Nikon P7700 Creative Lighting System hands on review

Firstly I should state that I’m a massive fan of the Nikon CLS system and love off camera flash (wireless and infra red) in general. This was on of the main reasons for upgrading to the Nikon P7700 from the Nikon P7000. So does it work, and does it work well?

Jasper on Porthcawl Beach
Shot with the P7700 in commander mode and SB800 handheld in remote mode. Apart from re-sizing for this web page, there has been no post production work done on this image.

I’d have to yes, though there are limitations. Unlike say the D200, SB800 or an SU800 your limited to one Channel and one Group (Channel 3, Group A) which means you cannot specifically alter the flash out put from separate speed-lights. You can still use more than one speed-light of course but unless you set it up manually in SU4 mode, your only going to be able to set the out put the same as all the other units in the group. This is only really going to bother you if you shoot a lot of multi flash studio or portrait work and if you are I would suggest you’ve probably already got the kit to do. The Nikon P7700 allows you that little bit of freedom, more a kin to a single light set up on the move, more likely to be like my example on this page; quick and improvised fun shots. The only other issue would be if you were shooting and bumped into some one else with the same set up because you’d keep triggering each others flash units, though how likely that is I’m not sure.

One of the issues with CLS is  because the underlying technology is infra red it can have issue in bright sunlight.  This may be the case if you’re trying to trigger from range, but using the SB800 hand held I encountered no issues on this particular shoot (apart from my thumb getting in the way), which was done in very glaring sunlight.

In conclusion  I’d like to say that the images on this page say it all. Apart from converting to DNG from NRW and then re-sized in photoshop cs5 for this web page, they haven’t been processed at all. No levels, no curves, no nothing. They’re clear, they’re sharp, the exposure is perfect, all from this pocket sized little wonder. If you have any questions about the P7700 or photography in general, please feel free to contact me and I’ll try and answer your queries.

Oskar on Porthcawl beach
Shot with the P7700 in commander mode and SB800 handheld in remote mode. Apart from re-sizing for this web page, there has been no post production work done on this image.

Review of Nikon P7700

Brand New and pre ordered from Wex Photographic arrived Saturday 29th August and whoa it’s a doozy!

I’ve bought this as a replacement for my Nikon P7000;  primarily as discrete camera, the images from which I’ll be able to upload onto my Alamy page, but also as a discreet back up for weddings and events. First impressions are great, though I have one or two reservations.

The new lens is superb. F2-F4 with VR (vibration reduction), so on wide angle the lens can pull in a lotta light, which is great for candid shot, and with the new, fast EXPEED 2 image processing system, and high sensitivity shooting up to ISO 6400 the possibilities with such a small camera are extreme.

Resized to less than 1/4 original the clarity from this lens is just superb.

But there’s more .. iTTL-(CLS) Nikon’s Creative Lighting System is another reason I’m so happy with the new camera. The previous cameras in the series lacked this option, but now I can sync it up with my SB800s and strobist away!  And by using the P7700’s electronic shutter I can sync flash upto 1/2000th of s second. Fantastic for making striking flash-lit shots even in daylight.  I’ll be doing some test shot to show this off in my next post.

The downside so far .. the lack of a optical view finder is a bit of a shame, but it’s not the end of the world and something I can live with. I would prefer to be able to shoot without having to have the monitor on when shooting concerts or plays, but maybe (Nikon if you’re listening !!) that’ll be a software option. The biggest bug bear I’ve found so far is the new file format NRWs. I run mac and they don’t translate on Leopard. Photoshop, Lightroom, Media Pro and even Nikons View NX2 wont allow me to edit the RAW files, so I’m stuck to shooting Fine JPEGS. The quality’s still great, but for my library work I’m gonna need the full Monty, so pull your finger out Nikon!

pin sharp and 1/4 original size


Well more to come from my new toy. Any questions just drop me a line