Externally, the P7100 is similar to its predecessor the P7000. Its body is still liberally peppered with control points, and buttons and dials cover its top and rear, making almost all key shooting parameters accessible without the need to dive into the menu system. The most obvious additions to the P7100 are a fold-out rear LCD screen, and a new front 'sub' command dial, positioned just to the right of the hand grip (when the camera is viewed from the front).
This image shows off the articulated LCD screen of the P7100 (foreground) compared to the P7000's conventional, fixed display. The P7100's LCD screen folds out, which aids low and high-angle shooting, but cannot swivel. Fortunately, the articulated screen does not appreciably increase the camera's bulk.
Unusually (but not uniquely), the P7100 features an optical viewfinder in addition to its 3inch fold-out LCD screen. It also has a socket for an external microphone, and a flash hotshoe which allows any of Nikon's current range of Speedlight flashguns to be attached with full i-TTL compatibility. To the right of the hotshoe is the exposure mode dial, and next to that, the P7100's on/off switch, shutter release and collar-type zoom control. On the far right is the Fn button (previously 'Av/Tv' on the P7000), which can be customized to access a range of different functions, and a large exposure compensation dial. Just behind these is the uppermost rear control dial.
Looking at the camera from the rear, at the top left you can see the flash activation button, and to the right of the LCD screen an AEL-/AF-L button, image review button, and 'menu.' Just above the LCD screen, to the right of the finder is the display mode button. At the base and to the right of the 4-way controller is the delete button, and on the cardinal points of the controller itself are direct access points for macro/normal AF, self-timer, flash modes and AF area modes.
The P7100's optical viewfinder coverage is roughly 80%. To the left you can see flash and AF confirmation lights and a diopter adjustment wheel.
It's a nice 'retro' touch but the LCD screen is bright and contrasty enough to be usable in most environments, and the restricted coverage means that its usefulness is limited for anything more critical than snapshots.
The P7100's tiny flash pops up to the right of the viewfinder window (when the camera is viewed from the front). Like those found on most compact cameras, the P7100's flash is powerful enough for close-range interior portraits or for fill-in, but little else.
In keeping with its enthusiast credentials, the P7100 features two command dials.
One of the dials has made its way to the front of the camera. It's ideally placed for use with the middle finger of the right hand.
Moving backwards, the second command dial sits to the right of the viewfinder on the rear of the camera.
The dial protrudes further from the body than it did on the P7000 making it much easier and more comfortable to use.
The P7100 has another dial as well (although not described as a 'command' dial). This dial is integral to the four-way controller on the rear of the P7100. At its cardinal points you will find direct access to self-timer, flash, AF mode and macro mode settings.
On the other side of the P7100's top plate is the exposure mode dial, and integrated lens zoom control and shutter release. The P7100's zoom spans 28-200mm (equivalent).
The P7100's lithium-ion battery and memory card sit behind a latched door on the base of the camera, inside its hand grip.