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Review: Nikon Coolpix 7700 Compact

Date

Terry Lane

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Nikon CoolPix7700.

Nikon CoolPix7700.

Nikon Coolpix 7700 Compact
Price: $650
Verdict: Brilliant

The low-down: This 12-megapixel camera with a 28mm-200mm zoom lens is at the top of Nikon's compact range. In fact, ''compact'' could be a misnomer for this bulky and weighty camera - you won't fit it in your pocket. But the bulk has a point. Construction is rugged, and all the controls found on an entry DSLR are incorporated. There are three dials on the top for easy access to mode, exposure compensation and settings for white balance, ISO, bracketing and size-resolution. There are also front and rear wheels for setting selection. The 7.5cm 940-dot swivelling LCD is excellent. Features such as five-exposure bracketing put the 7700 into the serious class but, for those who insist, it can be used fully automatic with the usual set of scene modes. There is a good printed user manual.

Like: The image quality is outstanding, with one caveat - restricted dynamic range. The camera feels just right in the hand and is responsive, with fast, accurate focusing at all focal lengths. The range and placement of the external controls are exemplary. Colour fidelity is superb.

Dislike: Dynamic range is limited, as we have come to expect from small sensors. Highlights can easily burn out. Generally slight under exposure and shooting RAW seems to be the best corrective.

Verdict: This is an excellent camera, as long as you don't mind a little extra bulk and mass. Its size raises a question about comparison with compact system cameras that are the same size but have the advantage of a larger sensor and interchangeable lenses. But, if you prefer the convenience of an all-in-one camera, the Nikon is a brilliant example of the type.