The P7000's overall performance is somewhat mixed. In actual operation the camera feels sluggish. There is a delay when menus are activated, and a longer delay afterwards to go back the shooting mode. It can start up and take a picture in a little more than three seconds, which is possibly a bit on the slow side for a £350 camera. In single-shot JPEG Fine mode it has a shot-to-shot time of approximately 2.2 seconds, which is about the same as the Canon G11, but slower than the LX5 or the EX1. In Raw + JPEG mode however it is much slower, with a shot-to-shot time of a little over six seconds. In continuous shooting mode it can manage approximately 1.5fps, indefinitely in JPEG mode but only for five shots in Raw + JPEG, with a lot of processing time afterwards.
The P7000's autofocus system is excellent. It has a nine-zone multi-AF option, as well as as two different centre focus options, and face detection. Manual focus is also available. The AF is very quick and accurate, and also woks well in low light. There is a very bright AF assist lamp with a range of several metres, so it can focus in complete darkness.
The raison-d'etre of a high-end compact is image quality. These cameras are often bought by DLSR owners looking for a lighter alternative, but without giving away too much in terms of resolution and sharpness. The P7000 certainly delivers the goods, helped by its superb lens. The 7x zoom Nikkor provides excellent corner-to-corner sharpness with minimal wide-angle distortion and no chromatic aberration. The level of fine detail is very impressive, producing low-compression files of over 4MB. This is certainly on a par with other similar cameras, although we'll have to wait and see how it compares to the G12.
Exposure and colour rendition are very good, and dynamic range is also better than average. Image noise is very well handled, producing clear and reasonably well-detailed pictures at 1600 ISO, and even the 3200 ISO normal maximum produces usable images. ISO can be extended further to 6400, but here the results are not so good.
With the CoolPix P7000 Nikon returns to the very top end of the compact camera market. It's an impressive camera, with good build quality, a wide range of features and a lot of creative versatility. Performance could be a little better, but there's nothing wrong with the results. It is a viable and slightly cheaper alternative to the G12 and LX5.
After nearly seven years and over six hundred reviews and features, this will be my final appearance on TrustedReviews, as I'm moving on to new projects and challenges next year. It's been my great pleasure to entertain and hopefully inform you, and I hope you've had as much fun reading my reviews as I've had writing them. Keep enjoying your photography, and please be nice to whoever takes over as camera reviewer. Goodbye!