Nikon Coolpix P1 review
Comparison between Nikon Coolpix P1 & old Minolta Maxxum 3000i SLR 35-70 mm zoom. P1 has Nikkor x 3.5 zoom, 36-126 mm (35mm equivalent), 7 elements in 6 groups, max aperture f2.7 @ 36 mm & f5.2 @126 mm. Minolta (with Kodak Max 400 GC film) has x 2 zoom 35-70 mm zoom, f 4.
Took shots of test cards @ 22 feet; one each at center, bottom left corner & bottom center of the scene. Card had font from 72, 48, 36, 28 then down by 2s to 8 point & with blue & & stripe for chromatic aberration check. Cameras were stood on a table & self timer was used. Flash was disabled. The Minolta was on the verge of needing flash so that should have made it use large apertures.
With P1 zoom at 36 mm, 1/30th & f 2.7 the shots on the laptop could be enlarged so that legible font at the center was 72 & almost 48, bottom left corner was 72, & bottom center was 72. On the laptop P1 at 1/125th & f4.8 results images looked the same. On prints P1 and Minolta results looked the same. With P1 zoom at 50 mm (set by matching Minolta framing) (1/30th & f3.3) shots on the laptop showed the legible font was 36-28 on all three positions. On the P1 at 1/125th & f5.2 one could almost discern 26 point font in the center. On the prints P1 images looked better than the Minolta. With P1 zoom at 70 mm (matching Minolta) (1/125th & f4.8) shots on the laptop showed the legible font at the center was 20, at the left-bottom corner was 22, & towards the bottom center was 22-20. On the P1 at 1/125th f5.2 the results were a bit worse (not expected). On prints the P1 looked better than the Minolta (not expected). With P1 zoom at 126 mm (1/125th & f5.2) shots on the laptop showed the legible font at the center was 16, at the left-bottom corner was 18-16, & towards the bottom center was 20-18. Same results at 1/60th & f5.2.
The lack of an optical view finder made it really difficult to take shots very bight sun light.
Didn’t see any discernable chromatic aberration on test cards. Took shot in grocery store. Color looked fine. Checked macro with shot of George Washington. On the laptop and on print I can count the dots any where on the engraving.
P1 shutter lag with macro (1/60th & f 2.5) was 3 seconds with flash and 1 second or less without flash. Shutter lag on the Minolta with flash was 1 second or less.
On this non-too scientific test the small Nikkor lens seems just as good as the big Minolta lens.
Originally considered Canon SD500, Sony P200 and DSC-T7. Too many LCD problems reported with SD500. Changed to SD550. Then found P1. P200 and SD550 don’t handle as well as the P1. Priced the P1 in town incl. 1 GB RAM, spare battery & 3 years warranty $951. Chose NewEgg via PriceGrabber. Total $677 for same specs.
Nikon clip-on hard leather bag (#5375) $11 big enough for spare battery & SD chip with camera on top. The dial tends to rotate as the P1 is removed.
Manual page-1 states non-Nikon holograph sealed batteries may void warranty. New 730 mAh battery charged in 70 minutes. A completely exhausted battery took 90 minutes. Manual states battery should last for 180 shots. By default the P1 shuts down the LCD after 1 minute of idle-time. The Low Battery message first displayed after 30 shots had been taken, and the Battery Exhausted displayed after 59 shots had been taken. About half the shots used flash.
If there is no SD chip in the camera, it writes about 23 shots to internal memory. If there is an SD chip in the camera, it writes shots to that. With a 1 GB chip the LCD predicts a capacity of 495 shots. Copying from internal memory to the 1 GB chip ran at 17 shots in about 20 seconds. Manual p-149 states SanDisk, Toshiba & Panasonic memory is Nikon-approved.
Installed s/w (Project Picture 1.6 & Quick Player 6.5.2). Checked for updates, none for PP-Coolpix P1. QT never connected to vendor’s server. Wireless setup very easy. Make sure you know your networks data (see Quick Start Guide). Software loads OK but there is a point where you can’t back out of Wireless setup. I had to crash the laptop, bring it up again, check my settings and then rerun setup (pilot error, should have be certain of the settings).
To transmit to the laptop, logon and stand back. Set dial to wireless, select the profile. Press OK for Easy Transmit (just sends shots not already sent). On a laptop with a VPN tunnel to a secure corp. network the connection could not be made (good!). When the tunnel was broken it connected correctly. Transmitted 17 shots in 80 seconds. Worked OK at 22 feet. Shots stored in c:\Documents & Settings\your_account\My Document\My Pictures\PictureProject\download#\. Immediately after transmission completes Picture Project auto launches on the laptop & thumbnails display. 28 shots consumed averaged 1.45 MB with range from 942 KB to 3.9 MB.
My camera history: Braun Paxette, tore film, hated it. Leica IIIg loved it. Nikkormat loved it. Linhof Technica 70 (70 mm roll film or 120 roll film, rising tilting everything, 3 lenses). Amazing. Google for its image. Just stopped seeing pictures in front of me when I was lugging it around & when I did see them I couldn’t make the beast sing & dance. The Minolta is great but its big & the flash is temperamental.
Had it a week now. Hope this helps. & Ed Buziak, if you are out there get in touch.
trivial. When removing the p1 from the holster the control dial changes position. Really wish it has an optical finder. Camera shake will be my biggest challenge because can’t use a camera strap like a rifle sling as one can with an optical view finder.