Nikon Coolpix P5000 Review
In addition to the standard auto white balance, the Coolpix P5000 has five white balance presets (daylight, incandescent, fluorescent, cloudy, and flash) and a manual setting. To set the white balance manually, simply choose the PRE option and a small preview appears; point the camera at a white or gray object and press enter. The manual white balance setting is remembered even if you switch the camera off. In use the auto WB did a good job when shooting in daylight (very occasionally scenes with an unusual expanse of color fooled the system, but this was thankfully rare). Things are a little less impressive in artificial light, often producing a fairly strong cast. As with most compact cameras it is always better to use a WB preset (or manual WB) in such situations.
|Incandescent - Auto WB
Red 2.8%, Blue -2.3%
|Incandescent - Incandescent preset WB
Red 4.3%, Blue -5.4%
|Fluorescent - Auto WB
Red 5.0%, Blue -18.1%
|Fluorescent - Fluorescent preset WB
Red 7.6%, Blue -7.9%
The P5000's built-in flash does a pretty good job in both exposure and color terms, and it offers a respectable 0.3 to 8M shooting range (at wideangle with auto ISO). We found the flash to be very reliable in typical shooting conditions (social occasions indoors in low light). There is a tendency to slight under exposure, though this can be fixed very easily in post-processing, and there is a slight warm tone, which is no bad thing if you mostly shoot people. We did not see any blown-out flash shots in our testing - overexposure is considerably more difficult to deal with than the slight underexposure seen here.
The In-Camera Red-Eye Fix (seen on many recent Nikon models) works very well indeed - far better than cameras that rely purely on a pre-flash system; the Nikon system actually finds and corrects red-eye using its on-board processor. The only downside to this highly effective red-eye removal system is a rather severe performance hit - with shot-to-shot times stretching to around seven seconds. Of course the big difference between the P5000 and 99% of the other compacts on the market is that you have the option to add a fully dedicated external flash thanks to the inclusion of a hot shoe connector.
|Skin tone - no color cast,
very slight underexposure
|Color chart - Very slight warm cast,
The P5000 has Nikon's 'D-Lighting' feature, designed to lighten shadows without affecting the highlights in the image. The effect - basically a form of in-camera contrast masking - is very similar to that used in HP's cameras, but has the advantage of being applied after the image has been taken, and the result saved as a new file. For high contrast images the results are pretty impressive (though inevitably they come at a price - slightly higher shadow noise and some lost highlight detail).
36 mm equiv., 1/280 sec, F5.4
|After D-Lighting has been
As with previous Coolpix models the P5000 has a good macro mode, but one that performs at its best in a small region of the zoom (near the wide end), when you can get down as close as 4cm, capturing an area just over 1.8" across. Distortion at the closest focus point is fairly low and edge-to-edge sharpness very good. Close focus at the long end of the zoom is less impressive in terms of how close you can get (40cm), but the quality is good. We found the P5000 struggled to focus in macro mode at the long end of the zoom, so it's best to zoom out a little and move closer.
|Wide macro - 46 x 34mm coverage
78 px/mm (1933 px/in)
Corner softness: Low
Equiv. focal length: 36 mm
|Mid Zoom macro - 123 x 92 mm coverage
29 px/mm (748 px/in)
Distortion: Very Low
Corner softness: Low
Equiv. focal length:126 mm
Barrel and Pincushion Distortion
Nikon compacts have historically suffered from strong distortion at both ends of the zoom range. The P5000 isn't that bad; 1.5% barrel distortion at the wide end is a touch higher than average but it won't make any difference in normal 'real world' shots. There is no measurable distortion at the telephoto end of the zoom.
|Barrel distortion - 1.5% at Wide angle
Equiv. focal length: 36 mm
|Pincushion distortion - 0.0% at Telephoto
Equiv. focal length: 126 mm
Specific Image Quality Issues
There's little to complain about here; at the lowest ISO settings (200 or below) images are as good as you'll get from any 10 megapixel camera, and a lot better than many. There is some smearing of low contrast detail even at ISO 64, but it's a lot less destructive than we've seen with other recent 10MP models. Nikon's usual subtle processing means that the pictures can look a little soft (especially viewed on-screen at 100%), and many users may find they also look a little 'flat' if they stick to the default settings. In my book for a camera aimed at the more advanced user this is exactly the approach Nikon should be taking, though it's a slightly dangerous one, as it can put off the novice user who is drawn to the 'bright n breezy' output of other brands.
Of course it's not all good news; the P5000 suffers from the same problems as its competitors to a greater or lesser degree; highlight clipping, occasional exposure/white balance errors, focus problems in low light and noise at anything over ISO 200. There is some (very) mild purple fringing at the edge of shots taken against the light, but you really can't see it unless you zoom in to 100% or higher, so can't really be considered an issue. There is a little softness towards the corners at the wide end of the zoom (again, you really need to be looking for it at 100%) and we did notice that when using the smallest apertures diffraction effects start to blur away very fine detail.
Highlight clipping (and exposure issues)
Although it's a lot less prone to highlight clipping than many of its competitors, the P5000 still struggles with scenes with a very wide dynamic range. The problem is exacerbated by the occasional case metering errors causing overexposure when confronted with a very bright scene. To put this into perspective we found around 6 examples of serious highlight clipping in a selection of over 500 outdoor shots.
|36 mm equiv., F2.7||62 mm equiv., F4.9|
|126 mm equiv., F5.3||48 mm equiv., F4.3|
As mentioned above there is some purple fringing, but you need to look long and hard to find it in 99% of shots - even those taken against the light. Even then it's so mild as to be insignificant.
|100% crop||36 mm equiv., F3.8|
|2014_1211_140657AA by old shutter bugger|
from The Bride
|Overloaded by NZ Scott|
from Your City - Delivery Boy
|Barley by Will B Milner|
|APPLE & ROACH by TX Photo Doc|
from Delicious - Unpalatable
Oprema Jena is on a roll. After a wildly successful Kickstarter to bring back the legendary Zeiss Biotar 75mm F1.5 lens, the company is sweetening the pot by resurrecting the Biotar 58mm F2 as well.
Nikon has issued a delay and apology regarding their 100th Anniversary D5, D500, and Triple Lens sets. Due to a logo issue, the company is being forced to delay shipments until October.
Yet another reason to always shoot Raw. These two shots are actually the same photo, photographer Dan Plucinski simply pulled up the shadows in post.
The Galaxy Note 8 is the first Samsung smartphone to feature a dual-cam setup. The 2x tele lens allows for a background-blurring portrait mode and comes with optical image stabilization.
Cloud backup service CrashPlan has announced that it will permanently shutter it's "for home" service by the end of October. If you use CrashPlan to back up your photos, you'll want to find an alternative ASAP.
Equivalence is much-discussed, but still often misunderstood. Here's a simplified explanation of the concept of equivalent apertures, which is just another way of talking about light received by your camera.
Try your hand at this blind portrait shootout between the Canon 1DX Mark II, Nikon D5 and Sony a9. With all bias removed, you might just rank your favorite camera brand worst.
Photo sharing site 500px has just added support for wide-gamut color profiles such as AdobeRGB and ProPhotoRGB, even allowing users to filter their searches by color profile.
DJI just released a mandatory firmware update for the DJI Spark. If you own a Spark and don't update your firmware by September 1st, DJI will remotely ground your drone.
Affordable flash manufacturer Godox has updated its smartphone app so that it can be used to control all of its wireless X flash units, not just the A1 smartphone flash.
Western Digital's new My Book Duo external desktop storage system offers up to 20TB of storage capacity, and comes with RAID-optimized WD Red hard drives.
Version 1.04 of the Sony a6500 firmware can be downloaded from the Sony Support website now.
Not sure how to choose your first drone? In this article, the second of a 3-part series, we discuss what factors you should consider when deciding what drone is right for you.
NASA photo editor Joel Kowsky didn't just capture the solar eclipse from his vantage point in Wyoming, he also managed to capture the ISS buzzing across what remained of the sun.
In these videos, talented photographer and filmmaker Daniel DeArco breaks down several tips that will help flash photography newbies start experimenting with artificial light.
Photographer and master potter Steve Irvine makes incredibly intricate, functional ceramic pinhole cameras that look like robots and monsters.
Chinese gimbal manufacturer Gudsen has released a firmware update for its Moza Air that lets you control the direction and angle of the head remotely just by moving a small handlebar-mounted control unit.
Curious how the Sony a9 performs underwater? Our friends at Backscatter took the camera diving off the Baja California coast, to find out how it handled shooting great white sharks.
While most of the DPReview crew put away our cameras and just watched the celestial event, Rishi decided last-minute to hack together a rig and capture a few shots.
Defunct Russian camera maker Zenit is making a comeback, and they're planning to release a full-frame mirrorless camera in 2018.
The days where you're more or less locked into premium or first-party flash units has gone. They're less than $50 now, so there's one less excuse not to get one. Here's our case for adding one to your kit, and a few pointers to get you going.
If you're shooting the solar eclipse here's a hint: don't fry your camera's sensor. Use a proper solar filter that offers at least 16 stops of light filtration, along with UV and IR filtering. More important? Don't look at it unless you've got solar filters. Sensors can be replaced, your retinas can't.
Photographer Rick Wenner recently captured an odd event called the Race of the Gentlemen with a rather odd camera: The Phase One XF IQ3 Achromatic, the world's only 101MP black-and-white digital back.
Buying used is a good way to save some dough, and with the right precautions you can protect yourself from falling victim to a scam.
This two-part video series takes a deep dive into the world of dynamic symmetry and geometric composition, using iconic photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson's brilliant photographs as a guide.
Award-winning photographer Jeremy Cowart tells the moving story behind this drone photograph, captured in the aftermath of the devastating wildfire in Gatlinburg, TN in 2016.
Happy 2017 World Photo Day! We asked everyone on staff at DPReview to share one photo that they took within the last year that makes them jazzed on photography. Here's what we chose.
French President Emmanuel Macron has lodged a legal complaint against a paparazzo who snuck onto the president's private vacation property to take pictures.
Ever wonder what the difference is between compressed, uncompressed and lossless compressed Raw files? Photography Life's Nasim Mansurov breaks it down for you in this informative article.
The oldest known portrait of a US president was just discovered after over a century in storage. It's going up for auction in October, where it's expected to fetch between $150,000 and $250,000.