REVIEW NIKON COOLPIX P7800
A couple of weeks ago I received a Nikon Coolpix P7800 for testing and to write a review for the biggest photography magazine in the Netherlands: Zoom.nl. This camera is THE new compact from Nikon. It has a relatively big sensor, with a fast F/2.0 lens and the opportunity to photograph in RAW. According to the press release of Nikon the P7800 is: “perfect for occupations like architects and housing agents where a smaller and lighter camera with high quality is a requirement.” As a photographer of landscape and architecture this made me curious if this little camera satisfies this. So I tested this little powerhouse firmly.
In the box
With opening the box you’ll find besides the camera, a battery with a loader, a strap, a lens cap but remarkably no manual. Intuitively I searched for it on the internet and found it. After that I explored and worked with the camera without consulting the manual. The handling of the camera is easy and logical. But if you really want to know and learn all the options of this camera, I think it is wise to read the manual. Under almost each position of the selector dial (with PMAS, etc.) you will find a different menu, belonging to the selected option. The camera has 2 function-buttons, where you can add the function you want under the tip of your fingers. The big selecting wheel has also 3 user modes where you can combine your own set of settings.
The buttons and dials of the camera are all placed logically. It was pretty hard for me to get used to the direction of the lighting compensation dial and the zoom handle. Both should go the other way around for my taste. But if I had used the camera a little longer, I would have get used to that. The dials of the camera feature ridges, which makes it easier to turn them. Even with gloves, as long they are not too thick. This makes the camera also suitable for using it in colder conditions.
The supplied DVD contains the relatively simple View NX Software. If you want to photograph in RAW with the P7800 you have to find software, that can handle these files. Adobe has released a “release candidate” for Lightroom and Camera RAW, which can handle the RAW-files of this P7800. Probably there will be pretty soon an update. If you photograph in RAW you need some patience, because the storing of those files to your memory card can take a few seconds. Not a big problem when you photograph landscape and architecture like me and value quality images. If you need more speed, I advise you to switch to jpeg (fine quality) or choose a different camera like a beginner-DSLR. For this review I photographed exclusively in jpeg and made always three pictures, one according to the metering, one a full stop under and one a full stop over. Occasionally in some high contrast scenes I made 5 pictures (-2, -1, 0 +1, +2). With the dial of the lighting compensation you can adjust this further if necessary. Three stops in both directions.
I have tested the camera thoroughly in different circumstances. The camera weighs more than a compact camera that you can put in your pocket. But it can hang around your neck during long walks, without getting neck pain. As a user of a DLSR my first reflex was to look through the electronic viewfinder. If you are used to the big viewfinder of a DSLR, it disappoints. The small format can’t match the viewfinder of a DSLR. I would use it only in situations, where you cannot use the LCD-Monitor.
So I used the LCD-Monitor of the P7800 to compose my photos. You can flip this LCD-Monitor pretty extreme and the quality is fantastic! It is 3” inch wide. Even with some sunlight on it, you can still compose your shot. If the sun is bothering you, it is almost always possible to turn the screen in a way that the sun is not bothering you anymore. I really loved to photograph with the virtual horizon and rule of thirds-grid on the LCD-Monitor. Sometimes I had to wobble the camera bit to get the virtual horizon straight. As an architectural photographer I´m a little obsessed with getting everything level! If you want to photograph all day long and make a few movie clips, for instance on vacation, you need a spare battery. Better two!
After pushing the button the camera is fast ready for use. The lens has a range that matches a 28 – 200 mm lens (converted to 35 mm) by F/2.0 – F/4.0. With such a fast lens and the vibration reduction, you can photograph outside without a tripod, even at the lowest ISO of 80. The smallest possible aperture is F/8.0.
You can add a GPS-module, a wireless remote release and a WI-Fi®-module for sharing your photos. These are all optional.
1/50 – f/3,2 ISO 80
In these foggy conditions the camera creates good photos. No postprocessing.
1/125 – f/2,8 ISO 80
The LCD-monitor invites you as a photographer to make photos from lower points of view. With the grid on your LCD-monitor you can put the vertical lines straight.
1/320 – f/4,5 ISO 80
Another example of a photo were the gridlines were used to put the lines in the composition straight. When the man walked into the sweet spot (left below) of the Rule of thirds grid I clicked.
1/40 – f/ 4,0 ISO 80
Even in these gloomy conditions the camera yields good colors. It has 2 different automatic White balance-modes. One more neutral and the second is warmer. This photo is taken with the warmer white balance.
1/640 – f2,8 ISO 80
The camera deals pretty well with this strong contrast scene, without burned highlights or too dark blacks.
1/80 – f/2,2 ISO 80
Simply beautiful colors in this autumn forest. Straight from the camera without any post-processing. (Warmer Automatic White Balance)
1/250 – f/3,2 ISO 80
Straight from the camera without any post-processing.
(Warmer Automatic White Balance)
1/25 – f/2,0 ISO 80
This interior photo of the library in my town IJsselstein, is taken without tripod. The building has a lot of natural light. In darker interiors you have to use a tripod or put the camera on a higher ISO. This will generate more noise.
1/25 – f/4,0 ISO 80
With the lens in the tele-range (here at 175 mm, converted to 35 mm) and a big aperture you can create a smaller depth of field in your photo.
1/25 – f/2.0 ISO 800
This photo is made with the scene mode Night and made freehand. Through the use of high ISO the photo loses some of its sharpness, but the camera calculates the noise away pretty good. If you use this mode with the tripod option and a tripod you’ll get sharper results.
Image Quality 4
- Great foldable 3” inch LCD-Monitor.
- Fast lens.
- Photographing in RAW.
- Excellent Image quality
- High price.
- Electronic viewfinder.
- Slow saving of RAW-files
Model Nikon Coolpix P7800
Sensor 1/1.7 (7.44 x 5.58 mm)
Resolution 4000 x 3000
Video resolution 1920 x 1080, 30 bps, stereo
Sensitivity ISO 80 - 6400 en automatically
File formats: RAW, jpg (fine, standard), avchd, mp4
Lens 6 - 42.8 mm ( 28–200 mm converted to 35mm)
Zoom reach 7,1x optical zoom, 4x digital zoom
Electronic viewfinder, 200.000 pixels
LCD-monitor 3 inch tft lcd, 921.600 pixels
Weight/ Size body 399 g/ 118,5 x 77,5 x 50,4 mm
Want to buy this camera? Click the following link:
Nikon COOLPIX P7800 12.2 MP Digital Camera with 7.1x Optical Zoom NIKKOR ED Glass Lens and 3-inch Vari-Angle LCD
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