So after much delaying (which is somewhat of a miracle for me) and trying to decide between the P7100 and the Fuji X10 I went for the Nikon, primarily because I think that Fuji has lost the plot a bit (compounded by the white orb issue with the X10). I have just heard too much about QC issue on their premium range (X line). The X100 with sticky aperture blades, the X10 with the white orbs, the XS-1 with the ‘droopy’ lens, blue smudge and white orbs too (though less prevalent)…Sure the X10 Has excellent IQ but paying $600 (or ZAR 7500 odd in South Africa) for a P&S with a dodgy sensor was a bridge too far for me.
So I decided to go for the P7100, I loved the look of the P7000 but it was just too slow, especially when shooting RAW, and the auto-focus was not great either. In essence the P7100 is what the P7000 should have been. Much better auto-focus, faster processing (use a fast 45mb/s or 95mb/s card, you’ll experience much faster write times), an additional command dial on the front, a new noise reduction algorythm (the P7000 low light performance was pretty decent, but the P7100 is quite a bit better). The Camera is very well constructed and feels very solid, the ‘heft’ actually feels inspiring, I wish there was a dedicated movie record button too, but video is not the priority on this camera (at 720 HD its quality is the best I’ve seen in the 720 HD range, better than some 1080 HD camera’s, and the stereo sound is good too). I think the biggest positive to the P7100 is the 7x optical zoom lens which is one of the sharpest I’ve come across (throughout the zoom range, possibly only t he XZ-1 from Olympus being sharper) in a P&S camera.
I also enjoy the optical view finder, yes its only 80% coverage but hey one gets used to compensating for that, and more than once with my battery running low I’ve switched off the display and used the OV, and managed to get a 100 odd photos from the last 30% of the battery, nice option to have.
And of course people will say what about the Canon S100, with its new Digic 5 processor and new 12Megapixel CMOS sensor, and GPS and its 50% (give or take) smaller than the P7100 etc. Well, I bought the S100 prior to the P7100 for work, so I have got some experience with it, and yes it is a great camera BUT, the battery life is CRAP, not only that but it goes from low battery to dead camera in about 20 to 30 shots (you WILL need a spare), and if you are using the GPS you won’t get through one day of shooting (depending on how you shoot of course), AND if you have the GPS logging feature turned on you’ll be lucky if you make it past lunchtime (again depending on how you shoot). It easily has the best noise performance but at a price, detail, after comparing many shots at higher iso’s I can easily say that with the canon you get cleaner images with less detail and with the P7100 you get slightly noisier images with more detail… your choice, for me, based on the fact that the P7100’s noise performance is very good I prefer the more detailed shots, but yes the S100 high ISO pictures look better. Of course the S100 shoots full HD video (1080HD) and it really is good, its much more pocketable too, but for me I am bored with 95% of P&S cameras looking sort of the same, and the P7100 has that ‘presence’ about it and a more unique robust design.
With the P7100 you’ll easily get 350 shots and with the display off well over 500, which is great too, I don’t always want to have to worry about dying batteries and charged spares etc. The high res screen at the back is very clear (921,000 dots). But I think the true appeal with this camera (for me anyway) is the dearth of manual control options you can control by using the buttons and dials on offer, its quite astounding, one can only really appreciate the ‘wowness’ of this while exploring the camera’s abilities etc. I find it amazing just how much (and to what amount of detail) control one can extract.
I’m busy ‘playing’ and exploring my P7100 but so far its been a fair revelation, a great not so little camera. I’ll update this page regularly so if anyone would like to ask any questions, opinions etc feel free, cheers for now.