Nikon has released its second, updated Coolpix “P series” pro compact this year, the P7800. The new model brings the number of Nikon “P series” cameras listed to three, but the latest camera promises some significant improvements in video capabilities.
Nikon and Canon together account for the majority of sales of professional-grade compact cameras, as against interchangeable lens, compact system cameras. The Nikon P series and Canon G series, such as the current PowerShot G16, are favoured by professional photographers and photojournalists as pocket or backup cameras, because of their manual controls, ability to work with accessories such as flash guns, and image quality.
The P7800 shares many of its specifications with the P7700, released earlier this year: a 12 megapixel sensor, based on a 1/1.7” chip, and a 28-200mm equivalent zoom lens. The lens aperture ranges from f2.0 to f4, and the camera has built-in ND filters, and a seven-blade iris to help blur backgrounds.
The main improvements over the P7700, however, are in the video performance. The P7800 now has full manual control, including white balance, shutter speed, aperture, ISO setting, and manual focus. The camera also works with the Nikon WU-1a wireless adapter for control via a smartphone.
For European users, however, the most important improvement is the 25fps frame rate for video – the P7100 ran at 24fps at 720p, but the P7700 only offered the US 30fps frame rate. The P7800 supports both 25fps and 30fps at 1080p.
But video makers will also benefit from the other addition to the camera, and the feature that positions the P7800 above the P7700 in the Nikon range: an electronic viewfinder (EVF).
Nikon dropped the P7100’s optical viewfinder with the release of the P7700, choosing instead only to have an LCD screen. The P7800 opts for an EVF in place of an optical viewfinder. But for video recording this is a more useful option, which should allow for very discrete filming.
The P7800 includes a built-in stereo microphone and, alone in its class, an external mic input, with audio recorded as WAV for sound memos and AAC for video. The camera has a recommended price of £499.99 including VAT (€599).
Nikon has also announced the LD-1000 LED light, a continuous or video light designed for its compact and CSC cameras.