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Nikon Coolpix 5200 Review

August 2004 | By Simon Joinson

Review based on a production Nikon Coolpix 5200

Announced in February 2004 (alongside an otherwise identical 4MP camera, the Coolpix 4200), the Coolpix 5200 represents the latest in a long line of ever-smaller Nikon compact cameras that stretches all the way back to the late 1990's. Although the Coolpix 5200 echoes the basic design of the previous generation of Nikon Compacts (the 3200 and 4200), it is a good deal smaller, thanks no doubt to the use of an all-metal (Aluminum) body, rather than Nikon's more usual plastics. Nikon has managed to squash an impressive amount of power into the 5200's diminutive body (which is only a shade larger than a credit card), including an all-new ED glass 3x zoom lens, automatic red-eye removal, 15 (count 'em) scene modes, scene-assist functions (with overlays to ensure you put the subject in the right part of the frame) and a 30 frames per second movie mode. Here's just a few of the Coolpix 5200's headline features:

  • 5MP resolution
  • 3x Nikkor ED zoom lens with aspherical element
  • In-camera automatic red-eye removal
  • 15 scene modes
  • 640x480 pixel, 30fps movie mode
  • Best Shot Selector - takes a series of shots and chooses the sharpest for you
  • White Balance and exposure bracketing

Key specifications

Street price • US: $480
• UK: £280
Body Material Aluminum
Sensor • 1/1.8 " CCD, 5.26 million total pixels
• 5.1 million effective pixels
Image sizes • 2,592 x 1,944
• 2,048 x 1,536
• 1,600 x 768
• 640 x 480
Movie clips

• 640x480 @ 30 frames per second
• QuickTime format
• Duration limited only by card capacity (streaming)


• 38 - 114mm equiv. (3 optical zoom) ED Nikkor
• F2.8 - 4.9

Focus • TTL Contrast detection AF
• AF illuminator
• 5 area automatic selection
• 99 area manual area selection
• 1.6-inch/4cm closest focus (macro mode)
Shooting mode

• Auto
• Scene modes:
• Portrait Assist
• Landscape Assist
• Sports Assist
• Night Portrait Assist
• Party/Indoor
• Beach/Snow
• Sunset
• Dusk/Dawn
• Night Landscape
• Close Up
• Museum
Fireworks Show
Back Light
Panorama Assist
• AE-Compensation -2.0 to +2.0 EV in 0.3 EV steps

Sensitivity • Auto (ISO64-200)
• ISO 64,100,200,400
White Balance • Auto
• 7 presets
• Manual
Image parameters • Contrast (3 levels)
• Sharpening (3 levels & off)
• Saturation (3 levels)
Continuous 2.5 fps, up to 21 frames
Flash • Built-in
• Auto, Manual on/off, Red-eye reduction: on/off, Slow sync: on/off
• Range (Auto ISO): W 0.3 - 4.5 m (1.0 - 14.5ft), T 0.3 - 3.5 m (1.0 - 11.5 ft)
Storage • Approx 12MB of internal memory
• SD/MMC slot
Viewfinder • Real Image Optical
• Approx coverage 75%
LCD monitor • 1.5 " TFT, 110,000 pixels
• approx 100% coverage
Connectivity • USB 1.1
• A/V out
Power • EN-EL5 rechargeable Lithium Ion (supplied with charger)
• (optional AC adapter*)
Other features

Best Shot Selector
White balance bracketing
Matrix, Center-weighted and spot metering
In-camera red-eye removal
• Noise Reduction
• PictBridge compatible
• Built-in microphone and speaker
• Nikon Picture Project software (Mac and Windows)*

Weight (no batt) 155 g (5.5 oz)
Dimensions 88 x 60 x 36.5mm (3.46 x 2.4 x 1.44in)

* Supplied accessories may differ in each country or area

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 2004 and may NOT in part or in whole be reproduced in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from the author.

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