Nikon Announces the 36X Superzoom COOLPIX P500

Nikon has just announced the 36x zoom COOLPIX P500, featuring the longest zoom ever integrated into a COOLPIX camera. The new super-zoom compact is an upgrade to the 26x COOLPIX P100, which we reviewed last year and called “an ideal travel camera.” This new generation obviously breaks the zoom barrier with its wide-angle (22.5mm-810mm) optical Zoom NIKKOR ED glass lens, but also boasts Nikon’s EXPEED C2 dual image processor for enhanced performance and noise reduction, as well as a new shooting mode button that “facilitates quick setting of continuous frame shooting, in addition to the pre shooting cache that starts to snap photos before the button is fully depressed.” I got to handle this camera behind the scenes at CES last month and was excited by the new features, such as full HD (1080p) video capability and the Easy Panorama mode. The P500 will be available for $399.95 in March. See the full press release for the COOLPIX P500, as well as two other superzoom camera announcements, below.

From Nikon:

MELVILLE, NY (Feb 8, 2011) – Invoking the NIKKOR legacy of unparalleled optics innovation, Nikon Inc. today unveiled three new high power superzoom COOLPIX digital cameras, including the new COOLPIX P500 with a 36x zoom, the longest zoom ever integrated into a COOLPIX camera. For consumers who desire slim zoom or affordable telephoto, Nikon has also announced the new COOLPIX S9100 and L120 cameras to address the need for versatile, high performance compact cameras with easy-to-use functionality.

Whether capturing photos or HD video up close or from afar, Nikon’s new super-zoom COOLPIX cameras are ideal for cramped quarters or the great outdoors. The new COOLPIX P500 is a full-featured compact camera complete with an expansive 36x zoom for photo enthusiasts looking for their next big adventure, while the new COOLPIX S9100 packs an 18x zoom in a sleek body ideal for traveling light. Rounding out this impressive lineup, the new COOLPIX L120 combines a powerful 21x zoom with easy-to-use features for the ultimate family camera.

“Today’s consumers want an increase in zoom range, and a camera that is compact enough to never hinder a jet-set, on-the-go lifestyle.  Nikon listened, and offers the best of both worlds with these three new COOLPIX models,” said Bo Kajiwara, director of marketing, Nikon Inc.  “These three new COOLPIX models offer the shooting versatility that comes from the stellar NIKKOR lenses while still offering the portability of compact digital cameras.”

COOLPIX Technology
At the core of these new COOLPIX cameras are Nikon’s world-class NIKKOR lenses, delivering accurate detail, brilliant color and amazing clarity. Further enhancing color and sharpness, Nikon’s EXPEED C2™ high performance digital image processing engine is implemented and custom-optimized for each COOLPIX model to ensure high-quality pictures.  With a variety of useful functions such as the Scene Auto Selector, Best Shot Selector and Smart Portrait System, the COOLPIX lineup is designed to help even the most inexperienced photographer take beautiful photos easily.

The New COOLPIX P500: Beyond Super-Telephoto
The COOLPIX P500 features a 36x wide-angle optical Zoom NIKKOR ED glass lens, shattering the conventional zoom barrier to create the “ultra-telephoto” premium compact.  From shooting super wide-angle 22.5mm to a staggering 810mm (35mm equivalent), the COOLPIX P500 is the best bet to capture the user’s intent with exceptional image quality, even in challenging low-light conditions thanks to the 12.1-megapixel backside illumination CMOS sensor.

A first for the COOLPIX line of digital cameras, the P500 features the EXPEED C2 dual image processor that greatly enhances performance, reduces noise and corrects distortion in both movies and still images. With a 36x zoom, the need for an exceptional image stabilization system is essential for capturing steady subjects at such long focal lengths.  For sharp photos and video, the COOLPIX P500 meets that need with its hybrid vibration reduction (VR) stabilization system comprised of both image-sensor shift VR and electronic VR.  To further combat the effects of camera shake, an additional zoom control has been added to the side of the lens barrel to increase stability while shooting photos and video while handheld.

Utilizing the high-speed continuous shooting performance (capture five images at full resolution in approximately one second) of the CMOS sensor, the COOLPIX P500 includes Backlighting scene mode with an in-camera high dynamic range (HDR) function, which merges images of the same scene at different exposures to achieve a single image with a broad range of tonal detail. For additional low-light performance, the Night Landscape mode combines a series of consecutive shots taken at a fast shutter speed into a single image with reduced noise when taking handheld shots in night scenes. Additionally, the advanced Night Portrait mode, combines consecutive images of the background while the subject is captured using the flash to deliver beautiful night and indoor scenes.

To help users stay one step ahead of the action, a new shooting mode button facilitates quick setting of continuous frame shooting, in addition to the pre shooting cache that starts to snap photos before the button is fully depressed. Additionally, The COOLPIX P500 features a variety of advanced functions for the sophisticated user seeking smooth control with intuitively placed controls such as a new mode dial that enables easy setting of frequently used functions on the fly.

Other notable functions include full HD (1080p) movie recording with stereo sound and the ability to capture still images during recording, as well as the ability to utilize the expansive zoom range while recording, with autofocus. The camera can also adjust recording speed to create slow motion or high-speed special effects. The P500 also features a new Easy Panorama mode that creates dynamic panorama photos with a choice of directions and angles, automatically. To facilitate easy composing, viewing and playback of images and HD movies, the COOLPIX P500 also features a 3-inch high resolution (921,000-dot) vari-angle monitor.

The New COOLPIX S9100: Pocketable Power Zoom
For the sophisticated traveler who needs portability and versatility, the new COOLPIX S9100 packs an impressive 18x wide-angle Zoom- NIKKOR ED glass lens into a stylish compact body -the most compact body of these three.  From wide-angle (25mm) to super-telephoto (450mm), the COOLPIX S9100 captures everything from sweeping landscapes to distant subjects confidently.  Ensuring exceptional image quality even when shooting in low-light conditions, the COOLPIX S9100 features a 12.1-megapixel backside illuminated CMOS sensor and ISO sensitivity up to 3200. The S9100 also includes Backlighting scene mode with HDR functionality built-in, Night Landscape mode, Night Portrait mode and Nikon’s hybrid VR image stabilization system.

For effortless operation when composing or sharing, the COOLPIX S9100 features a 3-inch high resolution, 921,000 dot LCD monitor with an enhanced user interface that enables easy composing and viewing, as well as a mode dial for smooth setting of frequently used functions.  The COOLPIX S9100 also includes full HD (1080p) movie recording with one-touch operation, optical zoom, stereo sound and the ability to capture still images during recording.  Putting the fun in functionality, the COOLPIX S9100 has a new Easy Panorama mode, and a variety of Special Effects for artistic photos and movies.

The New COOLPIX L120: Affordable Zoom Performance
Making it easy and affordable to capture memorable family moments, the new COOLPIX L120 features a 21x Wide-Angle Zoom NIKKOR glass lens with side zoom control, 14.1-megapixel resolution, hybrid VR image stabilization system and high sensitivity up to ISO 6400 (reduced resolution) for beautiful photos in a variety of lighting conditions.  The COOLPIX L120 also features an Easy Auto mode that automatically selects the most appropriate scene mode by simply framing the subject, allowing the user to capture photos confidently and preserve special moments forever.

From school plays to soccer games, users can record every moment in HD video (720p) with a simple one-touch control button.  Composing and sharing photos and movies are also made easier with the COOLPIX L120’s 3-inch high resolution, 921,000 dot LCD monitor.  For the furry member of the family, the COOLPIX L120 includes a Pet Portrait mode that helps capture the expressions and actions of dogs and cats automatically.  The attractive styling and the convenience of AA battery operation makes the COOLPIX L120 an ideal camera for the busy family.

Pricing and Availability
The Nikon COOLPIX P500 will be available in March 2011 for $399.95* MSRP, and will be available in black and red. The Nikon COOLPIX S9100 will be available in March 2011 for $329.95* MSRP in a variety of sophisticated colors including, black, red, and silver and The Nikon COOLPIX L120 will be available in late February 2011 for $279.95* MSRP in black, red and bronze.

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