Last Updated on May 13, 2023 by Photography PX
Initially released in the spring of 2016, Nikon Coolpix B700 is the official successor to the previously released B500. It’s their mid tier offering in the COOLPIX lineup of compact superzoom bridge cameras. And a camera they position below the flagship P900. However, unlike its pricier brother, the P900, this camera shoots 4K video and also supplies photos in the RAW format, which promise to give it a distinct edge on paper.
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It’s a camera that Nikon aims at beginning photographers looking for a step up in image quality over a point & shoot or smartphone. And a camera they design as a stepping stone to eventually transition to an entry-level DSLR or mirrorless camera. Nikon aims this camera to compete against Canon’s PowerShot SX60 and Panasonic’s FZ300, tough competition. In today’s post, we assess its strengths, weaknesses, and answer whether this camera should be a consideration in your next purchase.
What are some of the goods, bads, and uglies of the Nikon Coolpix B700?
It features a 1/2.3-inch 20.2MP Backside-Illuminated CMOS sensor. The camera also includes a 60x optical zoom NIKKOR lens, effectively delivering a focal length of 24-1440mm, a notable improvement over the predecessor’s 40x optical zoom. The lens also uses a variable aperture from f/3.3-6.5. And Nikon’s equipped the camera with 4x digital zoom to enhance its zooming capabilities. And new for this camera is the ability to shoot in the RAW format, a rare feature in this class.
Overall, these additions culminate in image quality that matches mid tier smartphones in today’s market. While this may be the case, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. In good light, the camera remains competitive and provides excellent photos and videos. Images are sharp, saturated, and color reproduction is quite accurate. Plus, the dynamic range is also quite good, considering it’s the smaller sensor.
So overall, the image quality is good, though not as good as cameras with larger 1-inch sensors. Nor can the camera match an entry-level DSLR or mirrorless camera.
For video, it shoots 4K UHD video at 30 fps and 1080p full HD video at 60 fps for slow-motion capture. It also records video in the easily edited MP4 format. And unlike the predecessor, it now shoots 1080p in the higher-quality progressive format, a notable improvement. Unfortunately, full HD video quality remains average and not very impressive, as the footage is rather noisy and lackluster in sharpness and detail. However, the addition of 4K resolution has made a significant difference.
Video quality in 4K is vastly improved, and videos are noticeably sharper and more detailed. And like the pictures the camera produces, videos are sharp, and the colors are well reproduced.
Nikon has also installed a 5-axis Dual Detect Vibration Reduction (VR) system to counteract handshake for steadier videos, a nice improvement over the predecessors 4-axis system.
Low Light Performance
It features a native ISO range from ISO 100-3,200, and the camera can provide usable photos up to ISO 1,600.
Nikon equipped the camera with a contrast-detect AF system with Subject Tracking. Overall, while not the fastest, focusing performance is adequate and competent enough for the beginners, this camera aims.
Unlike the predecessor, which used AA batteries, it now uses the EN-EL23 battery. This model also comes with a dedicated charger, which reduces the inconveniences of charging the camera’s batteries significantly. Though, it’s not 100% ideal, as the battery is only charged through the camera. A standalone charger is not supported. Nevertheless, it’s a much-needed improvement over the predecessor, and Nikon rates the camera at 420 shots per charge or 90 minutes of video recording, great for the class.
Display & Viewfinder
Unlike the predecessor, it now features a 3.0-inch fully articulating TFT LCD with a resolution of 921K dots and an anti-reflective coating. An articulating screen is quite a rare feature found in this class of cameras. But, it’s one that adds immense versatility to both high or low angle shooting. And it’s also the ideal choice for selfies or self-composed videos.
The screen itself is also good for the price. It’s reasonably sharp, with good color accuracy, and it’s bright enough for composing outside in bright sunlight. And unlike the predecessor, the rear screen offers 100% coverage of the image area, so what you see is what you’ll capture.
It offers an electronic viewfinder, unlike the predecessor. The viewfinder also has a built-in proximity sensor to disengage the rear screen to prevent glare or reflections automatically.
The camera offers full manual control. Though, as it’s layout is relatively straightforward, many of the controls have moved to the menus instead. But, it’s menus, however, are straightforward, clear, and well-organized. Nikon has made them very intuitive, and beginners will easily master the camera’s layout.
It offers two customizable function buttons, FN1 and FN2, which allows users to program them to a variety of functions for immediate access.
It provides a user-defined shooting preset, U, on the mode dial, allowing users to recall a preset shooting configuration.
Physical Layout & Ergonomics
In ergonomics, the camera handles like an entry-level DSLR. It’s beefy at 570 g. But, the build quality is excellent, and it feels robust and solid, despite its polycarbonate housing. It also features a large and comfortable rubberized grip, which combines perfectly with its form factor to create a well-balanced platform. Overall, it’s quite comfortable to hold during prolonged use, even with one hand.
It offers a control dial for quick changes to aperture or shutter speed, depending on the mode.
It offers dual zoom rockers: one surrounding the shutter, and the other by the lens to provide added versatility for zooming control.
It has a built-in pop-up flash.
It offers extensive in-camera image editing, allowing users to add filters, retouch, and add effects.
It has built-in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and NFC connectivity, allowing the camera to pair to a smartphone or tablet. Once connected, you can wireless transfer images and remotely control the camera.
It has built-in timelapse functionality, which creates a movie file of the resulting lapse in-camera.
When shooting in the JPEG format, the camera uses heavy in-camera processing and noise reduction, reducing image quality. When shooting in low light, use the RAW format to maintain resolution and fine detail to avoid a loss of quality.
When shooting in 4K, video recordings are limited to 7 and 1/2 minutes per clip, not ideal. Thankfully, when shooting in 1080p, the camera offers the standard 29 minute and 59-second recording limit.
The camera automatically segments video recordings into 4 GB chunks, which require combining in post-processing for seamless videos.
Low Light Capabilities
Low light performance isn’t great, the combination of both its smaller sensor, slow variable aperture lens, and minimal ISO range. Images quickly lose quality following ISO 1,600. With that, when shooting in low light, try to add external light in some fashion, shoot in RAW, or avoid these situations whenever possible.
The main issue with the viewfinder is that it isn’t particularly sharp, with its 921K dot resolution, and it’s also quite small. While it’s helpful, nonetheless, it does make gagging focus challenging.
The rear screen doesn’t offer any touch capabilities. And it also doesn’t have an anti-scratch coating to prevent scratches, which can easily occur during transportation or storing the camera.
Like many cameras in this class, it lacks a built-in hot shoe to connect external flashes and other accessories.
It lacks a microphone input. And since it doesn’t offer a hot shoe, you’ll have to use an external recorder for better audio capture.
It lacks a headphone input.
Is this a good beginner camera?
It’s an excellent beginner’s camera and a solid upgrade in image quality and versatility over a smartphone. It’s also a strong alternative for those who cannot afford an entry-level DSLR or mirrorless camera but want more flexibility than a standard point & shoot camera.
Is this a good camera for you?
It’s an excellent choice for those looking for a powerful superzoom and compact camera. Ultimately, Nikon equipping the camera to shoot 4K UHD and RAW gives it a distinct edge over competitors and a worthy upgrade over the predecessor. While it’s not a replacement for a fully-fledged DSLR or mirrorless camera, it’s an excellent entry-level all-in-one option for a beginning user.
Given its price, however, it does compete against some rather fierce third-party competition, for example, Sony’s a5000 and the Canon’s T7. Nevertheless, it remains a competent, well rounded and easy to use package that produces great photos and videos with an impressive zoom range. And the perfect choice for those looking for a versatile bridge camera with RAW capabilities along with 4K video.
Nikon’s Coolpix B700 is an excellent all-round bridge camera that provides a distinct edge over competitors and a worthy upgrade to its predecessor. And it’s a strong choice for beginners looking for a versatile bridge camera with an impressive zoom range, RAW capabilities, and 4K video.