Nikon Coolpix P7100 review
1/1.7in 10.0-megapixel sensor, 7.1x zoom (28-200mm equivalent), 395g
The Nikon P7100 is part of a small niche of compact cameras aimed squarely at photography enthusiasts. It's not just the proliferation of buttons and dials that set it apart from consumer-oriented cameras - it's also the premium quality lens and 1/1.7in sensor, which has 50 per cent more surface area than the usual compact 1/2.3in sensors.
It's not so long ago that we reviewed the Nikon Coolpix P7000, which generally impressed us but fell down on performance, particularly in the lethargic response of its controls and menus. With the P7100, Nikon has largely ironed out these issues; there was negligible button-response lag. That's a crucial improvement, as a camera with five dials and 11 buttons really should be able to deliver quick access to settings.
There's one more dial than on the P7000, mounted flush with the front of the camera. We can't help thinking that Nikon has got slightly carried away here, and the implementation of these controls has some room for improvement. Ultimately, though, experienced photographers will relish this level of hands-on control. The superb 3in, 921,000-dot screen now tilts up and down, further diminishing the benefit of the small, rather blurred optical viewfinder.
It's disappointing that shot-to-shot times haven't significantly improved. We measured 1.7 seconds between shots in normal use, or 2.7 seconds in raw mode – only fractionally faster than the P7000. Continuous mode was actually slower, down from 1.4fps to 1.1fps for JPEGs, and managing just three raw exposures at 0.8fps. Autofocus performance was excellent, coping particularly well in low light and at long focal lengths. Automatic exposure settings weren't so hot in these conditions, though, with the ISO speed refusing to budge beyond 400 unless we adjusted it manually.