Barrel and Pincushion Distortion

Not surprising considering its compact size and large reach the 5700's 8x optical zoom lens does exhibit some barrel and pincushion distortion. That said it's not as much as the 4x optical zoom on the Coolpix 4500. At wide angle (35 mm equiv.) we measured 1.3% barrel distortion and at telephoto (280 mm equiv.) just 0.4% pincushion distortion (hardly noticeable).

1.3% Barrel Distortion at wide angle 0.4% Pincushion Distortion at telephoto

Purple Fringing (Chromatic Aberrations)

Purple fringing hasn't been completely removed on the 5700 (as you can see from our test shot), however they are reduced considerably compared to the Coolpix 5000 (To see the difference click here). Indeed searching through our several hundred test shots I had a hard time finding a good example of 'every day' purple fringing. Kudos Nikon.

Purple fringing greatly reduced, hardly visible in every day shots
Our now standard chromatic aberration test shot, some slight fringing

Overall Image Quality / Specific Issues

From an image quality point of view the 5700 probably only comes second to the Sony DSC-F707, and of course the 5700 has an 8x optical zoom lens compared to the 707's much larger, bulkier 5x. Metering is unbeatable (at this level), colour and tonal balance are both very good as is resolution. Lens distortion and fringing are all at the low end of the scale and shouldn't be a worry to the average user. Overall I'd say that the 5700 offers one of the best combinations of image quality, flexibility and features of current five megapixel digital cameras.

Clipping of highlights

Just like the recently reviewed Coolpix 4500 (and other Coolpix cameras before that) the 5700 does tend to clip highlights 'earlier' than we would expect. This is exhibitted as a harsh edge between overexposed highglights and surrounding detail which can also sometimes look jagged. Other digital cameras tend to produce a smoother transition from detail to highlight.

Magenta / Yellow Bayer pattern artifacts

The Coolpix 5700 exhibitted an artifact we also noted in our Coolpix 2500 review. Unlike the majority of the competition Nikon still use the CYGM colour filter array on the CCD's used in their digital cameras. This may explain occasional magenta and yellow artifacts we saw along lines of highlight in an image. This can be seen clearly along the vertical edges of the 10 and 12 numerics below.