Nikon’s month of plenty continues: Seven more digicams, two lenses announced
posted Tuesday, January 29, 2013 at 12:43 AM EDT
January has been quite the month for Nikon. The company already announced two new 1-series mirrorless cameras and a Coolpix compact just prior to the Consumer Electronics Show, and now it's followed up with seven more cameras for the largest photography show in its home market -- the annual CP+ Camera and Imaging Show. That's a total of no less than 10 camera announcements in just 22 days, and as if that wasn't enough, Nikon's also debuting two new Nikkor lenses, as well. (You could see them as a celebration: just a day ago, Nikon also announced the 80th anniversary of the Nikkor brand.)
The Nikon P520 follows in the footsteps of last year's P510, and they both share much DNA. The lens and body look to be almost the same, with only relatively modest styling tweaks. The body has grown a little wider and deeper, but shaved a little off the height and weight. The most significant difference is an updated image sensor. This boosts the resolution just slightly, and extends the lower end of the ISO sensitivity range a little as well, but the differences are slight.
There's also a new Active mode for Nikon's Vibration Reduction, which better corrects for shake in video shooting. The rear-panel LCD monitor has grown slightly, as well. List pricing has simultaneously climbed by about US$20, to US$450. In other respects, there's little to tell the two cameras apart, at least by looking at the spec sheets. That could be good news indeed, because we found the earlier model a worthy choice, awarding it a Dave's Pick.
Available from February 2013, the Nikon Coolpix P520 is priced at around US$450. Three body colors will be available: black, red, or dark grey. More details can be found in our Nikon P520 preview.
Nikon also launched another camera last year for the globe-trotter who likes to travel light: the Coolpix S9300. The new Nikon S9500 follows the same path trodden by that camera, but with numerous additions throughout -- and yet impressively it manages to hit almost the same body size and weight. Key among the changes is a new zoom lens that's more far-reaching, and there's also now built-in Wi-Fi connectivity. Nikon has also integrated the GPS antenna more seamlessly, changed the display technology, and boosted the image sensor resolution ever so slightly.
The new backside-illuminated CMOS image sensor has a resolution of 18.1 megapixels. Its upper sensitivity limit of ISO 1,600 equivalent is, unfortunately, rather lower than the ISO 3,200 limit of the earlier camera, which seems quite a price to pay for just an extra two megapixels of resolution. The new optic covers a 22x zoom range from 25mm to 550mm equivalents, which compares favorably to the 25-450mm range of the earlier camera.
Available from February 2013, the Nikon Coolpix S9500 is priced at around US$350. Three body colors will be available: black, silver, or red. For more on this camera, read our Nikon S9500 preview.
With the Coolpix AW110, Nikon corrects an injustice. If you shot with last year's Coolpix AW100, you were left fiddling with cables -- or worse still, transferring flash cards between camera and reader -- to get to your images. Sure, it was a rugged, go-anywhere camera for the outdoors type, but that doesn't mean you wanted to share those photos any less swiftly! The Nikon AW110 now features built-in Wi-Fi wireless networking connectivity. This allows you to quickly and easily transfer images and videos directly to compatible smart devices, using a free Wireless Mobile Adapter Utility application that's available for Android and iOS devices. And impressively, Wi-Fi networking has been added with barely any increase in the camera's size, although its weight has crept up by 0.6 ounces (15g).
And that increase in weight may well not be down to the Wi-Fi, because Nikon has taken an already-rugged camera and made it even more so. The AW100 could survive at snorkeling depths of up to 33 feet, and withstand a five-foot drop, but the Nikon AW110 bests it on both fronts, and by quite some margin for the waterproofing. Forget your snorkeling gear -- you'll want scuba tanks to take full advantage of the AW110's 59 foot (18m) depth rating. And if you fumble the camera while you're getting into your scuba gear, it should now live through a 6.6 foot (2m) drop. And it's not just fans of water sports who'll benefit -- the Nikon AW110 is still freezeproof, to boot.
Available from February 2013, the Nikon Coolpix AW110 is priced at around US$350. Four body colors will be available: orange, black, camouflage (don't lose it!), and blue. For more on Nikon's newest rugged digicam, read our Nikon AW110 preview.
More zoom reach can be a great thing, giving you more options for how to frame your shots without having to run back and forth, zooming with your feet. Make it affordable, and you've got a great proposition for consumers who've grown accustomed to reaching for their smartphones -- which seldom offer an optical zoom in the first place, let alone an ultrazoom.
The Nikon L820 takes last year's L810, and increases the zoom reach significantly, kicking that added value up another notch while retaining the same price tag. The Nikon L820's lens also sits in front of a new image sensor, now a CMOS chip instead of a CCD. In other respects, the L820 is quite similar to its predecessor, however.
Available from February 2013, the Nikon Coolpix L820 is priced at around US$280. Two body colors will be available: black or red. Get the whole story in our Nikon L820 preview.
Looking for an affordable camera that's pocket-friendly, and makes it as easy as possible to get your images out of the camera, and onto social networks where friends and family can see them? The Nikon S5200 aims to fit the bill, with a price tag of just US$180, a sleek body that's relatively free of protrusions, and built-in Wi-Fi connectivity.
At its heart, the Nikon S5200 is based around a 16.0 megapixel, backside-illuminated CMOS image sensor. Its sensitivity spans a useful range from ISO 125 to 3,200 equivalents. The sensor still sits behind a 6x optical zoom lens whose 35mm-equivalent focal range spans everything from 26 to 156mm equivalents.
Available from February 2013, the Nikon Coolpix S5200 is priced at around US$180. Four body colors will be available: plum, red, blue, or black. More details in our Nikon S5200 preview.
If there's one thing consumers understand about digital cameras, it's the mighty megapixel. With the Coolpix L28, Nikon will be speaking their language, cramming even more pixels than ever into its latest entry-level L-series compact. Just how many pixels can you fit inside a camera with a US$120 pricetag? The answer, it seems, is around 0.2 megapixels per dollar, for a whopping total of 20.1 megapixels. (We know folks who'd have killed for these price-to-resolution ratios, back in the day!)
The Nikon L28's 20.1 megapixel chip -- it's a CCD -- yields an ISO sensitivity range of 80 to 1,600 equivalents, of which 80-800 is available under automatic control. The sensor sits behind a 5x optical zoom lens with a focal range of 4.6 to 23.0mm. In old money (35mm equivalents), that's 26 to 130mm, or a pretty generous wide angle to a modest telephoto.
Available from February 2013, the Nikon Coolpix L28 will be available in red, black, or silver. Find out if this is the camera for you in our Nikon L28 preview.
Consumers can tend to treat entry-level digital cameras almost like disposables. Take it everywhere, let it take a beating, and when it gives up -- most likely sooner, rather than later -- it makes way for another entry-level camera. It doesn't have to be like that, though. Even on an entry-level budget, you can pick up a fairly rugged camera that will accompany you on a day at beach or pool (and handle the occasional accidental drop) without you needing to reach for your pocket book. The Coolpix S31, suggests Nikon, is one such camera.
Priced affordably at just US$120, and available from February 2013, the Nikon S31 ships in five eyecatching colors: white, blue, pink, brown, or yellow. Fans of boring old black and silver need not apply, unless they fancy repainting their camera. (Warning: We do not recommend repainting your camera. Unless you want to reach for the pocket book again, that is.)
As with all the other cameras alongside which it is announced, the Nikon Coolpix S31 will be available from February 2013. Find out more about this rugged entry-level camera in our Nikon S31 preview.
And so, we come to the lenses. Nikon's AF-S Nikkor 800mm f/5.6E FL ED VR super-telephoto lens is, quite clearly, aimed at professionals. You'll need deep pockets -- or a convincing business case -- to justify the price tag of US$17,900 or thereabouts, although for that price you will also get a bundled, newly-developed teleconverter. At 800mm on an FX-format camera or 1,200mm on a DX-format body, this is the most far-reaching lens the company offers even without its teleconverter, besting the AF-S Nikkor 600mm f/4G ED VR by a fair margin. Mount the dedicated AF-S Teleconverter TC800-1.25E ED -- the company's first teleconverter with an extra-low dispersion element -- and you'll reach all the way out to 1,000mm equivalent on an FX-format body, and 1,500mm equivalent on a DX-format body. The maximum aperture of the combo will be f/7.1.
The lens was, says Nikon, tested at the 2012 London Olympics, and it is the first Nikkor lens to feature two fluorite glass elements, two extra-low dispersion elements, and a nano-crystal coating. The full optical formula consists of 20 elements in 13 groups, and the design also includes an electromagnetic diaphragm mechanism and a Vibration Reduction system good for a four-stop correction. The lens alone weighs 161.9 ounces (4,590g) and is 18.2 inches (461mm) in length. Add on the teleconverter, and the combination reaches 166.7 ounces (4,725g) and 18.8 inches (477mm). That's actually less than you might expect; the aforementioned 60mm f/4 alone weighs quite a bit more at 178.5 ounces (5,060g), and is almost as long at 17.5 inches. If you've just added this lens to your must-have list, you'll want to talk to your bank manager some time around April 2013. Find out more on our sister site, SLRgear.com.
Of course, most of us mere mortals won't be affording the 800mm f/5.6E any time soon, but Nikon's other lens announcement is well within reach. The AF-S NIKKOR 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5G ED is an ultra-wide angle zoom, and it's priced at just US$750, and slated for March 2013 availability. The design is, says Nikon, perfect for "large group shots, architecture and photographing or shooting HD video in tight interiors". The lens is said to be optimized for high-res, FX-format cameras such as the Nikon D800 and D600, and can focus down to just 11 inches. It weighs 0.85 pounds (385g), and has an optical formula with 12 elements in eight groups including extra-low dispersion glass, plus a seven-bladed aperture diaphragm, and Super Integrated Coating. More details on our sister site, SLRgear.com.