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DCRP Review: Nikon Coolpix P5000
by Jeff Keller, DCRP Founder/Editor
Originally posted: July 16, 2007
Last Updated: March 26, 2008
The Nikon Coolpix P5000 ($399) is a compact, full-featured 10 Megapixel camera that is reminiscent of the Coolpix 5000 that was popular back in 2001. In addition to its 10 Megapixel CCD, the P5000 also sports a 3.5X optical zoom lens (equivalent to 36 - 126 mm), optical image stabilization, a 2.5" LCD display, manual controls, a hot shoe, and more. All that in a small, magnesium alloy body that can go just about anywhere.
The closest competitor to the P5000 is probably the Canon PowerShot G7 -- though that camera is more expensive, physically larger, and has a more powerful zoom lens.
Is the the Coolpix P5000 the ultimate D-SLR companion? Find out now in our review!
What's in the Box?
The Coolpix P5000 has an average bundle. Inside the box, you'll find:
As it usually the case these days, the Coolpix P5000 has built-in memory instead of having a memory card included in the box. The P5000 has 21MB of memory, which holds just four photos at the highest image quality setting. So, unless you have one laying around somewhere, you'll need to buy a memory card right away. The camera supports SD, SDHC, and MultiMediaCard formats, and I'd recommend a 2GB card as a good starter size. Picking up a high speed card is a good idea.
The P5000 uses the same EN-EL5 lithium-ion battery as several other Coolpix models. This battery packs 4.0 Wh of energy into its plastic shell, which is just okay. Here's how that translates into battery life:
While the P5000's battery life numbers are a bit better than the PowerShot G7's, in the group as a whole they're slightly below average.
I'm afraid that I must make my usual comments about the proprietary batteries like the one used by the Coolpix P5000. They're expensive (priced from $20), and you can't use an off-the-shelf battery when your rechargeables die. As you can see though, most of the cameras in this class use proprietary batteries.
When it's time to charge the battery just snap it into the included charger. It takes about two hours to fully charge the EN-EL9. This isn't one of those handy chargers that plugs right into the wall -- you must use a power cable.
There are quite a few accessories available for this compact camera, including:
Not bad, not bad at all. About the only things missing are a remote control and camera case.
Nikon includes version 1.7 of their PictureProject software with the P5000, and it's pretty good. The interface is reminiscent of Apple's iPhoto, and I found the software to be responsive and stable. For those of you with Intel-based Macs, I should mention that PictureProject is not a Universal application, which means that it doesn't run as fast as it could.
Anyhow, above you can see the standard thumbnail view that you'll get when you first start up PP. The size of the thumbnails is adjustable, and there's also a "details view" which displays shooting data next to your photos.
Double-click on a thumbnail and you'll end up on the edit screen. Here you can adjust things like brightness, color, and sharpness. You can also straighten images or use Nikon's D-Lighting feature to brighten up dark areas of your photos. Auto image enhancement and redeye removal features are also available. PP also makes e-mailing and printing your photos a snap.
PictureProject also includes a "Design" feature which lets you create various layouts (such as greeting cards) for printing out your photos. You can also e-mail your photos, share them online (though this feature did not work for me), or burn them to a CD or DVD.
Also included is ArcSoft's PanoramaMaker software. This lets you take photos that you've lined up side-by-side (using the camera's panorama assist feature helps with this) and stitch them together into one giant panorama. While the program's interface is pretty awkward, the results are not:
This was five separate photos combined into one... neat!
The manuals included with the Coolpix P5000 are pretty good. There's a fold-out Quick Start guide to get you started, plus a full manual for when you need more detail (and you will with this complex camera). The manual describes things well, without a lot of fine print. The manual for the included software is included on a CD-ROM.
Look and Feel
The Coolpix P5000 is a compact (but not tiny) camera made almost entirely of metal. The camera is very well put together for the most part, except for the incredibly flimsy plastic door over the memory card / battery compartment. The camera is easy to hold with one hand, and there's a secure, rubberized grip for your right hand. The controls are fairly well placed, though the tiny power button can be hard to find.
Alright, now let's see how the P5000 compares to other cameras in its class in terms of size and weight: