CNET First Look
Nikon Coolpix P500The Nikon Coolpix P500 improves on its predecessor's features and shooting performance, but its photos and video quality still aren't as good as the rest of the package.
Hi, I'm Josh Goldman, senior editor with CNET, and this is a look at the Nikon Coolpix P500. So, if you're watching this video, there's a good chance you know what this camera is all about, the lens. The P500's lens starts out in ultra wide angle 22.5 mm and extends out to 810 mm. That's a 36X optical zoom, so it provides with a lot of shooting flexibility whether you wanna get big shots of flowers up close or wide city scenes or pictures of the observation deck of the Empire State Building from the ground several blocks away. That's pretty insane given its very compact size and sub-$400 price tag and, compared to its predecessor, the P100, the lens is significantly wider and longer. While the lens may be new, several of the P100's other features stick around in the P500, like the electronic viewfinder here on top, sharp, high-res 3-inch LCD that pulls out from the body making it easier to shoot at different angles, and there's a one-touch record button for movies recorded in HD or at high-speed for slow motion clips, and there's a stereo mic on top, too. Now, new to the P500, though, is a zoom lever on the lens barrel and there's this button here on top to quickly change its burst shooting modes, of which there are several. And this camera is fast, too, with almost no shutter lag and low shot-to-shot times for its class, and Nikon used that speed to adding special night, portrait, and landscape modes and an easy panorama option for creating 180- or 360-degree photos with a single press of the shutter release. You get semi-manual and manual shooting modes also for those that wanna do a little more than just point and shoot. It all sounds pretty great, right? Well, it really depends on what you're expecting from the final results. The photos look really soft regardless of settings so getting sharp photos from this camera for enlarging or making large prints isn't going to happen. Plus, there's a noticeable drop-off in quality above ISO 400 so it's not a great option for indoors or low-light shooting either. The same goes for its movie quality, those are a bit noisy and soft, too. On the other hand, well, you see, there's this lens and it will likely make a lot of people happy. I'm Josh Goldman and that's the Nikon Coolpix P500.