The P7100 is not particularly compact, especially when compared to cameras like the LX5, the TL500, or the S100, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Larger cameras provide a more stable shooting platform than smaller cameras. The P7100’s impressively logical control array allows most primary functions/settings to be accessed directly – I only rarely needed to delve into the menu system. Based on my experiences with the P7100 it appears that Nikon has actually made significant improvements in operational speed and function ergonomics over the P7000.
Canon’s “G” series compacts have been the top dog in the P&S digicam game for more than a decade. Excluding the new big-sensor GX1, the “G” PowerShot series is getting a little long in the tooth and is now facing some really stiff competition from the Panasonic LX5, Olympus XZ-1, Samsung TL500 and the new Nikon P7100. Today’s upper tier point-and-shoot digital cameras are capable of consistently delivering near pro quality images and enlargements (up to 8 x 10 inches) from top tier point-and-shoots are essentially indistinguishable from images of the same size shot with entry level DSLRs like the Canon T3 or CSCs like the Panasonic GF3.
I don’t believe there can be any doubt that the P7100 was designed specifically to compete with the G12. I suspect that Nikon’s product development folks reverse engineered a G12 and then applied everything they’d learned to the new P7100. The two cameras are remarkably similar in design, weight, features, and functionality/usability. In my opinion the P7100 is the (slightly) better camera. The P7100 has a bit more reach at the long end of the zoom and the P7100’s controls are more logical in their placement than those of the G12.
Either the Canon G12 or the Nikon P7100 will fit the bill nicely for advanced amateur shooters. The two cameras are more similar than they are different – in fact the two cameras are so similar that it’s almost uncanny. Both are heavyweights, both have optical viewfinders, they cost the about same amount, and they both produce first rate 10 megapixel images. Potential purchasers will have to decide between the two cameras based on subtler criteria like zoom range, LCD resolution/LCD functionality, and the subjective “feel” of the two cameras. The good news is that the high-end compact class is now noticeably more crowded than it used to be and that’s a good thing for consumers.
- Excellent image quality
- Full exposure range
- Good battery life
- Superb ergonomics
- Bulky and heavy
- Only 720p HD video offered