Enthusiast compact camera roundup (2013)
Nikon Coolpix P7800
12MP 1/1.7" BSI-CMOS sensor | 28-200mm F2.0-4.0 lens | electronic viewfinder
What we like:
- Very long, reasonably bright lens
- Good JPEG output
- Articulated rear LCD
What we don't:
- Sluggish user interface
- Disappointing electronic viewfinder
- Slow card write times
The Coolpix P7800 is a full-featured, premium compact clearly intended as answer to Canon's popular G-series cameras. The P7800 appears to offer a compelling spec, including a 1/1.7" BSI CMOS sensor (likely the same one used in other enthusiastic compacts), 28-200mm F2-4 lens, a fully articulating LCD, and an electronic viewfinder.
"Delivers very impressive image quality"
A good sensor, high-quality lens and good JPEG engine means it delivers very impressive image quality. Images are very sharp and noise-free at low sensitivities, and the well-controlled noise reduction means there's less to be gained at high ISO by shooting Raw.
Sadly, the P7800 inherits some of the flaws of its predecessors, including a sluggish user interface and slow write times that can leave the camera locked-up between shots, even with a fast card. Buying a UHS-I card improves matters, but still leaves the Nikon feeling distinctly off-the-pace. It's unusual in offering a fully articulating LCD and adds an electronic viewfinder. Unfortunately, the VGA display used in the EVF is rather small and feels washed out, and there's no eye sensor to automatically turn it on. One nice (and rarely seen) feature that you'll find on the P7800 is the ability to control Nikon flashes wirelessly.
On paper, the Coolpix P7800 is a pretty capable enthusiast compact, offering a superb lens, good photo quality, manual controls, and an electronic viewfinder. It doesn't always live up to this promise, though, and its slow interface is a major flaw, so we think it's worth trying one out before you buy.