Nikon call their Coolpix "P" series the Performance Series, they compete directly with Canon's Powershot "G" series. But year after year, Canon Gs lead the prosumer market while Nikon play catching up!
Like the Phoenix in mythology, Nikon latest Coolpix P7700 rises from the ashes of the P7100 to compete with the Canon G12 (old enemy) and G15 (new foe)!
In 2010, out of desperation; Nikon released their Coolpix P7000 which not only look like the Canon G12, it even have near-identical top-level specifications! Sadly, the P7000's slow operational speed and confusing on-screen menus caused it's early downfall.
The replacement P7100 failed to topple the G12 superiority either!
Now the new P7700 try to be the game changer, mind you; this time round, Nikon is offering an all new design...
Before you go into my test, you might be wondering why I am not comparing Nikon latest P7700 to Canon's latest G15.
Here are my reasoning...
I do not own a G15 and I do not intend to, the removing of the incredibly useful articulating screen is the main disappointment!
Dollar for dollar, this is the best time to compare the P7700 (NZ$698.00) against the G12 (NZ$668.00); the G15 cost a whooping NZ$100.00 more!
Two different animal, surprisingly; the G12 is slightly smaller that the P7700!
A plastic snap on lens cap for the latest P7700? Compare to the auto lens cover of the G12, Nikon is going backward a few years!
The new Nikon also took away the optical finder, I never use the one on the G12 anyway ;)
G12 also have the front thumb wheel in a perfect position, the P7700; like the G15, are not as well placed.
Control wheels galore! G12 is good but P7700 lay out is better.
Both compacts featured full articulated screen, Nikon's is slightly larger. Canon will be sorry they removed these type of screen from their new G15!
I took both compacts to my office on Friday to shoot a test chart, alas; the chart has gone to our Auckland office!
Colleague Nigel noticed there were some nice cloud formation outside, he took some shot with both cameras.
Both files are JPEGs, colour from the G12 look cleaner, the Nikon seems to resolved more highlight detail.
These are the crops of the dark shadow area of Nigel's captures. Both looked identical.
Saturday, I have 90 minutes to spare; but the Wellington weather do not cooperate... I end up at our Begonia House, Wellington Botanical Garden to test both compacts.
Both pictures were derived from RAW files, Nikon's NRW files were converted to Adobe DNG before opened in ACR (Adobe Camera Raw) in Photoshop.
100% crop from a P7700 water lily shot.
Again, the new Sony CMOS sensor in the Nikon seems to render highlight better than the Canon's.
Canon produced a warmer orchid but the Nikon delivered a more accurate rendition.
Do not expect the Nikon to behave like a D4 when you are firing continuous bursts in RAW + JPEG, it will take more than 10 seconds before your camera "unfreeze"!
Well, at least the little Nikon can shoot 3 to 4 frames per second bursts; the G12 lost.
The "Best Of The Gs" can be fast too, provided you catch the moment because continuous snapping is impossible ;)
I prefer the new 28-200 (eqv) f2-f4 lens on the Nikon. The little G12 can take closer close-up though!
This basket of fruits were shot at increasing ISO settings, only 100% crops are shown below.
For their tiny sensors size, both compact performed admirably well in high ISO settings. The P7700 exhibit slightly less noise than the G12.
Famous Last Words...
Just as I thought the stubby Canon G12 is a hard compact to beat!
The new Nikon P7700 came close though, VERY VERY CLOSE; some might even say it is BETTER than the 2 year old G12.
If the G12 do not have the dreaded "loose screws saga" then it is a sure winner, unless I am sure of that; I am staying put with the Nikon!