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Just Posted: Nikon Coolpix P510 Review

By dpreview staff on Jul 5, 2012 at 22:37 GMT

Just Posted: Nikon Coolpix P510 review. The 16 megapixel Nikon Coolpix P510 sports a 42X optical zoom, covering a currently unmatched focal range of 24-1000mm (equivalent). As well as an extended zoom range compared to its predecessor the P500, the new model also features a new 16MP BSI CMOS sensor, and a handful of new features and enhancements, including GPS with logging and (according to Nikon) improved image stabilization compared to the P500. So how does it stack up? Click here to find out. 

45
I own it
31
I want it
7
I had it
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Comments

Total comments: 67
Drivebyphoto
By Drivebyphoto (10 months ago)

I had looked forward to better photos with this camera, but alas, it has not yet fully met those expectations. The Nikon P510 has been inconsistent in handling and results; and it doesn't seem to do well on very bright days at all. It definitely needs to have a UV and polarizing filter attached and if I have to, I am going to improvise and tape one on, dag nab it!!!
There have been some good results with this Nikon at times, but when I compared several of my photos from the Nikon P510 to those I took with my Samsung PL210, I could see how much better the much less expensive Samsung did, in handling bright light situations with high contrast and lots of color. Sadly that camera was stolen!
I do like the impressive zoom of the Nikon P510 though, which is one of the Nikon P510's more pleasing qualities that keeps me interested in it. I will be using my tripod for scenery and long distance shots, to gain better results when I expect to be using zoom through it's full range.

0 upvotes
nikoneed
By nikoneed (Dec 25, 2012)

The sample images are very poor, the one who shot them is definitely not in friends with p510's manual mode, my shots with this camera are twice as good.

1 upvote
Valterj
By Valterj (Jul 9, 2012)

Overall a good camera!

But there are some things that could be better:

Video is not the best - Sony DSC-HX100V is much better!

GPS takes around 1 minute to be active!

42X optical zoom for seascapes is like digital zoom!!!

Night shots with high ISO are too noisy.

No accessories, like macro lens adapters...

0 upvotes
Augustin Man
By Augustin Man (Jul 11, 2012)

You can fit perfectly to it Raynox DCR-150 and 250, which come with an adaptor...

0 upvotes
GSD_ZA
By GSD_ZA (Jul 8, 2012)

Other than to accommodate the super-zoom thing, I don't understand why they are still putting such minuscule sensors in these cameras.

0 upvotes
Joe Ogiba
By Joe Ogiba (Jul 9, 2012)

A 24-1000mm lens for DSLRs would cost more than your home. Get a Nikon APS-C DSLR with 18-300 (27-450mm eqiv) if you want a larger sensor and 16.7x zoom but it still doesn't match the 42x range.

0 upvotes
Menneisyys
By Menneisyys (Jul 9, 2012)

"A 24-1000mm lens for DSLRs would cost more than your home. "

And would be as large as his car at least :) (Assuming sensible brightness, of course.)

3 upvotes
ARTASHES
By ARTASHES (Jul 7, 2012)

After looking at all samples I noticed one thing : the highlights look pretty strange, they look like if someone pushed down overall exposure to make it correct but as the highlights are already blown they gets this nasty yellow-red tons, I think this camera takes overexposed pictures then push it back in JPEG to get less overall noise but as a result we get blown highlights more frequently than we had to and somehow a bit unrealistic contrast.

1 upvote
coastcontact
By coastcontact (Jul 7, 2012)

Of course much of this is subjective. I am happy I bought the FZ150.

0 upvotes
ARTASHES
By ARTASHES (Jul 6, 2012)

Max aperture on this cam is f3 and not f3.3 as stated on spec sheet and cons list.

0 upvotes
keeponkeepingon
By keeponkeepingon (Jul 7, 2012)

Nikon is wrong?

http://www.nikonusa.com/Nikon-Products/Product/Compact-Digital-Cameras/26329/COOLPIX-P510.html#tab-ProductDetail-ProductTabs-TechSpecs

I'm curious because snapsort also lists F3.0 but nikon states F3.3. Which is right?

0 upvotes
ARTASHES
By ARTASHES (Jul 7, 2012)

You can clearly notice in sample gallery on dpreview that there are some shots taken at f3.0 also here is the pic of the camera itself from above showing F3-F5.9 http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/nikon-coolpix-p510/images/inhand2.JPG
I just noticed that dpreview corrected the max aperture to F3.0 (it was 3.3 yesterday) in spec sheet but still showing F3.3 in cons list, I think there was an error from Nikon (curiously not in their favor) dpreveiew and maybe other sites just copied the spec list from them without checking.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 9 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Gary S
By Gary S (Jul 6, 2012)

Likely a pretty accurate assessment of the camera. Nikon focuses resources on their excellent DSLR systems, they've never had any compelling superzoom models that perform particularly well. And they probably don't really care that much. Their offierings are usually surpased easily by Panasonic regarding features, speed and image quality. Video too.

Superzooms can be very useful for small bird photography, hummingbirds, etc. Also daytime sports close ups. It's apparent some people have limited imaginations when using superzooms. It's not just for shooting subjects five miles away.

And remember, these reviews are just about digital cameras, not your girlfriends. Take a deep breath and relax.

2 upvotes
Nightwings
By Nightwings (Jul 6, 2012)

That's precisely what I used to think before I actually bought one of these gems and used one. I was highly skeptical of the IQ of the lens. It's actually shocking what this lens accomplishes and the IQ it possesses.

It's a sad pity that a review can summarily make a person like you dismiss one of these cameras outright..... based... on a "review".

Happy shooting :)

5 upvotes
Photo-Wiz
By Photo-Wiz (Jul 6, 2012)

When I see a Superzoom with such a long focal lens, I think, "Is this a good Safari camera?" Rather than telephoto examples of a far away snow covered mountain, or ill defined rocks...wouldn't it be nice to take this camera to a zoo and show samples of shots of a bear or lion from 100 yards away...let's see what this camera can do when you go on a Safari.

6 upvotes
Nightwings
By Nightwings (Jul 6, 2012)

Exactly.

2 upvotes
Maureen I
By Maureen I (Jul 7, 2012)

Check out Businda Studio's photostream of 25 photos taken with the Nikon Coolpix P510, some at the zoo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/businda/sets/72157629844711236/with/7369073910/ Photos look great to me.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Barbu
By Barbu (Jul 6, 2012)

Nothing unexpected, it's a nice camera (of course, if you're in the market for a supemegazoom).
But one thing was just mentioned in the review: the VR system. The author said only that „it's very good”, which seems more like an opinion than a true test.
A while ago reviews here meant testing and showing results, not just... „it's nice, just believe us”. Where have gone the graphs with the percentage of usable pics at max zoom?

Comment edited 20 seconds after posting
7 upvotes
Simon Joinson
By Simon Joinson (Jul 6, 2012)

we still do that for our full in-depth reviews. The alternative to this quick review is, for this camera, zilch. Also, we're working on a better, more consistent VR test - watch this space.

Comment edited 22 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
Augustin Man
By Augustin Man (Jul 6, 2012)

I got an Oly SP-810UZ and I was skeptical (like you and everybody else) about the P510 VR at the telephoto end. But, nice surprise, it's incredible good! Besides, the digital zoom (2X) is also usable (at Oly it wasn't).
Please see at the forum lots of good shots with hand held camera at the telephoto end.
All the best (toate cele bune),
Augustin

0 upvotes
jkrumm
By jkrumm (Jul 6, 2012)

It's good. I shoot sometimes with an author/photographer who has long used superzooms for macro work, documenting lichens and insects, and also using them for remote-controlled wide-angle bird shots, where the high depth of field comes in handy too. He was very impressed with the VR in his new 510, being able to take usable marmot shots at 1000mm.

0 upvotes
keeponkeepingon
By keeponkeepingon (Jul 6, 2012)

I'm disappointed that there is no mention of digital zoom, no samples, assessment of performance at extreme zoom, and that Nikon is not slammed for the anemic 2x digital zoom (the canon has 4x).

I am often amazed at what I can capture with the 4x digital + 35x optical zoom on the SX40.

Why digital zoom versus just taking a picture at full optical zoom and cropping?

Because: Even though the resolution is not improved, digitally zoomed, the focus and exposure can be much improved as the camera is only figuring out how to get the best image of your subject, not a full frame of other stuff.

Finally you should include a "moon shot" with these super zooms. It really lets them "strut their stuff" versus the normal P&S and DSLRs with sub 800mm lenses.

1 upvote
Augustin Man
By Augustin Man (Jul 6, 2012)

Moon shot? That's a child play! But what about SATURN?! Please search in the forum "P510 Visits Saturn" by Nightwings and think again...

I'm not saying SX40 is not a good camera, although it seems that SX30 was better (general "canonists" opinion, I own neither), but the optics of P510 is quite outstanding.

0 upvotes
keeponkeepingon
By keeponkeepingon (Jul 7, 2012)

Childsplay but fun.

The nightwiing picture you are referring to is here:

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/readflat.asp?forum=1007&message=41415496

It's a nice illustration of the fact that 7more X and 4 more megapixels does not get you very much more resolving power than the SX40.

(A quick google of saturn SX40 shows pictures at least as good or better for example: http://www.flickr.com/photos/42374265@N07/7269266276/ )

I follow the canon forum and have yet to see a "SX30 was better" opinion. The canonist are gaga over the SX40.

But all that said I think all the superzooms will do fine on the moon, it really lets them strut their stuff

0 upvotes
Augustin Man
By Augustin Man (Jul 7, 2012)

An example about SX30 vs SX40 here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ncILazaR18g

By the way, Nikon P510 has also such absurd limitations in the M mode, contrary to my old "toy" Canon SX210IS, where all parameters (aperture, shutte rspeed and ISO) are independent on the entire scale, as they sholud be!

0 upvotes
ARTASHES
By ARTASHES (Jul 6, 2012)

This may be the best Nikon super zoom for while, what I like it's the NR, it's not as mature or good as Canon or Panasonic ones but to my eyes it is less aggressive which gives some crispness when viewed at web size
Remarque : I thought it had F3 at wide angle and not F3.3, not that important but still a detail

Comment edited 54 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Digital Suicide
By Digital Suicide (Jul 6, 2012)

This is a monster zoom, but sometimes far too much - the unhealthy.
My choice still would be Lumix FZ150.

2 upvotes
Rachotilko
By Rachotilko (Jul 6, 2012)

Once upon the time, there was a camera named Coolpix 8800 ...

Just imagine that optics coupled with current CMOS sensors. Instead of that, they force us going the interchangeable lens way

Comment edited 28 seconds after posting
1 upvote
Thoughts
By Thoughts (Jul 6, 2012)

I once had Coolpix 8700. I must admit that the optics on that camera was outstanding. Nikon put a golden ring on the lens if that appealed anyone.

1 upvote
Zhiyong Sun
By Zhiyong Sun (Jul 6, 2012)

I have the same regret for the Canon Pro1 (same gen camera), an L lens and a pretty big sensor....

0 upvotes
SeeRoy
By SeeRoy (Jul 6, 2012)

Yes indeed, the Canon Pro1, which I still have, was way ahead of its time.

0 upvotes
Esa Tuunanen
By Esa Tuunanen (Jul 7, 2012)

Both Canon Pro1 and Nikon 8700/8800 were behind of their time and had basic ultrazoom controls.
At least Nikon had been doing it for longer but only for its type Pro1 was just Canon's distraction for brand blind people.
That pinnacle of fixed lens prosumers was (Konica)Minolta Dimage A2:
-High end DSLR like front and rear dials and as much direct menu free controls.
-Real mechanically linked zoom starting from 28mm fov unlike Nikons and sensor shift gave stabilization which lacked in Pro1.
-Proximity sensor EVF with quadrupled amount of pixels and highest res of any EVF/LCD until Panasonic DMC-G1 in late 2008

0 upvotes
Linerider
By Linerider (Jul 6, 2012)

I don’t really understand all the criticism.
Sure, noise is a problem with such a small sensor, but its not surprise.
Its not designed as a DSLR replacement.

You have to be impressed with the versatility and image quality with such a massive zoom range.

Although this is not a camera i would ever consider, i think it has a lot going for it and is great for the targeted audience/market

3 upvotes
johnparas11zenfoliodotcom
By johnparas11zenfoliodotcom (Jul 6, 2012)

I wish it had hot shoe for external flash..and raw.. Maybe..

5 upvotes
Barbu
By Barbu (Jul 6, 2012)

My stance: I'm in search for a superzoom to round up my DSLR kit.
It's supposed used as a walk-around camera, when the 12kg bag is left at home.
Having said that, the external flash hotshoe wouldn't really be useful *for me*, but the RAW option... C'mon Nikon, why not enable that? It would take just a tiny bit of code in your firmware...

0 upvotes
MDwebpro
By MDwebpro (Jul 6, 2012)

Yes, I agree completely. Nikon (and several other major manufacturers) are trying to strong-arm us into buying more camera than most people need.

No RAW + no external hot shoe = no consideration.

1 upvote
Rachotilko
By Rachotilko (Jul 6, 2012)

Thank you for the review.

I understand why the reviews are much shorter then they used to be 5 years ago: there's simply much more models being launched now then it used to be in the past. And that's especially true in the category of P&S cameras.

In the past, almost every review included at least a brief quantitative evaluation of sensor (noise, DR) and the lens (sharpness, distortions, CA). So I understand some readers are unhappy with the verbal-only a assessments.

Anyway, P&S cameras are much less interesting these days than they used to be, with manufacturers gradually lowering the quality of optics & pushing the sensors to extremes.

But in that light, dear DPR, I would really like you to do much more lens reviews. Especially in the mirrorless domain.

3 upvotes
Barbu
By Barbu (Jul 6, 2012)

Still, even with so many models, it's kinda weird to read only an opinion about VR; yeah, they say it's working fine, but where are the damn results for stabilization? In such an extreme telephoto, that was the first feature that I came searching for in the so-called „review”.

1 upvote
jerrith
By jerrith (Jul 6, 2012)

"Continuous shooting up to 7fps (but only for 5 frames)"
So, does this mean that you'll never effectively get those 7 frames, in effect making it in practice only 5fps :-)

2 upvotes
CiFra4
By CiFra4 (Jul 6, 2012)

No, it only means that the photo burst are less than a second long ;D

1 upvote
Nishi Drew
By Nishi Drew (Jul 6, 2012)

Like loading 30 rounds into an automatic rifle that fires 900 rounds a minute, you're only going to fire those rounds you have

0 upvotes
keeponkeepingon
By keeponkeepingon (Jul 6, 2012)

And still no Canon SX40 love?????????????

The SX40 outsells the P510 and has been out 4 months longer than the Nikon. When can we expect a review of the SX40?

9 upvotes
mingleby
By mingleby (Jul 10, 2012)

They're saving the best 'til last! (At least they'd better be!)

0 upvotes
mark moe
By mark moe (Jul 6, 2012)

Wow! A lens that exceeds the distance that a heat seeking missle can resolve.

Comment edited 35 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Eigenmeat
By Eigenmeat (Jul 6, 2012)

It's an instant buy for me if it has raw...

0 upvotes
qwertyasdf
By qwertyasdf (Jul 6, 2012)

Hi Theano Nikitas and Barnaby Britton,

"The P510 is a very useful portrait camera towards the long end of its zoom"
You guys really hv my curiosity going here, can you please show me a portrait using 1000mm, it's something i'll never accomplish in my lifetime.

6 upvotes
George Veltchev
By George Veltchev (Jul 6, 2012)

A Mickey mouse portrait ...can be done at 1000mm!!!!!

1 upvote
spidermoon
By spidermoon (Jul 6, 2012)

It's for paparazzi, shooting star with their new lover on a distant beach :)

3 upvotes
Augustin Man
By Augustin Man (Jul 7, 2012)

Here is a sample at 180mm (1000mm equivqlent):

http://img.photographyblog.com/reviews/nikon_coolpix_p510/sample_images/nikon_coolpix_p510_37.jpg

How do you like it?

0 upvotes
qwertyasdf
By qwertyasdf (Jul 8, 2012)

Sharpness is better than expected!
though no bokeh......hahahahaha

0 upvotes
qwertyasdf
By qwertyasdf (Jul 8, 2012)

And I like the fact that they are apparently "spy" photos.

0 upvotes
EricoftheNorth
By EricoftheNorth (Jul 6, 2012)

Does the Sensor-shift VR turn off during video still? The s9300 and p500 both did this and it was HORRIBLE. Rolling shutter to oblivion. The Sony HX200V and SX40 HS both do well hand-held, even at long zooms.

0 upvotes
Pixel Judge
By Pixel Judge (Jul 6, 2012)

Nice job, Nikon, for pushing the super zoom cam to the limit.
But, for that price and size, I have Oly's EP2 with kit zoom lens which serves me very very well after 600+ beautiful shots over the long weekend. Not a moment do I feel the need of 300mm+ zoom.
Oh well...

1 upvote
Gesture
By Gesture (Jul 6, 2012)

With such extraordinary capabilities in digital SLRs, one would think Nikon would put more effort into the compact cameras. I'll take my Coolpix 995 ...

1 upvote
thx1138
By thx1138 (Jul 5, 2012)

meh, I'm waiting for the 50x P520 with 22MP. They aren't pushing the envelope hard enough.

12 upvotes
mark moe
By mark moe (Jul 6, 2012)

LOL! Agreed... No mater who stands at the urinal, this is the mines bigger winner.

tBTW: The ISO 1600 shots at full tele did resolve the difference between a barn and a goldfish.

Comment edited 49 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Elaka Farmor
By Elaka Farmor (Jul 5, 2012)

At last! A lot of noise....16mp is too much for this tiny sensor zoom.

3 upvotes
Dimitri Khoz
By Dimitri Khoz (Jul 5, 2012)

Nice long zoom reach will prevent such situations from happening:
http://www.celebguru.com/entry/hugh-grant-arrested-for-paparazzi-assault/

and it will allow nice celebrity shots to be done
by every kid from the block
all in the name of Nikon brand
http://images.fanpop.com/images/image_uploads/Beyonce-paparazzi-beyonce-128584_1000_1272.jpg

Comment edited 37 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Manfred Bachmann
By Manfred Bachmann (Jul 5, 2012)

the worst p510 pics i have ever seen! I also have this cam, but i get clear and sharp pictures, no idea whats going on here?
manfred

0 upvotes
Nightwings
By Nightwings (Jul 5, 2012)

Lot's going on ... all of it sickening.

"atmospheric haze will take a huge bite out of sharpness and resolution if you're taking pictures of far-away objects on a sunny day, for instance)"

Uhmmm yah... That seems to plague ALL camera's ... past and present. And?

"the P510 does sit towards the bottom end of the current superzoom field, something which is especially obvious at its higher ISO settings."

And with that ... so goes all credibility, IMO. The glass in the P510 is second to none for this type of camera..... tack sharp from beginning to end of the entire focal range... but hey apparantly....

"the P510 does sit towards the bottom end of the current superzoom field, something which is especially obvious at its higher ISO settings."

ROFLMAO.

I really don't know why they are called reviews... perhaps elaborate opinion would be a better descriptor to this article... and that's MY opinion. :)

Maybe Nikon should start shipping review cams with Sony or Canon labels on the body.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Jul 5, 2012)

Goodness me, what a lazy and offensive selective 'reading'. You've taken those passages so far out of context they'd need a visa to get back in...

Although you did give me a laugh (not quite ROFLMAO but close) - it amuses me that you've accidentally stumbled upon a workable definition of review.

'Elaborate opinion' just about covers it. Opinion based on experience and test shooting...

Comment edited 6 minutes after posting
11 upvotes
Nightwings
By Nightwings (Jul 6, 2012)

Sorry if you were offended. I happen to own the camera, and I don't believe my camera has ever produced as bad images that I've seen in this review, perhaps you had a bad copy or you use entirely different settings than I and a lot of other people use…. who knows.
But then again, to demonstrate the effectiveness of a superzoom camera and the IQ of its lens, I certainly would not have chosen a subject so far away as to cause atmospheric haze and therefore corrupt the image...ESPECIALLY for the purpose of a review. But maybe that's just me I guess. :)

BTW Mr. Britton while we have your attention:

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1007&message=41512221

0 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Jul 6, 2012)

I was offended because you were being offensive. (Quasi) apology accepted. And you'll be pleased to know that a major overhaul of our forums system is on its way, so your request has been notes.

2 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Jul 6, 2012)

"notes" = "noted" by the way....

1 upvote
jim4850
By jim4850 (Jul 6, 2012)

For what it's worth I find heat haze a fact of life any time I zoom, doesn't matter what camera, I can only dream of visiting some of those crisp cold air places people are so lucky to get beautiful crisp shots of.
I thought the review was quite fair and reasonable, also Nightwings is spot on regards the lens, the P510 has a superb lens. Its sensor may not be top of the class but it's pretty good, any disadvantage to the excellent FZ150 one would likely vanish via pixelbinning if the P510 capture was resized to be equal.

1 upvote
Hosebag
By Hosebag (Jul 6, 2012)

Too quick and too short of a review. It needs to be more in-depth and cover more areas. It has no graphs, no real technical dissection. Spend some time and give us the quality of a review you would for other cameras worth having.

0 upvotes
MarioV
By MarioV (Jul 7, 2012)

I thought the review was reasonable, overall.
Remember, photos from a test camera are unprocessed and at standard settings straight out of camera. Not while holding it a certain way whilst standing on one's head and whistling.

To those who complain about the usefulness of 42x zoom, well, one could also ask the usefulness of 3 or 4x zoom.. or the usefulness of a car being rated at 200 mph.

However, as an owner, I will say that the lens quality and vibration reduction are excellent. Whether at wide or full zoom, you wont find any lens distortion. Clear and sharp throughout the range. Feel free to visit my gallery.

0 upvotes
Total comments: 67