Nikon Coolpix P5000 review: Nikon Coolpix P5000

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4

CNET Editors' Rating

3 stars Good
  • Overall: 6.9
  • Design: 7.0
  • Features: 8.0
  • Performance: 5.0
  • Image quality: 8.0
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good The Nikon Coolpix P5000 has optical image stabilization and excellent exposure, color, and sharpness.

The Bad Slow; LCD unusable in bright sunlight; highly inconsistent color across different ISO sensitivity levels; unusually strong barrel distortion at widest angle despite relatively narrow 36mm-equivalent angle of view.

The Bottom Line A few performance issues with the Nikon Coolpix P5000 diminish the appeal of an otherwise nice compact camera for amateurs.

Editors' Top Picks

Nikon Coolpix P5000

You've got to squint a little when looking for a camera equipped with a full set of amateur-friendly exposure controls that's small enough to fit into a jacket pocket; there simply aren't that many available, since most manufacturers' time and energy in the enthusiast segment these days go toward budget dSLRs. Nikon, which seemingly abandoned those amateur photographers for a few years, has reappeared with the 10-megapixel Coolpix P5000, a compact competitor for the snapshooter-with-room-to-grow audience currently dominated by the Canon PowerShot A710 IS.

With cutting-edge capabilities like face-priority autofocus, optical image stabilization, and full-resolution sensitivity settings as high as ISO 2000 to augment its manual and semimanual exposure options, the P5000 fits some mighty attractive features into its 8.1-ounce, 3.9x2.5x1.6 inches (WHD) frame. Though only the front of the chassis uses magnesium alloy in its design, the camera feels quite sturdy. Its smallish, rubberized grip and thumb rest make the P5000 quite comfortable for one-handed shooting.

The scored ring surrounding the f/2.7-to-f/5.3, 36mm-to-126mm-equivalent lens comes off so you can screw on optional wide-angle (24mm-to-84mm-equivalent) and telephoto (108mm-to-378mm-equivalent) conversion lenses via an adapter. A Nikon i-TTL-compatible hot shoe allows for external flashes as well.

A few of the P5000's shooting controls--flash, self-timer, exposure compensation, and macro/distance limit focus--use dedicated buttons for quick access. You can assign another--ISO sensitivity, image quality, image size, white balance, or vibration reduction (VR)--to the single-function Fn button. The others, plus some important additions such as metering and continuous-shooting, require the always-fun trip into the two-level menus. Furthermore, though I don't mind putting a few set-them-and-forget-them features in a separate Setup mode, I don't think VR, LCD brightness, or format card really fall into that category; that's the kind of stuff that belongs in the menu system. Nikon provides 15 program scene modes, plus panorama-assist, interval shooting, and a high-ISO program shift mode that automatically chooses from higher sensitivity settings than the standard program exposure. During photo playback you can apply D-Lighting exposure adjustment and add voice memos.

The P5000's shooting speed falls at the bottom of its small pack. The 2-second wake-up-to-first-shot time doesn't hurt, but the 0.9-second shutter lag under optimal conditions coupled with a 3-second shot-to-shot time makes it unsuitable for shooting animals and children, along with many other things that move. At least adding flash doesn't increase that time at all. In dim, low-contrast environments lag jumps to 2.2 seconds. And continuous shooting clocked an anemic 0.9 frames per second on CNET Labs' tests.

My field tests bore out those findings. You can autofocus as close as about 1.5 inches with the P5000, but I felt a perceptible pause while waiting for the camera to achieve a lock, regardless of the focus mode. It also seems to take the face-detection algorithms just a bit too long to operate. Once locked, it tracks small movements pretty well. But if the person's head is tilted or rotated slightly sideways, or the person moves to the edge of the frame, detection rarely works. That wait for the autofocus does let you catch up on your mirror time. Despite an antireflective coating and bumped up brightness, the P5000's otherwise sharp, bright, 2.5-inch LCD turns into a mirror on cloud-free days. The optical viewfinder is quite good for what it is, but as with all direct-view cameras you can't use it for macro photography.

Editors' Top Picks

 

ARTICLE DISCUSSION

Conversation powered by Livefyre

Where to Buy See All

Nikon Coolpix P5000

Part Number: 25565 Released: Mar. 21, 2007
MSRP: $399.95 Low Price: $225.00 See all prices

Quick Specifications See All

  • Release date Mar. 21, 2007
  • Digital camera type Compact
  • Optical Zoom 3.5 x
  • Optical Sensor Type CCD
  • Sensor Resolution 10.0 Megapixel
  • Image Stabilizer optical
  • Lens 36 - 126mm F/2.7
  • Optical Sensor Size 1/1.8"
About The Author

Lori Grunin is a senior editor for CNET Reviews, covering cameras, camcorders, and related accessories. She's been writing about and reviewing consumer technology and software since 1988.