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  • Nikon Coolpix P7000 Real World First Impressions

    We've had the Nikon Coolpix P7000 in the store now since September, but we've been so busy we haven't had time to really try the camera out. Yes, there are always the moments in the store when we have a few minutes between customers and we sneak a chance to play with the latest and greatest, but it wasn't until this weekend that we really got to try out the new P7000.

    Nikon Coolpix P7000 High-End Digital Point & Shoot

    For those who are not aware, the Nikon Coolpix P7000 is Nikon's high-end digital point and shoot. This relatively compact digital camera has a lot of advanced features, and many external buttons for the advanced user who wants quick manual control over their picture taking experience.

    The P7000 features a 1/1.7" 10.1 megapixel CCD image sensor. It also features a very useful 28-200mm (35mm equivalent) zoom lens with a maximum aperture range of 2.8-5.6. Some of the advanced features include a 1/4000 sec. maximum shutter speed and the ability to shoot in RAW. Unfortunately the RAW file type is not the same as Nikon's D-SLRs (NRW instead of NEF), so Nikon D-SLR users won't find it a seamless process editing the P7000, and their D-SLR RAW, files. For a full list of specifications, please feel free to visit Nikon's website, www.nikonusa.com.

    This weekend we took a few pictures of a barn being built in Milton, VT, and a couple other shots during a short walk in the woods in Williston, VT. First, we will show you the images, and then we will talk about real world first impressions.

    Overall we found the P7000 to be a great, relatively compact digital camera. The image quality is impressive for a point and shoot, and we found the lens to be very sharp. As you can see, we really enjoyed the in-camera black and whites. The camera is extremely light, and especially for how rugged it feels, so carrying it around was a breeze.

    The P7000 offers a lot of external buttons, and at first we found this to be a drawback. The number of buttons, and the overall button layout seemed to slow us down during our picture taking. Of course, and as with anything, once we got familiar with the button configuration, handling the camera was a lot more fun. We did find the exposure compensation dial to be one of the most useful external controls, and the camera seemed to react quickly once the exposure compensation was adjusted, and the LCD instantly displayed a preview of what we could expect. The dial on top of the camera that controls ISO and other functions was unlike the exposure compensation. Using this dial felt "laggy", and changing the ISO seemed to take longer than it really should.

    As mentioned above, we found the lens to be impressively sharp. In addition, the zoom range is very useful. We never really found ourselves wanting more, be it wider angle or more telephoto. For a compact, the 28-200mm zoom range seems to hit a sweet, useful spot for us. We did find the autofocus to overall be very quick for a compact camera, but when we were taking a picture of a darker scene, or something without a lot of contrast, the autofocus had a difficult time. In low light or low contrast we often had the camera hunt for focus, stop, and then give us a blank screen with a message that the lens was initializing. We can see how this could be extremely frustrating, especially if something important was waiting to be captured.

    When taking digital photographs we usually like to take advantage of the instant feedback at our fingertips. So, we often review our photographs, checking for sharp focus. With the P7000 we did find this to be a slower process. Zooming in during playback was "laggy", and then zooming back out just doubled that effort. What we saw when we did zoom in made us happy, however; because there we saw accurate, sharp focus.

    Overall we really enjoyed the P7000. We really liked its light, rugged feel. Carrying it on us wasn't a chore, at all. We thought the bulkier size for a point and shoot would be noticeable, but the light weight kept it from being a drag. Our only qualms with it didn't really have to do with image quality. For a point and shoot, it is definitely at the high-end. We did notice reduced color saturation in dimmer lighting, but this is to be expected. The combination of a longer zoom lens that is also very sharp helped with our creativity. As you can see, we really enjoyed the in-camera black and white functionality of this camera, and thought it made some really dramatic black and whites, which, for us, is the joy of black and white photographs. Many photographers looking for a high-end point and shoot will want this camera to function like an SLR. The reality is that this camera is still a point and shoot, and, therefore, very portable, so it should not be expected to handle like an SLR. For those not expecting it to handle like an SLR, but are still looking for a very high quality, portable camera, we definitely recommend the P7000.

    Interested in purchasing the Nikon Coolpix P7000? Find it by clicking here.

  • Are All Scans The Same? (NO)

    What's the difference between a dedicated film scanner and some other scanner, like, say, a flatbed scanner?

    Many flatbed scanners now offer film holders, which makes scanning film negatives and slides a simple task for the at-home user. It seems like everyday we have customers asking us about scanning, and which scanner or service is best. It is difficult to sit here and explain the differences between the types of scanners when all that really matters is the end result.

    In an attempt to showcase the quality of a scan from a dedicated film scanner, and that from a high-quality flatbed scanner that offers film holders for scanning negatives and slides, we scanned some Fujifilm Superia 400 color negative print film. We took one frame and scanned it twice. Once on a dedicated Nikon 4000 ED film scanner and again with an Epson V700 flatbed scanner. The first two images are straight out of the scanners using similar, high-quality settings. And, here are the results:

    Scan from Epson V700 Flatbed Scanner

    Scan from Epson V700 Flatbed Scanner

    Scan from Nikon 4000 ED Scanner

    Scan from Nikon 4000 ED Scanner

    Now, here is a crop taken from the two images. We think it is a good idea to get in close to see what viewing the images at 100% looks like because this is important when making prints. Especially bigger prints.

    Crop of Scan from Epson V700 Scanner

    Crop of Scan from Epson V700 Scanner

    Crop of Scan from Nikon 4000 ED Scanner

    Crop of Scan from Nikon 4000 ED Scanner

    As you can see from the above images, using a dedicated film scanner makes a big difference. Looking at the sky, just above the horizon, the Nikon holds color and density, whereas the Epson does not. There is a big difference in the perception of the grass and leaves. The Nikon keeps a more natural green color, and the Epson scan looks like there was a recent drought. Where we really see a big difference, however, is the 100% crop. The Nikon retains a lot of detail in the sweater, and the Epson doesn't hold any detail.

    Finally, here is the high-quality Nikon scan "jazzed" up and ready for a nice print with a little post-processing:

    Nikon Scan Post Processed

    Nikon Scan Post Processed

    Looking for high-quality scanning of your slides and negatives? Please visit our website by clicking here.

     

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