene modes
Portrait yes
Children/Babies
Countryside yes
Macro yes
Sports/Action yes
more 15 other scene modes
Exposure metering Multi-field, Centre-weighted Integral, Spot
Flash yes
Flash connection TTL system flash shoe
Remote release Infrared (optional)
Interval shooting yes
Storage medium SD, SDHC, SDXC
Video mode
Size MOV
Codec H.264
Resolution (max.) 1.280 x 720
Frame rate (max.) 30 images/s
Sensitivity
automatic ISO 100-800 (upper limit adjustable)
extended ISO 100-1.600
manually ISO 100-6.400
White balance
Automatic yes
Sun yes
Clouds yes
Fluorescent lamp yes
Light bulb yes
Other Flash, manual color temperature selection
Manual yes (3 memories)
Autofocus
Number of measuring fields 9
AF auxiliary light Red-orange
Speed approx. 0.24-0.48 s
Languages Yes
more 28 languages
Weight
(ready)
400 g
Zoom
Zoom adjustment motorised via ring rocker
One-hand operation
(zoom and shutter release)
yes
Triggering during
.Save as possible.
Battery life approx. 450 pictures (acc. to CIPA)
– = “not applicable” or “not available”

Short evaluation

Pros

  • Comprehensive equipment with all basic functions and many extras
  • High quality workmanship
  • Up to ISO 400 very good image quality, good up to ISO 800
  • Many control knobs and wheels
  • High resolution and foldable display

Cons

  • Very small optical viewfinder
  • Tripod thread not in the optical axis
  • Camera locks while writing to memory card

Firmwareupdate 1.1 for the Nikon Coolpix P7100: Bugfixes

Nikon provides a new firmware version 1.1 for the premium compact camera P7100. This fixes bugs that could disturb everyday photography. For example, problems occurred when using the high format sensor or when saving the image orientation when recording in raw data format. This is because the image display of portrait raw images could not be rotated on the camera screen when captured with the Auto Orientation Memory option.

It also didn’t help if the “Portrait Display” was set to “On”. Even when using the display magnifier, orientation problems arose. There was also a problem with scrolling during playback using the function dial, at least when movies and pictures were stored on the memory card or the internal memory. Either the display stopped or it was browsed continuously without stopping. When using the self-timer together with bracketing in aperture or aperture priority and the option to keep the camera in self-timer mode is enabled, the autofocus function has been disabled. In addition, even when long-term noise reduction (Auto mode) was enabled, noise could occur if the image was saved in Raw or Raw+JPEG and either the continuous advance or self-timer function was enabled. Since the long-term noise suppression is only effective from 1/4 second exposure time and longer, only corresponding images were affected.

Nikon Coolpix P7100 Datasheet

Electronics

Sensor CCD sensor 1/1.7″ 7.6 x 5.7 mm (crop factor 4.6
)10.4 megapixels (physical), 10.1 megapixels (effective)
Pixel pitch 2,1 µm
Photo resolution
3.648 x 2.736 pixels (4:3)
3.264 x 2.448 pixels (4:3)
2.592 x 1.944 pixels (4:3)
1.600 x 1.200 pixels (4:3)
640 x 480 pixels (4:3)
Picture formats JPG, RAW
Color depth 24 bits (8 bits per color channel)
Metadata Exif (version 2.2), DCF standard
Video resolution
1.280 x 720 (16:9) 24 p
640 x 480 (4:3) 30 p
320 x 240 (4:3) 30 p
Video format
AVI (Codec H.264)
Audio format (video) WAV

Lens

Focal length 28 to 200 mm (35mm equivalent
)7.1x ZoomDigital zoom
4x
Focus range 50 cm to infinity (wide-angle
)80 cm to infinity (telephoto)
Macro sector 2 cm (wide-angle
)50 cm (telephoto)
Apertures F2.8 to F8 (wide-angle
)F5.6 to F8 (telephoto)
Autofocus yes
Autofocus Functions Single Auto Focus, Continuous Auto Focus, Area Auto Focus, Manual, AF Assist Light

Viewfinder and Monitor

Viewfinder Optical viewfinder
Monitor 3.0″ TFT LCD monitor with 921,000 pixels
Video viewfinder Diopter compensation

Exposure

Exposure metering Center-weighted integral measurement, matrix/multi-field measurement over 256 fields, spot measurement, AF-AE coupling
Exposure times 1/4,000 to 60 s (automatic)
Exposure control Program automatic, Aperture automatic, Time automatic, Manual
Exposure compensation -3.0 to +3.0 EV with step size of 1/3 EV
Sensitivity to light ISO 100 to ISO 6.400 (automatic
)ISO 100 to ISO 6.400 (manual)
Remote access present
Scene modes Twilight, Documents, Fireworks, Backlight, Indoor, Landscape, Night Scene, Night Portrait, Close-up, Portrait, Sunset, Food, Sports/Action, Beach/Snow, and no other scene mode.
Picture effects Blur, Cross-development, HighKey, LowKey, manual, Vivid
White balance Clouds, sun, flashlight, fluorescent lamp, incandescent light
Self-timer Self-timer every 3 s, special features: or 10 s (optional)

Flashgun

Flash built-in flash (hinged
)flash shoe: Nikon, standard center contact
Flash range 0.3 to 8.0 m at wide angle0
.3 to 4.0 m at telephoto guide number
7 (ISO 100)
Flash number
Guide number 7 (ISO 100)
Flash functions Auto, Fill Flash, Flash On, Flash Off, Slow Sync, Red-eye Reduction

Equipment

Image stabilizer optical image stabilizer
Memory
SD
Internal memory yes (94 MByte)
Microphone Stereo
Power supply Power supply connection
Power supply 1 x Nikon EN-EL14 (lithium ion (Li-Ion), 7.4 V, 1,030 mAh
)450 images according to CIPA standard
Playback Functions Red eye retouching, image index
Voice memo Voice memo (WAV format)
Face recognition Face recognition
Picture parameters Noise suppression
Ports Data interfaces: USB video output
: yes (HDMI output Micro (type D)
)
Supported direct printing methods PictBridge
Tripod socket 1/4″
Features and Miscellaneous Metal HousingEXPEED
C2 Image ProcessorBSS Best Shot Selector
for automatic selection of the sharpest images from a captured image seriesShake Warning DisplayPortrait Autofocuswith Face DetectionPicture Copy Function
(Memory Card <> Internal Memory)Noise-Reduced
Night Picture (ISO 800 to ISO 12.8

00)
D-Lighting technology for camera-internal compensation between bright and dark image areasLong-term noise reduction
(for exposure times from 1/4 s)
Date stamp Voice memo functionStereomicrophoneTime-lapse videosS/W videosSepia videosWorld time clock

with time zone selection Optical
image stabilization in photo and video mode (VR

)

Alignment aid virtual horizon-insertible
ND filter (neutral gray filter)
Two user memories

Size and weight

Weight 395 g (operational)
Dimensions W x H x D 114 x 77 x 45 mm

Other

included accessories Nikon EG-CP14 Audio / Video CableNikon
EN-EL14 Special Battery USB Cable
UC-E6Riser Camera SoftwareViewNX 2
optional accessory Nikon CS-P06 Camera bagNikon
EN-EL14 Special batteryNikon
MH-24 Charger for special batteriesNikon
WC-E75a ConverterRemovable memory cardNikoniTTL system flash unitsInfrared remote control
MH24