Conclusions on P5000

Started Mar 26, 2007 | Discussions thread
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Peter Bendheim
Peter Bendheim Senior Member • Posts: 2,522
Conclusions on P5000

Some may have read my initial impressions on the P5000. I promised I'd add some more information, so after a few days of picture taking, here's what I finally think.

Not that what I think really matters. I'm hardly a Phil Askey or equivalent, and I don't do rigorous tests. But I am a regular camera user and earn a living out of photography. So take what I say with a big pinch of salt, and wait for the professional reviews.

I'll start by saying that I've searched endlessly for a P&S that will do what I need. Ideally, it would have a Canon G7 body, with Olympus waterproofing, a Fuji F30 CCD, Nikon user interface and handgrip and a Leica lens...and no more than 6-8MP

Well, that's never going to happen which is why I've tried scores of P&S cameras in the same time I've owned only 3 DSLR bodies.

Let me also start at the end in a sense by saying that if you are choosing between a G7 and a P5000, the Canon is simply the better camera in almost every way (other than IQ which is fairly comparable, with a slight edge to the Canon, just maybe). It has far more options that I find important, and the body is great and would be almost perfect if it had a rubberised handgrip..

Nikon stopped making Coolpix cameras that were worth talking about after the 8800. I've owned an orginal CP5000, a 5400, an 8400, a 5200, P1, 7900 and an 8800.

The P5000 has some great attributes. It's nicely sized, looks good, the ergonomics are great as are the menus. But it also lacks a few features that I find important.

Firstly, it's not rugged enough feeling for hard use. The G7 is a brick, the Nikon is a porcelain tile.

The lens could be better, it should have better range at the wide end (28mm)and be ED glass.

I'd like a diopter because I use a viewfinder often (you can hold the camera steadier in low light and can see better in strong sunlight) and I wear glasses.
I'd like a manual focus option.
The lack of a live histogram is astonishing.
I'd like a proper battery meter (take note Canon too)

I'd like to travel from image to image in high magnification as with Nikon's DSLR's
Spare me the chromed plastic and silver painted plastic bits...

Image Quality
The IQ is a mixed bag. Sometimes really good, other times, OK.
I think that P&S cameras have taken a major step backwards with 10MP chips.

My IQ observations apply equally to the Canon G7 as well as the Nikon...and there are simply too many artifacts on images even at lower ISO's....tiny chips, too many pixels, inadequate optics...etc. We'd all be better off with 6-8(max) MP cameras in this size range.

Feel

The camera feels great and handles well...but it just doesn't have that overall feel of robust quality that the earlier Coolpixes had. It look like an early Coolpix, but it just doesn't impart that same sense of confidence in the hand, despite the fact that it's ergonomically great. This is hard to explain, and is an almost intangible feeling.

Finally....
The P5000 is nice but not at all revolutionary.

It's more like a Coolpix 7900 or similar inserted into a better body, than a rebirth of the classic Coolpix range. It's a wannalook real-deal Coolpix, more style than substance.

It's target market is aimed lower than the G7, more along the lines of Canon's A Series.

Image quality is good, but not exceptional (probably the case with all 10 MP mini-chips)

Nikon have improved the Coolpix line, but people expecting a 8400/8800 replacement will be sorely disappointed.

If you want a nice travel camera than is compact and light and gives you reasonable manual control, you will be REALLY pleased.

If you are a pro looking for a high end P&S for street work and candids, you may well be disappointed. look at the G7 instead,

And with that I end my admittedly subject views and urge you to wait until the pro reviews are in before making a purchasing decision (or try it foe yourself and see what you think)

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