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- Nikon Coolpix P7700
- A great enthusiast compact all-around, best for patient shooters.
Nikon Coolpix P7700 Digital Camera Review$499.95
In addition to the usual PASM and full auto options, the P7700's mode dial has three user-customizable modes, separate settings for special effects and scene modes, and two movie settings—one of these is for fully automatic video recording, while the other allows for manual control of video settings.
The P7700 is a delight when it comes to manual control of vital shooting settings. Three command dials, a physical EV compensation dial, and the unusual Quick menu dial make it dead simple to change any setting you want to get at, and having what amounts to four customizable buttons (with the Fn1 button's three functions) is a great help as well.
In all but the darkest and lowest-contrast situations, the P7700 locks focus reliably and accurately. We experienced very few failures to lock when we'd selected the appropriate focusing mode, despite the fact that the camera was hesitant to use its AF assist lamp.
The focusing modes were a source of occasional frustration, though we understand why Nikon has chosen this path. As with nearly every other aspect of the P7700's design, there are several different focusing modes available. The default autofocus mode (AF) will focus on any subject between 50cm and infinity (or 80cm and infinity at full telephoto). Change to the macro mode (Macro close-up) and you can shoot objects as close as 10cm or 2cm from the lens, depending on how much zoom you're using, and all the way to infinity. Select the secondary macro mode (Close range only) and focus is limited to the macro range, with the upshot being that it should be a bit faster. Some might be happy to exchange the slightly quicker AF for automatic use of the full macro-to-infinity focusing range, but others will surely be happy with the decision Nikon made here.
There are also Infinity (only focuses on the horizon) and manual focus modes. Manual focus is controlled using the rear rotary dial or the up and down buttons, and includes a magnified focus assist window at the center of the LCD display.
Both JPEG and RAW recording are available on the P7700, and JPEGs can be saved with either Fine or Normal compression. You can also shoot RAW+JPEG with either JPEG compression level, giving you a total of five different image quality settings.
Images can be captured at full 12.2-megapixel resolution, or downsampled to 8 megapixels, 4 megapixels, 2 megapixels, or VGA resolution (640x480px). You can also shoot in 3:2, 16:9, or 1:1 aspect ratios, but only at the largest possible resolution for the chosen format. In total, this gives you eight resolution choices.