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Nikon CoolPix 775

Nikon packs advanced Coolpix technology & superior ease-of-use into a tiny, affordable 2 megapixel camera!

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Page 3:Design

Review First Posted: 07/23/2001

The Nikon Coolpix 775 is the ultimate pocket camera, measuring just 3.4 x 2.6 x 1.7 inches (87 x 66.5 x 44mm) with the lens retracted, and weighing only 8 ounces (226 grams) with the battery and memory card installed. The camera body is constructed primarily of moulded plastic, with aluminium trim along the top panel and around the lens barrel. The brushed metallic surface is silver in color, with black and red accents, giving an appealing combination of high-tech and "retro" looks.

A good-sized hand grip on the right side of the camera likens it to familiar 35mm styling, with a small, red plastic strip along the front edge of the hand grip and a raised plastic thumb rest on the back panel to provide a better hold. (Though less pronounced than the earlier Coolpix 800, the red accent on the front of the camera echoes similar design touches on Nikon's high-end 35mm SLRs.) A nylon wrist strap comes with the camera for more secure toting.

The front of the camera houses the telescoping 3x zoom lens, optical viewfinder, built-in flash, and a small round sensor window for flash exposure control. Instead of a removable lens cap, the 775 has a retractable lens cover that opens when the camera is powered on in any capture mode, thus eliminating the problem of keeping up with a separate lens cover.

The top panel contains the Shutter button, surrounded by the On / Off switch, and an expanded Mode dial with 10 settings: Playback, Movie, Auto, and seven Scene capture modes -- all of which are programmed to give you optimum exposure for specific lighting situations ( Party / Indoor, Backlight, Portrait, Night Portrait, Landscape, Beach / Snow, and Sunset).

The memory card compartment resides on the right side of the camera, with a set of ridges on the back panel to push open the plastic cover. Inside the compartment, at the bottom, is a small black button that when pushed, pops out the CompactFlash card far enough to easily grab the edge and pull it out. A small rubber flap next to the memory card door covers the DC In connector, and the wrist strap eyelet is located at the top of the panel.

The left side of the camera is relatively smooth, except for a slight bulge where the side of the lens barrel protrudes. At the bottom of the panel is a small USB interface connector that doubles as a Video Out port.

The majority of controls reside on the camera's back panel. At the top left is a real-image optical viewfinder with two LED lights on the right side: one to indicate flash power and the other to show the status of the autofocus, digital zoom, and images being written to the memory card. To the right of the viewfinder is a four-way arrow pad designated as the Multi Selector / Zoom button. In Record mode, the left and right arrow buttons function as the wide-angle / telephoto zoom buttons, the top button scrolls through monitor display options (no image, image on with minimal information, and image on with full information), and the bottom arrow button adjusts the screen contrast. In Playback mode, the left and right arrow buttons control the information display and the up and down arrow buttons scroll through captured images.

Below the viewfinder on the left side is the 1.5-inch color LCD monitor, surrounded by five external control buttons. The Transfer button (top right) is used to select images for transfer and to transfer selected images from the camera to the computer. The Quick Review / Playback Zoom button (bottom right) is used to review recently captured images without having to switch to Playback mode. Pressing this button once in any Record mode brings up a small thumbnail of the photo in the upper left corner. Pressing it a second time brings up a full-frame review of the photograph. In Playback mode, pressing this button enlarges the currently displayed image on-screen by 2x. The Focus / Delete button (bottom left) controls the Focus options (Infinity, Normal, or Macro) in Auto, Snow / Beach, and Sunset capture modes, and sets the Self-Timer in all still capture modes. In Playback mode, this button is used to select images for deletion. The Flash / Index button (bottom middle) controls the built-in flash while in Record mode, and switches from full-frame to Index preview (four or nine thumbnail images) in Playback mode. The Menu button (bottom, right) calls up the on-screen menu for the current operating mode and scrolls through multiple pages.

The bottom panel houses a plastic threaded tripod mount and the battery compartment door, which is opened by sliding the gray plastic latch in the middle of the door. Unfortunately the tripod mount and battery compartment door are much too close to allow for quick battery changes while the camera is mounted on a tripod (something we pay close attention to when working in the studio).

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