Nikon has announced two new updates to its line-up of Coolpix cameras. The P7800, which introduces an electronic viewfinder to the enthusiast-focused P7000 series, and the S02, which brings an improved resolution and Full HD video recording to Nikon's line of itty-bitty point-and-shoots.
An update to the P7700, the Coolpix P7800 is aimed squarely at enthusiasts and interchangeable lens camera users who don't want to carry all their gear around with them, but do want to tinker with settings while shooting. As such, it offers easy access to manual controls which are laid out in much the same way as on most Nikon DSLRs.
The biggest upgrade over previous models is the inclusion of an electronic viewfinder with 921,000 dots which covers 100 percent of the frame. Nikon had previously dropped the optical viewfinder with the P7700, so it's nice to again have an alternative to composing shots solely on the rear LCD screen.
The camera also features a 12 megapixel 1/1.7-inch CMOS sensor, and a 28-200-mm (35-mm format equivalent) f/2.0-4.0 lens with a seven blade iris aperture for better background blur. It's capable of continuous shooting up to 8 fps, has an ISO range of 80-1600 and, being aimed at more experienced photographers, shoots RAW files as well as JPEG.
Full HD 1080p video can now be recorded at 25 or 30 fps, and a three inch vari-angle screen on the rear is designed to cater for shooting from otherwise awkward positions. While there's still no built-in Wi-Fi, like that of Canon's comparable G16 , the P7800 is compatible with the WU-1a adapter for wireless sharing of images or remotely controlling the camera.
The Nikon Coolpix P7800 will be available this month for a retail price of US$550.
Another camera which offers a modest upgrade to the previous model, is the tiny Coolpix S02, which has a resolution bump compared to the S01. It now uses a 13 megapixel 1/3.1 inch CMOS sensor (up from a 10 megapixel CCD) paired with a 30-90 mm (35-mm format equivalent) f/3.3-5.9 lens. Video recording has also jumped from 720p to full HD 1080p.
Still smaller than pretty-much all but spy cameras, the S02 measures 77.1 x 51.3 x 17.5 mm (3.1 x 2.1 x 0.7 inches) meaning it can fit in most bags or pockets and can be (if you take Nikon's dubious fashion advice) worn around the neck as a fashion accessory. Because of size restrictions, the camera features 7.3GB of built-in memory and the battery is not removable. That said, Nikon still found space for a 2.7 inch touch sensitive screen on the rear.
Nikon is clearly hoping that the camera’s built-in Xenon flash will give enough of a boost to images for users to justify carrying around a separate camera to their LED light toting smartphones. However, without the inclusion of built-in wireless capabilities it could be a hard sell. Those shots from restaurants and nightclubs are stuck in the camera until you connect to a computer.
The Nikon Coolpix S02 will be available this month in silver, while, pink or blue and will cost $180.
Also announced is the LD-1000 LED light which has been designed to work with both the Nikon 1 system and Coolpix cameras, and is styled like the former. The device is an LED light which attaches to the tripod socket via a plate, but can also be used off-camera.
Because the LED is a continuous light source, Nikon says it's particularly useful if shooting video or from close-up and that you're able to see the effect of the light before you shoot. It also states that the light can be good for shooting portraits of people who are not used to having their photo taken and might be distracted by a bright flash, which is one way of looking at it.
The LD-1000 will be available from October in black or white and will cost $100.
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