Posts Tagged ‘superzoom’

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.

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Hands-on GE’s New Superzoom Camera & Waterproof Pocket Camcorder

CES 2011, Las Vegas—GE has long been a household name, though not necessarily when it comes to digital imaging. Over the past few years, however, they have been creeping into the digital camera market with their stylish and very competitively priced digicams. The new lineup from CES 2011 includes some cameras that should put the brand on the map when it comes to affordable, feature-packed compact cameras and camcorders. The ultra compact, 15x zoom GE PowerPro X500 is shaped like most other longzoom compacts, with an exaggerated grip and a lot of glass shining on the front, but the body is even smaller than most I’ve seen in the category. And the price? Well, that’s also much smaller at $149 (tentatively). The 16-megapixel X500 has an electronic view finder, in-camera HDR mode, optical image stabilization, supports ISOs up to 3200, shoots HD video (720p), and comes in black or a polished white color. The zoom was very smooth when I played with it and the view finder was a nice, more professional-feeling touch, though it was quite tiny and I had to squint pretty hard to look through it.

click thumbnails to enlarge

The waterproof, shockproof, dustproof GE DV1 pocket camcorder was another nice surprise from the new lineup. At $129 (tentatively) it is also much more affordable than its competitors, and records full 1080p HD video. The DV1, though very compact and cutely styled, feels pretty solid in-hand due to its metal chassis, and it also features a 2.5-inch LCD and built-in USB. The DV1 has a 4x zoom and shoots 5MP still images, even when in video record mode. I can see this being a fun family pocket camcorder, which will withstand the kind of trauma a family who has fun with put it through.

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Compact Superzoom: Nikon COOLPIX P100 Review

Nikon COOLPIX P100
Text and Images by Allison Gibson

Compact Superzoom

The Nikon COOLPIX P100 may just be exactly what you’re looking for if you’re in the market for a fun, high-end, compact superzoom with impressive image quality, the ability to shoot high-speed full resolution stills at 10 frames per second (fps) and full High Definition (1080p) movie recording. The 10-Megapixel P100 has a back-illuminated CMOS sensor and a 26x optical wide-angle zoom lens—and its sturdy body feels professional in-hand yet much lighter than any entry-level D-SLR. With a host of specialty shooting modes as well as full manual control, the P100 is aimed at the amateur enthusiast crowd, and could be a good option even as a back-up camera for a pro.

Nikon COOLPIX P100
click the thumbnails to see full-size images

UI & Design

The COOLPIX P100 has a solid, professional-looking body, which like most cameras in its class imitates the design and feel of a small D-SLR. The handgrip is deep and coated with a rubberized texture for maximum comfort and one-handed shooting control. Your finger naturally hits the shutter release up front and the thumb rests on another small textured pad in the back, within reach of surrounding controls. The electronic viewfinder juts out far enough from the back of the camera that you’re not forced to smash your cheek against the display screen below it, and is encased in smooth plastic for comfort.

The 3-inch high resolution (460,000-dot) vari-angle LCD pulls out from the back of the camera and tilts up and down, allowing you to more easily get shots in unique shooting situations. This comes in handy at a place like a concert, when you would normally just hold the camera up above the crowd and blindly snap away, hoping you were aimed at the stage rather than the ceiling or the tops of the audience’s heads. It worked great for me when shooting ornate cathedral ceilings in Italy, and also for capturing the carpet of pigeons that lined the ground in Venice’s Saint Mark’s Square. Although the vari-angle LCD offered me this extra freedom when shooting, I would have preferred if it hinged sideways as well—like, say, the Canon G11’s LCD—because that allows for so many more options, such as taking self portraits and shooting around corners.

Performance

The P100 was an ideal travel camera because of its superzoom capabilities and compact size. With the wide-angle (26mm) lens I was able to capture sweeping views of ancient cities, and with the telephoto range (678mm) I could close in on far-away objects from the same location. F/4.6 is not that wide an aperture, but I was able to capture vivid, selective focus photos of exotic foods and wares in markets.

Nikon COOLPIX P100: wide-angle, telephoto, Auto WB, Active D-Lighting
click the thumbnails to see full-size images

Under normal daylight conditions, the P100 did pretty well. I could capture sharp and accurately-colored (in Auto White Balance mode) images that make for crisp prints at modest sizes—which typical travelers would probably choose to print at. In high contrast conditions, there was a loss of initial detail, however. This is where Nikon’s Active D-Lighting function came in handy, darkening blown-out highlights and lightening up dark shadowed areas a bit.

Under indoor incandescent lighting, the Auto and Incandescent WB settings tended toward the warm side , so it was best to kick into Manual there. At ISO 160-400 detail held up impressively, but then noise began to sneak in going past that range, and definitely past 800. This isn’t all that shocking—or frustrating—for a compact of this class though.

Conclusion

The COOLPIX P100 was a fun travel companion and satisfied the needs of a traveler who was constantly moving from place to place, and who did not want to be weighed down by heavy equipment, nor the need to constantly swap out lenses. With this compact superzoom, I was able to capture a much wider diversity of shots than those of my travel companions who used smaller point-and-shoots. And yet, just like them, I could also slip the P100 into my small shoulder bag and keep it concealed in crowded subway cars or in sparsely populated neighborhoods at night. The handling of the camera was really nice and intuitive and the overall image quality was good for the scale of printing output that most enthusiast photographers would probably need. The standout feature of the P100, for my travel purposes, was its ultrazoom capability and the creative freedom that it offered. It is a diverse and portable compact camera that has more than a few impressive tricks up its sleeve.

Nikon COOLPIX P100

  • MSRP:
  • $399.95
  • Size/Weight:
  • 4.5”W x 3.3”H x 3.9”D; 12.5 oz.
  • Image Sensor:
  • 10.3-megapixels, CMOS
  • Lens zoom:
  • 26x
  • Memory:
  • SD/SDHC Memory Card, 43MB internal
  • Display:
  • 3-inch (460,000 pixels) Vari-angle TFT-LCD with anti-reflection coating
  • Video Recording Mode:
  • Full HD: 1920 x 1080p / 30fps; HD: 1280 x 720p / 30fps; Standard TV: 640 x 480 / 30fps; Small Size: 320 x 240 / 30fps; HS movie: (slow motion) 320 x 240 / 240 fps, 640 x 480 / 120fps, 1280 x 720 / 60 fps ; HS movie: (fast motion) 1920 x 1080 / 15fps; in MPEG-4 AVC H.264
  • ISO Equivalent:
  • Auto/160/200/400/800/1600/3200
  • Power Source:
  • EN-EL5: 250shots
  • Contact:
  • www.nikonusa.com
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