Expert Review of Nikon Coolpix P500 Point & Shoot Digital Camera Black
Nikon Coolpix P500 is a refreshing super zoom compact camera that will attract the semi pros. Enthusiasts will find it fascinating that this camera features a mechanically stabilized 36X optical zoom with a massive focal range beginning from 22.5 – 810mm, this over a very innovative side zoom control. It is further capable of recording full 1080p HD videos with stereo sound, full time AF, and optical zoom. The icing on the cake comes with the camera’s ability to record slow motion videos at up to 240fps. More features include manual shooting modes and a burst mode of five continuous shots at 8fps. You can review your photos and videos on the given 3-inch LCD 921K dot articulated screen. And it sports a three and a half inches back side illuminated CMOS sensor together with 12.2megapixels. The sensitivity range too is amazing that stretches from ISO 600 TO 3200, and the camera is a modest upgrade of its predecessor. However, Nikon Coolpix P500 stays to be a proper choice for those who want the convenience of a super zoom but also search for the creative control that the high-end cameras offer. It may not give you the best photos at higher ISO speeds but it is still a lot more portable and convenient than an average SLR with a stack full of lenses. It is also advantageous as an amazing video camera, all thanks to its precise video mode.
Design and Build Quality
When it comes to the weight, Nikon Coolpix P500 is slightly heavier than the old P100, weighing at 494 grams, but in an overall spectrum it is very much the same. It scales only 115.5mm x 83.7mm x 102.5mm. Like with most high end super zoom cameras this camera too has a traditional bridge look coupled with a chunky handgrip, a big lens grip, a flash resting directly on top of the lens and an eye level electronic viewfinder. The grip is perfect to fit into you right hand, and has this rubber texture for your comfort. Also, the camera is not only available in your basic Black but a striking Red as well. Pick whichever you like!
Focus and Face Detection
For focus, this camera consists of an AF mode, Macro, Infinity and even a Manual mode. Each works differently; the AF is centre spot, which is user dependant, selecting from 99 focus points or if camera is selectable from 9 points. It is to be noticed that needless of the AF area mode, the auto focus speed is decent for still subjects but rather slow for subjects in motion. The manual mode offers much freedom to you but is quite a slow process, nevertheless, a delightful addition in case your autofocus system ditches you. While during face priority auto focus, the camera has the ability to focus on 12 human faces and will focus predominantly more on the subjects close to the lens.
Lens and Image Stabilization
The magnificent 32X zoom lens is the star of the camera, putting it out there in the market. The praises go side by side to the ultra wideness of the lens from 22.5mm to 810mm in 35mm terms. This range is equivalent to your changing least 3 – 4 lenses to cover a similar focal range. This range gives you freedom unlike you have experienced and with the speedy processing, this will make shooting fun for you. The aperture of f/3.4 at 22.5mm and f/5.7 at 810mm is the reason for its fastness. This single lens is remarkably compact in respect to its attributes. For image stabilization, the camera sports a Vibration Reduction (VR) that is, to battle camera shakes in order to give you thoroughly vibrant pictures, and this is something essential for a camera that features a super zoom lens. The result displayed by the Vibration Reduction feature is noticeable as it gives you sharp images and beautiful photographs without blur.
Screen and Menus
A fully articulated screen of 3-inch size and called the vari angle monitor is placed in the rear of Nikon Coolpix P500 to offer 921,000 dot-display, which is excellent for you to capture and then preview photos. Of course, all the added advantages of a tilting screen comes with it, you can take photos from tricky points and unusual angles. The screen has a brightness adjustment setting to it and an anti glaring coat, so that even as you are outdoors in the sun, viewing does not become an issue. The additional eye level electronic viewfinder is just a joy to those who require compositional freedom. As for the menu, it is a button away to access and is as easy as that. Navigation will not be a problem, all that you need has been provided for.
Nikon Coolpix P500 is operated by an 1100m-AH lithium ion battery. They are placed next to the car slot, which is by the way, compatible with SD / SDHC / SDXC cards; the compartment is on the base of the camera and is shared. The camera on a full charge will last for as many as 240 shots. There is also a small internal memory card but it will keep a few photos, so a memory card is mandatory.
A stunning feature that you would end up appreciating in the Nikon Coolpix P500 is its capability to record Full HD 1920 x 1080 p movies at a decent 30fps. And while recording the stereo sound and optical zoom are operable, it offers different frame rates and quality standards, one being 720p at 30fps ( 1280 x 720 p ) and another being a VGA mode again at 30fps but with 640 x 480p. Added helpful features like Wind Noise Reduction are a gift! It will reduce wind noises blowing on the microphone. The drawback is that the sensor shift VR does not work as you record but as per your wish, you can use the given electronic image stabilization. This doesn’t end here, the camera can record high speed movies at QVGA at 240fps, in VGA at 120 fps and even HD (720 p) at 60fps. You can even turn them into slow motion, all with the option of playing them back at 30fps. All this with that one button, sitting on the rear, you click and in whichever mode the device is, it will start recording.
The camera sports a commendable 12.1megapixel backside illuminated CMOS sensor, with a dual image processor and Nikon’s very own EXPEED C2 image-processing engine. This in end works brilliantly, offering you detailed image with minimal noise or distortion. The processing is quick such that one cannot complain about it.
* Amazing versatility from the 36x optical zoom lens
* Robust shooting performance
* DSLR style body is easy and comfortable to handle
* Fully Automatic and Manual controls
* Powerful built-in flash
* Excellent 1080p video recording with full use of the optical zoom
* High quality Vari-Angle 3.0-inch LCD screen, shows amazing detail
* HDMI output
* Second zoom control is very convenient
* Stereo Microphone
* At full telephoto, the camera can be very hard to hold steady, even with the optical image stabilization
* Overall image quality is not up to our expectations
* No audio input
* Sub-Par battery life