2nd look at my P7000: Be careful before buying, or don't buy

Started Sep 22, 2010 | Discussions thread
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AndreasE
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2nd look at my P7000: Be careful before buying, or don't buy
Sep 22, 2010

It seems to me that I was one of the first buyers of the small Coolpix P7000 yesterday. While I had not much time yesterday to try the new camera, I did have a chance to use it today a bit. Yesterday seemed to be a day, where I enjoyed my small little gadget quite a lot. But this changed today.

Let me explain:

Before I start with my explanation, let me share a bit where I am coming from. In the last 10 years, I've basically used all Nikon DSLRs and enjoyed their increase in quality and ergonomics big time. Yet, the size of even the smallest D3000 is too big for many of the business trips I am regularily on. So I looked for a companion to the DSLRs. Had been disappointed by some Lumix and Canon G7 in the past, I tried to convice myself that the P7000 is the ultimate compact solution to my use case.

The ergonomics of the P7000 is one of the best I have encountered in PS cameras. Kudo's to Nikon for this job. The size and weight is fine too.The price would be absolute fine as well, if, yes if the picture quality would be acceptable for an advanced PS camera the P7000 is supposed to be.

I have shot in the 2 days approx 300 pics and not a single one has the clarity, sharpness, dynamic range and contrast I had expected from this camera. It is far off, really far off, what even the cheapest kit lens and the D3000 can produce. Even the D1 has better perceived image quality, a digital 2,6 MP camera introduced 10 years ago.

There are 2 root causes for the degradation:

1) The lens. The lens severily limits the resolution of the sensor. It is not at the level of quality of the remaining camera. Initially, I thought that only edge cases, like at the tele end and wide open produce visible blur. But to a lesser degree, all pictures have this kind of limitation.

2) Dynamic range (or the lack thereof). Shooting in bright sunlight produced immediate blow-outs on bright spots, whithout any reserves in the dim parts. I haven't measured it, but compared to entry level DSLR about 3 f-stops of dynamic range are missing.

Solution:

If you are willing and accept final resolution of either 2 or 3 MP (camera can be set to that level) then I'd assume that many people will enjoy the pictures. If you get over this, the visual limitations will be clearly visible. Pixelpeepers should stay away.

I recommend, that anybody who has the P7000 on his list of potentiual next cameras, take an SD card to your store, shoot some pics in either JPEG (Large/Fine) or RAW and check the quality at home before you buy. Some people will like it, but I think many more will move away and look else where, which is very unfortunate.

Final words (Unless my camera is not affected by a production error):

Writing this post had this kind of strange feeling. Being a Nikon fan ever since and believe me, I have quite a decent Nikon body and lens collection, I felt somehow bad to pinpoint this evidence of completely missed expectations. So, go and check BEFORE you buy is my recommendation.

Cheers,
Andy

Please find my initial (enthusiastic) first impression here:
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1007&message=36400373

Some of my P7000 shots are located here: http://www.pbase.com/nikonp7000 (go and look for the full resolution ones)

Here is one to download directly:
http://www.pbase.com/andrease/image/128724160/original.jpg

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