Features & Controls

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nikon_p7700_lens_tele.jpgThe P7700 is another in the growing line of fixed-lens, intermediate-level cameras -- such as the Fulifilm XF1, Panasonic LX7, and the Pentax MX-1 -- that carry a price tag of around $500. These cameras have larger image sensors than most fixed-lens cameras, although the sensors usually are smaller than entry-level ILC and DSLR cameras, which offer the additional advantage of making use of interchangeable lenses. 

The large 1/1.7-inch CMOS image sensor on the Coolpix P7700 allows this model to create high-quality photographs, especially when shooting images in low light. Don't concern yourself with the fact that the P7700's image sensor allows for a maximum resolution of 12.2 megapixels, as its image quality is much higher than that of lower-priced point-n-shoot cameras, which may offer 16MP or 18MP of resolution, but in a smaller image sensor.

As with most fixed-lens camera in this category, the Nikon P7700 doesn't offer a significant amount of telephoto capability. However, this camera's optical zoom measurement is 7.1x, which is a bit better than most of its primary competitors. The P7700's equivalent focal range is 28 - 200mm, and if offers a maximum aperture of f/2. 

When the camera is powered on, the lens extends almost 1 inch from the camera body. At full telephoto, the lens extends 2 inches from the camera. The P7700's zoom lens motor works pretty quickly, requiring less than 2 seconds to go through its full zoom range. Through the on-screen menus, you can choose a slower zoom movement, which will make the camera quieter.

The autofocus modes available with this Nikon camera are: 9-area automatic, center, face priority, manual with 99 focus areas, subject tracking, and target finding autofocus. The effective autofocus ranges for the P7700 include a very impressive macro focus range.

  • Wide: 20 in (50 cm) to infinity
  • Tele: 32 in (80 cm) to infinity
  • Macro: 0.8 in. (2 cm) to infinity
You'll find lens-shift Vibration Reduction technology in the Nikon P7700, designed to minimize camera shake.



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As you can just see in this image, Nikon included an Fn1 button to the left of the lens housing. This button gives you quick access to certain shooting functions, and it can be customized. It's easy to access the Fn1 button with your pinky finger on your right hand as you're wrapping your fingers around the right-hand grip while using the camera.

The focus-assist light is near the top of the front panel, almost directly above the Fn1 button.
 


nikon_p7700_flash.jpgThe popup flash unit on the Coolpix P7700 is on the right side of the camera (as viewed from the front), emerging from the top panel when you press the flash toggle button on the back of the camera. 

Because this camera does a pretty good job in low light, you might not need to use the flash too often. Still, the P7700 has good results with the flash, too. Nikon has included a powerful flash range with this camera, including a range of 1.67 feet to 32 feet when shooting at the wide-angle setting. At the maximum telephoto setting, the flash range is from 1.67 feet to 18 feet.


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Nikon has included a wide variety of controls on the top panel of this camera, many of which will appeal to intermediate and advanced-level photographers, giving them easy access to some of the P7700's advanced settings.

On the far left of the top panel, you'll see the compartment for the popup flash unit (marked with Coolpix P7700 in this photo). Additionally, on the far left is a six-entry Quick Menu dial that provides access to advanced manual settings, depending on which shooting mode you're using. For example, most of these Quick Menu items won't be available in the Auto shooting mode. The Quick Menu dial includes:

  • ISO - ISO sensitivity setting
  • WB - White balance setting
  • BKT - Auto bracketing settings
  • My Menu - Customizable menu settings
  • Paint icon - Picture control settings
  • QUAL - Image quality and image size settings

In the middle of the top panel is the hot shoe, visible here as two silver brackets. The metal connectors of the hot shoe are protected by a black plastic cover until it's needed for use. You can attach a more powerful external flash or another type of Nikon accessory through the hot shoe. 

Continuing to the right, you'll see the Coolpix P7700's mode dial, which has 12 different shooting mode options. The options on the mode dial include:

  • Auto (camera icon) - Automatic mode
  • P - Program mode
  • S - Shutter Priority mode
  • A - Aperture Priority mode
  • M - Manual mode
  • Movie (video camera icon) - Movie mode
  • Movie CSM - Custom movie mode
  • SCENE - Scene mode options
  • EFFECTS - Special effect mode options
  • U1 - First user settings mode
  • U2 - Second user settings mode
  • U3 - Third user settings mode

On the right side of the top panel, you'll see a series of buttons. Along the bottom right, you'll see the power button (marked with On/Off) and an exposure value dial. When the camera is powered on, the On/Off button is lit momentarily with a green LED. The LED flashes when the camera goes into sleep mode. 

The EV dial makes it easy to quickly adjust this setting on the camera without having to work through the on-screen menus. If the EV dial is set to anything but zero, you'll see an orange light near the dial. This orange light is designed to serve as a warning to you in case the EV dial is inadvertently bumped away from the zero setting, which is a possibility because the dial hangs over the top edge of the camera. Kudos to Nikon for this addition.

Along the upper portion of the right side of the top panel, you'll see the shutter button surrounded by a zoom ring. To the far right is the Fn2 button, which allows you to assign a particular camera function to this easy-to-access button.

Finally, along the top of the right-hand grip area, you can see another dial. This sub-command dial allows you to work through the on-screen menus without having to use the four-way button. It's pretty easy to access the sub-command dial with your right index finger.



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The back panel of the Coolpix P7700 has its own set of buttons. However, what you'll initially notice when you look at the back of the camera is the articulated LCD screen. This screen, which is hinged on the left, is extremely sharp and bright, measuring 3.0 inches diagonally. This is a very high-quality LCD screen, even compared to other cameras in the $500 price range.

Along the top of the back panel are a variety of buttons. In the upper left corner, you can see the tiny toggle switch that opens the popup flash. To the right of the flash toggle switch, the back of the Quick Menu dial is visible.



nikon_p7700_LCD1.jpgThe screen can rotate and twist away from the camera at a variety of angles. You also can twist the LCD so that the screen is facing the interior of the camera when you're finished using it, keeping the LCD screen clean and free from any potential of damage. When the LCD screen is turned toward the interior of the camera, the power button becomes inactive.




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In the middle of the top of the back panel is the Disp button, which changes what information is shown on the LCD screen. There's another command dial to the right of the Disp button. Near the upper right corner is the AE-L/AF-L button, allowing you to lock the exposure and the focus. To the right of the AE-L/AF-L button is a space for your right thumb when holding the camera.

Along the right side of the back panel, you'll find a series of command buttons that may look familiar, as most cameras contain these buttons. The Playback button is marked with a blue play icon. Along the bottom is the Menu button, through which you can access the camera's on-screen menus. On the lower right is the Delete button.

The four-way button contains a rotating selector button, allowing you to scroll through on-screen menu commands and stored images more quickly. You also can press the edges of the four-way button to make on-screen menu selections. The edges give you quick access to various popup menus, including the self-timer (left), flash (top), autofocus area (right), and focus mode (bottom). The OK button in the middle of the four-way rotating button allows you to make menu selections.

In this photo, you can see on the left the plastic backing of the screen, as the LCD screen has been turned toward the interior of the camera.

nikon_p7700_IO-right.jpg
Nikon included an HDMI mini connector and a USB A/V connector behind a panel on the right-hand side of the camera. The panel is hinged and clicks into place.


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On the upper left side of the camera is an external microphone port, hidden behind a small flexible cover. The cover does fit tightly in place, so you don't have to worry about it coming open through general camera usage.

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On the lower left side of the camera is an accessory terminal, allowing you to connect external accessories, such as a GPS unit. This terminal is protected by another small flexible cover that snaps tightly in place

.

nikon_p7700_battery-SD.jpgNikon included a separate battery charger with the P7700. Because you don't have to charge the battery inside of the camera, you can shoot with one battery while charging a second battery; if you choose to purchase a second rechargeable battery. Nikon estimates that you can shoot 330 photos on a single charge. This is a pretty large battery, so the battery life is good, although my tests showed the realistic battery life is about 10% to 15% less than 330 photos.

You can use SD, SDHC, or SDXC memory cards with this camera.


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