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Conclusion - Pros

  • Excellent colour, good white balance in most situations
  • Good shadow detail (internal processing tends to push the black point up a little)
  • Metering very good (thanks to Nikon's Matrix metering)
  • Smooth clean images
  • Compact size, attractive design
  • Solid feel, very good build quality
  • Unique, clever internal swivel ensures lens is protected
  • Thoughtful ergonomic touches, easy to understand menu system
  • Excellent macro performance (for a camera at this level)
  • Twist lens provides waist level and overhead shooting possibilities
  • Good, bright and detailed 1.5" LCD Monitor
  • Anti-reflective coating on the LCD
  • Scene exposure modes
  • Manual white balance (unusual in this level of camera)
  • Very little chromatic aberrations
  • Supplied battery & charger / AC adapter
  • Excellent battery life for such a compact battery
  • Excellent value for money


Conclusion - Cons

  • Relatively slow lens (although similar to most ultra-compacts)
  • Poor low-light auto focus (plus no AF assist lamp)
  • Average resolution performance
  • Barrel distortion at wide angle
  • Can't manually select ISO sensitivity
  • No video out
  • Strange yellow / magenta Bayer artifacts on highlights
  • Highlight clipping
  • Average-to-slow startup speed and auto focus
  • No control over colour saturation or tone (not that important for target market)
  • Under-powered flash, produced redeye
  • Movie mode doesn't capture audio, limited to 15 seconds


Overall conclusion

Here's my rating of the Nikon Coolpix 2500: (2 megapixel ultra-compact)

Detail Rating (out of 10)
Construction 8.5
Features 7
Image quality 8
Lens / CCD combination 8
Ease of use 8
Value for money 9

The Coolpix 2500 takes the now familiar split / twist body Coolpix design and improves it. The new surround style design now ensures that the lens is protected when the camera isn't in use and that the rotating portion (lens, flash, CCD) has a swivel at either side. But Nikon didn't stop there, they smoothed and rounded it, made it as narrow, small and pocketable as possible and then outfitted it in a stylish silver and blue colour scheme along with sweeping curves and neat ergonomic tricks. The Coolpix 2500 is an attractive but also cleverly designed and unique digital camera.

Moving on to how it feels in use, at it's price level and for the target market the Coolpix 2500 performs almost impeccably. For my tastes the startup time and AF should really be a little faster (by today's standards) and it's still odd to include movie clip modes without audio recording (silent movies?). Nikon has definitely spent a lot of time thinking about how people use a digital camera and also how to approach those people who never have, the 2500 is perfect for both.

Image quality was on the whole good, colour balance is neutral but still well saturated. Metering is good, if I'm being picky I'd say that I wasn't happy to see clipped highlights (again) and that resolution should really (for a third generation two megapixel) have been better. There's also the slightly odd yellow / magenta Bayer artifacts on highlights, these affected only a small percentage of shots taken but should still be noted.

Overall I liked the Coolpix 2500, it's not quite as small as some of the competition but its unique twisting 'shrouded' lens, funky design, good image quality and attractive price should give it just the appeal it needs to do well in the target market.

Recommended

So which one should I buy? A question I get asked several times a day, and I wouldn't like to say. In a new addition to my reviews (after the amount of feedback I normally get) I've added a link to a specific forum in which you can discuss the review or ask me specific questions which I've not answered in these pages.

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