Compared to... Nikon Coolpix P5100

Nikon produces two very similar-looking compacts, the P5100 and the P50. There are pros and cons to both - the P5100 has class-leading build quality and an image stabilized lens but the P50 is cheaper and has a wider-angle lens - so it's a bit more complicated than saying 'you get what you pay for.' We believe some people will find themselves vacillating between the two: not least some brand-loyal owners of Nikon DSLRs looking for something a bit more compact. So how do the two compare?

Studio scene comparison (Both @ ISO 64)  

  • Nikon P50: Program mode, ISO 64, Default Image Parameters,
    Manual white balance, +0.70 EV compensation
  • Nikon P5100: Aperture Priority mode, ISO 64, Default Image Parameters,
    Manual white balance, +0.70 EV compensation 
  • Lighting: Daylight simulation, >98% CRI
Nikon P50
Nikon P5100
ISO 64, 1/64 sec, F4.1
ISO 64, 1/40 sec, F4.4
2,017 KB JPEG
3,785 KB JPEG

At their base ISO settings, both cameras do a decent job of capturing detail and representing colors. There are very minor artefacts visible in the fine detail of the P50's image even at its base ISO. To base any serious criticism on these would be nit-picking to a ludicrous degree, but it does suggest that some aspect of the processing chain is less than perfect, even at the camera's 'native' setting. Both images look nice enough (again, very soft compared to the competition), though the P5100 clearly has the edge in capturing detail across the frame.