The Good Stylish and innovative design; ultrathin and lightweight; good battery life; superior macro setting.
The Bad No optical viewfinder; significant image noise and artifacts in low light; less than stellar start-up time; noticeable shutter delay.
The Bottom Line Cleverly designed and easily pocketable, the Coolpix 2500 is a good choice for the style-conscious snapshooter.
Nikon Coolpix 2500
Nikon's Coolpix 2500 is practically guaranteed to draw attention from friends and passersby who, after commenting on its coolness, will ask you how the heck it's supposed to work. But once its hidden swivel lens is revealed, operating this 2-megapixel camera is fairly straightforward. If a stylish, pocketable digicam is what you're looking for, you'll enjoy toting this Coolpix around. But if you'll be shooting in a lot of low-light situations, you might want to check out the Minolta Dimage X, a tiny camera that's also strong on design and produces less image noise. The 2500 features the swivel lens used by the more expensive 900 series--but with an, um, additional twist. Nikon calls it the inner-swivel-lens design. The lens half of the camera twists, but the outer frame of the camera doesn't. So while the 2500 offers the benefits of the nonprotruding, easily positioned 3X zoom lens, you won't be able to shoot with the lens in a vertical position. You can, however, shoot with it angled anywhere from 130 degrees forward to 90 degrees backward (minus the width of the frame in between).
There are also advantages to having the frame stable: the lens won't inadvertently twist in your bag, you don't need a lens cap, and the overall construction of the camera is solid. Unfortunately, the ultracompact, lightweight design--7.5 ounces with battery and media installed--leaves no room for an optical viewfinder.
Nikon bails on advanced compacts and that's not good
Opinion: The company announced that it was dropping the attempt to produce its ill-fated series of enthusiast-targeted fixed-lens models and it doesn't sound like it plans to try again.