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Nikon Coolpix P6000 Optics


Lens

Zoom
A nice 4x wide-angle optical zoom lens with good overall performance. Digital zoom performance is soft at full size, but results are passable for smaller print sizes.

28mm eq. 112mm eq. 4x Digital Zoom

The Nikon Coolpix P6000's optical zoom range covers the equivalent of a 28-112mm zoom on a 35mm camera, which offers a nice maximum wide-angle setting. Results at full wide angle are good, with only a small amount of blurring in the corners of the frame and a low level of coma distortion. Foliage details look a little like a painting rather than a photograph, but the more linear details of the house front are clearer. At full telephoto, details still appear unreal, though a little better defined, and corner softening again appears minimal. The camera's 4x digital zoom sacrifices resolution and detail for digital enlargement at 100%, but results should be good enough for small print sizes.

Macro
About average-size macro area, with good detail overall. The Coolpix P6000's flash has trouble up close, though.

Macro Macro with Flash

The Nikon Coolpix P6000's macro setting captured an average-sized minimum area measuring 1.54 x 1.16 inches (39 x 29 millimeters). Resolution and detail are high, with good definition on the printed details of the dollar bill. The Coolpix P6000 produced moderate blurring in the corners, which is almost customary for cameras to do in macro mode. The Nikon Coolpix P6000's flash had a little trouble throttling down for the macro area, with a strong overexposure in the top left of the frame and a dark shadow from the lens in the lower right. Thus, you'll need to stick to external lighting for macro shots with the Coolpix P6000.

Geometric Distortion
Average barrel distortion at wide-angle, and a small amount of barrel distortion at telephoto as well.

Barrel distortion at 28mm is 0.8%
Barrel distortion at 112mm is less than 0.1%

The Nikon Coolpix P6000's 0.8% barrel distortion at wide-angle is actually average compared to most consumer digital cameras. At the telephoto end, the Coolpix P6000's less than 0.1% barrel distortion is slight and barely noticeable (about two pixels really). The Nikon P6000 has a Distortion Control option for reducing geometric distortion in JPEGs, but we did not test that feature. Distortion is the tendency for the lens to bend straight lines outward (like a barrel -- usually at wide angle) or inward (like a pincushion -- usually at telephoto).

Chromatic Aberration
Moderate distortion at wide-angle, very little distortion at telephoto.

Wide: Moderate and slightly bright,
top left @ 200%
Wide: Slightly bright,
top right @ 200%
Tele: Virtually nonexistent,
top left @200%
Tele: Only a small amount,
top right @200%

Chromatic aberration is mild at wide angle, with moderately bright cyan and magenta pixels. At telephoto, distortion is much lower, with practically none visible in both corners except for very faint reddish pixels on the underside of target lines. Chromatic aberration is a form of distortion visible as a slight colored fringe around the objects at the edges of the field of view on the resolution target.

Corner Sharpness
Moderate blurring in the corners of the frame at wide-angle, but very little blurring at telephoto.

Wide: Soft in the
corners (upper right).
Wide: Sharp at center.
Tele: Little softening in the
corners (upper left).
Tele: Slightly soft at center.

The Nikon Coolpix P6000 produced soft corners of the frame at full wide angle, though blurring was confined to the very far edges of each corner. At full telephoto, softening in the corners was minimal.

Viewfinder

Coverage
Excellent accuracy from the LCD monitor, but a very tight optical viewfinder.

28mm eq., Optical 112mm eq., Optical
28mm eq., LCD 112mm eq., LCD

The Nikon Coolpix P6000's LCD monitor showed about 100% coverage accuracy at both wide-angle and telephoto zoom settings. However, the optical viewfinder proved quite tight, showing only 87% at wide-angle and about 79% at telephoto. Images framed with the optical viewfinder also appear slanted. Great results from the LCD monitor, however.