Review: Nikon Coolpix 5700
Keller, DCRP Founder/Editor
Originally posted: Thursday, July 25, 2002
Tuesday, October 15, 2002
year, one of the most anticipated digital cameras was the Nikon
Coolpix 5000 (see our
review). The expectations for the 5000 were tremendously high,
and given Nikon's reputation for making top-notch cameras, that's
not surprising. When the 5000 arrived, it hit with a thud, rather
than a bang. The 5000 wasn't the dream camera everyone was expecting
months later, the Coolpix
5700 ($1199) is announced. Featuring a big 8X zoom lens, full
manual controls, and improved responsiveness, many people (including
yours truly) are thinking the 5700 is what the 5000 should have
the Coolpix 5700 the camera everyone has been waiting for? Find
out now in our review!
in the Box?
Coolpix 5700 has a very good bundle, with one exception. Inside
the box, you'll find:
5.0 (effective) Mpixel Nikon Coolpix 5700 camera
rechargeable Li-ion battery
featuring NikonView 5 and other software
page manual (printed)
I enjoy complaining, let me get the negatives out of the way first.
Actually, there's only one: the memory card. The Coolpix 5000 included
a 32MB CompactFlash card, but for the 5700, you only get a 16MB
card. The card is one of those unmarked Lexar "starter cards"
which only mentions the size in small print on the back of the card.
A 16MB is way too small for a camera with this kind of resolution,
so go out and buy something much larger right away. (Apparently
models bought outside the U.S. include a 32MB SanDisk card.)
now familiar EN-EL1 rechargeable battery (5.0 Wh), also found on
the CP5000, is used here. Nikon estimates that the battery will
last for about 90 minutes in "average use". If you use
an IBM Microdrive, expect higher power consumption.
a bit critic of most proprietary batteries for two reasons: 1) they're
expensive and 2) if you're in a bind you can't just buy another
at Walgreens. The Coolpix 5700 is somewhat spared, since you can
also use a non-rechargeable 2CR5 battery if you are desperate. I
know I'm not the only one who would like to see AA batteries return
to the Coolpix line.
optional power sources for the camera include an AC adapter, as
well as the MB-E5700 power pack ($140), which uses 6 AA batteries.
includes an external charger for the EN-EL1. They also give you
a lens cap and strap to protect the lens.
The CP5700 is a fairly large camera
like on other Coolpix models, there are tons of optional accessories
available. That includes lenses, flashes, and hoods. You can get
wide-angle and telephoto lenses (all require a step-down ring).
A wired remote control is available too.
CP5700 includes version 5.1 of NikonView, which is one way to transfer
photos. The software is Mac OS X native but is still sluggish and
buggy. The CP5700 is compatible with Mac OS X and Windows XP.
Coolpix's manual is somewhat confusing, but everything you need
is inside, if you can find it. It's also nice to see that Nikon
is including printed manuals again, instead of making you view a
Coolpix 5700 has a very nice and sturdy magnesium alloy body. With
the exception of a few plastic parts, the 5700 looks to be very
professional and ready for anything. The 5700's design resembles
the Fuji FinePix S602 -- almost too much. The camera is easy to
hold. with enough room for both hands.
official dimensions of the CP5700 are 4.3 x 3.0 x 4.0 inches (WxHxD),
and it weighs 480 grams (17 ounces) empty. The camera is pretty
large, so don't expect to be putting it in your pocket.
tour the CP5700 now.
Coolpix 5700 has a superb F2.8-F4.2, 8X optical zoom lens. The other
5 Megapixel cameras that are comparable to the 5700 all come up
short in this department (Minolta DiMAGE 7i, 7X; Sony DSC-F707,
5X; Olympus E-20, 4X).
lens has a special "ED" (must... resist... Viagra joke)
extra-low dispersion coating which helps to eliminate the chromatic
aberrations (purple fringing) which often plagues big zoom cameras
lens has a focal range of 8.9 - 71.2 mm, which is equivalent to
35 - 280 mm. The lens mount is threaded, but you'll need a step-down
ring to actually do anything with it. One thing missing here compared
to the other 5MP cameras is a manual focus ring. The E-20 and D7i
also have a real manual zoom as well.
above the lens is the pop-up flash, which opens automatically. The
flash has a working range of 0.5 - 4.0 m (wide-angle) and 0.5 -
2.8 m (telephoto). If you need more flash power, you can add an
external one. More on that later.
to the left of that (below "Coolpix 5700") is the microphone.
over to the left, you can see the self-timer/red-eye reduction lamp.
When I first saw that, I thought, uh oh, here we go again. Those
who remember the CP5000 will know what I'm talking about: Nikon
placed the flash sensor right where your fingers go. Thankfully,
the flash sensor is now right up by the flash. However, the red-eye
reduction lamp can still be blocked by your finger, so watch your
Coolpix 5700 continues Nikon's tradition of omitting an AF-assist
now is the back of the camera. Like the Coolpix 5000, the 5700 has
a flip-out LCD that can rotate in both directions. You can point
it toward the subject, and the image will be oriented correctly.
You can also put it back in the traditional spot, like on most cameras.
thing that really bothers me about the LCD is that it's too small!
This is a camera that costs a bundle, and it has an LCD normally
found on one of those micro-cameras. The image on the LCD is bright
and fluid, though I found it hard to see unless you're looking straight
at it (not from an angle).
above the LCD "bay" is the electronic viewfinder. With
the exception of the Olympus E-10/20, all big zoom cameras use EVFs
instead of traditional optical viewfinders. An EVF shows you the
same thing as the LCD, including all menus, and there is no parallax
error like on regular viewfinders. However, it does take up more
power than a regular optical viewfinder, and can be hard to see
when lighting conditions are extreme. Nikon has kindly put a rubber
eyecup around the EVF, so your nose doesn't smudge the LCD. There
is also a diopter correction knob to bring things into focus for
those of us with less than perfect vision.
EVF itself is of high quality -- it's got a lot of pixels (180,000),
so the screen is pretty sharp. As you point the camera in different
directions, the image follows along smoothly. Both the LCD and EVF
show 97% of the frame.
button just to the right of the EVF switches between the LCD and
four buttons to the right of the LCD bay include:
display button toggles information on the LCD and EVF. Pressing
Quick Review once will show you the last image taken in a little
box in the top-left of the screen. Pressing it again will fully
enter playback mode. You can move between images using the four-way
switch in either mode.
of the four-way switch, it's just to the right of those four buttons.
Above that is the mode switch (record/playback) and the zoom controls.
zoom controls are very well placed and move the 8X zoom smoothly.
It takes two seconds to go from wide-angle to telephoto. Also, the
CP5700 is the only digicam I've tested that you choose between two
speeds (fast and slow) for the zoom mechanism. If you need to be
precise, you may want to try the slow mode.
here's the top of the CP5700. The big thing here is the hot shoe.
This will work with most Nikon Speedlights, including the new SB-50DX
model and the SB-28DX that I had on the D1X (see
our review). For those interested in using an external flash,
here's an important quote from the manual: "The CP5700 does
not support power zoom, AF-assist illumination, or redeye reduction
using the redeye reduction lamp on the external Speedlight."
The manual also insists that you only use a Nikon-brand flash.
the right of the hot shoe is an LCD info display, which is always
nice to see. It will show things such as flash setting, aperture
and shutter speed, current "mode", battery life, and remaining
shots. If you press the little light button next to it, the LCD
will be lit up for 8 seconds -- a nice touch.
the right of the LCD backlight button is the Func(tion) button.
By default, this holding this down while rotating the command dial
(seen here, lower right) will change the user set (you can have
three different groups of settings). You can redefine the button
to allow you to easily change things like white balance or metering
without a trip to the menus.
that button is the command dial, used for changing manual settings.
at the top, you'll find buttons for mode and exposure compensation.
mode button switches between:
Mode - camera picks best exposure settings
Priority Mode - you choose shutter speed, camera picks appropriate
aperture. Shutter speed range is 8 sec - 1/4000 sec. Do note that
at 1/4000 sec, your aperture options will be limited to F7.4 at
telephoto and F5.0-8.0 at wide-angle.
Priority Mode - you choose aperture, camera picks shutter speed.
Aperture range of F2.8 - F8.0 in 1/3 step increments
Mode - you choose aperture and shutter speed. This enables bulb
mode, which will keep the shutter open for as long as the shutter
release button is pressed, for up to 5 minutes (!). This pretty
much requires a remote shutter release cable and a tripod.
compensation is the usual -2EV to +2EV in 1/3EV increments.
above those buttons is the shutter release button, with the power
switch wrapped around it. One thing that bothered me about the power
switch is that it was very easy to bump -- I turned the camera on
accidentally on several occasions.
this side is another design flaw, in my opinion. Nikon has placed
four chicklet-sized buttons over here, that are quite easy to bump
accidentally (maybe I'm just a klutz?). I'm not sure where else
they could go, though.
buttons have two functions: one if you just press it, and another
if you hold it down while turning the command dial. Moving clockwise
from the top left, the functions are:
(Auto, off, auto w/red-eye reduction, fill-flash, slow sync)
(Auto, 100, 200, 400, 800)
(see chart later)
few notes about some of those items. When the ISO is set to Auto,
the camera will keep it at 100, but may raise it as high as 400.
That can add quite a bit of noise to your images, so I suggest keeping
the camera locked at ISO 100.
Manual focus mode
focus mode will let you use the command dial to focus. Nikon doesn't
give you an exact focus distance; rather, they give you a little
bar that shows where you are between macro and infinity. Not as
helpful as actual distances, in my opinion.
the AE/AF lock button. By default, this button locks both the exposure
and focus, but you can change that via the setup menu.
other items of note on this side of the camera include the I/O ports
and the speaker. The I/O ports, found under a rubber cover, are
for USB, power, and A/V.
the other side of the camera you'll find the CompactFlash slot.
This is a Type II slot, and the IBM Microdrive is compatible. The
door seems a bit flimsy, but it closes tight.
here is the bottom of the camera, where you'll find the metal tripod
mount and the battery compartment. The battery door is much more
sturdy than the CF slot door, in my opinion.
the Nikon Coolpix 5700
it's big lens, the Coolpix 5700 starts up and is ready to go in
under 3 seconds. The lens starts in the wide-angle position.
you depress the shutter release button halfway, the camera locks
focus in under one second. Pressing the button fully will take the
picture instantly -- shutter lag is not a problem. Interestingly
enough, the 5700 lets the user choose the shutter response time.
There is a quick response mode which speeds things up a bit, at
the expense of how the picture looks on the LCD. Strangely, this
is buried in the Monitor Options panel in the setup menu.
Only thing missing is a histogram
speed is pretty good on the 5700. You'll wait for just under 3 seconds
before you can take another shot. The camera has a sizable amount
of buffer memory so you can keep shooting at this rate for quite
a while. You can also delete a photo while it's being written to
the memory card.
exception to this is when you're taking TIFF or RAW photos. A TIFF
photo will lock up the camera for over 20 seconds. A RAW mode photo
will lock the camera up for only about 6 seconds, so you can take
another picture, but the image will continue being written to the
memory card for quite a while.
of image quality settings, here's a chart of the various image size
and quality choices available on the Coolpix:
of images on included 16MB card
2560 x 1920
2560 x 1710
1600 x 1200
1280 x 960
1024 x 768
640 x 480
are those N/A's doing there? RAW files can only be "full size".
TIFFs can be full or 3:2 sized. The RAW (NEF) format is new to the
CP5700 -- it has been used on Nikon's digital SLRs up until now.
A RAW image is as it sounds -- RAW, unprocessed image data from
the CCD. You must process it on your computer with NikonView or
the optional NikonCapture software in order to save it out into
other formats. The 5700 will also let you convert from RAW to HI
(TIFF) in the camera itself. RAW files take up about half as much
memory as TIFF files.
you want to find out how many photos a larger memory card will hold,
just multiply the numbers above. For example, a 1gb Microdrive will
hold 64 times as many photos, so just multiply the numbers in the
table by 64. Sounds easy enough, but lots of people do ask me this
question, so I thought it was worth mentioning.
let's talk Coolpix menus. You can have up to three separate sets
of settings, or just put in in auto mode for point-and-shoot photography.
While the menus are hierarchical and easy to navigate, items can
be buried deep inside and can be hard to find (I already mentioned
one earlier). Here's what you'll find in the CP5700 menus:
Setting (Auto, 1, 2, 3) - holds 3 different sets of camera settings
or go fully automatic
balance (Auto, preset, fine, incandescent, fluorescent, cloudy,
speedlight) - more info below
(Matrix, spot, center-weighted, spot AF area) - in spot AF area
metering, the camera samples the light only in the current focus
High - 3 frames/sec, up to 3 frames
Low - 1.5 frames/sec; I was able to take 8 in a row at the
fine quality setting
16 - puts 16 consecutive shots into one full size image -
like a collage
HS - 30 frames/sec, 320 x 240
- more later on this
Shot Selector (on/off) - takes up to 10 consecutive shots, then
chooses the sharpest image
Adjustment (Auto, normal, more contrast, less contrast, lighten
image, darken image)
Control (Maximum, normal, moderate, minimum, black & white)
- why B&W is here, I have no idea
(Normal, wide adapter, telephoto 1) - use this if you bought a
Lock (on/off/reset) - turning this on will lock the exposure
settings after the first shot
Bulb Duration (1 min / 5 min)
Area Mode (Auto, manual, off) - in manual mode, you can use
the four-way switch to pick the area to focus on
Mode (Continuous AF, Single AF) - how the camera focuses (always
or when the button is pressed halfway)
Confirmation (MF, on, off) - shows what areas in the image
are in focus
Sharpening (Auto, high, normal, low, off)
Bracketing - 3 or 5 shots in a row with varying EV values
Bracketing - 3 shots with varying white balance. One normal
image, one "bluish" image, one "reddish"
Reduction (on, off, clear image mode) - Noise reduction will reduce
the appearance of noise or grain in your images. It is only used
at shutter speeds slower than 1/30 sec. Clear Image Mode is for
images 1280 x 960 or smaller - it takes two shots with the shutter
open, and one with it closed, and reduces the noise. Note that
a tripod or very steady hands is recommended for these features.
wanted to comment on the white balance features. The preset mode
allows you to shoot a white or gray card/paper to get the perfect
WB setting. On all of the WB modes except Auto and Preset, you can
fine tune the setting ±3. You can also use the WB bracketing
feature that I mentioned before. In other words, it's hard to have
bad white balance on this camera.
addition to the main menu, there is also a setup menu with even
more options. The interesting ones include:
display (Monitor on, viewfinder on) - which of these is on
options (Review on, off) - whether picture is shown on LCD
after it is taken
Response Time (Normal, quick response) - control over shutter
lag. Why is it in this section of the menus though?
(Flash, focus mode, exposure mode, exposure compensation)
- which of these settings are remembered when camera is switched
button (User setting, focus mode, flash mode, white balance,
metering) - customize what this button does
lock button (AE-L and AF-L, AE-L, AF-L) - define this button
- Zoom options
tele (on/off) - turns the 4X digital zoom on and off
aperture (on/off) - locks the aperture
speed (high, low) - discussed earlier
(Auto, manual) - for the built-in flash
power (-2EV to +2EV in 1/3EV increments)
control (Auto, internal & external active) - used when
you have an external flash attached
confirmation (on/off) - if on, the red-eye reduction lamp
fires confirming that a picture was taken
(on/off) - saves a text file with exposure information along with
- Video mode
- USB (PTP,
don't know about you, but I'm tired of menus. Let's talk photos
now. For this review, I took two night shot photos and two macro
fog pouring into the city adds an interesting twist to these photos.
With full control over the shutter speed and aperture, I was able
to pull off some pretty nice shots. One thing I will say is this:
turning on the noise reduction feature is a must. It looked like
outer space (from all the hot pixels) with noise reduction off.
Turning it on produced a much cleaner image. I do think that
these could be better -- they're both overexposed a stop or two.
Since I have the camera for a long time, I may go back and try these
our usual 3" tall figurine, looking quite nice. It's a bit
softer than I'd like, but the colors look fine.
here is our bonus macro shot. You can see incredible amounts of
detail on the dollar bill, like the multi-colored threads embedded
in the paper. You can also see the tape I used to keep the bill
flat. Nikon cameras have a macro mode unmatched by any other company.
You can get as close as 3 cm (1.2 inches) from your subject!
is our new redeye test. The shot is taken in low light from a distance
of about 6 feet. The image above is cropped and then enlarged so you
can see the detail. As you can tell, the CP5700 does not have much
of a problem with redeye.
am much more satisfied with the photo quality on the Coolpix 5700
than I was with the 5000. While the 5000 had the tendency to "blow
out the highlights" on way too many photos, I saw none of this
on the 5700. The 5700 produced very well-exposed images, with impressive
color. Chromatic aberrations were not a problem either. Take a look
at our standard gallery or our special
7i shootout for samples. I think you too will be pleased with
what you see. As I mentioned, I have the camera until the end of
August, so I may end up adding some more photos.
Coolpix 5700 has the same movie mode as the 5000. You can record
movies for as long as 60 seconds, at a resolution of 320 x 240.
Movies are saved in QuickTime format.
optical zoom is disabled during filming, but you can use the digital
a quick sample movie for you. The sound is pretty yucky with all
the street noise.
to play movie (2.8MB, QuickTime format)
Can't view it? Download QuickTime.
Coolpix 5700 has a complete playback mode that has all the basics
plus a few other nice features.
basic features include 4 or 9 thumbnail mode, slide shows, DPOF
print marking, image protection, and "zoom and scroll".
zoom and scroll feature allows you to zoom in as much as 6X into
your photo, and then scroll around in it.
about those cool extra features? One of my favorites is the ability
to delete a group of photos at once. You just mark the thumbnails
you want to delete, hit a button, and they're gone.
interesting feature is the Auto Transfer function. You can mark
photos as "Auto Transfer" and NikonView will automatically
copy them to your Mac or PC when you connect the camera.
I alluded to earlier, you can convert RAW images into HI (TIFF)
images in playback mode. Do note that you need 15MB of space on
the memory card in order to do this.
rotating the command dial, you can find out a lot more information
about your photos, as you can see above. A histogram is also available.
While that is being shown, the camera will show which areas of the
image are overexposed by making them blink.
5700 moves through images very quickly. A low resolution version
is shown instantly, with the high res version showing up just a
missing in playback mode? I sure wish you could rotate images.
Does it Compare?
I recommended the Coolpix 5000, I wasn't very enthusiastic about
it. That is not the case with the Coolpix 5700 -- I wholeheartedly
recommend it. Featuring a spectacular 8X optical zoom lens, more
manual controls that you'll ever need, a hot shoe, and Microdrive
support, the CP5700 is one of the nicest cameras that I've used
in some time. Oh, and the picture quality is great too. Things aren't
totally perfect, though. The controls, most notably the power switch
and those buttons on the left side, aren't well-placed. The LCD
is way too small for a camera with this price, and the viewing angle
is limited too. The camera can be quite confusing as well. But overall,
the 5700 is a great choice for someone needing a lot of resolution
and a big lens.
comparison to the other 5 Megapixel cameras, I offer these comments:
DiMAGE 7i: A very close call. I prefer Minolta's manual
lens barrel and focus ring. The D7i requires some tweaking of the
settings to get the best photo quality. The 5700 did great right
out of the box.
E-20: I own the original E-10, and was not happy with the
E-20. I love the design, but the camera itself is a let down. The
CP5700 wins big, in my opinion.
DSC-F707: Another close one. The 5700 has a longer zoom
range, but the Sony's laser focusing system and great photo quality
make this one a tough choice. The F707's lens is also "faster",
with an aperture range of F2.0-F2.4, meaning it collects a lot more
light than the Nikon.
always, I recommend a trip down to your local reseller to try out
the CP5700 and it's competitors before you buy!
the manual controls you'll ever need
optical zoom lens
Type II slot - Microdrive works fine
shoe for external flash
and TIFF file formats
I didn't care for:
is too small; limited viewing angle
placed power switch and left-side controls
manual focus ring
battery costs a lot and doesn't last long, especially with Microdrive
16MB memory card way too small