272 of 289 people found the following review helpful
Very, very good but not 'great'. 24mm-1,000mm lens, Wi-Fi & GPS but no RAW.,
This review is from: Nikon COOLPIX P520 18.1 MP CMOS Digital Camera with 42x Zoom Lens and Full HD 1080p Video (Black) (Electronics)For the price, this is an excellent camera. Not a "great" camera, but a very, very good one. I would consider it high end for the average consumer, with features superior to almost all other point-and-shoots in its price range: Wi-fi capable (ability to connect to iOS and Android devices for viewing/sharing your photos and videos via the optional WU-1a adapter), built-in GPS (to geotag your photos), 18MP CMOS sensor, a zoom lens with incredible focal range (24mm-1,000mm), and 1080 HD video. For the price, that's a nice set-up, a camera with advanced features with an excellent ease-of-use, requiring little knowledge of photographic techniques.
Many of us, however, want to go beyond 'picture-taking' and seek an advanced camera that is not in an advanced price range. And this is where the P520 is attractive but, ultimately, falls a bit short of our desires. For example, there's no RAW: your images are captured in JPEG only. There's a decent pop-up flash but no hot shoe. Also, the impressive zoom is not so impressive with regard to its speed, either its lens speed (f/3.0-5.9) or autofocus speed (fairly slow but not horrible). However, it is a nice, glass, Nikkor lens; and, to be fair, it would be quite a feat to bring such a long zoom well under f/3, given the price range. Personally, I would have traded focal length for speed: yes, it's impressive to go out to 1000mm, but I would have taken 800mm with an f/2.8-5.0 lens; though Nikon has built-in stabilization features for both photos and video (called 'Active VR mode' for video), you're not going to do hand-held shots at that 1000mm focal length, especially video.
Other aspects of the camera will please everyone: full manual exposure control along with multiple auto/semi-auto exposure modes, a nice and large tilting Vari-Angle LCD monitor, an excellent CMOS sensor (1/2.3 in.), and a nice weight and feel to the body. This last point is what drew me to the 520 in the first place: I just bought a P310 and although I love it, especially for its small size and portability (shirt pocket), I cannot get used to shooting outdoors with such a small camera. The 520 is just perfect; that solid DSLR feel but with a modest weight (20 ounces).
Yes, I wish the P520 had a few more pro-like features but this is an excellent - almost but not quite great - camera. I'm giving it 4 stars for the reasons stated above. However, if you're someone not interested in advanced photography and just want a very nice camera with higher-end consumer features, this is a 5-star camera.
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Showing 1-10 of 10 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 1, 2013 10:40:36 AM PST
Mark Gehring says:
Is the autofocus fast even at full zoom? I looked at the P510 at Costco recently, and it often would not focus at full zoom on an object across the store, although sometimes it would after a very long ( about a minute ) time. I would not buy this model if this problem has not been fixed.
In reply to an earlier post on Mar 1, 2013 5:27:54 PM PST
The autofocus is slow. I had addressed that in the review by stating "autofocus speed (fairly slow but not horrible)". I guess it depends on your definition of the word horrible. But this is not a "fast" autofocus in anyone's dictionary.
Posted on Mar 10, 2013 4:20:28 PM PDT
Thank you for the review. I'm looking for a camera that has great zoom and takes pretty decent pictures in low light. Can you tell me how the battery is and are you able to charge the battery by itself with a wall adapter or can you only charge the battery in camera? I was looking at an SLR, but you can't take those cameras into a concert and that's what I usually use the camera for. I am wondering if the auto focus issue you mentioned would be an issue for me with concerts (if I would even use the zoom fully). I currently have the Lumix ZS10 and that has a 16x zoom which I don't use fully because it distorts the pictures. Love the camera, but it's horrible in low light. Any insight would be great! Thanks!
In reply to an earlier post on Mar 10, 2013 5:09:36 PM PDT
This is not the camera you want if you want good low light capabilities. The CMOS sensor is excellent for low light but the lens speed is poor, especially at long focal lengths. Your ZS-10 has the same lens slowness (f/3.3-5.9 - a fact Panasonic HIDES: I looked up the model to answer your question and had to really dig to get the lens speed). I don't know what camera to recommend but what you're looking for - aside from a long zoom - is fast lens speed and a large CMOS: these two factors determine how well your low-light shots will come out. I also bought a P310 recently and it is an amazing low-light camera; however, it is a 4.2x zoom, not the range you're really looking for. Sorry I couldn't be of more help.
In reply to an earlier post on Mar 10, 2013 6:03:50 PM PDT
Thank you for the response. What are your thoughts on the P510? I've read excellent in low light and has good zoom.
In reply to an earlier post on Mar 11, 2013 12:49:56 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 11, 2013 12:52:25 PM PDT
Found a great guide for you, published just last month, called 'Best Megazoom Digital Cameras' on CNET. It includes the upgrade of your camera, the ZS20. I like the looks of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX30V but its lens speed is still pretty slow (great CMOS though: "Exmor R" CMOS, the best low-light sensor there is).
In reply to an earlier post on Apr 27, 2013 1:35:31 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 27, 2013 1:45:38 PM PDT
"Mad Dog" says:
The Panasonic Lumix FZ200 is supposed to be a great camera for low light and fast focusing with it's constant f2.8 apature Leica lens. The zoom range is 24X vs 42X with the Nikon. 24X should be enough for most users. Pushing the lens beyond this reduces image quality IMHO. The panasonic has a 12MP CMOS sensor which is more than enough for most users. In fact, I prefer a lower MP high quality CMOS sensor to a higher MP sensor due to increased noise levels and more agressive noise reduction employed in higher MP sensors.
Posted on May 30, 2013 1:04:14 PM PDT
Arkansas Traveler says:
Did they add a remote shutter release plug in? I have the P510 and love it. I cured the autofocus problem by programming the 'P' setting to just one small center focus area. I was having the opposite problem ... tough focusing in the macro mode. This program gives me fast focus in both close macro mode and full 1000 tele. And yes, I get great hand held shots at 1000mm. What I can not over come is the lack of a remote shutter release while on a tripod aimed at a bird. No problem for things that stand still --- like landscapes, in using the timer to reduce all vibration. I also over came the lack of a hot shoe and lack of a remote flash connection by using a slave on a 'L' bracket and using the pop up flash to set off the slave to set off my larger flash unit. Worked great in a indoor party shoot.
In reply to an earlier post on Nov 24, 2013 6:31:26 AM PST
Damon D. Hickey says:
The battery charges outside the camera
In reply to an earlier post on Nov 24, 2013 6:33:54 AM PST
Damon D. Hickey says:
This camera can be linked via wifi to a smartphone, which allows the phone to function as both a remote shutter release and a remote viewfinder
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