Review: Nikon Coolpix 775
Keller, DCRP Founder/Editor
Originally posted: Thursday, August 30, 2001
Friday, October 26, 2001
the major camera manufacturers, Nikon probably has the smallest
product line. There's the Coolpix 995 at the top, the 885 in the
near-top, and the 775 at the bottom. Of course, the 775 isn't really
a "bottom of the line" camera -- it's more like a midrange
camera, like the Olympus D-510Z (see
our review), Fuji FinePix 2600Z, and Sony DSC-P50 (see
our review). Along the way, I will compare the Coolpix
775 ($449) to the competition, as much as possible. (Note that
I won't have the FinePix 2600 for several weeks, so it will just
be the Olympus and Sony for now).
in the Box?
Coolpix 775 has an excellent bundle. Inside the box, you'll find:
2.14 Mpixel (2.01MP effective) Nikon Coolpix 775 camera
Li-ion rechargeable battery
featuring NikonView 4 and drivers
page manual (printed) and QuickStart guide
be ready to start taking pictures right out of the box, thanks to
an attractive bundle with the CP775. The two downsides in my opinion
are the relatively small 8MB CompactFlash card, and the proprietary
been knocking nonstandard batteries for some time. Lately, though,
battery life with these special batteries has improved. Unfortunately,
the price hasn't gone down for buying a spare, which is why I think
most people would be better off with good old AA cells. (Of course,
you can use 2CR5 non-chargeable batteries, but that won't do the
environment, nor your wallet any good.) For comparison's sake, the
Olympus D-510Z uses AA's, and the Sony P50 can use either a proprietary
battery or AAs.
EN-EL1 Lithium-ion battery lasts about 100 minutes in normal use,
according to Nikon. There's a separate battery charger in the box
so you can "fill'er up" when you need to. An AC adapter
is optional for powering the camera without batteries. (The Sony
DSC-P50 includes one in the box.)
the CP775 has a built-in lens cover, you won't need to worry about
a lens cap.
Coolpix 775 is compatible with Mac OS X 10.0.4 or greater. The NikonView
4 software seemed buggy to me when I used it during my Coolpix
a midrange camera, it's nice to see that the Coolpix 775 supports
converter lens. You'll first need to pick up the UR-E3 lens adapter,
but then you can use the WC-E24 and -E63 wide-angle converters,
as well as the TC-E2 2X telephoto converter.
manual (known as the Nikon Guide to Digital Photography with
the Coolpix 775) included with the camera is a bit cluttered
at times, but is better than average.
must say, I was shocked to see just how small the Coolpix 775 was.
It's small. Not Canon Digital ELPH small, but certainly smaller
than the competition from Sony and Olympus.
Coolpix 775 with the classic CP950 at left
know this picture doesn't really help show you how small it is,
but it's a good comparison. If you throw a deck of cards into the
photo, the CP775 is the same size, just a little thicker.
CP775 is also very light. The body is made of plastic that is, dare
I say, "cheap-feeling". I'm not saying the competition
is a whole lot better, but everyone I gave it to commented on the
"cheap" plastic body. The plastic also scratches very
camera is easy to hold, with most controls easy to reach. One-handed
operation is no problem.
dimensions of the camera are 3.4 x 2.6 x 1.7 inches (W x H x D),
and it weighs 185 grams (6.5 oz.) empty. Let's start our tour of
the Coolpix 775, shall we?
the front of the CP775. The F2.8 Nikkor zoom lens features a 3X
optical, 2.5X digital zoom. The focal range is 5.8 - 17.4 mm, equivalent
to 38 - 115 mm. The lens is not threaded, and I'm not sure how you
get the conversion lenses on this thing.
built-in flash has a working range of 0.4 - 1.7 m at full telephoto,
and 0.4 - 3.0 m at full wide-angle. There is no support for an external
flash on this camera, which is not too surprising I hope.
there's something missing here, it's an AF illuminator, for help
focusing in low-light situations. And, being the geek that I am,
I'd like to see a microphone for recording sound to go with those
onto the back of the camera. The 1.5" LCD is a little smaller
that most, but given the size of the camera, it's reasonable. The
quality of the LCD is very good.
the LCD is the optical viewfinder. It covers about 82% of the frame.
There is no diopter correction for those of us with less than perfect
the LCD are three multifunction buttons, which do the following
(left to right):
Macro, Self-timer [record] / Delete photo [playback]
[rec] / Thumbnails [play]
there was some complaining about the self-timer on the Coolpix 995,
here is the sequence of options when you press the button:
the CP995, there is a choice for just self-timer, which is nice.
the right of the LCD there are two buttons: Transfer and Quick Review.
Transfer button is used in playback mode, and lets you a) mark photos
you want transferring automatically and b) to start the transfer
of images when the camera is connected to your PC.
the Quick Review button once will put a thumbnail of the photo you
just took in the top left corner of the LCD. Pressing it again will
make it a full-screen image, where you can do all normal playback
operations on it.
four-way switch on the back of the camera is used for menu navigation,
as well as operating the zoom lens.
here is the top of the camera, home of the mode wheel, power switch,
and shutter release button.
mode wheel is chock full of options, some of which aren't easy to
figure out just by looking at it. Since it's my job to figure this
stuff out, here are the selections (starting from Auto, working
- captures the beautiful reds in sunsets or sunrises exactly as
you see them
- vividly captures the brightness of snow and beaches, or sunlit
expanses of water
portrait - for flash pictures of a subject in front of a dark
- when subject is in front of a bright background
- for indoor shots that include details of background behind main
subject (Nikon's words, not mine)
there's no LCD info display up here, you'll need to turn on the
battery draining LCD to see how many photos are left, and your current
settings. I'm not sure if they could fit one up there, but I thought
I'd mention it.
one side of the CP775, with the a single port for both USB and Video
here's the side, featuring the CompactFlash slot and the power port
(under a rubber cover). The CF slot is Type I, so no Microdrive
compatibility. The included 8MB is also shown.
the bottom of the camera. Down here is the battery compartment,
as well as a plastic tripod mount. The EN-EL1 is shown at right.
the Nikon Coolpix 775
Coolpix 775 takes just over 4 seconds to extend the lens and "warm
up" before you can start taking pictures. Depressing the shutter
release button halfway will lock the focus in about a second. When
you depress the button fully, the photo is taken after a brief,
but noticeable lag. The zoom lens is responsive and smooth.
speed is decent; you'll wait about 3 seconds (Fine quality) before
you can take another shot. One feature that the other Coolpix cameras
have that was lost here is the ability to "pause" and
delete a photo right after it's taken.
not having nearly as many choices as the CP995 for resolution and
quality, the CP775 still has its share. Here they are (for an 8MB
1600 x 1200
1024 x 768
640 x 480
that there is no TIFF mode on the 775. The Sony P50 and Olympus
510Z both have it.
the Coolpix 775 doesn't have all the bells and whistles of its more
expensive siblings, it's certainly not stripped. Here are the menu
Size / Quality - see chart above
balance (Auto, Preset, Fine, Incandescent, Fluorescent, Cloudy,
Speedlight) - You can shoot a white piece of paper to choose what
you want to be white, using preset (manual) mode.
(Single, Continuous, Multi-shot 16)
mode shoots at 1.5 frames/sec until memory buffer becomes
16 takes 16 shots in a row and puts them into one Full sized
image (like a collage)
Shot Selector (on/off) - take up to 10 pictures, and camera picks
the sharpest one and saves it. Best for macro and low-light shots.
compensation (-2.0EV to +2.0EV, in 1/3EV increments)
Sharpening (Auto, normal, high, low, off)
you can see, there's no manual control of the aperture, shutter
speed, or focus. Then again, the competition doesn't really let
you do this either. The Sony DSC-P50 has a limited manual focus
mode -- I believe the Olympus doesn't have any manual controls.
camera doesn't remember settings after its shut off, which I found
irritating at times.
do our usual tests now:
the colors were accurate, I can't help but notice the noise in the
photo. Blow up the image, and check out the red part of the figure
to see what I mean.
can get as close as 4 cm (1.6") in macro mode on the CP775.
night shot test wasn't great either. This is a real world shot I
took at Disney's California Adventure, using a flat wall as my tripod.
Most cameras without exposure controls have trouble with these kinds
of shots, so I wasn't surprised with what I got.
you want another sample, here's
one I took of the Bay Bridge one night (noise city!). It was
shot on a tripod. To see what the PowerShot G2 took minutes before,
sum up, as far photo quality goes, I must admit that the 775 disappointed
me a bit. The Coolpix 995 is pretty much set the benchmark for photo
quality, and the 775's photo quality is just average amongst the
things that stood out to me were jagged edges, and chromatic aberrations.
Neither of them were terrible, but they were noticeable in many
pictures. The jaggies are easy enough to see - just look at most
of the photos in the gallery. Here's
a sample of a photo I took in a grove of trees, which show off the
chromatic aberrations (purple fringing).
photo and many more are available in our extensive gallery,
so check it out and judge for yourself.
Coolpix 775's movie mode isn't as nice as on the 990 and 995. You
can record only 15 seconds of video (320 x 240), with no sound.
You can't change any options -- no macro, no white balance, etc.
can, however, use the zoom lens during filming.
are saved in QuickTime format.
to play movie (QuickTime format, 3.8MB)
Coolpix 775 has a pretty basic playback mode. The available features
are Delete, Slide Show, Protect, DPOF Print Marking, 4/9 thumbnail
mode, and Auto Transfer. The zoom and scroll
feature lets you zoom in 2X only, and jumps, rather than scrolls,
through the zoomed-in area.
of my favorite features from the other Coolpix cameras was spared
-- the ability to delete a group of photos at once.
for more info on your photos? Well you won't find it here -- what
you see above is what you get.
between photos takes about 3 seconds. After a second or so, a low
res image "blinks" onto the screen. 2 seconds later, the
LCD goes dark for a moment, and then the high resolution image appears.
Does it Compare?
been a fan of Nikon's Coolpix line of cameras for a long time. I
even bought a Coolpix 950 back in the early days of this site. My
advice here is to skip over the Coolpix 775, however. It's not that
it's a bad camera -- not at all -- it's just average. Most of the
photos were decent, but I couldn't help but notice that many photos
had case of the "jaggies". The feature set is pretty basic
-- there are no bells and whistles here. If you're looking for a
basic point-and-shoot camera, do consider the Coolpix 775. But my
honest advice would be to consider the competition instead.
for conversion lenses
small and light
touch image transfer
I didn't care for:
competitive with Sony and Olympus models in this price range
2 Megapixel cameras that I suggest considering include the Canon
PowerShot A20, Fuji FinePix 2400Z
DSC-P50, and the Toshiba
always, I recommend a trip to your local camera store to try out
the Coolpix 775 and its competitors before you buy, assuming you
can find them!