Review: Nikon Coolpix P7800

Compact cameras

Nikon P7800
On screen: the Nikon Coolpix P7800. Picture: Nikon

The market for a pocket camera for pros has long been split between Canon and Nikon. Although companies such as Panasonic and Sony have produced some very high-quality, small cameras – especially of the compact system type – Canon’s “G-series” and Nikon’s “P-series” are the backup cameras of choice for many professional photographers.

They have enough manual controls, and good enough image quality to act as a backup to a DSLR. But they can go to places that DSLRs often cannot.

But recently, Canon and Nikon have diverged slightly in their approach to these cameras. Although Canon does support video on its G15 and G16, the lack of a mic input of any sort really limits the camera to stills work.

Nikon, for its part, has included an audio input on its pro compacts since the P7100, and it also has an audio memo mode that records uncompressed, WAV audio.

With its small sensor, the Nikon P7800 can’t compare to a DSLR, or even a compact system camera such as the Sony NEX7, when it comes to raw image quality.Nikon P7800

But the small size of the P7800, combined with some useful features such as a flip-out LED screen, an electronic viewfinder, and image stabilisation, make it an interesting choice as a backup camera for video. Footage is also recorded as h.264, which some editing software finds easier to handle than the AVCHD formats preferred by Sony and Panasonic.

In fact, the P7800 is not without its quirks, but the video quality, as our test film below shows, is rather good.

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