Nikon Coolpix P7700 Digital Camera Review$499.95
The Coolpix P7700 is not the sharpest camera we've tested, but it is a very good performer in general. At full wide angle, images are very sharp in the center—the sharpest this particular lens/sensor combo gets, actually—and remains quite sharp for the majority of the frame, but then sharpness drops off substantially as you get toward the extreme edges. At middle focal lengths, peak sharpness isn't as high, but it's much more even across the frame. When you zoom in to full telephoto (200mm effective), overall sharpness is at its lowest, but it's also the most evenly distributed.
Out in the real world, the P7700 simply produced great-looking shots with excellent apparent sharpness, when shot in its default configuration. Well-modulated contrast levels play a big role here, as does the generally very consistent resolution performance throughout the entire frame. Also important is the camera's refusal to oversharpen its output. While we've seen oversharpening scores up to 150% of ideal recently, even from enthusiast-oriented cameras like the Canon PowerShot G15, the P7700 never gets above 105%, and is more often below 102%. The result is incredibly natural looking sharpness, without any of the harsh haloing we see from oversharpened JPEGs.
As with most cameras in this class, users can adjust the JPEG sharpening on each color mode on a sliding scale (7 total options). The Neutral color mode, which we used to run our resolution tests, is set to one click below the "standard" sharpness setting by default. Standard and Vivid color modes each use higher sharpness settings, by one and two clicks respectively. Users can also shoot in RAW to avoid the in-camera sharpening question altogether and apply their own in post-production. More on how we test sharpness.