Customer Review

289 of 297 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nikon P7700: High performance, very few compromises, October 14, 2012
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This review is from: Nikon COOLPIX P7700 12.2 MP Digital Camera with 7.1x Optical Zoom NIKKOR ED Glass Lens and 3-inch Vari-Angle LCD (OLD MODEL) (Electronics)
The new Nikon COOLPIX P7700 was announced in the late summer of 2012 as the company's Performance-series flagship, a camera designed with the true photo enthusiast in mind. As a current owner of the Nikon COOLPIX P7100, I was curious as to what improvements might have been made.

Read a good number of first-look previews, then decided that it was worth a second look. I luckily had a chance for a short hands-on local preview, along with a few other cameras as noted below, then decided that there were enough features and improvements that made the P7700 well worth considering, so I put in my order here on Amazon and waited for it to be released.

It's a decision that I don't regret. Getting down to the subjective nitty-gritty, here are my basic observations.

◆ Pros:

+ Substantial 7.1x optical zoom; extra punch over 4x or 5x helps
+ Fully articulated 3-inch Vari-Angle LCD display; extra sharp at 921,000 dots
+ New 12.2 Megapixel CMOS-type sensor; offers excellent image quality
+ Improved ergonomics; rational array of controls, easy to master
+ Rechargeable EN-EL14 Li-ion battery; averages 310 - 330 shots per charge
+ Full manual exposure plus Program, Aperture- and Shutter priority modes
+ Much faster operational speeds than the P7000 or P7100
+ Uses readily available SD, SDHC and SDXC memory cards; full support
+ RAW (NRW) support; 19 Scene modes for creative control
+ ISO range is 80-1600; can be boosted to 6400
+ Accepts any 40.5 mm filters; compatible with Nikon 1 series
+ Hot shoe; accepts wide variety of Nikon Speedlight units or GP-1 GPS Unit
+ Rubberized grip area on the body; adds to handling

◆ Cons:

- As with the P7100, wish this camera would go to 24mm wide angle
- Picky point: 40.5mm lens cap has easy-to-bump tabs making it easy to lose

◆ First Impressions:

There was little about the new P7700 of which I wasn't aware before my Amazon order arrived and it came out of the box. Had read a number of editorial comments and had a brief hands-on locally. When first unboxed, it's immediately noticeable that this is a solid camera, and that's probably due to its magnesium chassis. There's a definite professional feel to the P7700, similar to the older P7100, yet in a more refined package.

Followed the printed Quick Start Guide and charged the battery for the recommended 1 hours while reading and going through the box contents. This camera came packaged with the following:

▪ AN-CP22 Strap
▪ UC-E17 USB Cable
▪ EG-CP16 Audio Video Cable
▪ EN-EL14 Rechargeable Li-ion Battery
▪ MH-24 Quick Charger
▪ LC-CP26 Lens Cap
▪ NikonView NX 2 CD-ROM
▪ P7700 Reference Manual on CD-ROM
▪ Printed Quick Start Guide
▪ Yellow Nikon USA Warranty Card

The MH-24 Battery Charger blinks when charging, and glows steadily when the battery is topped up. I put the battery cap in a safe place for when it's needed, and once the battery was charged, inserted a Class 10 SDHC card and took the P7700 out for a trial run to get a feel for it, carrying my older and more familiar P7100 along as a comparison.

Though I had briefly played with this P7700 before, I now had a chance to really put it through its paces. Larger than most compacts, this camera subjectively has quite a comfortable feel; everything seems to fit the hand and eye quite easily. There are enough controls and options that can be set to customize it to ones individual preferences, and in my initial explorations, found that this was easy to accomplish.

◆ The P7700 In Use:

As expected, the camera offers complete PSAM control from the top dial near the shutter button, but the small Quick Menu dial on the left top of the camera body quickly became my ally. This made access of the various functions such as ISO settings, white balance, auto bracketing and such to be far easier than exploring the camera menus. Tried various shots trying face detection, the different metering settings and such, all as part of the learning experience. This shortcut method is far better than digging into the viewfinder menus to access the various features, and it's fully customizable. Still working my way through all of the automation features, but there are nineteen Scene modes offering some very artistic in-camera effects.

The small optical viewfinder that was found on the P7100 is gone, yet for this user it's not missed much, as this new P7700 comes with a fully articulated 3-inch Vari-Angle LCD display. The P7100 has a tilting 3-inch LCD display, which is quite good, but this new one is as versatile as those found on some of the Nikon DSLRs. It offers a brilliant and very sharp screen, offering very close to 100% of what your results will be, and for one who wears glasses, those 921,000 dots do help. Being fully articulated, it allows for creativity from some fairly awkward angles, and as I have made good and frequent use of this feature on my D5000, I'm pleased to have it on this camera. Reverse the screen before you put the P7700 away and the LCD is protected.

Once one gets used to the P7700, and that doesn't very take long, the ergonomics and controls are excellent. I'm just the occasional video shooter, but the resolution has been increased from 720p to full 1080p HD on the P7700. The video exposure can be controlled using aperture-priority, auto, manual, or custom movie modes, and the autofocus remains active while shooting videos. There's a built-in stereo microphone, an external microphone jack, and an HDMI mini connector & HDMI-CEC support.

The built-in flash on the P7700 does a decent job for snapshots, and the results are better than those from the P7100. Have no complaints with the results within the abilities of how these function. But when I attached and used the Nikon SB-400 Speedlight, the resulting images were close to dazzling. I've used my SB-400 and the older SB-600 on my Nikon DSLRs, but this combination on the P7700 helped produce some of my best flash images ever.

◆ The Lens and More:

Where the P7700 really shines is in the lens, and that was apparent within the first twenty or so images. The 7.1x Zoom-Nikkor ED lens offers a 35mm peer to that of 28-200mm zoom lens, and even though its range is the same as the P7100, the new camera offers a construction of 13 elements in 10 groups, as compared to 11 elements in 9 groups for my older camera. Add to this, the P7700 has a maximum aperture of f/2.0 (at 28mm) to f/4.0 (at 200mm), where the P7100 has a maximum of f/2.8 at its widest setting.

But no description of the lens would be complete without mentioning that the built-in neutral density filter added to its 7-blade rounded iris aperture offers beautifully natural bokeh, better than this user has encountered in a compact digital camera. Just beginning to explore this, but my results have been quite pleasing.

One of the more appealing things about the P7700 is that finally we have an enthusiast's compact Nikon that can take filters, a big improvement over my P7100. This now moves the camera into the corner of a compact for the serious user, as the ability to use non-proprietary 40.5mm filters adds to this camera's capabilities. These filters are also used with the Nikon 1 series of cameras, and there's a forthcoming optional 40.5mm threaded HN-CP17 lens hood where you can also use 58mm filters if you like.

Though not as common as other sizes, there are plenty of 40.5mm filters avalable, and in all sizes and grades. For those interested, there's a bargain priced Vivitar Series 1 Three-Piece Multi-Coated HD Pro Filter Set. The better grade Hoya 40.5mm UV HMC Filter sits on the end of my P7700 at all times.

◆ Other Observations:

The inclusion of the Nikon EN-EL14 Rechargeable Li-Ion Battery and the MH-24 charger is welcomed by this user, as it's the same one used in the P7100, P7000 and a variety of Nikon DSLRs (also see the 3/23/2014 update below). For those who already own any of these models, it means a logical system approach to carrying extra batteries, along with a decent cost savings. I've had a few of these from the other Nikons, and am getting an average of 310 to 330 shots per charge from them. This battery even gives notice when calibration is necessary.

On the downside, this camera comes standard with a Nikon LC-CP26 lens cap. The downside to this particular cap is that it has easy-to-bump tabs, making it easy to lose. If you lose yours and want a better replacement, this Nikon LC-N40.5 Front Lens Cap from the Nikon 1 series cameras works.

◆ Warranty Note:

I purchased my P7700 here from Amazon directly, and it came with a Nikon USA 1-year yellow warranty card. There was a brief flurry when it was discovered that some of us could not register our new cameras with Nikon USA at the site on the card. This was cleared up completely in less than twelve hours when it was discovered that there had been a clerical database error on Nikon's side. If you have a similar problem, just contact Nikon and they will straighten it out quickly.

◆ Other Cameras Considered:

Along with the new P7700, I had seriously considered the Sony DSC-RX100, the Fujifilm X10 and the Canon PowerShot G15. All of these were superb products, but keeping it simple, the Nikon P7700 won me over with its combination of an exceptionally good f/2.0 28-200mm Nikkor zoom lens, its fully articulated 3-inch LCD display, a real dedicated hot shoe and its ability to use filters. The Fuji, Sony and Canon are highly recommended products worth considering from my recent hands-on experiences, but we all have different priorities and requirements, and the bottom line was that the Nikon P7700 met my needs best. Your needs may be different.

◆ A Frank Editorial Admission:

Like many of us, I spent far too much time reading online reviews about the new digital gear that was being released in 2012, making personal notes and trying to remain objective, as my brand loyalty in ownership spreads to not just Nikon but to Fujifilm and Canon. I got caught up in sensor sizes, image processors and such. But at one point I finally stopped, as even the best reviewers and sites do seem to have their repeated subjective favorites. What matters here is that we buy cameras like this to create images, and not to wear around our necks as status badges. What works for you may not work for me, and vice versa. The key to this is to research your camera, then find what will do the best job for you. I found it with this camera, and it works quite well for me.

◆ [Update] 10/20/2012:

An acquaintance who read this review right after it was posted was prompted to immediately buy the P7700 from a local NYC retailer. I heard about it from the individual by phone that same evening when I was informed that my advice was "wrong" and that "the camera doesn't work," though it had worked in the store when the sales rep had tested it after inserting the battery. I asked the individual a few quick questions, and within 60 seconds we found the problem, and it's right there in the supplied Quick Start Guide in Step 4 on page 9, where it states: "When the monitor is closed and with the screen facing inward, the power cannot be turned on even if the power switch is pressed." This refers to the fully-articulated display screen, and when it's closed, it protects the LCD screen from scratches or impact, and when closed for three minutes, it goes to standby, and the power turns off.

Problem solved; another happy owner. Better solution: when you get the camera, RTFM... read the manual for a few minutes.

◆ [Update] 5/23/2013:

Nikon has released two firmware updates for the P7700. Firmware update 1.1 was released on 4/23/2013, and firmware update 1.2 was released on 5/23/2013. I have posted the links and further info in the comments section to this review on this date as links are not permitted within the body of the review.

◆ [Update] 11/14/2013:

Nikon has released a new firmware update 1.3 for the P7700. I have posted the links and further information in the comments section to this review on this date as links are not permitted within the body of the review.

◆ [Update] 3/23/2014:

Regarding the new firmware update 1.3 for the P7700, Nikon has noted that this update accurately indicates the remaining battery charge is now accurately detected for the newer Nikon 27126 EN-EL 14a Rechargeable Li-Ion Battery. The older EN-EL14 Li-ion battery provides 7.4v and 1030 mAh of power, while the newer EN-EL14a has a rated capacity of 7.2v and 1230 mAh of power. The bottom line is that this higher capacity relates to an increase in the number of available shots. Nikon rates this at approximately 360 shots, and with a single battery in this new version, it appears to be close, and higher than the 310 to 330 shots per charge that I was getting from the original Nikon EN-EL 14 Li-Ion batteries.

◆ Summary:

As an early purchaser of this camera, I've had time to run through most of the many functions that are available with this new model. There are too many of them to list here in my review, and I don't want to bore the reader with technical details, but there will be ongoing updates here and in the comments as new things are discovered.

The new Nikon COOLPIX P7700 is the finest advanced enthusiast compact digital camera that I've used, though that can be considered highly subjective depending on the needs of the individual. Luckily for us, the quality of the equipment that is available to us in advanced digital compacts continues to improve, as I've noted with the outstanding Sony and Canon offerings noted above. Will admit that I can be picky with what I expect in a DSLR or advanced enthusiast's compact, but this new P7700 surprised me with the results that I've been able to get, and that's what it's all about. If your needs are similar to mine, then consider the P7700 to be an excellent camera. For this user, it's a true 5-star choice, and highly recommended.

JW ▪ 10/14/2012; Updated 10/20/2012, 5/23/2013, 11/14/2013, 3/23/2014.
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Comments

Tracked by 13 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 156 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 14, 2012 5:40:08 PM PDT
For those looking for a way to carry the Nikon P7700 without resorting to a full-size camera bag, the small Think Tank Little Stuff It Belt Pouch works quite well. It's a good product that can be attached to a belt while on the field, and if you get caught in the rain, it comes standard with a rain cover in a separate zippered pocket on the bottom. This is a good one.

Posted on Oct 16, 2012 7:59:45 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 16, 2012 8:13:16 AM PDT
Great review. I'm considering this and the others you tried, RX100 and G15 as well as the Fuji X10 (or its eventual successor). On paper, the P7700, with its bevy of actual dials, switches and controls makes it look as though this camera is very fun to operate. I loved all the onboard dials of the G12, plus articulated display and was saddened to see those were dropped in the G15. RX100 sensor size and IQ is impressive, but for $650, I'd sooner buy a Canon 17-40 L lens for my xti.

I'm very excited about this camera. Thanks for taking the time to write such a thoughtful, balanced review. Can you tell me how far you can go in focal length before slowing down from F/2.0?

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 16, 2012 9:47:25 AM PDT
Thank you for your comment on my review of the Nikon COOLPIX P7700. I really liked the overall 'feel' of the f/1.8 Zeiss 3.6x zoom on the Sony DSC-RX100, along with the handling and high-speed AF of the Canon PowerShot G15. I like the Fujifilm X10 but have yet to see the newer XF1. When the bottom line was faced, it was this P7700 that best met my personal needs.

The controls of this P7700 do indeed make it interesting for creativity, and though I primarily use it for now in its A, P, and M modes, it's the 19 other Scene modes, from portrait & landscape, to food & museum, including one for pet photography, that really do allow one to explore the creative control with this camera. Its setting for night photography and the one for 3D images are those that I'm currently exploring... all fun things with which to experiment.

As far as the aperture goes, there is no indicator as to the maximun aperture at a given focal length, but as a very loose guess based on angle of view, I'll call it like this:

◆ f/2.0 @ 28mm
◆ f/2.8 @ 50mm
◆ f/3.5 @ 120mm
◆ f/4.0 @ 200mm

Again, this is a loose guess based on angle of view and perspective from what I see in the viewfinder and from the image results that I get. Hope that this helps. And thanks again for your comments and the compliment, as these are what make reviews like this worthwhile.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 21, 2012 7:14:24 PM PDT
Sandeee says:
I'm thinking of buying this cam as well as I sold my G12. I played with it in a store the other day but forgot to bring a memory card with me, I still took a picture with the camera using the built in memory and it took a good 4 or 5 seconds to write the picture (it was a raw file) as this is what I will use the camera for. Can you tell me if this is normal? does it write this slow when using a high speed memory card? T.I.A.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 22, 2012 12:39:43 AM PDT
Sandeee, I thought about adding something about shooting RAW or RAW + JPG images, but as it is, I had to trim this overly-lengthy review back a bit. Don't go by the built-in memory on the P7700, as it's slow and limiting from my experiences. I minimally use a wide variety of 4Gb and 8Gb Class 10 SDHC in this camera about 80% of the time, and for JPG images they're just fine, even with sequential shooting.

But when it comes to shooting RAW or videos, I personally go for the SanDisk Extreme Pro SDHC Class 10 UHS-1 Flash Memory Card 95MB/s in the 8, 16 and 32GB sizes. There are other high-speed cards, and I have some of those as well. There is a performance difference above the standard SD cards, and the P7700 can handle SD, SDHC and SDXC memory cards. I started using these with my older Nikon P7100 (which is still in service), and have never had a failure... but I format them in the individual camera in which they are to be used, upon advice from Nikon and others.

Hope this helps, and many thanks for your comment.

Posted on Oct 27, 2012 1:06:56 PM PDT
J. Paulsonn says:
Excellent review. I loved your comment about over-analyzing reviews, and not buying cameras as status symbols.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 27, 2012 5:15:40 PM PDT
Thank you, J. Paulsonn. I was at the PhotoPlus Expo in New York this week and talking with a product manager who I've known for years about just those two topics. As we were chatting, an individual walked by with a very good and fairly new Japanese digital camera (won't name it here) with a strap that loudly proclaimed the name of another brand with a German heritage and history. The Japanese company manufactures that particular camera, and it's also sold for a bit more with the German name, but the individual "wearing" the camera was obviously more interested in brand recognition than in using it to take photos. It happens.

And thanks again for your comment!

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 27, 2012 6:22:44 PM PDT
Sandeee says:
Thanks for the reply John. I appreciate it. I just read on another online review that write times for raw are about 4 seconds, are you finding this as well? You never really answered my question about raw shooting write times which is very important to me. I have a 95mb/s card as well but it really isn't going to matter if the camera won't take advantage of it. Thanks again.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 27, 2012 6:57:02 PM PDT
Sandee, using the settings for NRW (RAW) images, I'm getting just under four seconds with the P7700. The current card in the camera is a Hoodman RAW Steel SDHC 8GB UHS-1 Secure Digital Card, which is similar in performance to my SanDisk Extreme Pro 8 GB SDHC Class 10 UHS-1 Flash Memory Card 95MB/s. The only difference is that the RAW Steel SDHC 8GB UHS-1 card is ruggedized for extreme durability. Will be doing an in-depth review of this card at some point, but either of these have RAW shooting times of just under four seconds in my P7700.

Writing full-size JPG files is much faster, even when set at high-speed sequential, where I use it about 80% of the time. Hope that this helps.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 29, 2012 6:43:35 PM PDT
Sandeee says:
Thanks again John. I appreciate it. I guess I can live with under 4 seconds. I have one of those 95MB cards as well and will be using it if I get the camera. Thanks again John for taking the time. Take care.
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