Friday, April 29, 2011

Not Your Mother's Point and Shoot

I love my camera toys. I like to have the perfect camera and the perfect lens for the job at hand. A lot of times though, the perfect camera and the perfect lens may combine to be several hefty pounds to lug around. When I'm on a job that's fine, but when I'm casually out and about or on vacation, it's just too cumbersome. For years I have been looking for a camera that would be both compact and portable, as well as customizable and have great image quality. I was tempted by the Canon G Series, but before I took the plunge, Nikon came out with the P7000. Being a Nikon guy it immediately grabbed my attention. Housed in a rugged body and covered with buttons and dials galore, the P7000 might just be the little engine that could.

After months of researching the camera, I got one for my birthday last month. I played with it a bunch of times to get to learn the controls and menus, but I didn't give it a good work out until I went to Ocean Grove last week. I'm not going to go in to a long, technical review. I'll just give my impressions of the camera in human terms that anyone can understand.

My first impression was that it had a beautiful feel in my hands, not too light, not too heavy. It has a feeling of quality. It's not your average point and shoot being too big to comfortable fit in your shirt pocket. If you're looking for small and feather light this is not the camera for you. However, if your looking for something that you can control as much as a DSLR with out the size and weight and with out sacrificing image quality then keep reading.

After shooting with the camera for a few days, I learned that the menu system is not quite as intuitive as my Nikon DSLRs. In fact, there were a few times I got very frustrated that I couldn't get the camera to do what I wanted it to do. However as time went on, and I learned the menus and dials better, I was easily able to obtain quality images that rivaled the P7000's big brothers. Yes, the autofocus is slower and less precise, but this is in fact a point and shoot. As you'll see from the images below, I was able to capture quite a few keepers on a short outing on the beach and in town. You can also see some more images in the post "Sunrise with the Eddies."  The lens has a great zoom range with nice quality throughout. There is also a digital telephoto which zooms in even further, however image quality suffers. Even in bright day light, the camera had focusing issues often with the digital zoom. Stick with the optical zoom range and you'll be very happy. 

I will post more as I get more familiar with the camera, but for now, I am very satisfied with it. I even had a chance to play with my high-end flashes which are compatible with the P7000.  I was going to post images of the photos straight out of the camera, but I decided to show images I played with in Photoshop since that's what I will be doing most of the time anyway. I wanted to show you the final image the way I would be doing for my own enjoyment. That's not to say I had to Photoshop them to make them look good. The camera is of high image quality, to the point where it doesn't get in the way of creatiing the art.
 For $359, it was money well spent. To read more about it, click on the link below to

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