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Nikon Coolpix 5000

Nikon moves into the 5 megapixel era with a new chip, new lens, and new body, but no retreat from the legendary Nikon feature set!

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Page 2:Executive Overview

Review First Posted: 9/18/2001

Executive Overview

The latest edition in the Coolpix line, the Nikon Coolpix 5000 offers a true, 5-megapixel CCD for capturing high quality, sharp images with great color. The Coolpix 5000 is fairly compact, especially when measured up against several previous Coolpix models, at just 4.0 x 3.2 x 2.7 inches (101.5 x 81.5 x 67.5 millimeters). While it won't fit into a standard shirt pocket, the Coolpix 5000 should easily fit into a medium-sized purse, though a soft camera bag is the best method of transportation. The Coolpix 5000 is just a little hefty at 12.6 ounces (360 grams), most likely due to the slightly large hand grip and lens. In addition to the hand grip, which is substantial, the Coolpix 5000 comes with a neck strap, for increased portability.

A newly-designed 3x Nikkor 7.1-21.4mm lens is built into the camera, providing a zoom range equivalent to a 28-85mm lens on a 35mm camera. Focus can be automatically or manually controlled, with an adjustable AF area. In addition to the 3x optical zoom, the Coolpix 5000 also provides up to 4x digital zoom, depending on the image size selected. (Keep in mind that digital zoom often compromises image quality because only the central portion of the CCD's image is enlarged, decreasing resolution.) Both a real-image optical viewfinder and a 1.8-inch LCD monitor are included on the Coolpix 5000 for composing your shots. The low-temperature, polysilicon TFT LCD monitor has a rotating design, allowing it to pop up from the back panel and swivel around approximately 270 degrees. The LCD can also flip around and fold flat against the back panel, giving it the familiar rear-panel position common to most digicams. Finally, it can be closed when not in use, protecting the monitor from dirt and scratches.

Following the standard of prior high-end Nikon Coolpix digicams, the Coolpix 5000 features extensive exposure control. Program AE, Flexible Program AE, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, and Manual exposure modes are available, each with a wide range of features. Shutter speeds range from 1/4,000 (1/2,000 in most modes) to eight seconds, with a Bulb setting for exposures up to five minutes. A Noise Reduction option decreases the image noise that would normally be present in long exposures. The maximum aperture is f/2.8 - f/4.8, depending on the zoom setting, and is adjustable in 1/3 EV steps. Four metering options are available, including 256-Segment Matrix, Center-Weighted, Spot, and AF Spot (which ties the metering spot to the selected AF area). ISO can be set to a range of values, including Auto, 100, 200, 400, and 800. The camera's adjustable White Balance setting offers Auto, Fine (daylight), Incandescent, Fluorescent, Cloudy, Speedlight, or Preset (which allows you to manually adjust the white value by using a white card or object as a reference point). Additionally, all white balance settings can be adjusted from -3 to +3 units on an arbitrary scale. A White Balance Bracketing mode captures three images with slightly different white balance adjustments, letting you pick the best image when you view the photos on your computer.

Exposure compensation is adjustable from -2 to +2 exposure equivalents (EV) in one-third step increments, and is controllable in all exposure modes. The Auto Bracketing feature takes three or five shots of the same subject with varying exposure values determined either by the photographer in Manual mode or by the camera in all other modes, with variable exposure steps between shots. Best Shot Select snaps multiple images and then automatically picks the sharpest, making it feasible to handhold the camera for surprisingly long exposures. The "Quick Review" button lets you quickly check the last shot taken without leaving Record mode, going so far as to make most of the Playback mode options available, while permitting a very quick return to shooting. Through the camera's settings menu, you can adjust the image sharpness and color saturation. An Image Adjustment menu offers Contrast, Lightness, and Monochrome adjustments as well. Additionally, the Coolpix 5000 allows you to save up to three sets of user settings for focus, exposure, and other camera options, for rapid recall via the setup menu. A Self-Timer mode offers a three or 10-second countdown before firing the shutter. The camera's built-in flash operates in Auto, Flash Cancel, Anytime Flash, Red-Eye Reduction, and Slow-Sync modes. An external flash hot shoe is also included in the camera's design accommodates a more powerful external flash unit.

The Coolpix 5000 offers a wide range of "motor drive" rapid-exposure modes for capturing quick sequences of images. Continuous L, Continuous H, High Speed Continuous, Ultra High Speed Continuous, and Multi-Shot 16 modes are available through the settings menu, and offer a range of sequence shooting speeds. (Multi-Shot 16 mode subdivides the image area into 16 sections and captures a "mini-movie" of small images at 400 x 300-pixel resolution.) Finally, Movie mode records moving images (with sound) for as long as 40 seconds (depending on the amount of available memory space) at approximately 15 frames per second. Movies are recorded in the QVGA (320x240) resolution size.

The Coolpix 5000 stores images to CompactFlash cards (Type I or II), and a 32MB card is packaged with the camera. File formats include several levels of compressed JPEG files as well as an uncompressed TIFF mode (Hi quality setting). Available image sizes are 2,560 x 1,920, 3:2 Ratio (2,560 x 1,700), 1,600 x 1,200 (UXGA), 1,280 x 960 (SXGA), 1,024 x 768 (XGA), and 640 x 480 (VGA) pixels. A Video Out jack allows the camera to be connected to a television set, for larger screen image review.

A rechargeable EN-EL1 lithium-ion battery pack powers the camera, and an AC adapter is available as a separate accessory. (The battery and charger are included in the box with the Coolpix 5000.) The camera connects to a computer via a USB cable (included), and the accompanying software provides image downloading and organizing capabilities.

With its full exposure control, customizable user interface, and loads of features, the Coolpix 5000 is a worthy contender in the digicam marketplace. The 5-megapixel CCD and 3x Nikkor lens capture sharp, clear images with great quality and color. I also really liked the rotating LCD monitor, which makes shooting at odd angles a lot more comfortable. Like the previous Coolpix digicams that went before, the new Coolpix 5000 offers everything I look for in a "prosumer" level digicam. Given the Coolpix track record and its excellent capabilities, I think the Coolpix 5000 will do very well for itself.



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