Nikon Coolpix 7600 review

With no less that 17, the Nikon 7600 has plenty of scope for most shooting situations, from indoor or party shots, firework displays or portraits and landscapes, but is it any good?

The small-bodied camera weighs in at only 145g without its pair of rechargeable AAs or its SD/MMC storage card. The camera has a small but very serviceable optical viewfinder plus a 1.8-inch colour screen, which seems a bit on the small side compared to many compact digital cameras of this ilk on the market today.

Handling is simple, with a mode dial providing the route into all the main shooting and set up options. A full-auto shooting mode is joined by the four main scene modes (portrait, landscape sports and night scene modes), the remaining ones accessed via a menu in the Scene mode. The latter is a separate setting enabling access to the other 13 scene modes. Camera set-up and movie shooting (640x480-pixel resolution with sound) which also has the benefit of an electronic vibration reduction mode to help keep camera shake to a minimum.

Lens zoom control is via a rocker button on the camera’s back plate next to the main mode dial. The zoom control also features an extra treat, the Help system, where you can press the zoom button in menus to get an explanation of the function or mode you’re about to select. The Help system is very handy for any novice users and provides backup if you’re not sure what to pick for a shot at hand.

The shutter button is sat atop the camera’s body and is straightforward to use, a half press to activate the AF, metering etc., and a continuing to a full press to take a shot. However, the AF reaction time is pretty darn slow, frustratingly slow in fact and I missed a couple of shots because of it. Also, the problem is compounded by shutter lag, so much so that even if the AF is locked on, the "full press" of the shutter button still requires that you wait for the thing to decide to fire the shutter.

However, image quality is remarkably good and apart from some odd contrast issues at full zoom (direct sunlight just off axis I believe to be the cause) metering and colour are good. Detail is excellent although some over compression - even in top quality mode - and slight magenta blooming round some pixels are the only real demerits.

Verdict

Compact, easy to use and capable of surprisingly good results, the Coolpix 7600 should be on your list if you're looking at a basic, high-resolution digital camera. It may not have the panache of some more stylish models available and have a couple of sluggish handling foibles, but this pocketable little camera is more than capable of dealing with most shooting situations any self-respecting ‘snapper' could throw at it.