Though the P5000 performed poorly on several levels, you can't blame much of it on the lens. VR works extremely well, and in practice bought me close to three stops beyond what reciprocal math dictates; at best, I obtained a sharp shot at 1/4 second that would typically require 1/30 second. Additionally, the lens maintains very good edge-to-edge sharpness and shows minimal chromatic aberration (fringing). Keep in mind, however, that it trades off zoom range; it's much easier to produce a better optical system if you keep the range of focal lengths limited, as Nikon does with its 3.5x zoom. The lens does show a surprising amount of barrel distortion at the wide end given its rather narrow 36mm-minimum focal length.
When it comes to image noise, the P5000 fares well in some respects and abysmally in others. It can shoot some usable photos up to ISO 2000, depending upon subject matter, though to play it safe for sharpness and artifacts I suggest staying below ISO 800. But across the various ISO settings, color consistency flies out the window. Check out the sample images to see what I mean.
That's too bad, because otherwise the P5000 produces very good photos, with excellent exposure, neutral white balance (though the preset renders a little pinkish under tungsten lights), appropriate saturation, and properly selected flash output levels. Though I've seen better, its 640x480, 30fps movie capture will also serve to preserve those embarrassing moments on YouTube forever. It supports only digital zoom in movie capture mode, however.
Poor performance really drags down the Nikon Coolpix P5000, and unless you absolutely need a hot shoe for an external flash, it's hard to recommend when compared to the less expensive, zippier Canon PowerShot A710 IS, with its faster and longer 6x zoom lens.
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
|Typical shot-to-shot time||Time to first shot||Shutter lag (typical)|
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
|In frames per second|