Nikon Coolpix P7100 Video and Image Quality

February 16, 2012 by Howard Creech Reads (4,762)
Editor's Rating

Ratings Breakdown (1-10)

    • Image/Video Quality
    • 9
    • Features
    • 8
    • Design / Ease of Use
    • 7
    • Performance
    • 7
    • Expandability
    • 0
    • Total Score:
    • 6.20
    • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10

Video Quality
The P7100’s 1280 x 720p at 24 fps HD movie mode may cause concern for some potential purchasers, but several of the smaller G12 competitors feature 1080p video modes – for those who insist on maximum resolution HD video. While the P7100 may not produce at the highest currently available HD video resolution, its video output is very nice – capable of competing with some dedicated video cameras. The video clip that accompanies this review (downloadable below) was shot on a cold and slightly overcast January afternoon at the lake at Cave Hill Cemetery. The clip is sharply focused, properly exposed, movement is fluid (smooth – not jerky), and the colors are vibrant – check out the iridescent green necks of some of the ducks. The sample video shows the P7100 to be competitive (in the video department) with its primary competition, the G12.

Download Sample Video

Image Quality
I was consistently impressed with the P7100’s highly nuanced image quality throughout my test of the camera. Colors (Nikon default color interpolation) are bright and hue accurate, but much closer to neutral than those from the G12. Canon and many other OEMs pander to casual photographers who like visibly over-saturated colors. Most casual shooters don’t consider minor color intensity variations as faults, but serious photographers want more accurate colors. Super intense colors can actually detract from the impact of some images, giving an almost surreal look.

During the course of my tests I was repeatedly impressed with the color accuracy of the P7100. Check out the sample images and you’ll see what I mean. The P7100’s colors don’t jump out at you, rather they contribute nicely to the overall impact of the image without exaggerating the role of color in the composition. Finally, the P7100’s exposure accuracy (in any shooting mode) is amazing. I used the camera extensively and with a broad range of subjects and as long as the images were shot outdoors (in decent light) the P7100 nailed the proper exposure every time.

I didn’t have even one image that looked over-exposed (burnt out highlights) or under-exposed (dark with dense shadow areas) out of the between 200 – 300 images I shot with the P7100.

Under decent outdoor lighting the P7100 consistently produces properly exposed, sharply focused, highly detailed, and almost noise-free images. The P7100 consistently produces the best images I’ve seen from any camera in this class.
The P7100 provides users with a comprehensive selection of white balance options, including Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Incandescent, Fluorescent (FL1), Fluorescent (FL2), Fluorescent (FL3), Flash, Manual (Kelvin adjusted) and custom 1, 2, &3. The P7100’s auto WB system does a remarkably good job in essentially all outdoor shooting scenarios.

Nikon P7100 Sample Image
Auto White Balance, 5500k fluorescent light

The P7100 provides a comprehensive range of sensitivity options, including auto and user-set options for ISO 100 to ISO 6400. In addition the P7100 offers users more control over sensitivity than most of its competitors including High ISO sensitivity auto (ISO 100 to 1600), Fixed range auto (ISO 100 to 200, ISO 100 to 400, etc.), and Low noise night mode (ISO 400 to 12800). ISO 100 images show bright near neutral colors, noticeably better than average contrast, and very low noise levels. ISO 200 images also look very good, but with a tiny bit less pop.

Nikon P7100 Sample Image
ISO 100
Nikon P7100 Sample Image
ISO 100, 100% crop
Nikon P7100 Sample Image
ISO 200
Nikon P7100 Sample Image
ISO 200, 100% crop
Nikon P7100 Sample Image
ISO 400
Nikon P7100 Sample Image
ISO 400, 100% crop
Nikon P7100 Sample Image
ISO 800
Nikon P7100 Sample Image
ISO 800, 100% crop
Nikon P7100 Sample Image
ISO 1600
Nikon P7100 Sample Image
ISO 1600, 100% crop
Nikon P7100 Sample Image
ISO 3200
Nikon P7100 Sample Image
ISO 3200, 100% crop

At the ISO 400 setting noise levels are noticeably higher and there’s a (barely) perceptible loss of minor detail, but the images are actually quite good – looking more like the ISO 200 images from many cheaper P&S digicams than ISO 400 images. Higher sensitivity settings (ISO 800 and up) show flat colors, reduced contrast, more image noise, and fuzzier details.

Additional Sample Images

Nikon P7100 Sample Image Nikon P7100 Sample Image
Nikon P7100 Sample Image Nikon P7100 Sample Image
Nikon P7100 Sample Image Nikon P7100 Sample Image



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