Nikon have today announced a new flagship Coolpix camera. While we would not always cover compact models on this site, we are happy to do so for any that offer the potential for ‘pro’ level’ performance both in results and control. Here is the official announcement:

Image © Nikon Corporation

Sets new standards of response, low light performance and manual control

RRP: £489.99 / €580
Sales start date: 23rd Sept 2010

Nikon UK, 8 September 2010 – Nikon UK today announces the launch of a high performance COOLPIX model, the P7000, that sets a new benchmark for quality photography in a discrete and stylish package. The result of extensive research amongst professional photographers, the COOLPIX P7000 delivers outstanding images in a less intimidating form factor than a SLR.

The P7000’s superb image quality is guaranteed by a wide-angle 7.1x zoom NIKKOR lens giving a 28mm to 200mm range (35mm format equivalent), with optical Vibration Reduction (VR), two ED glass elements and Nikon’s brand new EXPEED C2 image processing system. The large 10.1 effective megapixel 1/1.7” CCD sensor facilitates wide dynamic range and exceptional low light performance whilst the 7.5cm (3.0”) high resolution LCD (920K dot) monitor assists composition, movie making and playback in brilliant detail.

Image © Nikon Corporation

Mark Pekelharing, Product Manager, Consumer Products at Nikon Europe B.V., says: “The COOLPIX P7000 boasts a raft of advanced features and ergonomics found in SLR cameras, making it the ultimate compact option for advanced SLR users and professional photographers who want high quality images in a discrete and responsive body.” He added, “Our professional customers have really helped to drive decisions about the feature set, and the results speak for themselves; great quality photography…anywhere”.

Only the best images
The P7000 is packed with cutting-edge technology to ensure the best image quality available, with a large 1/1.7” sensor and EXPEED C2 image processing system to provide enhanced low light performance and movie recording. Its 7.1x zoom NIKKOR lens has two ED glass elements to reduce chromatic aberration and fringing at longer focal lengths. What is more, it also includes a built-in ND filter to expand exposure options in very bright conditions.

The P7000’s wide sensitivity range of ISO 100 to 3200 is expandable to Hi 1 (ISO 6400 equivalent), while low noise night mode ensures fine results in extremely low light conditions, such as in candlelit interiors and a Noise Reduction (NR) adjustment function enables photographers to manage the impact of noise in their images.

For situations where choosing the right setting proves difficult, D-Lighting automatically ensures images look natural, rescuing underexposed shadows caused by very high contrast lighting conditions. COOLPIX in-camera Picture Controls, based on the technology from Nikon’s award winning digital SLRs, allow the user to manage camera processing according to personal taste while the new bracketing functions enable the photographer to take sequences with slightly different settings, varying exposure, ISO sensitivity, or white balance, and select the one that best suits the intended effect. A newly-added Virtual Horizon can also be displayed in the LCD to make sure the camera position is perfectly aligned.

Enhanced recording and playback
Some occasions call for capturing more than a picture, so the COOLPIX P7000 comes with an HD movie recording (720p) function. Stereo sound can be simultaneously recorded using a built-in microphone, while the microphone jack enables the use of an external microphone. The extra large 7.5cm (3.0”) ultra-high resolution (920K dot) LCD display offers almost 100% sRGB colour space to make image reviewing a pleasure and the optical viewfinder features diopter adjustment. In addition to this, the HDMI port enables instant sharing on external HD displays.

The P7000’s in-camera editing allows users to take control over their pictures. Tone level information is displayed on a histogram, and exposure compensation, aperture, shutter speed and ISO sensitivity can be minutely adjusted while confirming highlights, shadows and intermediate tone.

For those who prefer to revise their images on a PC or Mac, images can be stored in the enhanced NRW+ (COOLPIX RAW) format, providing an uncompressed digital “negative” which enables advanced editing. NRW+ files are compatible with Nikon’s bundled ViewNX 2 software as well as the optional image editing software Capture NX2.

Image © Nikon Corporation

Easy operation, everywhere
The P7000 has been designed for those who wish to have complete control over their photography with the familiar intuitive layout of buttons and dials found on Nikon DSLR cameras such as Command dial and AE-L/AF-L buttons. The P7000 also features an ‘analogue retro’ dial to manage exposure compensation levels in 1/3 EV steps. Manual control over other commonly used functions is accessible via the Quick Menu dial. A User-Setting Function enables users to switch zoom position to a preset focal length, as if using interchangeable lenses. The settings at each zoom position can also be customised according to the user’s intention. Alongside this, the added Zoom Memory function allows one-touch switching to any focal length setting, using a new manual mode dial.

The compact system camera
The COOLPIX P7000 forms the core of a mini-system and is i-TTL compatible with Nikon’s acclaimed Speedlights, a new WC-75A wide-angle convertor for a 21mm equivalent field of view and infra-red remote control ML-L3.  The P7000 also comes complete with ViewNX 2 software, long life battery MH-24 and charger EN-EL14. The camera can be further expanded using an external microphone (not available from Nikon). To protect the camera, an optional carry case is also available (CS-P06).

The original EXPEED image processing system incorporated all of the accumulated expertise and technologies developed throughout Nikon’s long history. Now the latest evolution of Nikon’s renowned system, EXPEED C2, expands the possibilities of photography even further, with enhanced movie recording, high-sensitivity performance and maximum image quality. EXPEED C2 maximizes sensor performance for clear, lifelike images that exhibit vivid colors, reduced noise and smooth tonal gradations for outstanding photos and movies.

ViewNX 2
ViewNX 2 is an all-in-one software package that enables users to quickly import, browse, edit and share still images and movies. Building upon the highly successful ViewNX software, ViewNX 2 is a user-friendly suite that offers a huge range of features, going well beyond those supplied as part of a PC’s operating system. Newly-incorporated advanced movie-editing functions have been taken directly from Nikon’s award-winning DSLR range, enabling users to trim clips and blend still images into stunning movie footage. ViewNX 2 comes with all Nikon digital cameras and is also available as a free download.

Nikon my Picturetown
You can now back-up your images safely and securely using my Picturetown, the free online digital photo storage and sharing service brought to you by Nikon. Easily share photo memories with friends and organise precious memories into online collections. You get 2GB of space free to use for storing thousands of memories and you can upgrade your membership to Gold Account at any time if you need to store more pictures.

Effective pixels 10.1 megapixels
Image sensor 1/1.7-in. RGB CCD, 10.39 total megapixels
Lens Optical 7.1x zoom NIKKOR lens
Focal length 6.0-42.6mm (35mm format equivalent to 28-200mm)
Aperture f/2.8-5.6
Lens construction 11 elements in 9 groups (2 ED glass element, 4 aspherical lens elements)
Digital zoom Maximum 4x (35mm format equivalent to approx. 800mm)
Focus range (from lens) Approx. 50 cm (1 ft. 8 in.) to infinity (at wide-angle setting), approx. 80 cm (2 ft. 7 in.) to infinity (at telephoto setting), Macro mode: approx. 2 cm (0.8 in.) to infinity (at wide-angle setting)
Vibration Reduction (VR) Lens-shift type, Lens-shift type + electronic type
Other blur-reduction functions Motion Detection (conventional type), BSS (Best Shot Selector)
ISO sensitivity (Standard output sensitivity) ISO 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200 (3,648 x 2,736), can be set to Hi 1 [ISO 6400 equivalent (3,647 x 2,736)], Auto (ISO 100 to 800), High ISO auto (ISO 100 to 1600), Fixed range auto (ISO 100 to 200, 100 to 400), Low noise night mode (ISO 400 to 12800)
LCD monitor 7.5 cm (3-in.), approx. 921k-dot, wide-viewing-angle TFT LCD monitor (VGA) , air gapless, anti-reflection coating, brightness adjustment
Storage media Internal memory (approx. 79 MB), SD/SDHC/SDXC memory card*1
Smart Portrait System Face-priority AF/ max. number of faces to be detected 12 Face priority, Face-priority AE, Face Zoom-in
Skin Softening Yes During shooting/playback
Smile Timer Yes Up to three smiling faces can be detected, can be switched ON/OFF
Blink Warning Yes Can be switched ON/OFF
In-Camera Red-Eye Fix Yes Automatically corrects red eye digitally, pre-flashes (ON/OFF)
Subject Tracking*2 Yes Auto lock-on/AF activation/Tracking Restart not available
Scene modes 18 scene modes (Portrait, Landscape, Sports, Night Portrait, Party/indoor, Beach, Snow, Sunset, Dusk/dawn, Night landscape, Close-up, Food, Museum, Fireworks show, Copy, Backlight, Panorama assist)
Scene Auto Selector 6 scene modes + Auto mode

(Portrait, Landscape, Night portrait, Night landscape, Close-up, Backlight)

Movie HD 720p: 1,280 x 720/24 fps, VGA: 640 x 480/30 fps, QVGA: 320 x 240/30 fps
D-lighting Yes
Active D-lighting Yes
Picture Controls 6 kinds [Standard (default), Neutral, Vivid, Monochrome (B/W, sepia), Custom 1, Custom 2] (equivalent to P6000)
Quick Retouch Yes
File-sorting functions List by date mode
Interface/Direct print compatibility Hi-Speed USB/PictBridge
Supported languages 24 languages (products for Japan feature Japanese/English only)
Power sources Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL14 (74 v 1030 mAh), AC Adapter EH-5a (option)
Number of shots per charge (battery life)*3 Approx. 350 frames with EN-EL14
Dimensions (width x height x depth) Approx. 114.2 x 77.0 x 44.8 mm/4.5 x 3.0 x 1.8 in. (excluding projections)
Weight*4 Approx. 360 g/12.7 oz. (including battery and SD memory card), approx. 310 g/10.9 oz. (camera body only)

*1 Not compatible with Multi Media Card (MMC)
*2 Tracks a designated subject automatically

*3 Based on CIPA Standards for measuring life of batteries

*4 Based on CIPA Guidelines, DCG-005-2009

For more information click here.

End. (08/09/10).

First thoughts: I have never been a big ‘compact’ fan, as I always found what I got, was counteracted by what I did not. But for a long time I have been puzzled as to why, Nikon with all of their ‘pro’ and serious enthusiast appeal, had not produced a compact camera to match these aspirations in my opinion. In years past they had film models like the 35Ti and 28Ti, appreciated for their performance, build and style. I had lost interest in the Coolpix models. so much so, that I have not kept up with them in recent years. But now, with the P7000, Nikon seem on paper at least, to have produced the right product.

For the enthusiast who travels on business or holiday, and does not want to carry a larger D SLR, too the pro who keeps one to hand, it has on face value quite some appeal with extensive but useful features. The exposure control, compatibility with Nikon Speedlights, and many features Nikon users see on their ‘big’ camera all stand out for me. Time will tell once we get a chance to see its real performance.

But at last there is a Nikon Coolpix having the potential to appeal instead of other noteworthy cameras already filling the advanced user need. Here I am thinking of models like Canon’s G11 (or previous models), Sigma’s DP1 and DP2, Olympus EP models, or Ricoh’s GXR system. So the P7000 is a welcome introduction.

End. (08/09/10).

First Feedback: Having had a chance to handle the P7000 there is certainly a feature list that any camera, ‘compact’ or D SLR, would be be pleased with. So on a positive note anyone looking for portable but very capable camera, this should be on the consideration list. The negatives for me were that for my hands I would have liked the grip to be larger (that is true of so many ‘compacts’), and the strap lugs also seemed in the wrong place for the way I held the camera.

End. (15/09/10).