Given its roots, Nikon's lag in the increasingly crowded enthusiast compact market strikes me as odd. Not only does the company lack a competitor for the popular Canon PowerShot S90 (and its presumably potentially-as-popular replacement, the S95)--even Samsung has a competitor for that in the
The most notable step on that path is a welcome return to a lower-resolution sensor. Consumers will eat up those marketing-driven resolution boosts but the hobbyists always push back, in this case to the same 10 megapixels as the rest of its class. Like the G11, the P7000 goes a little retro-dial happy, with an exposure-compensation dial as well as a "Quick Access" dial behind the pop-up flash for calling up ISO, quality, histogram, bracketing and MyMenu settings; I'm not sold yet on a dedicated dial for the latter compared to the speed of using the four-way navigation switch on the back of the camera. Another recanted feature includes the GPS, though I'd've thought they would have replaced it with integrated Eye-Fi support. And I hope it wasn't dropped because Nikon attributes the failures of the P6000 to GPS' inability to carry it out of relative obscurity.
Other changes include a new sloping-top design with a completely new control layout, a longer zoom lens, larger LCD and HD movie capture. Here are the basic specs:
9/8/2010: updated with newly available spec information
|Nikon Coolpix P7000|
|Sensor (effective resolution)||10-megapixel CCD||10-megapixel CCD||13.5-megapixel CCD||10-megapixel CCD||10-megapixel CCD|
|Sensitivity range||ISO 80 - ISO 3,200||ISO 80 - ISO 3,200||ISO 64 - ISO 6,400||ISO 100 - ISO 3200/6400 (expanded)||ISO 80 - ISO 3,200|
|Closest focus (inches)||0.4||2.0||0.8||0.8||0.4|
|Viewfinder||Optical||None||Optical||Optical||Optional OVF or EVF|
|Metering||n/a||n/a||256-segment matrix||256-segment matrix||n/a|
|Shutter||15-1/4,000 sec||15-1/1,600 sec||30-1/2,000 sec||60-1/4000 sec||60-1/4,000 sec|
|Video (best quality)||30fps VGA H.264 QuickTime MOV||720/24p|
H.264 QuickTime MOV
|720/24p H.264 QuickTime MOV|
|720/30p AVCHD Lite|
|Manual iris and shutter in video||No||No||No||n/a||Yes|
|Zoom while recording||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||n/a|
|Battery life (CIPA rating)||390 shots||220 shots||260 shots||350 shots||400 shots|
|Dimensions (WHD, inches)||4.4 x 3.0 x 2.0||3.9 x 2.3 x 1.2||4.2 x 2.6 x 1.7||4.1 x 2.4 x 1.2||4.3 x 2.6 x 1.7|
|Weight (ounces)||14.5||7 (est)||8.5 (est)||8.5 (est)||9.8 (est)|
|Availability||October 2009||August 2010||September 2008||September 2010||August 2010|
Ah, the lens: I bet Nikon's going to take some heat for it. For the most part, I think shooters in this class would prefer the wider angle, faster aperture lenses like that of the LX5. Nikon plans to offer a wide-angle adapter, but you're still stuck with that f2.8 aperture (and you'll likely lose some light with the adapter). And you can't fight physics; the more range you try to pack into a lens the less sharp and more distorted it gets--7.1x might be pushing it for some picky photographers. The camera does have a built-in neutral density filter, of which I'm a big fan.
This model also comes up to snuff on its movie-capture options, though I don't have any specs on bitrate. It offers manual exposure controls and the ability to zoom during capture; when I asked about lens noise, a Nikon spokesperson replied that whether you hear it depends upon the ambient noise, for whatever that's worth. Like the P6000, the P7000 uses "standard" OS-compatible NRW raw files rather than its proprietary NEF format, and the camera has some basic raw processing to create secondary JPEGs. It also ups the exposure bracketing to 5 shots.
While cheap dSLRs, compact ILCs and powerful ultracompacts like the S95 are chipping away at the market for these models, there's still some reasons to buy them: Optical viewfinders, large enough for big hands but not overly so, and that rangefinder-like aesthetic. It will be interesting to see if the P7000 can get Nikon back in the game.