Nikon have announced the replacement for the aging P6000, the Coolpix P7000. The high-end compact will oppose the Canon PowerShot G11, pitched as a point-and-shoot second camera for pros and enthusiasts.

Like the G11, the P7000's sensor is stepped down to a controllable 10 megapixels CCD with Nikon's EXPEED C2 processor underpinning the whole thing, aiming to give exceptional quality under difficult conditions.

Sitting on the front is a 7.1x Nikkor lens offering an impressive 28-200mm (in 35mm terms) range and lens-shift type vibration reduction, with a max aperture of F/2.8 on offer at the widest angle.

Around the back is a high-resolution 3-inch 920k-dot display although you don't get the vari-angle flexibility the G11 gives you; you also get an optical viewfinder. Accessories can be added thanks to the top-mounted hot shoe and a built-in pop-up flash sits on the left-hand shoulder.

The P7000 has been designed to reflect Nikon's DSLR range when it comes to controls, so if you've used one of their DSLRs it should all come naturally, with three dials on the top offering shortcuts, shooting modes and exposure compensation, with additional button controls around the body.

You get full manual control and RAW capture as well as all the normal shooting modes, including the smart portrait system that we suspect those interested in this type of high-end camera will ignore.

The ISO range runs from 100 up to a standard 3200 and 6400 (Hi 1) also selectable. Low light noise mode will deploy an ISO range of 400 to 12,800 and various other user selectable ranges are available.

Surprisingly, Nikon have restricted the video capture to the 720p variety of HD, although this trumps the PowerShot G11's outdated 640 x 480 video offering. An HDMI will let you hook-up to a big screen to view back your shots and movies.

We still suspect that people will complain about this restriction on video resolution on what is a flagship compact, but they'll applaud the inclusion of in-body stereo audio capture and a jack for an optional external mic.

Said to be hitting shelves on 23 September 2010, the new Nikon Coolpix P7000 will cost you a cool £489.99.