The Nikon P7800, released in 2013, stands out as a high-end compact digital camera that caters to enthusiasts and professionals seeking advanced features in a portable package. Boasting a 12.2-megapixel 1/1.7-inch BSI-CMOS sensor, this camera delivers impressive image quality and versatility.
A camera you enjoy shooting with will always better than a camera with just better specs. Your results are a matter of your skill and willingness to work around limitations. Just because something is older doesn't make it less capable.
Why use and older digital compact camera?
An older compact camera can still be a valuable asset for several reasons. While lacking the latest technology, these cameras often have well-built, durable bodies, providing reliability. Many older models boast impressive optics and sensors, delivering satisfying image quality for casual or hobbyist photographers.
Their simplicity and intuitive controls make them user-friendly, making photography accessible to beginners. Additionally, older compact cameras may be more affordable, offering a cost-effective entry into photography. With proper care, these cameras can still capture meaningful moments, proving that age doesn't always diminish the ability to produce compelling and cherished photographs.
For photography centric users, older cameras can age gracefully. A point that we are not keeping in mind is that our eyes have not changed the way photography technology has. We can see and old family photo or professionally taken one from years ago and appreciate it just the same. Sure, some standards have changed in terms of what we might be accustomed to, but a good image will always be a good image. Not matter the cameras, sensor, or medium.
Let's delve into the noteworthy features that define the Nikon P7800.
good image quality
Clean images up to ISO 1600
has a mic input
very versatile lens range 28-200mm
relatively fast aperture of f2-4
very comfortable to hold (rubber grip is fantastic)
some level of customization
built in flash
has a hot shoe for adding speedlights
small 1/1.7 sensor
not very compact (a tab bulky)
slow operation when shooting RAW
no direct control of ISO in manual (could have used the back scroll dial)
the EVF is pretty bad
Versatile Lens and Aperture Range
The P7800 comes equipped with a 7.1x optical zoom NIKKOR lens, covering a focal range of 28-200mm (35mm equivalent). This versatile lens makes it suitable for a wide range of photographic scenarios, from wide-angle landscapes to telephoto shots. With a bright f/2.0-4.0 maximum aperture, the camera excels in low-light conditions, providing greater flexibility in various shooting environments.
Vari-Angle LCD Screen
The camera features a 3-inch vari-angle LCD screen with a resolution of approximately 921k dots. This articulating screen allows for flexible framing, making it easier to capture shots from high or low angles. The sharp and vibrant display enhances the overall user experience, whether composing shots or reviewing images.
Electronic Viewfinder (EVF)
The inclusion of an electronic viewfinder is a standout feature for photographers who prefer composing shots through a viewfinder. The EVF on the P7800 provides a clear and detailed preview of the scene, aiding in precise composition, especially in bright outdoor conditions where the LCD screen might be less visible.
Personally I don't think the viewfinder is that good. However, the LCD has been so reliable I don't find myself needing the EVF. But it can work for you in a pinch.
Full Manual Controls and Raw Shooting
Catering to photography enthusiasts, the P7800 offers extensive manual controls, allowing users to tailor settings such as aperture, shutter speed, and ISO to their liking. The camera supports RAW shooting, providing greater flexibility in post-processing for those who prefer to fine-tune their images.
Built-in ND Filter
A built-in Neutral Density (ND) filter is a practical feature for photographers working in bright conditions or those looking to achieve specific creative effects. The ND filter helps control exposure by reducing the amount of light entering the lens, allowing for wider apertures and slower shutter speeds in well-lit environments.
Full HD Video Recording
The P7800 is capable of recording Full HD 1080p video at 30 frames per second, providing a versatile tool for capturing high-quality video alongside still images. The inclusion of stereo sound enhances the overall video recording experience. Another standout features is that it has 3.5mm standard mic input. That's very rare for a camera in this class.
High-Speed Continuous Shooting
For action photographers, the P7800 supports high-speed continuous shooting at up to 8 frames per second. This capability ensures that users can capture fast-paced moments with precision and detail, making it suitable for sports and wildlife photography.
Nikon Coolpix P7800 Photo Gallery of Sample Images
All of these photos are SOOC JPGs (straight out of camera) with no editing. Its various landscape and street photos with some macro shots thrown in.
One of my favorite features of a small sensor camera is its native ability to do macro. Most shots are wide open at the relevant focal length used due to the variable aperture of F2-4. Finally, I used different color profiles, white balances, etc all in camera.
My personal experience with the Nikon P7800
I'm admittedly a fan of small sensor cameras so my personal view will be undoubtedly clouded, perhaps biased. I've owned many small sensor compact cameras that have 1 inch sensors or smaller over the years. Some of favorites are the Ricoh GRD IV, Fujifilm X30, Samsung EX2F, Canon G7X Mark II, and now the Nikon P7800. So far this is the only camera I owned which had such a versatile zoom range. Coupled with the great handling yet compact size it fits right in my lineup well.
I have two ways that I prefer to use it:
standalone in JPG only
as a secondary camera for outdoor telephoto use when shooting RAW.
When I use it standalone its my one and only camera so I want it to be ready for anything. That means shooting in JPG only so the operation is as fast possible. When I use it as a secondary camera my primary camera is a larger sensor camera (APS-C) handling my general purpose shooting, which is 24-40mm. The Nikon will handle my telephoto needs in a small package. The killer features to help me accomplish this are the Zoom Memory Function and Startup Zoom Position.
The Zoom Memory features several different focal lengths corresponding to prime lenses. 28, 35, 50, 85, 135, 200mm. You can use the function button plus the zoom rocker to recall them specifically. You can even set the camer to only which ones you want. I often do 28, 50, and 135 only. The Startup Zoom Position allows you to set the focal length that camera will default to upon startup. Again, I use that feature to start at 85mm to handle telephoto work when I turn the camera on.
The Nikon P7800 is not a pocketable camera but it is still rather compact for what you get. It also have a great rubberized grip and is a very comfortable camera to hold. It's not heavy either. It feels serious. Small sensor beg me to shoot in black and white. It lends itself better with that grit.
When I shoot small sensor cameras I don't go above ISO 1600 and prefere to stay at 400 or 800. I treat it like it has a role of film and compensate accordingly. Auto ISO from cameras of this generation are not as good as modern camera in getting it right. You have to take control and embrace the limitations.
With a great articulating screen you might be compelled to do video. It does shoot HD 1080p 30fps and does have a full auto or full manual option. In addition, it has a mic input and a hot shoe to mount a mic. I think in good lighting conditions you culd get some decent video if desired. I think this camera was ahead of its time and could have been marketed as a vlogging camera but I don't believe these features were highlighted to consumers.
Watch my Nikon P7800 video on YouTube
Shoot your small sensor camera like a film camera
Shooting a digital camera like a film camera involves embracing a more deliberate and thoughtful approach to photography, mimicking some aspects of shooting film. Here are some ways I like to approach embracing limitations:
Use Manual Settings:
Opt for manual control over your camera settings. Adjust aperture, shutter speed, and ISO manually to achieve the desired exposure. This mimics the process of setting up a film camera for each shot.
Shoot in RAW Format:
Use the RAW file format instead of JPEG. RAW files contain more information and provide greater flexibility in post-processing, allowing you to achieve a film-like look during editing.
Restrict excessive post-processing. Avoid heavy reliance on digital filters or presets. Aim for a more natural and subtle editing style to maintain a film aesthetic.
Experiment with White Balance:
Play with white balance settings to achieve a specific mood or color tone. Film cameras often had unique color characteristics, and adjusting white balance can help replicate some of those qualities.
Embrace Grain or Noise:
If your digital camera allows, consider adding a bit of grain or noise in post-processing to simulate the texture found in film photography. Be mindful not to overdo it; subtlety is key.
Shoot in Manual Focus:
Experiment with manual focus, especially if your digital camera allows for precise control. This can slow down the shooting process and encourage a more deliberate approach to composition.
Mimic the limited number of exposures on a film roll by being more selective in your shots. Take the time to compose and frame each image, focusing on quality rather than quantity. You could also try using small SD cards.
Use Prime Lenses:
Consider using prime lenses with a fixed focal length. This can encourage you to move around and frame your shots more thoughtfully, as you won't have the convenience of zooming in and out.
Wait for the Right Moment:
Be patient and wait for the right moment to capture your shot. Avoid rapid-fire shooting and take the time to observe and compose your images.
Print Your Photos:
Just like film photographers, consider printing your photos. The tactile experience of holding physical prints can add a different dimension to your photography.
Remember, the goal is to embrace a more intentional and mindful approach to photography, paying attention to composition, exposure, and the overall aesthetic of your images. Experiment with these tips and find a balance that suits your personal style and preferences.
The Nikon P7800 stands as a versatile and feature-rich compact camera, offering advanced capabilities typically found in larger camera systems. Its robust set of features, ranging from the vari-angle LCD and electronic viewfinder to manual controls and built-in ND filter, make it an appealing choice for photographers seeking a portable yet powerful imaging tool. I think it excels at being a travel camera. Don't take this camera too serious and you can get some serious results.
My name is Jason Logan. I'm a photographer and content creator from Jersey City, NJ