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Nikon CoolPix 5700

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CoolPix 5700 Test Images

Review First Posted: 5/29/2002

Digital Cameras - Nikon Coolpix 5700 Test Images

(Original test posting: 07/23/02)

I've begun including links in our reviews to a Thumber-generated index page for our test shots. The Thumber data includes a host of information on the images, including shutter speed, ISO setting, compression setting, etc. Rather than clutter the page below with *all* that detail, I'm posting the Thumber index so only those interested in the information need wade through it!

 

Outdoor Portrait:
Normal Contrast, Plus 0.3 EV
(High contrast, slightly dark midtones to preserve highlight detail.)
"Low" Contrast, Plus 1.3 EV
(Not really lower contrast, and needs a lot of positive EV adjust to get back to a reasonably bright image.)

Great resolution and color, though the high contrast requires some tweaking.

The extreme tonal range of this image makes it a tough shot for many digicams, which is precisely why I set it up this way. (And why I don't shoot it with a fill-flash.) The object is to hold both highlight and shadow detail without producing a "flat" picture with muddy colors. The Coolpix 5700 does a good job here, though the resulting image has rather high contrast. I shot with the camera's normal contrast setting, and an exposure compensation of +0.3 EV. The shadows on Marti's face were darker than I'd have liked, but any further increase in the exposure ended up blowing out the highlights. I was surprised to find that the 5700's Low Contrast setting really didn't work too well with this subject. It resulted in very dark images, that required an exposure adjustment of +1.3 EV to get the best shot. Even in "low contrast" mode, the resulting images were very contrasty by the time I'd dialed in enough positive exposure compensation to produce a usable image. (See the two images above right, for examples at normal and low contrast.)

I chose the Auto white balance setting, which produced similar results to the Daylight setting (though the Daylight setting's images were slightly cooler). Manual white balance resulted in a much warmer color balance, with orangish skin tones. Color looks pretty good here, though slightly cool from the Auto white balance. The always-difficult blue flowers are slightly dark and purplish, but still pretty good. Skin tones are about right (though slightly magenta, particularly in the "low contrast" shot), and saturation in the flower bouquet is also very good. The Coolpix 5700 picks up good detail, with high resolution throughout the frame, although it looks like the 5700's noise-suppression algorithm flattened some of the detail in Marti's hair - It isn't quite as crisp as I'd expect. Detail is good in the deep shadows, with moderate noise levels.

To view the entire exposure series from zero to +1.0 EV in the normal contrast setting, see files C57OUTAP0.HTM through C57OUTAP3.HTM on the thumbnail index page.

 

Closer Portrait:
Normal Contrast, no EV boost
(High contrast, slightly dark midtones to preserve highlight detail.)
"Low" Contrast, Plus 1.0 EV
(Slightly better midtones, and more pleasing skin tones, but still needs a lot of positive EV adjust to get back to a reasonably bright image.)

Contrast is again high, but detail is excellent.

Although there's in fact little difference in the contrast, between the two, I somewhat preferred the "low contrast" setting's results here. I thought the skin tones were a bit more appealing (albeit still a little magenta), and the shadows on Marti's face seemed a bit more open. The table at right shows the results of both normal and "low contrast" settings.

Results in this shot are similar to the wider shot above, with good color and resolution. I again shot with the Auto white balance setting, and this time chose an exposure compensation adjustment of +1.0 EV to get the best exposure with the low contrast option set. The level of fine detail increases dramatically in Marti's face and hair, with very well-defined details in her skin. (Maybe a bit too well defined, this would be a good camera for a dermatologist!) Details remain sharp throughout the frame, and the shadow areas show great detail as well. Noise is moderate in the shadows but visible throughout the frame, even in the midtone regions.

To view the entire exposure series from zero to +1.0 EV, see files C57FACAP0.HTM through C57FACAP3.HTM on the thumbnail index page.

 

 

 

Indoor Portrait, Flash:

Normal Flash, +0.3 EV
Slow-Sync Flash
External Flash

Good intensity and nearly accurate color.

The Coolpix 5700's flash illuminates the subject well, with good overall color and brightness. With the flash in its Normal mode, coverage is nice and even. I chose an exposure adjustment of +0.3 EV to brighten the image slightly from what the default exposure produced. The background incandescent lighting results in an orange cast, though it's not overly strong. I also shot with the camera's Slow Sync flash mode, at the default exposure setting. The longer exposure evens out the lighting somewhat, though the orange cast in the background persists, and Marti's shirt picks up a bit of a bluish cast from the strobe. Finally, I attached an external flash unit (A Nikon SB-80DX) and bounced the light to produce a more evenly-lit image. Results were very good, particularly with a +0.7 EV exposure compensation adjustment. - The Nikon dedicated flashes are nice with the 5700, as the internal flash metering will control the power of the external flash as well. Much of the sophistication of the fancy Nikon speedlights is lost though, as the zoom head doesn't respond to zooming of the 5700's lens. (Why?? This is now about the fifth generation of Nikon digicams, and they still don't communicate fully with Nikon's excellent strobe units.)

To view the entire exposure series from zero to +1.0 EV in the normal flash mode, see files C57INFP0.HTM through C57INFP3.HTM on the thumbnail index page. To see the exposure series from zero to +1.3 EV in the Slow Sync flash mode, see files C57INFSP0.HTM through C57INFSP4.HTM.

 

Indoor Portrait, No Flash:
Auto White Balance
Incandescent White Balance
Manual White Balance

Great color with the Manual white balance, accurate exposure.

This shot is always a very tough test of a camera's white balance capability, given the strong, yellowish color cast of the household incandescent bulbs used for the lighting, and the Auto and Incandescent settings of the 5700's white balance system had a little trouble with it.

The Coolpix 5700's Manual white balance system produced the best results, with accurate color and a good white value. Alternatively, the Auto setting resulted in a very warm color balance, with a brownish-sepia tint, while the Incandescent setting produced a more magenta color cast. Color balance with the Manual setting is about right, with natural, accurate skin tones. The blue flowers are dark and purplish (a common problem with this shot), but overall color is still pretty good. The main shot selection has a +1.3 EV exposure compensation adjustment, which brightens the image without losing highlight detail.

To view the full exposure series from +0.7 to +1.7 see files C57INMP2.HTM through C57INMP5.HTM on the thumbnail index page.

ISO Series:

The 5700 has an ISO range that extends from 100 to 800. Noise levels are roughly equivalent to those of other high-end prosumer digicams I've tested, which is to say fairly low at 100, and fairly high at 400. At ISO 800 though, the noise level is *so* high that I don't really consider that setting to be particularly useful for picture taking. Still, I'm glad to see it there, as there's always times when you'll happily accept even extreme noise in exchange for higher shutter speeds.


 

House Shot:

Auto White Balance
Daylight White Balance
Manual White Balance

Great resolution and detail, with accurate color.

I chose the Auto white balance for this shot, as the overall color and white value looked the most natural and accurate. The Manual white balance setting also produced good results, but the overall image was slightly warm and yellowish. The Daylight setting produced a slight greenish cast. Resolution is very high, with great detail in the tree limbs above the roof and the shrubbery in front of the house. Details are sharp and well-defined, even in the foliage. (Actually the resolution of sharp 5 megapixel cameras like the Coolpix 5700 is really starting to get beyond the limits of the poster used as the test target here!) Exposure is a little bright, and the shrubbery details in front of the house are defined more by high contrast than by "actual" detail, but still a great performance.

 

Far-Field Test

Great detail and resolution, good dynamic range as well.

This image is shot at infinity to test far-field lens performance. NOTE that this image cannot be directly compared to the other "house" shot, which is a poster, shot in the studio. The rendering of detail in the poster will be very different than in this shot, and color values (and even the presence or absence of leaves on the trees!) will vary in this subject as the seasons progress. In general though, you can evaluate detail in the bricks, shingles and window detail, and in the tree branches against the sky. Compression artifacts are most likely to show in the trim along the edge of the roof, in the bricks, or in the relatively "flat" areas in the windows.

This is my ultimate "resolution shot," given the infinite range of detail in a natural scene like this. The Coolpix 5700 performs very well, and captures excellent detail throughout the frame. The fine foliage details in the tree limbs above the roof and in the shrubbery in front of the house are very well defined, as are the more rectilinear details of the house front. Shadow detail is very strong, as the brick pattern is completely visible in the shadow area above the front door. The camera does a fairly good job with the bright white bay window trim, holding onto the stronger details in this difficult area. (It must be noted though, that the weather was rather hazy on the day these shots were taken, so the dynamic range of the subject itself isn't nearly as high as normal.) Color is accurate and well-saturated, without any strong color casts. An excellent job overall. Here is a sample image with the camera's Black and White mode. Below is the standard resolution and quality series, followed by ISO, Contrast, Saturation, Sharpness, and Tone series.

Resolution Series:

Giant / Fine
Giant / Normal
Giant / Economy
Large / Fine
Large / Normal
Large / Economy
Medium / Fine
Medium / Normal
Medium / Economy
Small / Fine
Small / Normal
Small / Economy
Tiny / Fine
Tiny / Normal
Tiny / Economy

 

ISO Series:

ISO 100
ISO 200
ISO 400
ISO 800

 

Image Adjustment Series:
Like most Nikon digicams, the 5700 has a series of image adjustment options. Unlike the exposure compensation adjustment, these usually work with the midtones of the image, rather than adjusting overall exposure. I say "usually" though, because it's not clear to me exactly what the "Low Contrast" setting is doing. It clearly darkens the image overall, but doesn't actually seem to adjust the contrast at all. - If you boost the exposure compensation to adjust for the darker exposure, the contrast comes out looking about the same as with the "normal" or "Auto" settings. Very strange - I've always found this control to work as expected on previous Coolpix cameras, but on the 5700 and 4500 both, it has this odd impact on exposure. (The "darker" and "lighter" adjustments work exactly as expected, doing a good job of moving the midtones, while leaving the highlights and shadows more or less undisturbed.

Normal

Auto

Low Contrast
High Contrast

Darker

Lighter

 

Sharpness series:

No Sharpening
Low Sharpening
Normal Sharpening
High Sharpening Auto Sharpening

 

Saturation series:

 

Lens Zoom Range

I routinely shoot this series of images to show the field of view for each camera, with the lens at full wide angle, at maximum telephoto, and at full telephoto with the digital zoom enabled. The Coolpix 5700's 8x zoom lens is equivalent to a 35-280mm lens on a 35mm camera. (That's a range from moderate wide angle to a long telephoto.) Following are the results at each zoom setting.

Wide Angle
8x Telephoto
8x optical + 2x Digital Telephoto
8x Optical + 4x Digital Telephoto

 

 

Musicians Poster

Auto White Balance
Daylight White Balance
Manual White Balance

Very accurate color, with good resolution.

This shot is often difficult for digicams, as the abundance of blue in the subject sometimes tricks white balance systems into producing overly-warm color images. The Coolpix 5700 did a good job here, producing only a very slight warm cast with the Auto white balance. The Daylight white balance resulted in a cooler image, though results weren't bad. I chose the Manual setting as the most accurate, as skin tones and overall color looked the most natural. Exposure is good, though slightly bright, which weakens saturation slightly. The blue robe looks just about right, with only a hint of a purplish tint in the deep shadows (this is a tough blue for many digicams to get right). Resolution is very high, with excellent detail in the embroidery of the blue robe, although the poster used as the target here really has less detail than the 5700 is capable of resolving.

 

Macro Shot

Standard Macro
Macro with Flash

Excellent macro performance, but the flash isn't usable at closest focus.

Nikon's Coolpix line of cameras have been characterized by excellent macro performance, and the Coolpix 5700 is no exception. As see at right, the Coolpix 5700 captured a tiny minimum area of just 1.16 x 0.87 inches (29.4 x 22.1 millimeters). Resolution is very high, with excellent detail in the printed details of the dollar bill. Color is also good. I noticed some corner softness at all four corners, but details are fairly sharp in the center of the frame. (Soft corners are unfortunately a nearly universal problem with digicam macro options.) The Coolpix 5700's flash isn't usable this close, as the large lens barrel casts a shadow over most of the image area. (Check out Nikon's optional macro lighting accessory, which uses white LEDs to make a "ring" light for macro shots.) Despite the flash limitation, a very impressive performance.

 

"Davebox" Test Target

Auto White Balance
Daylight White Balance
Daylight White Balance

Excellent color and good saturation, but yellow is a little weak.

Both the Auto and Manual white balance settings produced great results here, with accurate color. The Daylight white balance setting also did a good job, though the overall color balance was slightly warm. I chose the Manual setting for the main shot, as it produced the best-looking color.Interestingly, there's no sign of the overly-high contrast I observed with the outdoor shots in full sun - It seems that the 5700 does a very good job with subjects of more normal contrast, only having difficulty when faced with really extreme contrast in the subject. The large color blocks look quite accurate in hue, but just a little undersaturated. Detail is great throughout the frame, including in the shadow area of the charcoal briquettes, with moderate noise. Image noise in normally-exposed portions of the image (the color blocks, for instance) is quite low.

ISO Series:
Image noise in the 5700's shots is quite low at ISO 100 (among the lowest I've yet seen from a consumer-grade digicam at ISO 100), increasing as you'd expect as you move to 200 and 400. At ISO 800, noise levels are very high, to the point that I wouldn't consider that to be a very usable ISO rating. OTOH, I'm glad to see it available on the camera, to allow for those times when you've just *got* to have high ISO, even at the expense of a lot of noise.

 

Image Adjustment Series:
As before, the low contrast setting seemed to affect exposure more than contrast. Other image adjustment options pretty much did what I'd have expected.

 

Low-Light Tests

Outstanding low-light shooting, with low noise.

The Coolpix 5700 performs exceptionally well under low lighting, capturing bright, clear images at light levels as low as 1/16 foot-candle (0.67 lux) at all ISO settings tested from 100 to 800. Low light focusing is another matter though: In my tests, the 5700's autofocus system could only achieve a focus lock in light levels of 1/2 foot-candle (5.5 lux) or above. Anything darker than that, and you'll have to set the focusing distance manually, a task made much more difficult than it might be by the lack of any numeric distance readout while in manual focus mode.

Image noise under low light conditions was very low at the lower ISO settings, creeping up slightly with the 400 and 800 ISO settings. The camera's Noise Reduction option was very effective at removing so-called "hot pixel" noise, but has no effect on the random image noise that results from higher ISO settings. (Even with the Noise Reduction of, the 5700's images were remarkably clean. Here are sample images shot without Noise Reduction at 100, 200, 400, and 800 ISO settings, at the lowest light level I test to - 1/16 foot-candle, 0.67 lux.)

Since average city street lighting at night provides about one foot-candle of illumination, the Coolpix 5700 should work well under those conditions, including being able to autofocus properly. The camera can capture excellent images under incredibly dark conditions, but below about 1/2 foot-candle, you'll have to rely on manual focusing. The table below shows the best exposure I was able to obtain for each of a range of illumination levels. Images in this table (like all of our sample photos) are untouched, exactly as they came from the camera.

1fc
11lux
1/2fc
5.5lux
1/4fc
2.7lux
1/8fc
1.31lux
1/16fc
0.67lux
1/16fc
0.67lux
(No Noise
Reduction)
ISO
100
Click to see C57LL1003.JPG
2 secs
F2.9
Click to see C57LL1004.JPG
4 secs
F2.9
Click to see C57LL1005.JPG
8 secs
F2.9
Click to see C57LL1006.JPG
15 secs
F2.9
Click to see C57LL1007.JPG
30.1 secs
F2.9
Click to see C57LL1007NNR.JPG
30.2 secs
F2.9
ISO
200
Click to see C57LL2003.JPG
1 secs
F2.9
Click to see C57LL2004.JPG
2 secs
F2.9
Click to see C57LL2005.JPG
4 secs
F2.9
Click to see C57LL2006.JPG
8 secs
F2.9
Click to see C57LL2007.JPG
15.3 secs
F2.9
Click to see C57LL2007NNR.JPG
15.3 secs
F2.9
ISO
400
Click to see C57LL4003.JPG
1/ 2 secs
F2.9
Click to see C57LL4004.JPG
1 secs
F2.9
Click to see C57LL4005.JPG
2 secs
F2.9
Click to see C57LL4006.JPG
4 secs
F2.9
Click to see C57LL4007.JPG
8 secs
F2.9
Click to see C57LL4007NNR.JPG
8 secs
F2.9
ISO
800
Click to see C57LL8003.JPG
1/ 4 secs
F2.9
Click to see C57LL8004.JPG
1/ 2 secs
F2.9
Click to see C57LL8005.JPG
1 secs
F2.9
Click to see C57LL8006.JPG
2 secs
F2.9
Click to see C57LL8007.JPG
4 secs
F2.9
Click to see C57LL8007NNR.JPG
4 secs
F2.9

 

Love high ISO photography? Hate noise? Check out Fred Miranda's ISO-R noise-reducing actions for Photoshop. Incredible noise reduction, with *no* loss of subject detail. (Pretty amazing, IMHO.) Check it out!

 

 

Flash Range Test

Good flash intensity, all the way to 14 feet, but the camera boosts the ISO to achieve this.

The Coolpix 5700's flash remained bright and effective all the way to 14 feet from the test target, the limit of my flash test range. The excellent flash range is compromised slightly though, by the fact that the camera boosts the ISO to 200 at distances greater than about 9 feet, to make the most of the flash's available light. I tested the flash at the default brightness level, with no flash exposure adjustments. Below is the flash range series, with distances from eight to 14 feet from the target.

8ft. 9ft. 10ft. 11ft. 12ft. 13ft. 14ft.
Click to see C57FL08.JPG
1/ 125 secs
F3.7
Click to see C57FL09.JPG
1/ 125 secs
F3.8
Click to see C57FL10.JPG
1/ 125 secs
F3.9
Click to see C57FL11.JPG
1/ 125 secs
F4
Click to see C57FL12.JPG
1/ 125 secs
F4
Click to see C57FL13.JPG
1/ 125 secs
F4.1
Click to see C57FL14.JPG
1/ 125 secs
F4.1

 

ISO-12233 (WG-18) Resolution Test

Great performance, strong detail to 1,300 lines.

The Coolpix 5700 performed well on the "laboratory" resolution test chart. It started showing artifacts in the test patterns at resolutions as low as 900 lines per picture height vertically and horizontally. I found "strong detail" out to 1,300 lines (you could make an argument for 1350), and "extinction" of the target patterns didn't occur until about 1,500 lines. Excellent job!

Optical distortion on the Coolpix 5700 is a bit higher than average at the wide-angle end of the zoom range, where I measured an 0.9 percent barrel distortion. The telephoto end fared much better, as I measured a 0.2 percent pincushion distortion. Chromatic aberration is fairly low, showing about one or two pixels of coloration on either side of the target lines. (This distortion is visible as a very slight colored fringe around the objects at the edges of the field of view on the resolution target.)

Resolution Series, Wide Angle

Giant / Fine
Giant / Normal
Giant / Economy
Large / Fine
Large / Normal
Large / Economy
Medium / Fine
Medium / Normal
Medium / Economy
Small / Fine
Small / Normal
Small / Economy
Tiny / Fine
Tiny / Normal
Tiny / Economy

 

Sharpness Series, Wide Angle

Resolution Series, Telephoto

Telephoto

 

 

Viewfinder Accuracy/Flash Uniformity

A very accurate electronic viewfinder. Usable for framing down to 1/8 foot-candle.

The Coolpix 5700's electronic optical viewfinder and LCD monitor were very accurate at wide angle, showing approximately 98 percent frame accuracy. At telephoto, my standard lines of measurement were just barely out of frame, so the accuracy was very close to 100 percent. I generally prefer viewfinders to be as accurate as possible, so the Coolpix 5700 performs very well in this regard.

The real limitation of electronic viewfinders comes when shooting under low light conditions, where the need for relatively rapid refresh of the viewfinder restricts the CCD's ability to collect light. The result is that cameras with EVFs can almost always capture good shots at light levels far darker than those at which you can still see through the viewfinder. This is true of the 5700 too, but I was very pleased to see that I could use the viewfinder for framing at light levels as dark as 1/8 foot-candle (1.3 lux).

Flash illumination is fairly even at wide angle, though some falloff occurs at the corners. At telephoto, flash distribution is much more even, though slightly dim.


Wide Angle

Telephoto

 

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