Nikon Coolpix 7900 Review
Operation and controls
Unlike some manufacturers, Nikon has a habit of 'fine-tuning' its user interface with every new generation of consumer compact cameras. In this instance the changes over the 7900's immediate predecessor are relatively minor, and for the most part welcome. As well as a redesign of the user inteface, the menus themselves have been rationalized slightly, with more options per page (the shooting menu, for example, now has more options yet uses only three pages to the Coolpix 5200's five). It's still not the prettiest - or easiest - menu system on the market, but once you've read the manual fully and used the camera for a while it offers a pretty comprehensive feature set. The basic layout of the external controls has changed since the Coolpix 5200, mainly due to the larger LCD (2.0-inch to the Coolpix 5200's 1.5-inch), which has pushed most of the buttons over to the right hand side of the rear of the camera. Otherwise this is a camera that will feel fairly familiar to anyone who has used any recent Coolpix.
Rear of camera
The majority of the 7900's main controls are found on the rear of the camera, with all the most commonly accessed photographic controls (flash mode, AE compensation, macro mode and self-timer) grouped together within thumb's reach directly below the shutter release. If you press and hold down the play button when the camera is turned off it powers up directly into play mode, without extending the lens (though since it takes nearly as long as turning it on in record mode and switching, there seems little point...). It is also worth noting that - unlike virtually every other camera on the market - there is no button for turning the color screen on or off (or for changing the amount of information displayed in record mode). This lack of a 'display' button means you actually have to switch to setup mode and use a menu option to turn the screen on or off...
Top of camera
Display and menus
Although ostensibly a fully automatic camera designed for the 'point and shoot' snap shooter, the Coolpix 7900 has a bewildering array of modes, options and features - some of which are not only very useful, but are unique to the latest range of Coolpixes. The sheer number of features can be a little daunting at first - the seemingly endless pages of menus and icons mean that a good hour or two with the manual in one hand and the camera in the other will pay dividends when you actually go out and start shooting. Unfortunately for the more seasoned snapper the user interface can also be a little frustrating; changing the ISO setting, for example, requires at least 13 button presses (to bring up the menu, find the option, select a new ISO and dismiss the menu). To speed things up Nikon has included - hidden away in the setup menu - an option to replace all menus with a single page of icons, which speeds things up a little, but is nowhere near as elegant as, for example, Canon's FUNC menu.
|This is a typical record mode live view with basic information displayed around the edge of the screen. You can turn most of this off if you wish using one of the options in the setup menu (screenshot).||Half-press the shutter release and the camera will calculate exposure (AE) and focus (AF) indicating the AF area used, and warning if there is a possibility of camera shake (exposure information is not shown).|
|The 7900 normally automatically selects one of five focus points, but you can manually select an off-center focus point yourself from 99 positions within the central 60% of the frame. Also shown here is the 'rule of thirds' framing guides option.||The 7900 uses the same unnecessarily complicated method as its predecessor for the basic photographic controls (flash, macro etc) that have their own buttons. Press the flash button and, rather than the usual cycling through options with each press, a small menu appears on-screen. You then have to use the arrow keys to change the setting, then press the enter button to confirm the change. That's three button presses just to turn on the macro mode - or turn it off again.|
|There's no option for a live histogram in record mode, but if you use the AE compensation button, a histogram magically appears on-screen (we've shown it here against a black background for clarity - normally it is overlaid on the preview image).||One new - and pretty cool - feature is the Blur Warning. If the camera detects camera shake in the image it displays the warning shown above and offers you the option to save or delete the image. It's far from perfect - mainly as it only checks images taken below a certain shutter speed, so excessive camera shake at higher speeds won't trigger the warning - but it's a pretty neat trick that saved a couple of my night shots.|
|The extensive shooting menu is split into three pages of options covering: Image size/quality, white balance, metering mode, drive mode, best shot selector, color effects, contrast and sharpness options, ISO, bracketing (white balance and exposure), saturation, autofocus and noise reduction (on or off). You can optionally view menus as a single page of small icons (screenshot), which makes accessing some features a lot faster.||Turning the mode dial to SCENE and pressing the menu button allows you to select one of 12 scene modes, including panorama assist mode, which shows a ghosted portion of the last picture taken overlaid on the preview image. The only other thing you can change in scene mode is the image quality and size. Pressing the help button brings up a brief description of the mode, and when to use it.|
|The four 'scene-assist' modes - first seen on the Coolpix 3200 - take the hand-holding concept even further. Each offers several basic alternatives (including, in the portrait mode, the new Face-Priority AF, which works remarkably well at finding a face in the frame).
Extra screenshots: landscape and sport modes.
|In scene-assist mode (the shot above shows the portrait assist mode) framing guides appear. These are not only used to make sure you frame correctly, but also to set the focus and AE points.|
|Here's a typical screen from playback mode - much like every other Coolpix camera for the last few years. You can turn this information off using the setup menu. In a retrograde step, there is no longer an option to view any exposure information - or a histogram. Pity.||Pressing the right zoom key lets you enlarge images up to 10x for a closer look. The left zoom key brings up thumbnails - one press gives you 4 (2x2), a second press gives you 9 (3x3).|
|The 7900 features Nikon's excellent 'D-Lighting' feature - a sort of digital 'fill-flash' that lightens shadows without affecting highlight detail. All you need do is press the OK button when an image is displayed. If you accept the change a new file is saved (i.e. the original isn't deleted).||Pressing the menu button in the playback mode brings up two pages of options covering printing, viewing slide shows, deleting/protecting, resizing and copying from the internal memory to the SD card.|
|The setup menu (which gets its own position on the mode dial) consists of three pages of basic camera options, including the usual date/time/audio settings, language, card formatting and the aforementioned monitor settings. You can also replace all menus with icons, which makes it a lot faster to access options when shooting, but takes a little getting used to.||In movie mode you get the usual size and frame rate options (up to a maximum of 640x480 pixels at 30 fps) and a unique 'Electronic VR' image stabilizer (similar to that used on digital camcorders), which seems to work (though the difference isn't huge). You cannot use the optical zoom during filming, but you can zoom digitally.|
|Sophisticated construction by the nature by Orchideon|
|After the Rain by Flor Tempra|
from Macro - Something Pink
|Asilah by Limburg|
from Cozy Corners
Via its strategic partnership with Huawei Leica is already involved in the development of smartphone cameras but chairman Andreas Kaufmann can imagine the German manufacturer taking things one step further.
In a blog post the imaging engineers behind the dual-camera in Andy Rubin's Essential Phone explain how the imaging components were developed and calibrated for best performance.
Tamron calls it an 'ultra-telephoto,' and for good reason: this lens offers a massive 27-600mm equivalent zoom range. But is it sharp?
It started with a great idea and a slick promotional video, and ended with the company headquarters being raided by the San Francisco District Attorney’s office. Wired reports on Lily, the selfie-drone maker that never got off the ground.
With card readers disappearing from MacBooks, USB-C card readers are now a necessity. Macworld's helpful guide compares five models and decodes the current mess of card speeds and certifications.
A Sony a7S II mounted on the outside of the ISS' Japanese Experiment Module (KIBO) for the last seven months has sent back some impressive 4K video and stills.
A Federal judge has refused to throw out a copyright case against controversial artist Richard Prince, who used an image by photographer Donald Graham in an exhibition.
Sony has teased its customers with news of an upcoming announcement: it will soon take the wraps off a new CineAlta motion picture camera, one sporting a 36x24mm sensor.
QuikStories is integrated into the latest version of the GoPro app and automatically creates 'stories' using the video clips you've shot during a day.
Journalists photographing a protest in the US Capitol building claim they were told by Capitol Police to delete photos and videos of arrests.
The Meizu Pro 7 Plus secondary display can be used for music playback, date and weather-related information, or as viewfinder when taking selfies with the rear cameras.
Nikon is marking its 100th anniversary in many ways, including the creation of a new scholarship program for 'future visual creators' in the USA and Canada.
Take one Digital ELPH (or IXUS), rotate it vertically, add a fully articulating LCD and a lens with a camcorder-like focal length, and what do you get? Why, the Canon PowerShot TX1, of course. In this week's Throwback Thursday we revisit Canon's one-of-a-kind hybrid stills/video camera.
Just in case there was any doubt in your mind, here's the definitive video proof that yes, a $50,000 cinema camera beats the pants off a $50 camcorder in a side-by-side test.
Photographers who fly frequently in the US may want to finally invest in that TSA Pre-check status: in standard security lines, cameras and all other electronics larger than a smartphone will need to be placed in a separate bin for screening.
Images have appeared which claim to show Nikon's forthcoming D850 DSLR, the development of which was announced this week. If genuine, the pictures indicate that the D850 will offer illuminated controls and a tilting LCD screen, but no built-in flash.
To celebrate the Daguerreotype Achromat 2.9/64 lens' successful Kickstarter campaign, Lomography has announced a chrome-plated version of the lens in Nikon and Canon DSLR mounts.
Nikon just released four new firmware updates, adding features and fixing bugs in the D600, D610, D750 and the KeyMission 80.
It probably hasn't made your landscape photography bucket list just yet, but there's a good reason to visit Idaho. Here are 9 must-visit locations in this beautiful state.
Oops... Adobe accidentally leaked their unfinished Lightroom-powered cloud-based photo editor 'Project Nimbus' to some Creative Cloud users yesterday.
Storm chaser and award-winning photographer Mike Oblinski just released his latest time-lapse, and it is absolutely stunning.
Looking to level up your video capture capabilities without buying a whole new camera? Blackmagic's Video Assist 4K is well worth considering, despite a few flaws and its lack of 4K/60p support.
We're big fans of Fujifilm's fast-growing GFX system, and the GF 110mm F2 lens is no exception. Positioned as the system's classic portrait lens, its optics are just as impressive with non-human subjects as well.
Nikon turns 100 years old today, and the company is celebrating with a wacky music video, some tributes to its history, and a new vision presented by president Kazuo Ushida.
Phottix just released the Premio Parabolic Umbrellas series, replacing their Para-Pro line with a stronger, deeper and better made set of parabolic umbrellas.
The Moto Z2 is Motorola's first dual-camera smartphone and, compared to its predecessor, comes with a number of improvements and new camera features.
Researchers at Stanford have revealed a new '4D camera system' built for robots. The system is based on the same light field tech that allowed Lytro cameras to refocus images after they were taken.
If you want 'beautiful rendition' from your lenses, follow this simple rule: only buy classic low-element prime lenses with lead glass elements—everything else is junk.
In an interview with CNBC, Leica Chairman Andreas Kaufmann said he dreams of a 'true Leica phone,' and hinted at what's next for the Leica and Huawei partnership.
Wildlife and nature photographer Peter Mather tells the story behind this exceptional shot of a mama grizzly and her cub searching for salmon in Yukon, Canada.