Nikon Coolpix P7100 First Look Review: P-Series Overhaul

by Reads (1,489)

Canon has dominated the top spot in the high-end point-and-shoot wars since the introduction of the G1, but last year’s Samsung TL500 was a significant competitor and Nikon’s P7000 was meant to end Canon’s dominance of the high-end compact camera market niche. Unfortunately for Nikon, the P7000 didn’t quite make the grade. While the P7000 was easily competitive with the G12 in terms of image quality, it was noticeably slower in operation than the G12 (and the TL500) and its menu system was unnecessarily complex. Nikon’s product development engineers returned the P7000 to the drawing board. The result of that re-engineering project is the new improved Coolpix P7100.

Nikon Coolpix P7100

Here’s a brief comparison of the G12 and P7100.

Canon G12 Nikon P7100
Resolution 10.1 mp 10.1 mp
Lens f/2.8-4.5 28-140mm f/2.8-5.6 28-200mm
HD Video 720p @ 24 fps 720p @ 24 fps
LCD 2.8-inch 460k Vari-angle 3.0-inch 920k flip-out
Optical Viewfinder Yes Yes
Exposure Full Auto and Manual Full Auto and Manual
RAW Yes Yes

Since I’ve used the G12 extensively and I reviewed the TL500 (for this website) I may be uniquely qualified to reveal whether the P7100 has the goods to bump the G12 out of the top spot. First things first, G12 sounds kind of cool – like the name of a super secretive spy agency or the model designation of the newest super-fast Ferrari. P7100, on the other hand, sounds like a new computer virus or the designated parking space for some huge corporation’s least important employee.

Nikon Coolpix P7100

Here’s some advice for Nippon Kogaku Corporation’s marketing folks. Nikon dropped the ball when they introduced the “not ready for prime time” P7000 – why hold on to the legacy of a failed product? The P7100 should have been the first of a new model series. Nikon should have called the P7100 the Nikon Coolpix F15 – the first Coolpix worthy of the venerable “F” model designation.

The two cameras not only have very similar specifications, they also feature very similar designs. Both are chunky and relatively heavy P&S digicams. The G12 weighs in at 357 grams (12.5 ounces) with battery and SD card and the P7100 weighs in at 395 grams (13.9 ounces) with battery and SD card – so neither is really pocketable – unlike the nifty little TL500. Both cameras have similar ergonomics and both were clearly designed for photography enthusiasts.

Nikon Coolpix P7100

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