A Useful Upgrade – Nikon P7800

NikonP7800It has been almost a year since we reviewed the Nikon P7700. Th e 7700 was a major upgrade to the P7100, with a 2-megapixel improvement in resolution, CMOS instead of CCD, fully articulated LCD in the place of a tilting screen, and surprisingly, discarding the optical viewfinder. Now Nikon has come up with an upgrade to the P7700. Well, disappointingly, the ‘upgrade’ seems to be limited to a new electronic viewfinder according to the specifications. But to find out if the P7800 springs up any surprise in terms of image quality, we need to put the camera through our in-depth tests.

Design and Build Quality
The P7800 is built sturdy with a metal outer casing, just like the 7700. The LCD screen can be rotated and swivelled inside to protect it from scratches. The lens has a two-segment construction and does not protrude much while zooming. Th e camera has two command dials. Th e microphone and GPS connectors are placed towards the front, on the left panel. The P7800 has a metal tripod receptacle.

Key Features
The 12.2-megapixel Nikon P7800 uses the same a 1/1.7-inch Type (7.60 x 5.70mm) Back-side Illuminated CMOS sensor that powered the P7700. Even the Nikkor 28-200mm equivalent f/2.0 – 4.0 lens is the same featured in the previous two versions of the camera. The lens features Vibration Reduction and is constructed with 13 elements in 10 groups including two Extra-low Dispersion (ED) elements. In the normal mode, the lens focusses from approximately 50cm to infinity at the wide-angle end and approximately 80cm to infinity at the telephoto end. In Macro mode, it focusses as close as 2cm at the wide-angle end. The camera uses contrast-detect autofocus. Focus area modes are Face priority, Auto (9- area automatic selection), Centre (wide, normal), Manual with 99 focus areas, Subject tracking, and Target finding AF. The P7800 features Auto, Scene, Special Effects, P (Program), S (Shutter priority), A (Aperture priority), M (Manual), User settings (3 settings can be saved), Movie, and Movie custom setting shooting modes. Scene modes include Scene auto selector, Portrait, Landscape, Sports, Night portrait, Party/indoor, Beach, Snow, Sunset, Dusk/ dawn, Night landscape, Close-up, Food, Museum, Fireworks, Black and White copy, Backlighting, Panorama, and Pet portrait. Still images are recorded in JPEG or NRW (Raw) format with a maximum resolution of 4000 x 3000 pixels, while videos are recorded in MOV format with the best quality of 1080p (1920 x 1080, approximately 30 fps). The P7800 can shoot up to 6 images at a maximum frame rate of 8 frames per second in the Continuous H mode. This is enabled by the use of a dual shutter mechanism — mechanical shutter combined with CMOS electronic shutter. Shutter speed ranges from 60 to 1/4000s and standard sensitivity ranges from ISO 80 to 3200, which can be expanded up to Hi 1 (ISO 6400). It features Focus Coupled metering (available when the AF area mode is set to Manual) in addition to the usual three metering modes — Matrix, Centre-weighted, and Spot. Exposure can be compensated up to +/-3 EV in 1/3 EV steps for still and +/-2 EV for videos. Self timer can be set to 1, 2, or 10 sec duration. Th e built-in fl ash has a range of 0.5 to 10m at the wide-angle end and 0.5 to 5.5m at the telephoto end when ISO sensitivity is set to Auto. Flash exposure can be compensated up to +/-2 EV in 1/3-EV steps. Th e P7800 features an ISO 518 accessory shoe (hot shoe) with sync and data contacts and safety lock. Th e camera supports Advanced Wireless Lighting with most Nikon Speedlites.

The P7800 uses a 0.2-inch, approximately 921,000-dot LCD Electronic Viewfinder. The monitor is a 3-inch, approximately 921,000-dot, wide viewing angle, vari-angle TFT LCD with anti-reflection coating. Th e camera has approximately 86MB of internal memory and accepts an SD/SDHC/ SDXC card for external storage. The 7800 is powered by a rechargeable Li-ion battery EN-EL14. Th e device weighs approximately 399g and has dimensions of 118.5 x 77.5 x 50.4 mm.

Ergonomics
Th e P7800 has a nice thick grip and thumb rest, finished in textured rubber. This, combined with the ergonomic design, enhances the stability of the camera. Nikon uses the same, simple menu style for all their cameras, and the P7800 is no different. It is very easy to navigate. The EVF is bright, comfortable, and clear, without any pixel jitter or moire patterns.

Performance
The P7800 performed reasonably well in our tests. Autofocus was fast and latched on to the subjects even in low light. Images were sharp out of the box and the metering modes performed as expected. Native image size was 10 x 13.33 inches at 300 ppi. At 25 percent of the native image size, Hi 1 (equivalent to ISO 6400) was slightly noisy, but soft due to noise reduction. Viewed at 50 percent, images were noise-free up to ISO 400. Slight noise was observed at ISO 800. But all the images were perfectly usable except Hi 1. Enlarged to 100 percent, all images showed noise, but were usable up to ISO 800.

The lens showed darkening at extreme corners at the wide-angle end at wideopen aperture. Prominent fl are was observed along with purple fringing. The lens produced barrel distortion up to 37mm and pincushion from 51mm onwards. We were slightly disappointed with Auto White Balance. The camera produced cast under all lighting conditions except cloudy conditions. These can easily be corrected in post-processing, especially if you shoot in Raw format, but it would be an additional help if the out-of-thebox JPEGs are well reproduced.

Value for Money
The Nikon Coolpix P7800 retails at an MRP of Rs.27,950. At this price, the camera seems to be good value for money.

SPECIFICATIONS
Effective pixels : 12.2 million
Image sensor : 1/1.7-in. type CMOS; approx. 12.76 million total pixels
Lens : NIKKOR 28-200 mm equivalent f/2.0-4.0
Lens Construction : 13 elements in 10 groups (2 ED lens elements)
Vibration reduction : Lens shift
Autofocus (AF) : Contrast-detect AF
Focus range : Normal: Approx. 50 cm to infinity
(W), Approx. 80 cm to infinity (T)
Macro mode: Approx. 2 cm to infinity (W)
Focus-area selection : Face priority, Auto (9-area automatic selection), Centre (wide, normal), Manual with 99 focus areas, Subject tracking, Target finding AF
Viewfinder : Electronic viewfinder, 0.2-inch, approx. 921,000-dot LCD with diopter adjustment function (-3 – +1 m-1)
Frame coverage : Approx. 100%
Monitor : 3-inch, approx. 921,000-dot
(RGBW), wide viewing angle, vari-angle TFT LCD with antireflection coating
Internal memory : approx. 86 MB
External Storage : SD/SDHC/SDXC memory card
File formats : Still pictures: JPEG, RAW (NRW)
Sound files (voice memo) WAV
Movies : MOV (Video: H.264/MPEG-4
AVC, Audio: AAC stereo)
Max. Image size (pixels) : 4000 x 3000
Shooting Modes : Auto, Scene, Special effects,
P, S, A, M, User Settings (3
settings), Movie, and Movie
custom setting
Scene Modes : Scene auto selector, Portrait,
Landscape, Sports, Night portrait,
Party/indoor, Beach, Snow, Sunset,
Dusk/dawn, Night landscape,
Close-up, Food, Museum,
Fireworks show, Black
and white copy, Backlighting,
Panorama, Pet portrait
Drive modes : Single, Continuous H (8 fps, max. 6 frames), Continuous M (4 fps, max. 6 frames), Continuous L (1 fps, max. 30 frames), BSS (Best Shot Selector), Multi-shot 16,
Continuous H:120 fps (about 120 fps, max. 60 frames),
Continuous H:60 fps (60 fps, max. 60 frames), Intvl timer shooting
Best Movie : 1920 x 1080 at approx. 30 fps
ISO sensitivity : ISO 80 – 3200, Hi 1 (equivalent to ISO 6400)
Exposure : Matrix, centre-weighted, spot
Metering modes (Focus-coupled metering available
when AF area mode set to Manual)
Exposure compensation : +/-3.0 EV in steps of 1/3 EV (still), +/-2.0 EV (video)
Shutter : Mechanical and CMOS electronic shutter
Speed : 60 to 1/4000 sec
Aperture : Electronically-controlled 7- blade iris diaphragm
Self-timer : 10 s, 2 s, 1 s
Flash range : approx. 0.5 – 10 m [W], 0.5 – 5.5
m [T] (ISO: Auto)
Flash control : TTL auto flash with monitor preflashes; manual flash control available
Flash exposure : +/-2 EV in steps of 1/3 EV compensation
Accessory shoe : ISO 518 hot-shoe with sync and data contacts and safety lock
Nikon Creative : i-TTL flash control support with
Lighting System Nikon Creative Lighting System compatible Speedlights
Interface : Hi-Speed USB
Data Transfer Protocol : MTP, PTP
Video output : NTSC and PAL
HDMI output : Can be selected from Auto, 480p, 720p, and 1080i
I/O terminal : Audio/video output; digital I/O (USB) HDMI mini connector (Type C) (HDMI output) External microphone connector (stereo mini-pin jack (3.5 mm diameter), plug-in power type) Accessory terminal
Power source : One Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL14 (included)
Tripod socket : 1/4 (ISO 1222)
Dimensions (W x H x D) : Approx. 118.5 x 77.5 x 50.4 mm
Weight : Approx. 399 g (including battery and SD card)

VERDICT
The Nikon Coolpix P7800 is not a significant improvement over its predecessor. But the addition of an EVF helps in improving the stability of the camera while shooting. And at a price difference of just Rs.3000, this camera surely has an edge over the P7700. Certainly a Best Buy.

Sujith Gopinath