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Sample Images for
Nikon CoolPix 2500


For those interested in exposure and file size information, I now include links in my reviews to a Thumber-generated index page for my test shots. The Thumber data includes a range 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:

Good resolution and detail, excellent color, with good midtones.

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. The object is to hold highlight and shadow detail without producing a "flat" picture with muddy colors, and the Coolpix 2500 did a great job. The shot at right has a +0.3 EV exposure adjustment, which brightened the midtones without losing too much detail in the highlights. (A few of them are blown out, but not too badly.) The Auto white balance produced the most accurate color balance overall, and thus was the one I chose for the main image. The Daylight setting resulted in a greenish color cast, while the Manual setting produced a warmer, reddish cast. Skin tones look good, and the blue flowers are just about dead on (this is a difficult blue for many digicams). Resolution is pretty high, with a lot of fine detail visible. Detail is also good in the shadows, with very low noise. Overall, an excellent performance.


  Closer Portrait:

Great resolution and detail, pleasing color.

Results are very similar to the shot above, and the 3x lens helps prevent any distortion of the model's features. (If you intend to shoot close portraits of people, you really need a zoom lens to avoid the distortion wide-angle lenses cause in people's features.) The image at right has no exposure adjustment, as the default exposure produced good midtones (though the highlights are slightly blown out). Resolution is higher in this shot, with even stronger detail in the model's face and hair (as well as in the house siding). Shadow detail is again very good, with low noise. The skin tones are slightly pink, but the overall effect is quite pleasing.


Indoor Portrait, Flash:
Normal Flash
Night Portrait Mode

Good intensity, best color in normal mode, but best lighting balance in Night Portrait mode. Required quite a bit of exposure compensation though.

The Coolpix 2500's flash illuminated this subject well, but required an exposure adjustment of +0.7 EV. Color is vibrant and accurate. Still, the exposure is somewhat unbalanced, as the high intensity on the subject produces harsh shadows, and makes the subject pop out from the background a bit too much. Using the flash without exposure compensation results in a very dim image, with a blue cast on the model. The Coolpix 2500 offers a Night Portrait mode, which synchronizes the flash with a slower shutter speed and allows more ambient light into the image. This mode offered the most balanced results, particularly with the exposure compensation set to +1.0 EV. Though a yellow/orange cast appears on the background wall, the overall exposure is much brighter, and hardly looks like a flash exposure at all. However, the same mode without any exposure compensation produced much too dim an image. Overall, I'd like to have seen better exposure accuracy without the need for exposure compensation. Likewise, a color/light balance effect about halfway between what I got with Normal and Night Portrait modes would have been best. Still, I think most consumers would be very pleased by the bright, clean colors of the Normal Flash photo, provided they learned to use the exposure compensation adjustment properly.


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

Incandescent and auto white balance a bit warm, pretty accurate color with Manual option.

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 Coolpix 2500 had a little trouble in its auto and incandescent modes. The Incandescent white balance setting resulted in a greenish color cast, while the Auto setting produced a warm image with a reddish-sepia tint. Manual white balance produced the most accurate results overall, though the strong highlights have a slightly purplish cast. The main image has a +0.7 EV exposure adjustment, which holds onto detail in the highlight areas. Increasing the exposure compensation not only brightened the image too much, but also intensified the color cast in the highlights.

To view the entire exposure series from zero to +1.3 EV, see files C25INMP0.HTM through C25INMP4.HTM on our thumbnail index page.



House Shot:
Auto White Balance
Daylight White Balance
Manual White Balance

Resolution and color are both good, with a lot of fine detail.

The Auto white balance setting produced the most accurate color here, despite a very slight reddish tint to the white values. Daylight white balance produced a greenish image, while the Manual setting resulted in a slight blue cast. Overall color is pleasing, with nice saturation. Resolution is high, with a lot of detail visible in the tree limbs and fine foliage. Throughout most of the frame, details are reasonably sharp, but the extreme corners of the image are somewhat soft. Still, a nice job all in all.




  Far-Field Test

Great resolution and detail, though dynamic range is limited.

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 2500 captures a lot of fine detail throughout the frame, with pretty good sharpness, but the image is just a shade below the sharpness of the best 2 megapixel cameras I've seen. (Very good for a compact camera though.) Corner details are again soft, though not as much so as in some other photos. The Coolpix 2500 loses all but the strongest details in the white bay window area, in response to the harsh sunlight. Though a fair bit of shadow detail is preserved in the shadow area above the front door, the Coolpix 2500's dynamic range is limited by the lost highlights. The table below shows our standard resolution and quality series.

Resolution Series
Large / Fine
(679 k)
Large / Normal
(440 k)
Large / Economy
(259 k)
Medium / Fine
(467 k)
Medium / Normal
(296 k)
Medium / Economy
(177 k)
Small / Fine
(298 k)
Small / Normal
(204 k)
Small / Economy
(127 k)
Tiny / Fine
(141 k)
Tiny / Normal
(100 k)
Tiny / Economy
(75 k)

Sharpness Series
Very Low
(630 k)
(650 k)
(679 k)
(680 k)
Very High
(695 k)


  Lens Zoom Range

A pretty typical 3x zoom range.

The following series of shots shows the field of view with the lens at full wide angle, at 3x telephoto, and at 3x telephoto with the 2x digital zoom enabled. The Coolpix 2500's lens features a 5.6-16.8mm zoom range, equivalent to a 37-111mm zoom on a 35mm film camera. (This range is very slightly shifted toward the telephoto, compared to the bulk of 3x digicams, with focal lengths ranging from 35-105mm equivalents.) Following are the results at each zoom setting.


Wide Angle
3x Telephoto
2x Digital Telephoto


  Musicians Poster
Auto White Balance
Daylight White Balance
Manual White Balance

Great resolution and detail, but a little trouble with color balance.

In this test, the Daylight white balance produced the most natural color balance to my eye, despite a slight greenish tint. The Auto setting resulted in a reddish color balance, while the Manual setting produced slightly magenta results. (The large amount of blue in the composition often tricks digicams.) The Oriental model's blue robe looks about right, though the deep shadows have purple tints. (This is a tough blue for many digicams to get right.) Resolution is high, judging by the embroidery details of the blue robe and the well-defined details of the beaded necklaces. Overall sharpness is also good, though the corners are a bit soft.


Macro Shot
Standard Macro Shot
Macro with Flash

Excellent macro performance.

The Coolpix 2500 performed very well in the macro category, capturing a minimum area of just 1.45 x 1.08 inches (37 x 28 millimeters). Resolution is outstanding, with great detail in the printing on the dollar bill. (Brooch and coin details are soft, due to the limited depth of field when shooting this close.) Color balance looks good as well. The camera's flash throttled down very well for the macro area, though exposure was still a bit too bright. (Backing off slightly should give pretty good results.)


"Davebox" Test Target
Auto White Balance
Daylight White Balance
Manual White Balance

Great color and exposure with accurate saturation.

The Manual white balance setting produced the most accurate overall color here, with a good white value on both the mini-resolution target and large white color block. The Auto white balance setting produced nearly accurate results, though slightly yellowish, while the Daylight white balance produced a greenish color cast. The large color blocks are about right, with good saturation, although the yellow block is a little weak. Exposure also looks good, as the Coolpix 2500 distinguishes the subtle pastel tones on the Q60 chart with no problem. The shadow area of the charcoal briquettes shows strong detail, with moderately low noise. Overall, an excellent performance.


Low-Light Tests

Good enough for average city street lighting at night, but camera uses fixed focus in "Twilight Landscape" mode.

The Coolpix 2500 offers a variety of special scene shooting modes, two of which set up the camera for shooting in low light (Night Landscape and Museum). In Night Landscape mode, the Coolpix 2500 captured usable images at light levels as low as one-half foot-candle (5.5 lux), though that mode forces the focus to infinity, resulting in very blurry photos of my test target. Alternatively, Museum mode leaves the autofocus enabled, but captured usable images only as low as one foot-candle (11 lux), equivalent to average city street lighting at night. In the camera's standard Auto exposure mode, images were usable as low as one-half foot-candle (5.5 lux), though focus was only correct at the one foot-candle setting. Thus, the Coolpix 2500 should be able to capture images under common city street lighting, but cannot focus properly at lower light levels. It's interesting to note that the various modes also affect the camera's ISO setting, with Normal mode automatically adjusting the ISO as high as 400, Museum mode setting it to 200, and Night Landscape mode setting it to 400. The table below shows the best exposure obtained 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.

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Flash Range Test

Low intensity, even at eight feet from the test target.

The Coolpix 2500's flash produced very dim images when I shot without exposure adjustments. (I saw the same behavior on the indoor portrait tests above, but it wasn't as pronounced.) On this test, the flash was brightest at the eight foot distance, though flash power was low even that close. Intensity decreased incrementally with each additional foot of distance, becoming very dark at the 14 foot distance.

It's likely that some of the poor performance here is because this test is shot with the lens set at or near it's maximum telephoto focal length. This results in a smaller aperture (higher f-stop number) than when the lens is set to wide angle, where most digicam makers measure their flash range. Low flash power is the bane of small camera designs, bit I'd really like to see better performance here. (Particularly since the 2500 apparently automatically sets the ISO to 200 for flash photos.)

Below is my flash range series, with distances from eight to 14 feet from the target.

8 ft 9 ft 10 ft 11 ft 12 ft 13 ft 14 ft
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ISO-12233 (WG-18) Resolution Test

Good job, with strong detail to 1,000 lines/picture height.

The Coolpix 2500 performed well on the "laboratory" resolution test chart. It started showing artifacts in the test patterns at resolutions as low as 650 lines per picture height vertically and about 600 lines horizontally. I found "strong detail" out to 750-800 lines though (750 vertically, 800 horizontally). "Extinction" of the target patterns occurred at about 950 lines. Overall, the 2500 isn't quite as crisp as the very best 2 megapixel cameras I've tested, but doesn't do at all badly for such a compact lens design, and is comparable to or better than Nikon's own Coolpix 775.

Optical distortion on the Coolpix 2500 is high at the wide-angle end, where I measured approximately 1.27 percent barrel distortion. (This is a fair bit more than average, as most consumer digicams come in somewhere around 0.85 percent.) The telephoto setting fared better, showing only two pixels of pincushion distortion. Chromatic aberration is very low, showing only about two or three lightly-colored pixels 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.) The Coolpix 2500's lens also produced some corner softness at the wide-angle setting, though the effect wasn't too strong.

Resolution Series, Wide Angle
Large / Fine
(708 k)
Medium / Fine
(414 k)
Small / Fine
(258 k)
Tiny / Fine
(111 k)

Large / Fine
(682 k)


Viewfinder Accuracy/Flash Uniformity

Almost 100 percent accuracy on the LCD monitor.

The Coolpix 2500's LCD monitor was just a hair "loose" at the wide-angle lens setting, as the standard measurement lines on the target were just outside the frame in the final image. The LCD monitor produced almost exactly 100 percent frame accuracy at the telephoto setting, however, which is impressive. Since I normally prefer to see LCD monitors as close to 100 percent accuracy as possible, the Coolpix 2500 did a great job in this respect. Flash distribution at wide angle is slightly uneven, with a slight shadow area in the center of the frame and some falloff at the corners of the image. (Overall though, I'd have to say it's more even than most. Flash distribution at telephoto is much more even.

Wide Angle, LCD

Telephoto, LCD



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