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As many of you know, my personal choice for compact camera has been the Nikon P7000. Read my initial P7000 review (with sample pics) here.

It’s been very reliable and I’ve really enjoyed it. Now Nikon has updated the P7000 with the P7100. My friend Joel at Adorama made sure I had one of the first production units shipping anywhere in the USA and here’s my first look.

Copyright Scott Bourne 2011 - All Rights Reserved

I used the camera to make a few images at the Las Vegas Greek Festival. I purposely tested the camera in some tough conditions. The images were made just after Noon, in direct sunlight, in both back and frontlit situations. I have to say the camera didn’t miss a beat. The image quality is amazing as is the color fidelity.

Copyright Scott Bourne 2011 - All Rights Reserved

All the sample shots here were processed in View NX2 and converted to JPGS. Each had only some minor sharpening, vignetting and levels adjustment. I was floored at the results and can’t wait until Apple updates its RAW converter so I can work with the native RAW files from this camera in Aperture.

Copyright Scott Bourne 2011 - All Rights Reserved

The basic thing you need to know about the Nikon COOLPIX P7100 is that it is faster than the P7000. While people used to tell me they had problems with their P7000 models, I never did. But generally the camera was thought to be a bit slow in terms of response time. That’s all fixed now. And for good measure, Nikon has thrown in a few extra goodies for no additional money.

Copyright Scott Bourne 2011 - All Rights Reserved

You now get a popout rear LCD screen, which is great for macro, ground work and for avoiding harsh sun angles that make it impossible to see what you’re shooting on bright days. There is also a new menu system and new front control dial. You can now use AE lock in movie mode. Nikon claims improved autofocus although I haven’t used the camera enough to notice.

Copyright Scott Bourne 2011 - All Rights Reserved - NOTE - this is right out of the camera no changes or adjustments made - just for comparison

Otherwise, the P7100 is no different than the 7000. And that’s a good thing. Read my original review for all the things I do NOT mention in this one. It hardly seemed worth the effort to restate them since so little has changed. The image quality from the 7000 was always amazing. The small little nits you find in any 1.0 product were the problem – and my first thought is that Nikon caught them all. It’s not going to be the perfect compact camera for everyone, but it is for me.

If you are simply broke and can’t afford the $130 price difference between the P7100 and the P7000, buy the P7000 because you get the same exact image quality, just not with all the niceness of the P7100.

Highly recommended.

NOTE: If you shoot RAW with this camera right now, the RAW files can only be decoded by Nikon’s Capture or View NX. View NX comes with the camera but when I tried to use it to convert the RAW files to TIFs it crashed so I had to email the files to myself as JPGS. Look for both Adobe and Apple to issue updates to their RAW converters to support this camera soon.

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