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Nikon Coolpix P50 Concise Review

January 2008 | By Richard Butler


Review based on a production Nikon Coolpix P50

The Coolpix P50 is Nikon's attempt at a middle-ground camera: it's neither a point-and-shoot-only ultra compact nor a fully-fledged photographers' camera. Instead it's a pocketable digital camera that marries a sensible sensor to a useful lens and keeps the frills (and the cost), to a minimum. This is a camera to take everyday photos with, rather than one for getting particularly serious about photography. But in such a crowded market does the P50 have what it takes to make it onto our recommended list? Let's find out. Let's start by having a look at the headline features.

  • 8.1 Megapixels and 3.6x wide-angle zoom
  • Face priority mode
  • In-Camera Red-Eye Fix
  • D-Lighting
  • SDHC card compatibility
  • Approx. 52 MB of internal memory

The P50 processing incorporates Nikon's Expeed "processing concept." This doesn't mean that it has the same processor as the Nikon D300 or D3 (in fact Nikon says that it doesn't refer to any specific parts or features). Instead, "Expeed" refers to "Nikon's original comprehensive concept of digital image processing... a system that embodies Nikon's intense passion for digital images." Which doesn't appear to mean a lot more than: 'contains Nikon picture cleverness.'

Coolpix P50 Specifications

Street price

• $170
• £130

Body Material Plastic with rubber grip

• 1/2.5 " Type CCD
• 8.0 million effective pixels

Image sizes

• 3264 x 2448
• 3264 x 2176 (3:2)
• 3200 x 1800 (16:9)
• 2592 x 1944
• 2048 x 1536
• 1280 x 960
• 1024 x 768
• 640 x 480
• 3264 x 1832

Movie clips

• 640 x 480 @ 30fps
• 640 x 480 @ 15fps
• 320 x 240 @ 15fps
• 160 x 120 @ 15fps
• 640 x 480 @ 30fps (Time lapse)

File formats • JPEG Exif 2.2
• DPOF 1.1
• AVI Motion JPEG with WAVE monaural

• 4.7-17.0mm (28-102mm equiv)
• f/2.8-5.6
• 3.6x optical zoom

Image stabilization No (Electronic only)
Conversion lenses None
Digital zoom up to 4x
Focus Contrast-detect TTL
AF area modes • Face priority
• Auto (9-area automatic selection)
• Center
• Manually-selected AF area (99 positions)
AF assist lamp Yes
Focus distance Closest 1cm

• 256 segment matrix
• Center-weighted
• Spot
• Spot at any of 99 AF points

ISO sensitivity

• Auto (64-1000)
• ISO 64
• ISO 100
• ISO 200
• ISO 400
• ISO 800
• ISO 1600
• ISO 2000

Exposure compensation • +/- 2EV
• in 1/3 stop increments
Shutter speed 15-1/2000 sec (With noise reduction for exposures over 1.3 seconds)
Aperture F2.8-5.6
Modes • Auto
• Program
• Manual
• Movie
• Time Lapse
• Special Scenes
Scene modes

• Portrait
• Landscape
• Night Portrait
• Sports
• Party/Indoor
• Beach/Snow
• Sunset
• Dusk/Dawn
• Night Landscape
• Close Up
• Museum
• Firework Show
• Copy
• Backlight
• Panorama Assist

White balance

• Auto
• Daylight
• Incandescent
• Fluorescent
• Cloudy
• Flash
• Preset Manual

Self timer • 2 or 10secs
• Custom
Continuous shooting approx 1.3fps until card is full
Image parameters My Colors (My Colors Off, Vivid, Neutral, Sepia, B&W, Positive Film, Lighter Skin Tone, Darker Skin Tone, Vivid Blue, Vivid Green, Vivid Red, Custom Color)

• Auto
• Manual Flash on / off
• Slow sync
• Red-eye reduction
• Range: 30cm-4.0m (wide) / 2.0m (tele)

Viewfinder Real-image optical viewfinder
LCD monitor • 2.4-inch P-Si TFT
• 115,000 pixels
Connectivity • USB 2.0 Hi-Speed
• AV out
Print compliance

• PictBridge
• ImageLink

Storage • SD / SDHC / MMC card compatible
• 58MB internal
Power • AA batteries (Alkaline, Lithium or NiMH)
• Optional AC adapter kit
Other features None
Weight (No batt) 160 g (5.6 oz)
Dimensions 94.5 x 66 x 44 mm (3.7 x 2.5 x 1.7 inch)

If you're new to digital photography you may wish to read the Digital Photography Glossary before diving into this article (it may help you understand some of the terms used).

Conclusion / Recommendation / Ratings are based on the opinion of the reviewer, you should read the ENTIRE review before coming to your own conclusions.

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DPReview calibrate their monitors using Color Vision OptiCal at the (fairly well accepted) PC normal gamma 2.2, this means that on our monitors we can make out the difference between all of the (computer generated) grayscale blocks below. We recommend to make the most of this review you should be able to see the difference (at least) between X,Y and Z and ideally A,B and C.

This article is Copyright 2008 and the review in part or in whole may NOT be reproduced in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from the author. For information on reproducing any part of this review (or any images) please contact: Phil Askey

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