Operation and controls
One of the biggest surprises with the NV7 OPS (and little brother the NV10) was the new 'Smart Touch' user interface; one of the only serious attempts at improving the ease and speed of access to advanced controls we've seen in over a decade of digital camera development. The trouble with small cameras is that there's no room on the body for all the buttons (and labeling) you'd need to give direct access to even a small subset of the myriad controls and options on offer. Typically camera manufacturers have used on-screen menus to overcome this problem, filling most of the space on the rear of the camera with menu navigation keys.
Although this works perfectly well (and is easy to master) it's not an ideal solution for people who actually like to change things often; you find even simple things like changing the white balance require several (often many) button presses. The Smart Touch system uses 13 touch-sensitive buttons around the screen to control the huge feature set without the need for pages and pages of menus. Virtually all settings can be changed with just two button presses using a system that - once mastered - is incredibly fast and powerful. It's not perfect, but it's a big improvement on the pages and pages of menus it replaces.
It's also worth mentioning that the NV7 OPS - which has an even more extensive feature set than the NV10, and is designed for a more advanced user - is really stretching the usability of the Smart Touch system. If you are the type to use aperture / shutter priority or manual exposure modes regularly you may find it getting in the way a little, and I certainly struggled to change settings quickly when shooting on the hoof. The lack of labels also makes it a pig to use in very low light. That said, if you want a camera this small with this many features you're never going to get SLR-like control.
Rear of camera
The rear of the NV7 is almost identical to the NV10 - it's round the front where the differences lie. Again the styling is deliberately spartan; almost entirely unadorned with the icons and labels we're used to seeing around compact camera controls. The 13 'Smart Touch' buttons change function according to what you are doing, and work with context-sensitive on-screen icons, so the lack of labeling makes perfect sense.
Top of camera
Display and menus
|Here's a typical shooting screen in auto mode with the full (advanced) information turned on. Unlike 99% of similar compacts just about every setting you'd ever want to know about is shown on-screen and - more importantly- can be changed by pressing the soft key next to the icon. There's only one focus mode (center focus), so make sure your subject is in the middle of the frame!||In the auto mode you get a much simpler set of controls; color (cool to warm), brightness (AE compensation), focus mode, file size and flash mode.|
The Smart Touch system uses a sort of 'cross hairs' approach. Basically there are two sets of menus (down the side and along the bottom of the screen), each covering a single function or option. Press the button next to the icon and the menu appears, then select the setting you want by pressing the corresponding button on the opposite axis. The buttons are touch sensitive so you can slide a fingertip along the buttons to move the highlighter. It's easier to use than it is to explain, but it does take a little getting used to.
The functions you can access and control directly (in program and manual mode) are: white balance, ISO, AE-compensation, focus mode, flash mode, image size, metering, drive mode and sharpening. The final icon (bottom right) brings up a secondary set of icons along the bottom (see below).
|Here's the AE compensation in action; simply move the slider (which follows your fingertip as you move it along the bottom row of buttons).||There is a 'second level' of options containing less commonly accessed features (color effects, JPEG quality, self-timer, voice memo and setup menu).|
|An unusual option in auto mode; color fine tuning (from cool to warm)||As well as aperture priority and shutter priority the NV7 has a full, metered manual exposure mode. It's not the fastest in the world to use, thanks to the finger sliding and button pressing required, but I've used worse.|
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.
Popular YouTube channel TastyTuts has put together this 33-video Beginner's Guide to Adobe Photoshop—a godsend for anybody who wants to learn Photoshop from scratch.
The long anticipated replacement for the popular Rode VideoMic Pro is almost ready for shipping. The price of the upgraded VideoMic Pro+ will be £290/$300 when it goes on sale in mid-August.
A new iOS app called Explorest wants to help you find new locations to shoot. It's limited to Singapore for now, but the app is packed full of useful location scouting features.
Nikon's D850 development announcement is extremely light on details, so we assembled a wish list of upgrades and features we'd love to see.
Nikon has announced the development of the long-awaited replacement to its full-frame D810: the D850. Nikon says that the D850 will build on the strengths of its predecessor and offer 'new technologies, features and performance enhancements.'
Lens manufacturer Voigtlander has introduced a 65mm F2 macro lens for Sony E-mount that it says "rates as one of the finest in the history of Voigtländer."
The UK released a preview of their upcoming drone safety regulations, and it looks like drone pilots will have to both register their device and pass safety awareness tests.
National Geographic photographer Bob Holmes talks about light, and why you need to learn how to 'see' and not just 'look' at your subject.
Photographer Alessandro Barteletti shares the story behind his National Geographic Italia cover, shot with a 10-year-old DSLR and an iPhone flashlight.
Fashion catalog photographers in China have some next-level models to work with. In this video, you see one model hitting 30 poses in 15 seconds as the photographer snaps away.
Photographer Paul Adshead breaks down 11 photography-related smartphone apps he couldn't live without—from a pocket light meter to a lighting diagram app.
Fast-growing Chinese flash brand Godox is teasing a brand new flash trigger... for smartphones. The Godox A1 is a 'phone flash system' that can act as both flash and 2.4GHz trigger.
On July 12, Canon opened its newest Technology and Support Center, designed to serve the motion picture industry, in Burbank, CA. DPReview got a sneak peak and takes you behind the scenes.
The Sigma 14mm F1.8 Art is truly one-of-a-kind. It offers the fastest aperture of any lens that shares its focal length, produces beautiful sunstars and is incredibly sharp to boot. If you're in the market for a fast ultrawide prime, this looks to be the one to get.