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Digital Cameras - Nikon Coolpix 7900 Test Images

 

I've begun including links in our reviews to a Thumbnail index page for the test shots. The data on this page includes a host of information on the images, including shutter speed, ISO setting, compression setting, etc. Rather than clutter the page below with all that detail, we're posting the thumbnail index so only those interested in the information need wade through it!

 

"Sunlit" Portrait:
(This is my new "Outdoor" Portrait test - read more about it here.)

High resolution and strong detail, with slightly warm color. Slightly high contrast, but still good detail throughout the tonal range.

  • Exposure compensation: +1.3 EV, slightly high, and still a tad dark at that.
  • Contrast/Tone: Slightly high contrast, but tonal range is still a bit better than average.
  • White Balance: Auto is best (though warm). Daylight is slightly warmer, and Manual a bit red.
  • Color accuracy: Very good, quite accurate with the low saturation setting. (see below)
  • Skin tones: Very good when the low-saturation setting is used, too pink/orange using the camera's defaults.
  • Resolution/sharpness: Very good, with good sharpness and definition.
  • Shadow detail: Very good, moderate noise.

To view the entire exposure series from zero to +1.3 EV, see files CP79OUTMP0.HTM through CP79OUTMP4.HTM on the thumbnail index page.

Contrast Series:
An effective contrast adjustment, but the contrast control also affects saturation and overall exposure somewhat.

Contrast Series
Low
Normal
High


Saturation Series:
I really didn't like the 7900's handling of Marti's skin tones on this shot at its default settings, but was very pleasantly surprised when I tried the low saturation option. The skin tones went from too pink/orange, to a very natural coloring, other colors did very well too. - I'd personally probably shoot most of the time with the saturation set to its low value.

Saturation Series
Low
Normal
High



 

Closer Portrait:

Excellent resolution and detail, but high contrast.

NOTE: This shot was taken with the color saturation control at its default setting, resulting in very orange-colored skin tones. Per my note above, the low-saturation option produces much better results, but I'd already shot this series when I discovered this, didn't have time to go back and reshoot this particular image...

  • Exposure compensation: +0.7 EV, slightly higher than average.
  • Exposure/Tone: High contrast makes for harsher skin tones, though midtone detail is good.
  • Detail: Excellent, with great definition and sharpness.
  • Distortion: Good, zoom lens avoids distortion close-in like this.

 

To view the entire exposure series from zero to +1.3 EV, see files CP79FACAP0.HTM through CP79FACAP4.HTM on the thumbnail index page.



 

Indoor Portrait, Flash:
Normal Flash
+1.3 EV
Slow-Sync Flash
+1.0 EV

Slight underexposure with the flash in the normal setting, brighter results with the Slow-Sync mode. Good coverage and very good color with an exposure boost.

  • Exposure: About right at +1.3 EV, slightly more exposure compensation that average needed. Default exposure was very dark. Slow-Sync mode resulted in a brighter exposure, with more even lighting at +1.0 EV.
  • Flash balance with room lighting?: Very nice, much better than average, the flash color balanced almost perfectly with the room lighting.
  • Color: Slightly pink skin tones, but excellent color elsewhere in normal mode.

 

To view the entire exposure series from zero to +1.3 EV in the normal flash mode, see files CP79INFP0.HTM through CP79INFP4.HTM on the thumbnail index page.

To view the same exposure series in the Slow-Sync flash mode, see files CP79INFSP0.HTM through CP79INFSP4.HTM on the thumbnail index page.



 

Indoor Portrait, No Flash:
Auto White Balance
Incandescent White Balance
Manual White Balance

Very good color with the Manual white balance setting, acceptable in Auto mode. Higher than average exposure compensation required.

  • Exposure: +1.3 EV adjustment needed, a bit higher than average.
  • White Balance: Manual very good, Auto and Incandescent settings a little warm and red, but Auto was well within the acceptable range.
  • Color: Slightly pale. Marti's hair is almost purple-pink. Skin tones are a bit pink as well, and the blue flowers are purplish. Still good overall though, considering the very difficult light source.

 

To view the entire exposure series from zero to +1.7 EV, see files CP79INMP0.HTM through CP79INMP5.HTM on the thumbnail index page.

ISO Series:
Slight noise is present even at ISO 50, but is invisible unless you look at just the blue channel in isolation. Noise increases with increasing ISO, with a progressive decrease in subtle subject detail as well. Nikon did a good job of balancing the tradeoff between subject detail and image noise though, as shots captured at ISO 400 still look quite good when printed at 8x10 size. All in all, very good noise performance for such a compact, high-resolution digital camera.

ISO Series
ISO 50
ISO 100
ISO 200
ISO 400



 

House Shot:
Auto White Balance
Daylight White Balance
Manual White Balance

Good color, though slightly warm, with high resolution and strong detail.

  • Sharpness/Detail: A lot of detail, just slightly soft. (Crisps up nicely with strong/tight unsharp masking in Photoshop though.)
  • Sharpness in Corners: A little blurring in the corners, but less than average.
  • Color: Daylight white balance pretty good, but I liked the results with Manual better, even though slightly cool. Auto was a little red.
  • Detail lost to anti-noise processing?: Very little in the shadowed brick patterns (a typical trouble-spot), some in the pine foliage.





 

Far-Field Test

High resolution and strong detail, but high contrast limits the dynamic range. Once again, very soft corners though.

This image is shot at infinity to test far-field lens performance, and to present a near-infinite range of detail to the camera. NOTE that this image cannot be directly compared to the other "house" shot, which is a poster, shot in the studio.

  • Sharpness/Detail: Good detail, though soft.
  • Sharpness in Corners: Top left corner is soft, but pretty sharp elsewhere. Much better than average.
  • Color: Very good, bricks slightly oversaturated though.
  • Dynamic Range: Very good, the camera managed to not blow out the strong highlight on the bay window in front, preserved fairly good detail in the shadows.
  • Detail lost to anti-noise processing?: Relatively little, only the darker areas in the pine foliage show a noticeable loss.

Resolution Series:

Wide Angle "Fine"
JPEG
"Normal"
JPEG
"Economy"
JPEG
3,072 x 2,304
CP79FAR3072F
CP79FAR3072N
CP79FAR3072E
2,592 x 1,944
CP79FAR2592
-
2,048 x 1,536
CP79FAR2048
-
1,024 x 768
CP79FAR1024
-


ISO Series:
As before, a good tradeoff between subject detail and image noise. The shot here at ISO 400 has very fine-grained noise, looks great even when printed at 8x10 inches. (Although there's some color noise that shows in the metal roof above the bay window.)

ISO Series
ISO 50
ISO 100
ISO 200
ISO 400


Sharpness Series:
The "none" setting is indeed very soft, but delivers excellent detail in response to very strong/tight unsharp masking in Photoshop. (Try 400% at 0.5 pixel radius.)

ISO Series
None
Low
Normal
High


 

Contrast Series:
Here, the contrast setting affected color saturation more than the saturation control did, particularly in the "high" direction.

Contrast Series
Low
Normal
High


Saturation Series:
As above, I really like the behavior of the Coolpix 7900 when its saturation control is set to the "low" value. The interaction between saturation and contrast is welcome here, as the low saturation option also cuts contrast just slightly, helping preserve highlight and shadow detail.

Saturation Series
Low
Normal
High


Color Effects Series:

Color Effects Series
Standard
Vivid Color
Black & White
Sepia
Cyanotype



 

Lens Zoom Range

A typical 3x zoom range.

The Coolpix 7900's focal length range of 38-114mm equivalents is typical of most point & shoot digital cameras. It corresponds to a moderate wide angle to a modest telephoto. (Slightly more "tele" than the 35-105mm range that's most common.)

Wide Angle
3x Telephoto
4x Digital Telephoto



 

Musicians Poster
Auto White Balance
Daylight White Balance
Manual White Balance

Slightly warm color, but still good results. High resolution and strong detail.

  • White Balance: Daylight white balance best though slightly warm. Auto much warmer (tricked by the preponderance of blue in the composition), and Manual very cool and magenta.
  • Color: Reddish skin tones. Blue robe and background purplish, but overall color is pretty good.
  • Sharpness/Detail: Very good. (Camera probably exceeds the limits of the poster though.)





 

Macro Shot
Standard Macro Shot
Macro with Flash

A very small macro area with great detail. Flash has trouble up close though.

  • Minimum Macro Area: 1.25 x 0.94 inches (32 x 24 millimeters).
  • Softness in corners?: Some, not as bad as some cameras though. (Most cameras get fairly soft corners in macro mode, the CP7900 is on the low side of average.)
  • Flash performance in macro mode?: Poor, exposure is too bright and the lens casts a shadow.





 

"Davebox" Test Target
Auto White Balance
Daylight White Balance
Manual White Balance

Good overall exposure and color.

  • White balance: Manual setting best, though slightly magenta. Auto and Daylight settings warm.
  • Color Accuracy: Despite the slight magenta color cast, color is generally pretty good. The camera oversaturates reds and blues quite a bit, shifts cyan towards blue a fair ways. (A common tactic in digital cameras, to get better sky colors.) The default color will be appealing to consumers though, and the low-saturation control delivers better than average overall color accuracy overall.
  • Shadow detail and noise: Moderate detail in the briquettes, moderate noise.


The images series below duplicate examples of various camera controls we've already covered above. I include them here though, for our more analytically-minded readers, who'd like to see the effect of various camera controls with a well-known target like the MacBeth Color Checker (tm).

ISO Series:

ISO Series
ISO 50
ISO 100
ISO 200
ISO 400


Contrast Series:

Contrast Series
Low
Normal
High


Saturation Series:

Saturation Series
Low
Normal
High


Color Effects Series:

Color Effects Series
Standard
Vivid Color
Black & White
Sepia
Cyanotype



 

Low-Light Tests

Slightly limited low-light performance, with slightly high noise and warm color balance. Autofocus OK for city night scenes, or darker with AF-assist enabled.

  • Exposure limit: 1/4 foot-candle at ISO 400. (About 1/4 as bright as typical city street lighting at night.) 1/2 foot-candle at ISO 200, and one foot-candle at ISOs 50 and 100.
  • Autofocus Limit: About 3/4 foot-candle without AF-assist light, total darkness on nearby objects with the AF assist.
  • White Balance: A little warm-toned.
  • Noise Levels: Moderate, higher at lower light levels and higher sensitivity settings, but not bad at all. Noise Reduction mode doesn't seem to make much difference.
  • Detail loss to anti-noise processing?: Minimal at one foot-candle, more noticeable at 1/4 foot-candle.
  • General Notes: The Coolpix 7900 isn't a stellar low-light performer, but it's certainly entirely usable for typical city night scenes. Its autofocus works down to a bit darker than typical city night lighting without the AF-assist light enabled, and the camera can focus in total darkness on nearby objects with the AF light turned on.

(Note: If you'd like to use a light meter to check light levels for subjects you might be interested in shooting, a light level of one foot-candle corresponds to a normal exposure of two seconds at f/2.8 and ISO 100.)

  1 fc
11 lux
1/2 fc
5.5 lux
1/4 fc
2.7 lux
1/8 fc
1.3 lux
1/16 fc
0.67 lux
1/16fc
No NR
ISO
50
Click to see CP79LL0503.JPG
2 sec
f2.8
Click to see CP79LL0504.JPG
2 sec
f2.8
Click to see CP79LL0505.JPG
2 sec
f2.8
Click to see CP79LL0506.JPG
2 sec
f2.8
Click to see CP79LL0507.JPG
2 sec
f2.8
Click to see CP79LL0507XNR.JPG
2 sec
f2.8
ISO
100
Click to see CP79LL1003.JPG
1.91 sec
f2.8
Click to see CP79LL1004.JPG
2 sec
f2.8
Click to see CP79LL1005.JPG
2 sec
f2.8
Click to see CP79LL1006.JPG
2 sec
f2.8
Click to see CP79LL1007.JPG
2 sec
f2.8
Click to see CP79LL1007XNR.JPG
2 sec
f2.8
ISO
200
Click to see CP79LL2003.JPG
1.08 sec
f2.8
Click to see CP79LL2004.JPG
1.88 sec
f2.8
Click to see CP79LL2005.JPG
2 sec
f2.8
Click to see CP79LL2006.JPG
2 sec
f2.8
Click to see CP79LL2007.JPG
2 sec
f2.8
Click to see CP79LL2007XNR.JPG
2 sec
f2.8
ISO
400
Click to see CP79LL4003.JPG
1/1 sec
f2.8
Click to see CP79LL4004.JPG
1 sec
f2.8
Click to see CP79LL4005.JPG
2 sec
f2.8
Click to see CP79LL4006.JPG
2 sec
f2.8
Click to see CP79LL4007.JPG
2 sec
f2.8
Click to see CP79LL4007XNR.JPG
2 sec
f2.8



 

Flash Range Test

Dim at eight feet, with decreasing brightness to 14 feet.

  • Flash range at telephoto lens setting: Barely eight feet at ISO 50.
8 ft 9 ft 10 ft 11 ft 12 ft 13 ft 14 ft
Click to see CP79FL08.JPG
1/60 sec
f4.9
ISO 50
Click to see CP79FL09.JPG
1/60 sec
f4.9
ISO 50
Click to see CP79FL10.JPG
1/60 sec
f4.9
ISO 50
Click to see CP79FL11.JPG
1/60 sec
f4.9
ISO 50
Click to see CP79FL12.JPG
1/60 sec
f4.9
ISO 50
Click to see CP79FL13.JPG
1/60 sec
f4.9
ISO 50
Click to see CP79FL14.JPG
1/60 sec
f4.9
ISO 50



 

ISO-12233 (WG-18) Resolution Test

Moderate resolution, 1,400 lines of "strong detail." High barrel distortion at wide angle, no distortion at telephoto. Moderate chromatic aberration at wide angle, low at telephoto, better than average corner sharpness.

 

  • Resolution: 1,400 lines both vertically and horizontally
  • Artifacts begin at: ~600 lines
  • Extinction point: ~1,700 lines

  • Barrel/Pincushion distortion: 1.3 percent barrel at wide angle, 0.03 percent at telephoto (one pixel).
  • Chromatic Aberration: Moderate at wide angle, low at telephoto.
  • Corner Sharpness: Slight softness, much better than average though.



Resolution Series, medium focal length
Wide Angle "Fine"
JPEG
"Normal"
JPEG
"Economy"
JPEG
3,072 x 2,304
CP79RES3072F
CP79RES3072N
CP79RES3072E
2,592 x 1,944
CP79RES2592
-
-
2,048 x 1,536
CP79RES2048
-
-
1,024 x 768
CP79RES1024
-
-
640 x 480
CP79RES0640
-
-


 

Resolution Test, Zoom Series
3,072 x 2,304
(Fine,
Wide Angle)
CP79RESW
3,072 x 2,304
(Fine,
Telephoto)
CP79REST

Sharpness Series:

ISO Series
None
Low
Normal
High



 

Viewfinder Accuracy/Flash Uniformity

A very tight optical viewfinder, but very accurate LCD monitor. Some flash falloff at wide angle, but virtually none at telephoto.

  • Optical Viewfinder Accuracy: Very tight, 72 percent frame accuracy at wide angle, 75 percent at telephoto.
  • LCD Viewfinder Accuracy: Very good, 99 percent at wide angle, likely the same at telephoto (measurement lines were cut off).
  • Flash Uniformity: Slight falloff at wide angle (better than average though), none at telephoto.



7900 Review
7900 Test Images
7900 Specifications
7900 "Picky Details"
Up to Imaging Resource digital cameras area

 

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