Enormous, class-leading 42x zoom range
Nikon is once again clearly positioning themselves at the front of the ultrazoom arms race, though it's a strategy we don't always approve of. In our experience, optical zoom often has an inverse relationship with image quality. And although we won't know for sure until we take this camera into the lab, the P500 did lag behind a few models that kept their zoom ratios relatively modest. Other than that, very little has changed here since the P500, but we like what changes do exist.
EVF and articulated, hi-res 3.0-inch monitor
Nikon recently introduced two new Coolpix cameras and although they show no resemblance whatsoever to each other, they are remarkably similar. Both digicams share identical GPS systems, identical EXPEED C2 image processing engines, indentical 16 megapixel backlit CMOS sensors, the same lens-shift vibration reduction (VR) system, and identical 3.0-inch 921k-dot flip-out LCD monitors. The most significant differences between the two cameras are in their physical sizes and their zoom lenses.
Fully Automatic and Manual controls
Nikon's new CoolPix P510 is an amazing super-zoom camera that boasts a class-leading 42x optical zoom lens reaching to a 35mm equivalent of 1000mm! It also sports various other high-end features like the 16-megapixel Backside Illuminated CMOS imaging sensor, Lens Shift VR image stabilization, 3.0-inch vari-angle LCD with 921,000 dots of resolution and slew of creative scene shooting modes. The new larger sensor also brings with it better image quality than the previous P500 model.
Incredible telephoto zoom setting of 1000mm
The Nikon Coolpix P510 ups the ante in the ultra-zoom camera stakes by offering an incredible telephoto zoom setting of 1000mm. Remarkably it's still possible to hand-hold the camera in good light and achieve sharp pictures thanks to the excellent vibration reduction system, although you really need to use a tripod or other support for consistent results.
Very capable optical image stabilization system
The P510 surprised us. It's not perfect, but it did exceed our expectations in some important respects. If you don't need the incredibly long reach of the P510's 24-1000mm zoom, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150 is arguably a better buy (it offers superior high-ISO image quality and has the distinction of offering Raw capture) but if you want a small, portable, affordable super-zoom for travelling and everyday photography, and you don't mind being limited to JPEG capture, the Nikon Coolpix P510...
Superb macro pictures
The differences between the P510 and its predecessor are very subtle, but Nikon have boosted the lens to 42x optical zoom and upgraded to a 16.1 megapixel sensor. It is a feature packed camera, which delivers impressive results. This is a fantastic option if you are looking for a DSLR style camera, as it has many of the features and appearance, without you requiring to carry around a bag full of lenses, although if you are a current P500 user, it's unlikely you get value for money by upgrading.
Huge zoom range
On paper the 24-1000mm (equivalent) zoom sounds rather special. It's got the range, but getting the results at the longer focal range is another matter. The camera is an improvement over the P500 model, largely thanks to the vibration reduction technology, though the 16.1-megapixel sensor and overall performance aren't standout in their class and the basic viewfinder is in need of an upgrade.
Small, light, attractive body
An extremely wide and long zoom, an easy interface, and very fast autofocus combine to make the Nikon Coolpix P500 an excellent companion camera. Shooting with the P500 reminded me of how much fun photography can be, and that's a nice intangible feature for a camera to have.
More photos this weekend...
My overall impression is very positive to this point. I wasn't expecting DSLR results in regards to picture quality and flexibility in various shooting conditions. This camera comes closer on both these aspects than I expected; and I'm carrying a LOT less gear and weight.
The Next Superzoom Bridge Camera
In conclusion, although the Nikon P500 may not be the ultimate bridge camera for everyone, but as a bridge model with such a massive zoom and generally clean and punchy output, the camera does alright in my book. With the exception of the horrifically slow auto-focus, the limited continuous burst and the limited shutter speed range, the camera shines in almost every department.
Noise reduction algorithm
So the Coolpix P500 performed horribly in our color accuracy test, especially for a Nikon. But here's the thing: during our time with the camera, the images produced were actually very attractive. If you'd handed us sample photos from this model before testing, we'd have predicted much higher scores. Sharpness is a little off in places, but overall we get the sense that this lens is of much higher quality than the competition.
Good color rendition
The Coolpix P500 is a logical extension of Nikon's product line in the superzoom compact digital ranks, dramatically expanding the focal range (both wide and long) and adding features over the P100 that it replaces. A slight increase in resolution is accompanied by what looks to be similar or slightly better low light ISO performance, so a net gain there.
Well designed, lightweight, easy-to-hold body
The Nikon Coolpix P500 illustrates a point I often make about the marketing-driven world of digital cameras. A camera can have the biggest zoom, the most pixels, or elaborate bells and whistles, but if can't take decent photos, who cares? The P500 is well designed and easy-to-use, but it needs a lot of work in the photo quality department before I start jumping up and down about it.
Amazing versatility from the 36x optical zoom lens
Nikon's CoolPix P500 sports an amazing 36x optical zoom Nikkor lens with sensor shift image stabilization, a 12.1-Megapixel backside illuminated CMOS imaging sensor, 1080p HD video capture and a high quality 3.0-inch Vari-Angle LCD screen. While this makes the camera one of the most versatile camera's available, its image quality is lacking. Because of this you might want to look at one of the other Mega-Zoom cameras on the market like the Fuji FinePix HS20EXR or the Canon PowerShot SX30 IS.
The Coolpix S8100 includes lens-based optical image stabilization, useful for fighting blur from camera shake.
Overall, we liked the Nikon Coolpix 8100, and had a lot of fun shooting with it. Outdoors, the Nikon S8100 takes very good photographs with excellent color. Indoors, the camera does reasonably well considering the 12-megapixel resolution and long zoom; and the Nikon S8100 even has HDR modes to deal with difficult lighting situations. The most important feature of the Nikon S8100 is its 10x zoom in a compact frame which is a real bonus for street photographers and vacationers.
The photos are crystal clear and true to color. The new night shooting capabilities are the absolute best I've seen in a compact camera. It has 10x optical zoom plus around 4x digital. And it records full 1080p HD video. AND it's all in a cute little compact package. How can you beat that?
Oh, and the color of the red camera is the most gorgeous shade of red I've ever seen.
An appealingly simple-to-use yet powerful travel zoom camera
The Nikon Coolpix S8100 is an appealingly simple-to-use yet powerful travel zoom camera that is a marked improvement on the original S8000 in many ways, but its 30mm lens and average image quality prevent us from recommending it more highly.
Good quality images
Nikon's Coolpix S8100 is a great little camera that's perfect for slipping into a pocket ready for taking any snapshots that present themselves. In good light outdoors it can also be relied upon to take images that can be turned in to very decent A3 prints, so you won't regret not taking your DSLR on a long hike or bike ride.
The S8100 takes all the best bits from the previous 10x optical zoom camera and looks to improve on them. The S8100 takes all the best bits from the previous 10x optical zoom camera and looks to improve on them.The S8100 takes all the best bits from the previous 10x optical zoom camera and looks to improve on them.
The huge 26x zoom and 1080p video capture make the Nikon Coolpix P100 highly versatile, at least in theory, but with weak image stabilisation and unrealistic colour reproduction, it may not be the dream all-purpose camera you're hoping for. Overall image quality is good though, with commendably sharp results across the zoom range.
With a lightweight but well-built frame, amazing zoom and the ability to capture broad vistas, the Nikon Coolpix P100's capabilities are admirable
With a lightweight but well-built frame, amazing zoom and the ability to capture broad vistas, the Nikon Coolpix P100's capabilities are admirable. The video mode is far more flexible than the perfunctory nod to video capture on most cameras and we liked being able to directly select it in any mode. As for the camera's value for money, it's close to incredible.
The Nikon Coolpix P100 is capable of some extraordinary things.
The Nikon Coolpix P100 is capable of some extraordinary things. Centred on a high-speed CMOS sensor married with a 26x superzoom lens, it's chock-full of shooting options. High-speed photo and video shooting, settings for almost endless experimentation, and 1080p high-definition movie-recording capability are all present and correct. The P100 is also well designed, but, for all its strengths, its photos just aren't that good.
Adjustable LCD for odd-angle shots.
The 24X-optical-zoom Nikon Coolpix P90 concentrates on ease of use and manual controls, leaving the wow-factor extras to competitors. The 24X-optical-zoom Nikon Coolpix P90 concentrates on ease of use and manual controls, leaving the wow-factor extras to competitors.
The P90 is a competent superzoom with an impressive burst rate, but loses out against its competitors on image quality and features. That said, unless you need HD video and RAW functionality, the P90 is a relatively good buy given the extensive zoom range -- just take a tripod with you.
LCD can be tough to see in sunlight.
I found that writing the Nikon Coolpix P90 review to be one of the most difficult camera reviews I've ever written. The P90 has a lot of nice features, including a 24X optical zoom, a tiltable 3.0-inch LCD, an easy-to-use interface, and a light-weight design that makes it easy to use. Unlike many sub-$400 cameras, you can use a viewfinder or the LCD to frame images. However, the P90's image quality just isn't as good as I'd like to see.
sharp, detailed, natural looking images
Welcome to the land of Super Zooms, where fixed lens compacts roam the earth, granting us the ability to spy on our neighbors and capture the intricacy of the Statue of Liberty's armpit hair. The Nikon Coolpix P90 is up against the Pentax X70 and Olypmus SP-590 UZ, a growing legion of giant zooms with wide-angle lenses. We weren't overly impressed with the Coolpix P90's minimal controls and uninspiring features, but its image performance made up for it.
Overall picture quality was quite good, with accurate colors and superior sharpness.
Consider it mega-zoom madness, or more like a super-zoom summer fever. Fresh on the heels of the somewhat challenged 20x zoom Canon PowerShot SX1 IS and the Editors’ Choice 20x Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-HX1 comes the Nikon Coolpix P90 with a more potent 24x lens. Like the Canon and Sony, it too is a wide-angle zoom, but in this case it’s a whopping 26-624mm, versus 28-560mm for the SX1 and HX1. And the Nikon is a 12-megapixel digicam, versus the 10-megapixel Canon and 9.1-megapixel Sony.
In conclusion, the Coolpix P90 may just be the perfect point-and-shoot camera that can satisfy the needs of both the amateur and advanced photographer. It is simple enough for the novice user while offering features that allows the advanced user the ability to "play" without having to bring along their digital SLR. If you are looking for the portability of a point-and-shoot with the added functionality of a SLR, then the Nikon Coolpix P90 may be the way to go.
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