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Nikon issues firmware update for Coolpix P7000  
Tuesday, December 14, 2010 | by Rob Galbraith
Nikon has posted firmware v1.1 for the Coolpix P7000, its compact digital camera geared towards pro shooters. Firmware v1.1 reduces the frequency of the lens resetting when the camera can't acquire focus, corrects an instance in which the lens would fail to zoom as well as a bug that caused the on-screen rendering of the scene to blow out when focus was locked (the actual picture was fine). Most importantly, the firmware update is meant to reduce the interminably long post-shot wait time when the P7000 is set to capture RAW or RAW + JPEG photos.

Update, 1:30PM MT: We've done a quick comparison of the wait time before and after the firmware update. The good news is that, with the camera set to RAW or RAW + JPEG, the period of time in which the camera is unresponsive after shooting one or more frames has been reduced, and reduced a lot. A rough, seat-of-the-pants calculation is that Nikon has shortened by 40% the time you have to wait before the camera can shoot another frame.

The bad news is that it's not nearly enough of an improvement to make P7000 RAW shooting any more practical. As an example, before the update you could expect to wait about 5 seconds after shooting a single RAW frame before the camera would be ready to shoot again. Now, it's more like three seconds. If you rattle off a five frame burst, the camera will be unable to shoot again for 10 seconds or so with firmware v1.1 loaded, which is a noticeable improvement but still an awfully long time to wait if there's something interesting unfolding in front of your lens.

These wait times are approximate, but you get the idea. The firmware update helps, but the overall stuck-in-molasses feeling when shooting RAW files with the P7000 remains. Assuming a speedy SD card, the Canon PowerShot G12, by comparison, requires at most about 1/2 second to recover after shooting either a single RAW frame or a burst. So, Nikon has a ways to go yet to shore up this aspect of P7000 performance, and the G12 demonstrates it can be done in a camera in this price class.

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