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Nikon Coolpix P7800 Review

The Nikon Coolpix P7800 adds an electronic viewfinder to Nikon's serious compact camera. Find out how it performs in our review.

| Nikon COOLPIX P7800 in Compact Cameras

Nikon Coolpix P7800 Review: Nikon Coolpix P7800 (3)

The new Coolpix P7800, an update to the P7700, adds a new 921k dot resolution electronic viewfinder, an updated RGBW screen with better brightness for outdoor shooting, while retaining the same 7.1x optical zoom lens with a bright f/2.0 - f/4.0 aperture, a backlit 12.2 megapixel CMOS sensor, RAW shooting, manual controls and vari-angle screen.

Nikon Coolpix P7800 Features

Nikon Coolpix P7800 Review: Nikon Coolpix P7800 (4)

The bright f/2.0 to f/4.0 7.1x optical zoom lens is equivalent to 28-200mm in 35mm terms, and is one of the longest zooms available on a compact camera that is considered to be in the "serious compact" category, offering raw shooting, manual controls, and other advanced features, such as a flash hot-shoe. 

The 3 inch screen is using an RGBW arrangement with white pixels, with a new brightness adjustment mode to give a brighter and more visible view when shooting outdoors in bright sunlight. When this is not enough, then the 921k dot electronic viewfinder (EVF) can be used. This features dioptre adjustment and is activated using a button next to it, which will switch between the rear screen and EVF.

Nikon Coolpix P7800 Review: Nikon Coolpix P7800 (8)

Key Features

  • 12 megapixel backlit CMOS sensor 1/1.7inch
  • 7.1x optical zoom lens, f/2.0-4.0, 28-200mm equivalent
  • Optical image stabilisation
  • 3inch vari-angle screen, RGBW dots
  • 921k dots electronic viewfinder
  • Manual controls, RAW support
  • Full HD video, stereo sound, mic socket
  • Manual video mode
  • ISO80 - 6400
  • 2cm Macro
  • HDR / Panoramic
  • Electronic level, Digital Effects
  • 8fps continuous shooting

Nikon Coolpix P7800 Handling

Nikon Coolpix P7800 Review: Nikon Coolpix P7800 (5)

The camera features a Q button on the back to let you quickly set the Image quality, ISO speed, White balance, My Menu and Colour. On the mode dial, there are three custom user modes that can be setup to give you quick access to your favourite settings.

On top is an exposure compensation dial, function button, and another function button can be found on the front of the camera. There is a front and rear control wheel, as well as a rear scroll wheel making it easy to change manual settings depending what mode you are shooting in. A built in pop-up flash can be found on top, and is activated using a manual button just to the left of the viewfinder.

The P7800 has a large rubber grip surrounding the front of the camera, as well as a rubber grip on the rear for your thumb. This combined with the metal body gives the camera a solid, well built feeling, and the camera shares the rechargable battery with a number of other cameras in the Nikon range. The battery and memory card compartment can be found underneath the camera. A wide strap is provided in the box which is an unexpected addition.

Nikon Coolpix P7800 Review: Nikon Coolpix P7800 (7)

On the side is a microphone socket, as well as a GPS socket that accepts the Nikon GP-1 adapter.

The Nikon menus are clear and easy to navigate, with a neat layout of options, including advanced settings such as being able to manually switch the built in ND filter on and off. You can also manually adjust the c
olour options, the defaults are: Standard, neutral, vivid and black and white with each of these letting you set sharpness, contrast and saturation.

Nikon Coolpix P7800 Review: Nikon Coolpix P7800 (1)

Battery life - Battery life is rated at 330 shots according to Nikon / CIPA test results, and the battery is shared with a number of other cameras, such as the Nikon D3100, D3200, D5100 and D5200 which will benefit owners of these cameras.

Nikon Coolpix P7800 Review: Nikon Coolpix P7800 (2)

Speed - We took a number of shots to test the camera's responsiveness, from switch on to first photo, shot to shot, focusing speed etc. We take a number of shots and then use the average to ensure accurate and consistent tests, making it easy to compare with other cameras.

Shutter Response 0.05s
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response 0.3s
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response 0.65s
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo 1.7
Shot to Shot without Flash 2.0 (JPEG), 3.8 (RAW)
Shot to Shot with Flash 2.1
Continuous Shooting - JPEG
(shots before slow down)
6.9fps (6 shots)
Continuous Shooting - Flash N/A
Continuous Shooting - RAW 6fps (6 shots)

Focus is quick enough when shooting wide-angle, but at the telephoto end becomes much slower. Shot to shot time is quite slow compared to other cameras in this class, and when shooting both JPEG and raw it's even slower making it feel quite sluggish. Continuous shooting is reasonable, although after 6 shots, it stops shooting, rather than continuing to shoot at a slower speed like some other cameras. 

Nikon Coolpix P7800 Performance

Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.

Nikon COOLPIX P7800 Sample Photos

Sample Photos - The camera has reliable exposure, and takes photos with great colour saturation, and pleasing out of focus backgrounds are possible when shooting close up. Photos with flash show little to no red-eye, and skin tones are good, with good levels of detail.

Nikon COOLPIX P7800 Lens test images

Lens Performance - There is quite noticeable barrel distortion at the wide-angle end of the lens and pincushion distortion at the telephoto end, however switching distortion correction on in the camera menus does a good job of correcting this. As with the previous Nikon Coolpix P7700, purple fringing is very noticeable in shots with areas of high contrast such as shooting trees, with a bright sky in the background. Detail is good even to the corners of the frame, and the camera is capable of taking a sharp and detailed photo, and with a close focus distance of 2cm you can take good macro photos. 

Nikon COOLPIX P7800 ISO test images

ISO Noise Performance - Noise is minimal at ISO80, 100, 200 and 400. At ISO800 noise creeps in. Noise increases at ISO1600 with detail being reduced. At ISO3200 noise reduction smudges detail further. Noise is at it's strongest at ISO6400 and this setting is best avoided, unless you plan to resize the images for sharing on the web.

Nikon COOLPIX P7800 White-balance test images

White Balance PerformanceAWB (Auto White Balance) performs well under tungsten lighting with slightly warm results. Using the tungsten preset gives slightly cooler results. There's also an auto (warm) white balance mode to keep more warmth in the image if required. The AWB performs extremely well under fluorescent lighting, with the fluorescent preset giving a slight magenta cast. 

Nikon Coolpix P7800 Review: Panoramic | 1/250 sec | f/2.0 | 6.5 mm | ISO 125
Panoramic | 1/250 sec | f/2.0 | 6.5 mm | ISO 125

Panorama modeThere is a 180 degree panoramic mode, or a 360 degree mode, where you simply pan the camera around and it will automatically stitch the image as you pan. The camera also features panoramic assist, this lets you take full resolution photos and shows an overlay of part of the last shot to assist lining the photos up - this could be particularly useful if you wish to create high resolution panoramic photos, as the resolution of the automatic panoramics is quite low.

Nikon COOLPIX P7800 Outdoor images

Dynamic range is good and can be extended using the D-Lighting option, or alternatively using the backlighting scene mode (which fires the flash), and there is also the option of HDR shooting, which combines a number of shots at different exposures.

Nikon COOLPIX P7800 Digital filters

Digital Filters - There are a large number of effects available including some not regularly found on other cameras, including zoom exposure and defocus during exposure, giving you effects that would normally require a manual zoom lens to accomplish. Although for zoom exposure to work it needs to be dark enough otherwise it would result in over-exposed photos.

Video - The camera records full HD video at 30fps, with stereo sound, and you can use optical zoom while recording, although the camera can struggle with focus when using continuous AF. Additional videos showing the high speed options available can be seen on the ePHOTOzine YouTube channel.

Value For Money

The Nikon Coolpix P7800 is available for £499 which makes it quite expensive for a serious compact camera, although we expect the price to drop with time, and it's cheaper than some of the others available. If you don't need or want the EVF, then the previous model, the Nikon Coolpix P7700 is available for significantly less at £299.

The following cameras are it's closest competitors:

Olympus Stylus XZ-2, tilting touch screen, £265
Nikon Coolpix P7700, vari-angle screen, £299
Panasonic Lumix LX7, f/1.4 lens, £309
Canon Powershot G15, optical viewfinder, £311
Panasonic Lumix LF1, EVF, Wi-Fi, £339
Fujifilm X20, optical viewfinder, £399
Canon Powershot G16, optical viewfinder, Wi-Fi, £529
Sony Cyber-shot RX100 II, large sensor, tilting screen, £590

You'll also need to buy a memory card and a case or bag to keep your camera safe and protected - have a look at our complete guide to camera bags.

Nikon Coolpix P7800 Verdict

Ignoring the fact that you can't get such a small zoom lens for a mirrorless camera, the Nikon Coolpix P7800 is roughly the same size as a mirrorless camera with a pancake lens, but is also more expensive than a number of mirrorless cameras - each one will give better high ISO performance. However, if you want as much zoom as possible, with a bright lens, then the Nikon Coolpix P7800 is still unique in offering an f/2.0 - f/4.0 7.1x optical zoom lens in a compact camera. 

Close the screen and it will automatically switch to the EVF, however we have our reservations about the electronic viewfinder, as it shows noticeably different colours to the screen on the back. The screen on the back has a slight green or yellow tint, while the EVF has a cooler or magenta look to it, with neither of them really giving a true representation of what the true colour is. However for most people they will simply just notice the difference between the screen and EVF - unless a firmware update is able to fix? 

While the Nikon Coolpix P7800 has added an electronic viewfinder, competitors such as the Canon Powershot G16, and Panasonic Lumix LF1 have added Wi-Fi, while others feature a touchscreen, such as the Olympus XZ-2, or a larger sensor, in the Sony Cyber-shot RX100 II. If you plan on shooting in raw, or raw plus JPEG, then you may need to prepare yourself for the slow shot to shot times, although thankfully photo quality and colour is very good. The Nikon Coolpix P7800 is still unique in offering a bright 7.1x optical zoom lens, and delivers bright detailed images and would make a good choice for those looking for a backup camera to their main Digital SLR, or for those that don't want the bulk of a Digital SLR, but do want the controls of one.

Nikon Coolpix P7800 Review:
  The Nikon Coolpix P7800 delivers bright detailed images, with a built in electronic viewfinder and a bright 7.1x optical zoom lens.

Nikon Coolpix P7800 Pros

Bright f/2.0 - f/4.0 lens
7.1x optical zoom lens
2 year warranty
Electronic level (not dual axis)
3inch vari-angle screen
Electronic viewfinder
Large strap included
Good noise performance
Pleasing colour reproduction

Nikon Coolpix P7800 Cons

Slow shooting raw
Purple fringing
Can't adjust EVF brightness
Viewfinder and screen colour doesn't match


Nikon COOLPIX P7800 Specifications

Max Aperturef/2 - f/4
35mm equivalent28mm - 200mm
Optical Zoom7.1x
Image Sensor
Pixels12Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)4000
Pixels (H)3000
Sensor TypeBack-lit CMOS (B.S.I.)
Sensor Size1/1.7inch
Sensor Size (width)No Data
Sensor Size (height)No Data
Aspect Ratio
  • 4:3
  • 16:9
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor3in
Screen resolution922k
Touch ScreenNo
Min Focus2cm
Focusing modes
  • Autofocus
  • Manual
  • Face Detection
  • Centre
  • AF Tracking
  • Multi
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/4000sec
Shutter speeds longest60sec
Bulb modeNo Data
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Aperture-Priority
  • Shutter-Priority
  • Manual
  • Scene modes
  • Program Variable
  • Centre-weighted - Average
  • Spot
  • Multi Pattern
ISO sensitivity80 - 6400
White balance
  • Auto
  • Manual
  • Bracket
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Cloudy
  • Incandescent
  • Fluorescent
  • Flash
Exposure Comp+/-3
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting8fps
Movie modeYes
Video Resolution
  • 1920x1080 FullHD
  • 1280x720 HD 720p
  • 640x480 VGA
Video FPS25
Stereo SoundYes
Optical Zoom with VideoYes
Other Features
Image StabilisationYes
Card Type
  • SD
  • SDHC
  • SDXC
File Type
  • RAW
  • JPG
  • RAW + JPG
Power Source
Battery TypeRechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL14
Battery Life (CIPA rating)350shots
Box Contents
Box ContentsCamera Strap, Accessory Shoe Cover BS-1, Lens Cap LC-CP26, Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL14 (with terminal cover), Battery Charger MH-24, USB Cable UC-E16, ViewNX 2 CD, Reference Manual CD

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Photographs taken using the Nikon COOLPIX P7800

Memories of KittyAnt with waspRiver Bure sunsetVillage RoofsThe StripsApproachingJapanGoing_DownMakeoverSoft_Light_TextureThe QuietMarkedRed & TreadsMobile Nest

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17 Oct 2013 2:00AM
One big advantage of the Nikon P7800 is being missed. Thanks to the EVF, you can always see the settings to change them, even in harsh sunlight. By comparison, the Canon G16 only has an optical viewfinder. So, if you can't use the LCD to frame the scene you want to shoot in harsh sunlight, you also can not see to change the settings.
The only camera that is in the same price range that has an EVF is the Panasonic LF1 which has a viewfinder offering 1/4 the pixels. It also has a lens that does not compare favorably in sharpness. Check out the picture of the trees in the review at this same website.
There are cameras like the Panasonic GX7 and Sony Nex-6 that have built in EVF's but cost 50% to 100% more and come standard with 3X or 3.6X lenses.
bier7 9
24 Nov 2013 12:32PM
Having looked at the colour charts, I'm astonished that nobody mentiones the partially wrong red colours; already my P7100 made of red colours a kind of orange.
Obviously, this hasn't yet changed in the series of P7XXX. Sad

A pity
sasan 9 36 England
22 Jan 2014 1:07PM
I reveiwed nikon p330 today & I can say p7800 has better bokeh than p330 with f1.8.Image quality & details in p7800 is really great .Add EVF & articulating LCD & most price for p7800! Wink
altitude50 18 23.5k United Kingdom
18 Feb 2014 5:55PM
I think that the Panasonic LF-1 is in a (much) lower price bracket than the Nikon 7800. It is possible to buy one direct from HK for under £200. The 7800 is around £380 so there will be a big performance difference.
When 'What Digital Camera' magazine, Christmas 2013, tested it against the Canon G16 it didn't come out well. (Image quality and speed.)
I think my money would be on a Fujifilm product.

I don't think too many people would worry about the colors shown in a EVF, the main advantage being approximate framing in bright sunlight rather than no vision ,no focusing, no changing of settings, no framing at all with a rear screen only.

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