Nikon P5000 Review

 
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Nikon Coolpix P5000 Design

The P5000 represents an attractive new design motif for Nikon Coolpix digicams. The black magnesium body is small, yet thicker than Nikon's S-series Coolpixes, at 3.9 x 2.5 x 1.6 inches (98 x 64.5 x 41mm) excluding projections; fitting easily in a jacket pocket or fanny pack. The prominent right-handed grip is covered in a black rubber material also used for the thumb pad on the back panel. The rubber coating is a nice touch, particularly on the thumb pad, where we rarely see it in digicams. The resulting grip is very secure-feeling. Chrome and silver highlights mark the lens and controls while the 2.5-inch LCD leaves room for all of them on the 8.11 ounce (230 gram, with battery and card) body.



On the front, the 3.5x optical zoom Nikkor lens in the bottom right corner ranges from 7.5 to 26.3 mm (a 35mm equivalent of 36-126mm) with a maximum aperture of f2.7 to f5.3 and a minimum aperture of f7.3. A silver knurled ring can be screwed off to attach the conversion lens adapter, for attaching wide-angle and telephoto converter lenses. To the left of the lens is the Self-Timer Lamp/AF-Assist Illuminator and, below it, the single hole for the microphone. Just above the Self-Timer Lamp is the Viewfinder lens and to its right, in the corner, is the built-in flash. On the far left is the large hand grip.



The right side of the camera has a chrome eyelet for either the wrist strap or the neck strap, both included. At the bottom is a rubber cover to the USB and A/V out port. Adjacent to and forward of that is the cover to the optional AC adapter, which uses a dummy battery to connect to the camera. At the very bottom of the right side, you can see the side of the battery/card compartment cover.



The left side of the P5000 has a matching chrome eyelet and a round speaker grill with seven holes.



The top panel of the camera has a hot shoe on the left side protected by a plastic cover that slides off toward the back. Just right of center, the Mode Dial provides access to all the recording modes on the P5000, plus Setup (note though, that Playback mode is activated by a button on the back panel). The current setting is indicated by a white mark next to the dial. On the far right end of the top panel a set of four controls is grouped by the chromed top of the grip. At the very front is the Shutter button with the Zoom control surrounding it. Behind it and slightly to the left is the small Power button and to its rear the green Power-on LED. At the rear of the chrome top, slightly extending beyond it, is the Command Dial, which is nearly as large as the Mode Dial.



The back panel of the P5000 is instantly comprehensible (at least, it is if you're familiar with common camera symbols), unlike many other digicams. The 2.5 inch LCD slightly off center to the left is crowned by the optical viewfinder. To the right of the viewfinder window, a Flash LED and below it, an Autofocus LED can both be seen when using the viewfinder. On the right side of the panel, the large thumb pad sits above the four-way Multi-Selector with an OK button in the middle. The Multi-Selector's arrow buttons also function as Flash, Exposure Compensation, Macro and Self-Timer controls, and the OK button doubles as the Transfer button when connected to a computer, as a small graphic in the bottom corner reminds you. A set of five silver buttons runs down the left side of the back panel next to the LCD. These are the Function, Display, Playback, Menu and Delete buttons.



The bottom panel has a metal tripod socket right next to the hinge of the battery/card compartment cover. There really isn't enough clearance between the socket and hinge to permit access to the compartment when the camera is mounted on a tripod.

 

Nikon Coolpix P5000 External Controls


Power Button: Located between the Shutter button and the Command Dial, this small button turns the camera on and off. A green LED behind it indicates when the camera has power. The Playback button can also be used to turn the camera on, powering up directly into playback mode.


Zoom Lever: Surrounding the Shutter button, the Zoom Lever controls optical zoom and, when enabled in the Setup menu, digital zoom. In Playback mode, the T position zooms in or magnifies an image up to 10 times while the W position display captured images in index mode in groups of 4, 9 or 16 images. In any menu, where a question mark appears on the screen, the T setting brings up a help screen.

Shutter Button (see above image): Surrounded by the Zoom Lever, this button sets focus and exposure when halfway pressed, and fires the shutter when fully pressed.


Command Dial: In Record mode, the Command Dial scrolls through particular exposure settings of the mode in use (that is, aperture settings in aperture priority, shutter settings in shutter priority, etc). When accessing the Menu system, the Command Dial can be used like the Multi-Selector to scroll through the options. In Playback mode, this dial scrolls through the captured images.


Mode Dial: On the top panel just inside the Command Dial, the Mode Dial setting is indicated by a white mark to its left. Available modes include Auto, Programmed Auto, Shutter Priority, Aperture Priority, Manual, Anti-Shake, High Sensitivity, Scene (including Face-Priority AF, Portrait, Landscape, Sports, Night Portrait, Party/Indoor, Beach/Snow, Sunset, Dusk/Dawn, Night Landscape, Close Up, Museum, Fireworks Show, Copy, Back Light and Panorama Assist), Movie, and Setup.


Multi-Selector: The Multi-Selector and OK button, located just to the right of the LCD on the back panel, navigate the camera menus and display the Flash, Self-timer, Focus mode and Exposure Adjust menus. In Record mode, the Up arrow displays the Flash mode menu (Auto, Red-Eye, Off, Fill, Slow Sync, Rear-Curtain Sync); the Right arrow enables the Exposure Compensation adjustment, which can be changed with the up/down arrows and confirmed with the OK button; the Down arrow displays the Focus mode (Auto Focus, Infinity, Focus Limit, Macro); and the Left arrow displays the Self-Timer options of Off, 10 seconds, or 3 seconds. The OK button confirms selections and returns to Record mode. When the Menu system is activated (by pressing the Menu button), the arrows navigate through the menu screens. In Playback mode, the Left and Right arrows or the Up and Down arrows scroll through the captured images (as does the Command Dial). They also let you scroll around within images magnified by the Zoom lever.


Function Button: The top button on the column of five at the left side of the LCD, the Function button displays ISO Sensitivity settings by default. It can be programmed in Setup mode to display ISO Sensitivity, Image Quality, Image Size, White Balance or Vibration Reduction options in PASM modes. In Scene mode, it displays the available Scene modes.


Display Button: In Record modes, the Display button just below the Function button in the column of five buttons alongside the LCD, toggles through up to four display settings. Those include Current Settings, Framing Guides, No Information other than the Record mode, Monitor Off (in PASM modes only). In Playback mode, it toggles through three display modes including Photo with Information, Shooting data display (a small thumbnail above a histogram with file information and exposure data to the right), and Photo with no information.


Playback Button: In any Record mode, pressing the Playback button to the left of the LCD enters Playback mode. If the camera is off, holding the Playback button down for a couple of seconds will power the camera on in Playback mode.


Menu Button: The fourth button in the column next to the LCD, this button activates the Menu system in either Record or Playback mode. It also exits the Menu system, as does half-pressing the Shutter button.


Delete Button: The last of the five buttons next to the LCD, this button deletes the last captured image in Record mode, any highlighted image in the Index display, the selected image in Playback mode, as well as Movies and Voice Recordings.

 

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