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Nikon Coolpix 2000 review: Nikon Coolpix 2000

Nikon Coolpix 2000

4 min read
If you're just getting started in digital photography, Nikon's affordable, 2-megapixel Coolpix 2000 is good choice. This camera's easy-to-use interface and strong feature set provide a solid learning platform for first-timers. Enthusiasts and slightly more-experienced shooters won't mind stowing this baby in their pocket for quick snaps either, although those with a keen eye may be a little disappointed with the camera's less than tack-sharp images. Also, this Coolpix doesn't have an optical viewfinder, so if you have LCD issues, look elsewhere.

The Mode dial escorts you through scene changes.
We like the styling of the silver-and-blue Coolpix 2000; it's small enough to fit in a big pocket but has enough breadth and width to fit comfortably in your hand. Don't confuse this model with its more compact sibling, the Coolpix 2500, or its higher-end Coolpix family members. This model lacks both the signature swivel lens and the optical viewfinder that you'll find gracing those other models. Though we were initially disappointed with the all-plastic body, we gladly accept the trade-off: this camera weighs only 10.4 ounces with the batteries and the media card installed.
The 2000 sports a 1.5-inch LCD that is clear and bright in all but low-light environments. A logical and accessible set of dedicated controls on the back of the camera, plus a Quick Review button for on-the-fly replay of images, make shooting with the 2000 simple and efficient. You can easily switch among play/record/movie and five scene settings via the camera's Mode dial, and menu navigation in both record and playback modes is relatively self-explanatory.
As with any digital camera, beginners should do a little homework before shooting. But thanks to Nikon's helpful user manual and bundled CD-based Let's Get Started video, you'll be shooting, downloading, and sharing in no time.

The 2000 has no manual aperture or shutter modes to contend with, but it does boast features such as exposure compensation and multiple white-balance presets, manual and automatic. Plus, it sports several metering modes and five scene modes--plenty of options to control image quality.
Included accessoriesThe 2000 comes with an 8MB starter CompactFlash card.

Of the five scene modes--Portrait, Party/Indoor, Night Portrait, Beach/Snow, and Back Light--we found the Back Light option the most useful in our tests. In some instances, the Back Light feature delivered a more pleasing effect than the manual fill flash, although it did tend to wash out background highlights a bit. The in-camera sharpening makes images crisper, but don't expect it to correct an out-of-focus shot. And beware: too much sharpening will result in a picture as lifelike as a fourth face-lift.
We were pleased that the one-touch upload feature is built into the camera--no docking station required. However, tagging the images that you want to transfer is tedious if you have lots of shots to choose from. You can also resize e-mail and Web-ready copies of images with just one touch--a total no-brainer and a very handy feature, even for folks who know how to manually shrink images.

The Back Light option occasionally washes out background highlights.

Best Shot Selector and standard features such as video for a 15-second movie clip (sans sound), as well as multiple playback features--including a slide show option--nicely round out the 2000's capabilities.

For a low-end camera, it's surprising that the Coolpix 2000 takes sharp macro shots as close as 1.6 inches.
When it comes to performance, the Coolpix 2000 isn't as fast as a hare, but it's no tortoise, either. Start-up time--from power on to first shot--logs an acceptable three seconds or so. The time between shots when using flash at normal resolutions lags a bit at around four to five seconds, but without flash and the shot-to-shot time, it drops by almost half. Set the camera on continuous shooting, and you can take seven or eight pictures almost before you can say continuous shooting--it's that fast. Multi-Shot is slower but captures up to 16 images in a single frame.
Though start-up time is good, opening the lens cover and extending the lens is a little noisy for our taste. Don't even think about stealthily zooming in on a subject, as the zoom control makes noise, too. However, like parents with rambunctious kids, we stopped noticing the racket after a while.

The continuous autofocus that automatically kicks in for macro mode also provides unwanted sound effects since it continually searches for a subject while you're trying to set up a shot. But once it locks focus, the autofocus does the job--even as close as 1.6 inches.

The four AA batteries are convenient if not compact.

Input/output ports

Using the four supplied AA alkaline batteries, we managed to squeeze out 100 images under typical conditions--with a mix of high- and normal-resolution shots, with the flash on occasionally, and while performing multiple deletes and playbacks--before losing power. That's not bad, but since you don't have the option of using an optical viewfinder, the LCD definitely drains batteries; you'd be wise to pick up a set of rechargeables and a charger. It's good to know, however, that you can use alkalines in a pinch.

Manual color balance works best under indoor lighting.

Overall, the Coolpix 2000 produces good images, with accurate, appropriately saturated colors. Skin tones are generally pleasing under both available light and flash illumination. Automatic white balance works well, especially outdoors. Indoors, flash and the manual color-balance setting produced the best results.

High-contrast lighting results in blown-out highlights and blocked-up shadow detail.

Even with the in-camera sharpen feature set above normal, our images came out slightly soft, thanks in part to this digicam's low-resolution sensor. However, under normal viewing conditions, the softness is barely noticeable. We were pleasantly surprised by the minimal color haloing at the edges of high-contrast areas and the small amount of image noise since most 2-megapixel cameras exhibit both types of anomalies.

Dark areas show surprisingly little noise.

Nikon Coolpix 2000

Score Breakdown

Design 7Features 7Performance 8Image quality 7