From the back the Coolpix 5700 looks very similar to the 5000, there is the (smaller) flip out and twist LCD and almost identical overall control structure (play / rec switch, zoom controller). It's worth noting that Nikon has done away with the three 'soft buttons' below the LCD (which I personally didn't like), these have been replaced with real buttons and other controls have moved to the top and barrel side of the camera. Another notable difference around the back is the electronic viewfinder, another first on a Nikon digital camera.

A look around the rest of the camera and you can see echoes of Fujifilm's 6900Z (I suppose Sony started the 'SLR-like' design with the DSC-D700) as well as design elements borrowed from Nikon's SLR range. The overall design is purposeful and professional looking with a good overall balance and logical command layout. The entire body is made from the same reassuringly solid metal alloy used on the 5000. This, along with the rubber coating around the hand grip leave you with the feeling that you are using a professional piece of equipment.

Side by side

Despite being bigger than the 5000 and despite its eight times zoom, the 5700 is still considerably smaller than the current range of $2000 digital SLR's. Here shown beside Nikon's own D100 with a 3.5x zoom lens (24 - 85 mm).

In your hand

The shots below should give you a better impression of the camera's compact dimensions. The 5700's hand grip (just like the 5000) is one of the nicest of any prosumer digital camera. It's deep enough to tuck even the longest fingers and is coated in soft rubber.

My major gripe here is not with the hand grip but with the location and type of the strap eyelet's. On the side of the hand grip is a large D1 style eyelet, and while this may add to the 'professional look' of the camera it does get in the way, after a long shooting session I was left with a pressure mark on the palm of my right hand where the eyelet had pressed against it.

In your hand the 5700 feels even better than the 5000, balance is very good and it's still easy to shoot with one hand. The larger lens barrel makes it easier to support the camera with your left hand, which is logical considering the new controls on the lens barrel side. You can of course shoot with the LCD folded back on the camera back or flipped outwards. Or you can use the excellent EVF.

LCD Monitor / Electronic Viewfinder

The Coolpix 5700's flip-out and twist LCD is of identical design to that seen on a few other digital cameras. The screen itself is the same 1.5" unit used in the new Coolpix 4500 and provides a bright, sharp and clear image. It also has a good anti-reflective coating. Unlike the 5000 there are no buttons below the LCD monitor (thank goodness), instead more buttons are available around the rest of the camera body.

The LCD case and hinge cover is plastic. By default the LCD would be folded in towards the body (and thus is protected), opening it outwards 180 degrees it can then be rotated through 180 degrees (until its facing forwards) or 90 degrees downwards. If you wish the screen can then be folded back on itself and 'clipped' into place just like a conventional digital camera LCD. Below you can see an example of some of the different positions in which the LCD monitor can be used.

One item of note is that the LCD's vertical viewing angle is quite narrow, when folded back against the camera (last image above) it can appear either dark if viewed from 15 degrees 'above axis' or washed out if viewed from 15 degrees 'below axis' (or visa versa if flipped out).

Electronic Viewfinder

The 5700 has the honour of being the first Nikon digital camera to feature an electronic viewfinder. And Nikon has done it in style, this appears to be the same excellent 0.44" 180,000 pixel micro-LCD we first saw in Fujifilm's FinePix S602Z. It provides a clear, bright view with lots of resolution. Definitely one of the best electronic viewfinders I've used. The EVF provides exactly the same view as the rear LCD, thus you get the same information overlay and playback functionality.

Info overlay on LCD/EVF (Record: Auto Func mode - C. A)

The diagram below indicates the maximum information overlaid in Auto exposure mode.

Info overlay on LCD/EVF (Record: User Func mode - C. 1,2,3)

In addition to the information above the following diagram shows other information which may be overlaid in one of the User Function modes.

Reproduced with permission from Coolpix 5700 manual.