Nikon Coolpix P5000
A compact, high resolution digicam with functions to appeal to keen photographers.After a couple of years of producing mainly point-and-shoot digicams, Nikon caters once again for enthusiast photographers with its new Coolpix P5000 model. Reminiscent in style of the Coolpix 5400, the P5000 is not only considerably smaller but boasts double the resolution, with a 10-megapixel imager. Interestingly, the sensors in both cameras are the same size. However, the zoom lens is shorter and the widest angle of view only equates to 36mm in 35mm format. The LCD is larger and has higher resolution but it’s also non-adjustable. Raw file capture is no longer supported. . . [more]
After a couple of years of producing mainly point-and-shoot digicams, Nikon caters once again for enthusiast photographers with its new Coolpix P5000 model. Reminiscent in style of the Coolpix 5400, the P5000 is not only considerably smaller but boasts double the resolution, with a 10-megapixel imager. Interestingly, the sensors in both cameras are the same size. However, the zoom lens is shorter and the widest angle of view only equates to 36mm in 35mm format. The LCD is larger and has higher resolution but it’s also non-adjustable. Raw file capture is no longer supported.
The P5000’s body is solidly built and finished in matte black, with a textured, rubber-coated grip that, although small, feels secure. There’s a comfortable thumb pad on the rear panel. The lens retracts into the body and has a built-in cover and removable ring that allows optional conversion lenses to be fitted. The optical viewfinder is small, but bright for its size and more comfortable to use than many other digicam viewfinders.
The top panel carries a large mode dial, a command wheel and a very small on/off button. A tiny LED beside this switch indicates microprocessor activity. The zoom lever is a ring around the large shutter button and a hot shoe is provided for accessory Speedlights.
A slim built-in flash (GN 8) is also provided. A multi-selector (arrow-pad) on the rear panel replicates many of the functions of the command wheel – although the latter is quicker to use. Function, Monitor, Playback, Menu and Delete buttons line up on the left of the LCD. Both battery and card slot into a compartment in the base of the camera, alongside the metal tripod socket, which is centrally placed.
The new camera benefits from the addition of the new technologies provided in recent Coolpix cameras: Face-priority AF, VR image stabilisation, ISO sensitivity to 3200 and an extended range of BSS (Best Shot Selector) settings. In-camera correction functions include D-Lighting and red-eye fix. But it also provides the P, A, S and M shooting modes enthusiasts require, along with a full auto setting. The menu system has two options, one resembling the menus on Nikon’s DSLR cameras and the other icon-based, which condenses four pages of menu functions into a single page of icons. Both are well-designed and easy to read and use.
Sixteen scene modes are provided, along with seven movie modes, an Anti-Shake mode that combines VR stabilisation with BSS and boosted sensitivity plus a dedicated High-Sensitivity mode. The top ISO 3200 setting automatically reduces the image size to 5M (2592 x 1944) or smaller. The ‘image optimisation’ menu contains the same pre-sets as the D40 and D40X DSLR cameras, allowing users to select renditions that provide Normal, Softer, Vivid, More Vivid and Portrait colour and tonal renditions as well as a B&W setting and a Custom mode for creating your own colour/tonal choice. No Sepia setting is provided but the camera includes digital filters that replicate the monochrome effects of yellow, orange, red and green filters.
The P5000 has a bright and effective AF illuminator, which is helpful in dim conditions. Nevertheless the test camera’s AF system, although fast and accurate in normal lighting, tended to hunt in low light. A rule-of-thirds grid can be displayed on the LCD to assist framing and shot composition – but the lines are rather thick. No data display is provided with this setting. The drive mode has settings for single, continuous, continuous flash and interval timer shooting and three- and ten-second self-timer modes are provided.
You can record VGA movies with sound with the only limit being the size of your memory card. However, the camera won’t display time remaining data for cards larger than 2GB. In movie mode the default AF setting locks focus at the start of each clip so the noise of the AF motor isn’t recorded, but selecting Full-time AF allows you to keep moving subjects sharply focused, although the AF motor noise will also be recorded. The VR system can also be used with the movie mode.
Pressing the Playback button displays the last shot taken when the button is released and you can switch back to recording mode by half-pressing the shutter button. When you want to view shots without turning the camera on, simply press and hold the Playback button for about four seconds. This plays back shots without extending the lens and you can turn the camera off with the power button when you’re done. D-Lighting is only accessible in playback mode.
Playback has some limitations. For starters, histograms can only be displayed in Playback mode and the Delete button will only delete the shot on the screen. To delete all shots, you must use the menu. The camera is supplied with Nikon’s PictureProject software which, unfortunately, has some compatibility issues with Photoshop and Photoshop Elements 5.0. If you attempt to use PictureProject to edit an image file with file information added using Adobe Photoshop’s File Information menu, the entered information may become corrupted and unreadable and your editing software will probably ‘hang’.
Photographs taken in bright sunlight with the test camera showed the expected blown out highlights, although shadow detail was somewhat better than most digicams and the dynamic range in exposures was slightly wider. Colours were natural looking but compression artefacts were very obvious in shots taken at the lowest resolution and quality settings. Digital zoom shots were also somewhat soft but edge-to-edge sharpness was quite consistent.
Imatest showed resolution to be below expectations – but in line with many other small-sensor digicams. It also revealed heavy undersharpening processing in most test shots. A huge drop in resolution occurred when ISO 3200 sensitivity was used – in line with expectations. Colour accuracy was good – but not outstanding. Imatest detected shifts in hues between green and red coupled with slightly boosted saturation in pinkish reds. Lateral chromatic aberration was negligible and we found no obvious coloured fringing in outdoor shots.
Close-ups were sensitively handled and the P5000’s close focusing capabilities were impressive. White balance performance was mixed, with the auto setting delivering natural colours under fluorescent lighting but failing to correct the orange cast of tungsten lights, while the manual pre-sets delivered good results with tungsten lighting and over-corrected with fluorescents. With both types of lighting, manual measurement produced accurate colours.
Flash performance was generally good and the flash produced enough light to illuminate an average-sized room at all ISO settings. Low light performance was also satisfactory, although shots taken at high ISO settings were noise-affected. Some shadow noise was also observed in normal exposures, particularly when backlit shots were adjusted with the D-Lighting function.
It took less than two seconds to power-up the P5000 and shot-to-shot times averaged two seconds without flash or four seconds with. Capture lag averaged a relatively slow 0.8 seconds, reducing to almost instantaneous capture with pre-focusing. The continuous shooting mode recorded high-resolution JPEGs at 1.2 second intervals.
Auto white balance with fluorescent lighting.
Auto white balance with incandescent lighting.
Check the sample image below to see sharpness differences between the centre and corner of shots.
Snapshot showing dynamic range in dappled lighting.
Scene with wide brightness range.
Image sensor: 7.18 x 5.32 mm CCD ith 10.37 million photosites (10.0 megapixels effective)
Lens: 7.5-26.3mm f/2.7-5.3 zoom (36-126mm in 35mm format)
Zoom ratio: 3.5x optical, up to 4x digital
Image formats: Stills ““ JPEG (Exif 2.2); Movies ““ AVI/WAV
Image Sizes: Stills ““ 3648 x 2736, 3648 x 2432 (3:2), 3584 x 2016 (16:9), 2592 x 1944, 2048 x 1536, 1600 x 1200, 1280 x 960, 1024 x 768, 640 x 480; Movies –
Shutter speed range: 8-1/2000 sec.
Image Stabilisation: lens-shift VR
Exposure Compensation: +/- 2 EV in 1/3EV steps
Focus system/range: Contrast-detect AF; range30 cm to infinity; macro to 4 cm
Exposure metering/control: 256-segment matrix, centre-weighted and spot metering; Auto, P, A, S and M shooting modes plus 16 scene modes
ISO range: Auto (ISO 64-800), ISO 64, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 2000, 3200.
White balance: Auto, Manual (Daylight, Incandescent, Fluorescent, Cloudy, Flash and White bal. Preset)
Flash modes/range (ISO auto): Auto, Auto with red-eye reduction, Anytime flash, Flash cancel, Slow sync., Rear-curtain sync.; range 0.3-8.0 metres
Sequence shooting: approx. 0.8 fps
Storage Media: 21MB internal memory plus SD expansion slot
Viewfinder: Real-image optical
LCD monitor: 2.5-inch TFT LCD with wide viewing angle and 230,000 dot resolution
Power supply: EN-EL5 rechargeable lithium-ion battery (250 shots/charge)
Dimensions (wxhxd): 98 x 64.5 x 41 mm
Weight: 200 grams (without battery and card)
Digital cameras, lenses and accessories with 100% genuine Australian manufacturer’s warranties.
Ph: (02) 9029 2219
Ph: 133 686
The largest speciality photographic retail chain in Australia.
CameraPro Pty Ltd
Suite 607, 180 Queen St, Brisbane 4000
Tel: 07 3333 2900
Australian owned and run company based in Brisbane.
Retailer of digital camera equipment and more.
Secure online shopping and delivery across Australia.
Ph: 1300 727 056
Ph: 1800 155 067
Digital Camera Warehouse
174 Canterbury Road 367 High Street
NSW 2193 VIC 3070
Ph: 1300 365 220
1300 801 885
Australian retailer of Vapex rechargeable batteries offering factory direct prices and fast, free shipping Australia wide.
Photographic Equipment & Supplies – Retail & Repairs. Click here for list of stores.
1800 186 895
Big range of cameras and photographic products with stores in most states and online.
Rating (out of 10):
- Build: 9
- Ease of use: 8.5
- Image quality: 8
- OVERALL: 8.5