Every industry has some well-established norms, and changing them require quite an effort.
It is not long ago, that the terms ‘professional’ and ‘compact’ could not be mentioned together. Now compact cameras have evolved so much that even professionals have started taking serious interest in certain compact cameras, and manufacturers are trying to lure them with advanced features. The Nikon Coolpix P7700 carries the legacy of the P (Performance) series further with a full-aspect tilt-and-swivel LCD and further refinements.
Design and Build Quality
If a camera is aimed at budding professionals and advanced amateurs, the build quality has to be premium. The P7700 is built sturdy with a metal outer casing. 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. In terms of design. The major differences between the P7700 and Nikon’s own P7100 are that the P7700 features a fully articulated LCD in place of the two-dimensionally tilt-able one on the P7100 and the absence of an optical viewfinder in the P7700. The camera features dual command dials and three other dials on the top panel for quick settings. The P7700 houses a standard accessory shoe and has a metal tripod receptacle.
The 12.2 megapixel Nikon Coolpix P7700 features a 1/1.7-inch Type (8.80 x 6.60mm) back-illuminated CMOS sensor. This sensor helps in capturing images in low-light with reduced noise even at higher sensitivities. This, combined with the latest and fast Expeed C2 image processing engine, the camera achieves fast continuous shooting speeds of up to 8 frames per second. The camera features a Nikkor 28-200mm equivalent f/2-4 lens. The lens is constructed with 13 elements in 10 groups including two ED (Extra-low dispersion) elements. The camera features optical lens shift Vibration Reduction. The lens uses contrast-detect autofocus. It focusses from 50 cm to infinity at the wide-angle end and from 80 cm to infinity at the telephoto end. In Macro mode, it focusses as close as 2 cm (all distances measured from the front element of the lens). 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 camera features Auto, Scene, Special Effects, P, S, A, M, and User settings. It also has 20 scene modes including Scene Auto Selector, Panorama, and 3D photography. 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 P7700 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 ISO 6400. It features Focus Coupled metering in addition to the usual three metering modes — Matrix, Centre-weighted, and Spot. This mode calculates the exposure by giving higher priority to the focus area. Exposure can be compensated up to +/-3 EV in 1/3 EV steps and self timer can be set to 1, 2, or 10 sec duration. The built-in flash 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. The camera supports Advanced Wireless Lighting with all major Nikon Speedlites. The camera weighs approximately 392g (including battery and SD card), and has dimensions of 118.5 x 72.5 x 50.4mm.
The Nikon P7700 is built sturdy like most professional compact cameras. The device has a nice textured rubber grip and thumb rest. The two dials on top — Exposure Compensation dial and Quick Menu dial — make it easy to change the settings. The command and sub-command dials and the rotary multi-selector are well-damped so that the settings do not change accidentally. The camera features the standard Nikon menu, which is user-friendly.
The Nikon P7700 provided mixed results in our tests. Autofocus was fast and we had no problem focussing in low light. The camera did not produce any distortion. All metering modes performed as expected. Images were sharp out of the box. Native image size was 10 x 13.33 inches at 300 ppi. At 25 percent of the screen size, images were free from noise till ISO 3200. Enlarged to 50 percent, the image remained noise-free up to ISO 1600, though noise could be observed at ISO 1600 if you deliberately looked for it. Viewed at 100 percent of the screen size, images were free of noise up to ISO 200. Overall, the images were perfectly usable up to ISO 3200, thanks to a slightly larger sensor than in most compacts.
The P7700 that we tested, had its share of negatives too. Darkening of corners was observed at the
wide-angle end at wide-open aperture. Strong against-the-light shots produced prominent flare at the wide-angle end at the widest aperture. We were disappointed with the Auto White Balance performance of out-of-the-box JPEGs since all the White Balance options produced strong casts, except under cloudy conditions. These can be easily corrected in Photoshop, and the availability of Raw format is an additional help for this.
Value for Money
The Nikon Coolpix P7700 retails at an MRP of Rs.24,950. At this price, the camera is good value for money.
+ Excellent build quality
+ Raw format
+ Fully articulated LCD
+ Good noise control
– Auto White Balance could have been better
– Heavy flare and Chromatic Aberration
|Design and Build Quality||18/20|
|Auto White Balance||2/5|
|Value for Money||8/10|
The Nikon P7700 is ideal for advanced users looking for a feature-filled camera for everyday use. If you are in the habit of using advanced settings, and processing images in Photoshop, this camera
is a good buy.