Top positive review
194 people found this helpful
A good camera for the serious hobbyist
on September 28, 2011
For the past two decades I've been an avid photographer. My professional equipment choices have leaned towards Nikon. My point and shoot purchases towards Canon. I was in the market for a camera with the following attributes:
A decent travel camera.
Full Creative and manual controls.
Swing out LCD screen.
Compatibility with the Nikon Creative Lighting System.
High quality images including RAW output.
Good reliable performance
Good build quality
The Canon G12 was definitely in the running. So was the Olympus XZ1, Panasonic LX5 and the deeply discounted Nikon CoolPix P7000 These were all good camera's mind you. In the end I choose the P7100 after taking the Canon G12 and Nikon P7000 out for a test drive.
For the past week I've been putting my P7100 through its paces.
First thing I noticed was that the 3" LCD screen rendered beautiful almost photo surreal images and made shooting overhead in a crowd or doing Macro photography a breeze. The problems with the menu in the P7000 seemed to have all been ironed out in the P7100. Navigation and overall performance was quick and responsive.
There seems to be a button for everything including two customization buttons that offered quick access to favorite features such as Nikon's D-Lighting for difficult lighting situations or the Virtual Horizon display for taking level photo's.
I have large hands so even though this camera was a little larger then the usual size in this category it felt very comfortable and well balanced, especially with the rubberized grip.
One of the intriguing features was the HDR mode for back-lit situations. As I understand it the P7100 takes several pictures with a little D-Lighting magic and offers up a composite image. It seemed to work perfectly. Just for fun I plugged in my Nikon SB-400 flash. Works beautifully. I didn't really try out the video since I have no need of it.
From Twilight to dusk most of my photo images were keepers.
So here's what we got in Pro's and Con's.
Abundant manual and creative control.
Articulated 3" 921,000 dot LCD screen.
Built in 2 stop ND filter (wonderful!)
Outstanding battery life
720p @ 30fps video (love the frame rate)
Rubberized covering for good grip
Stingy Viewfinder. But it's better then nothing.
All of the documentation is PDF's on a CD ROM.
Drivers for RAW files are not available yet for Windows.
720p @ 30fps video (not 1080p but love the frame rate)
The 35 to 200mm equivalent zoom capability renders beautiful clean photo images from ISO 100 through 400. I had a lot of fun experimenting and playing with the scene modes. The P7100 is quick and responsive. I'm very happy with this camera and its performance. This is a camera for people who want full creative control.
Relax and rejoice! Adobe just released the Lightroom 3.5 update that includes Nikon P7100 Raw support. Images look great in Lightroom.
update Nov 2012:
Over a year later. Still love this camera. No complaints. I use it more then my Nikon DSLR D700! Its my go to camera for total creative control.