JPEG/TIFF Image Size & Quality

The Coolpix 5000 provides a range of image size options in combination with TIFF and three JPEG modes. One quibble would be that the best JPEG mode (JPEG Fine) produces only a 1.7 MB image, where we would be expecting nearer 2 MB. By now it would have been nice if Nikon had a reprogrammable JPEG mode just like the E-20.

Standard Test Scene

To give an impression of what some of the combinations of image size and quality produce the table below is a cross reference of some of them:

  • 2560 x 1920 HI (TIFF)
  • 2560 x 1920 FINE (JPEG)
  • 2560 x 1920 NORMAL (JPEG)
  • 2560 x 1920 BASIC (JPEG)
  • 1600 x 1200 FINE (JPEG)
  • 1024 x 768 FINE (JPEG)

Images below are cropped 240 x 100 area of the image magnified 200% (nearest neighbour).

2560 x 1920
TIFF 14,511 KB - not available for download
1,588 KB
1,035 KB
499 KB

1600 x 1200
641 KB

1024 x 768
306 KB

As you can see there's little visible difference between TIFF and JPEG FINE, for the majority of users the TIFF option is wasted. It's a shame Nikon didn't provide a RAW option. Moving down the compression scale we can see JPEG artifacts start to creep in at JPEG NORMAL. I would guess that most users will shoot at 2560 x 1920 JPEG FINE.

Image Processing Adjustments

The Coolpix 5000 provides control over three different parameters associated with the cameras internal 'post-shot' image processing algorithnms. These are Tone (labelled 'Image Adjustment'), Saturation (Colour) and Sharpening. Each of these three parameters can be set independently to best suit your preferred 'look' or the type of shot.

Image Adjustment (Tone)

Auto (camera decides) Normal More Contrast
Less Contrast Lighten Image Darken Image

As you can see the most strikingly different exposure is that with 'Less Contrast', and that's not surprising as it's approximately 2/3 EV underexposed (compared to the other shots). Bearing this in mind I decided to experiment with a combination of 'Less Contrast' and a positive exposure compensation to provide more dynamic range to images (albeit producing a 'flatter' image).

1/6 sec, F4.5 (+0.0 EV compen.)
Less Contrast
1/6 sec, F4.0 (+0.7 EV compen.)

The combination of 'Less Contrast' and between +0.3 and +0.7 EV compensation produced flatter images with visible more dynamic range (less cut-off highlights).

Saturation (Colour)

+1 Maximum 0 Normal -1 Moderate
-2 Minimum Black & White  

Sony take note! The Coolpix 5000 provides a good usable range of saturation control, everything from "Sony Colour" (+1 Maximum) through to the more moderate tones we may see out of say the Olympus E-20. Being able to select more moderate colour is useful if you do a lot of digital darkroom work, it allows you to capture colours which may otherwise be over saturated.