Customer Reviews: Nikon COOLPIX P510 16.1 MP CMOS Digital Camera with 42x Zoom NIKKOR ED Glass Lens and GPS Record Location (Black) (OLD MODEL)
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on March 25, 2012
I was looking for a bridge camera from quite sometime and this fits my choice because of lots of features and price. I got this from Best Buy today morning and have tried few Auto and PASM features. The look and feel is like a DSLR. This has a long list of features. The 42x Zoom holds good if you use your other hand to hold the lens and use viewfinder. I tried few indoor and outdoor pictures and am pleased with the quality. For the feature list i feel the price is good. The battery came fully charged and with little use it still holds good power. I have uploaded 2 pics - one with A - large aperture and 1 in Auto Zoom mode. I am not a pro photographer and do not have a bridge or DSLR camera thus cannot compare the images but I am a avid photographer and certainly like the quality of the image. This does not have horse shoe or RAW but I can live without that. I have not checked video options, high and slow motion video or panorama or 3D yet thus not commenting on that. Overall I am happy with my purchase.

update : 3rd April 2012
I have been taking lot of pics with this camera on my current trip to Vegas and Grand Canyon. The Auto mode is excellent. I ordered a pack of 2 batteries from overstock. I received a 1500 mH power battery and not the 1100 that comes with the camera. I have occasionally used the screen else most of the time used view finder. On a full charge I have clicked 424 pictures and short 1 min 4 videos. the charge has stayed pretty good if viewfinder is used.
Video - quality is good even with zoom .. the problem is focus ... i need to find an option to disable auto focus. if the camera can do that then the video come out very well. I tried few Shutter options and have got good pic - 1 uploaded from Rainforest Cafe ... shows water blur effect
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on May 14, 2012
I waited almost 6 weeks to get this camera at a reduced price and it has been well worth the wait. The reference manual alone is over 260 pages long, but if you plan to take shots using other than Intelligent Mode, it's worth the read to familiarize yourself with this camera and its many functions.
I've read the previous reviews on this forum...the criticisms centered around focusing problems, stability at the zoom's far ranges, short battery life, difficulty downloading shots using a memory card and motor sounds that can be heard during playback while panning during motion picture photography. I'll go over each one.
I took shots of birds in our backyard utilizing the the zoom at full range. I was able to get clear shots of the bird feeder but in order to get a clear shot of the sparrows, I had to focus elsewhere. I was able to take these shots without using a tripod, something my old Olympus 800UZ from two years ago could not do because using the zoom at maximum would cause instablity. In short, I had no stability problems using the Nikon, but to get the autofocus to hone in on a small bird, I had to focus on something else for it to work. Although I've experienced similar problems with the Sonys, Panasonics, Olympus and Samsung digital cameras I've owned in the past, the Nikon autofocus problem was only resolveable if you focus on another object.
I tried motion picture shots of the same birds in the yard, panning in and out without hearing any discernible motor sounds during playback, which means the motor problem mentioned in earliler reviews has been corrected, or the sound mentioned was barely discernible to begin with.
As far as battery life goes, I have sadly come to the conclusion that this may be correct. The original battery with the lower MaH rating(storage capacity) lasted for several days and conked out without much notice. I used an aftermarket battery as replacement with a higher MaH rating and it didn't last more than a few hours on a full charge. Using the EVF, editing features, autofocus without taking a lot of shots can drain your battery quickly even with the power saver set at 30 seconds to go in standy mode. By the way, using a higher rated battery also means it will take longer to charge that battery, in much the same manner as having a larger gas tank on your car takes longer to fill than a smaller one.
A word about battery chargers: It is not necessary to use the supplied camera cable to charge your batteries in-camera. Ebay has higher rated batteries and wall chargers that also charge your batteries using a ciagarette lighter in your car, a handy accessory if you're down to your last spare battery while on a road trip.
It is not necessary to use the supplied camera cable to computer port to download photos. I've found that an SCHC memory card reader can also read and download photos to your hard drive, although using the Nikon software supplied with the camera to download your photos is slow and cumbersome. I used Webshots desktop and downloads take a fraction of the time but with drawbacks: There are no editing features like the Nikon software on Webshots, and motion picture photos taken on the memory card will not download using this method, nor can you use the many editing features included in the Nikon software even if you download videos using Real Player.
There is no in-camera guide to explain various functions like my Oly had, and it would take another camera bag to lug around the 260 page instruction manual that can be downloaded from the Nikon web site.
The sweep panorama is a technological breakthrough compared to the assist panorama (also an available option here) which requires the user to take up to 3 separate photos while panning across 180 or 360 degrees and using a floating target to ensure the pictures are stitched together correctly by the camera's computer. The net result often was that photoshopped or stitched together look instead of the smooth look you get from the sweep panorama function.
The in-camera GPS function is only good when you're outdoors and able to get GPS signals. To make a GPS log, the camera's reference manual tells you to download it from their web site using a card reader and a memory card every week or two. Click on the My Computer link before you insert the card reader so you can determine which removable drive it can be found on your computer. If you download it to your desktop, right click your mouse and transfer the file to the removable drive on your computer where the memory card is located. If you click on one of those two drives while the card reader is insterted, you can see the NCFL folder where the info is being stored. Right click your mouse on the file created by the download and drag it to the NCFL folder. Insert the memory card into your camera and your camera will update the A-GPS file in about two minutes.
Two years ago, I thought we had seen the last of the EVF, but Nikon has brought it back. For those that prefer a monitor for composing shots, it is adjustable for those hard to reach shots at concerts.
If you still prefer the convenience of AA batteries instead of Lithium-Ion, I see no evidence that any major camera manufacturer plans a return to that standard again now or in the near future.
I would have preferred a time-lapse photography function, but given the numerous features included here, I won't quibble. While I have no intention of retiring my tripod, I won't have to use it as much for wildlife shots and sunrises and sunsets from Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park.
I've never owned a Nikon before, but after this camera, I will give serious consideration to owning another one in the near future. I just hope next year's model can resolve the autofocus issue encountered in the P510.
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on May 17, 2012
I bought this camera as a second camera, with the Nikon D90 as my primary camera. Okay, so it's not a DSLR, which I definitely prefer, but it suits my needs for ordinary shots and when I don't want to drag the D90 around. First impression is that the body seems a little cheaply made and I'm not crazy about the red color, but I'm comparing it to the D90 which was three times the price. I can live with the cheaper feeling plastic body as long as the photos are decent and I have some control over settings. It's much lighter than my D90 and smaller, too. Works well on Auto, but there's lots of options and settings to be used, too. GPS works great but I doubt that I'll use it much.

I liked the choice of being able to look through a viewfinder instead of at the LCD screen as I prefer viewfinders, especially in bright sunlight. Using viewfinder also saves on battery power. The only problem is that the viewfinder is very small and not that clear, even with the diopter tuned to my vision. I'm getting used to it, though.

As for the telephoto/zoom lens, yes, the more you zoom in, the more shaky the view will be. I find that happens even with my D90. Tripods should be used for telephoto shots, anyway. I'm having a bit of a problem with getting used to the zoom only because I'm used to manually zooming by turning the lens barrel, but after using the camera a little more I'm sure I'll get used to the differences.

Comparing the photos to the D90: okay, the D90 is sharper upon magnification, but the P510 does a really nice job for a camera 1/3 the price of the D90. I may update this review after using the camera for a couple months, but at this point, I'm happy with it. I'm not so happy that the price dropped $30 within a couple days after I bought it, though!

I recommend this camera for those who want a bridge camera... more than a point 'n' shoot, but without the bulk, expense and confusion of a DSLR. Also good for those, like me, who want an affordable backup camera.
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on March 30, 2012
Went to Best Buy to get this camera but they were out of stock. Came home and looked it up on Amazon and there it was for the same price and in RED! It is a BEAUTIFUL camera and I never thought I'd ever say that about a camera. I bought this camera to photograph nature and so far I am loving it. I am amazed at the clarity of close-up images. It has everything I need/want. I haven't used the GPS yet as I've only been in my backyard but it will really come in handy when I travel. This camera is lightweight and takes great photos even off the tripod. Highly recommend!
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on March 31, 2012
I have had this camera for two days and I can't wait to use it again. It is easy to use and takes great pictures. I used it for taking pictures of birds and the clarity and detail are near professional quality.
I am still learning the functions, but the panorama pictures rock. It is light weight and will be good to carry hiking.

Update: I have had this for over a year and it gets better and better as I learn all of the functions and controls. I took it on vacation to Yellowstone and came back with some of the best photos I have ever taken. My friends think I have an "expensive" camera. I bought a couple of extra batteries as when it gets low, it dies quickly. The best function for great pictures I found is the exposure compensation adjustment. It is activated by using the selector switch on the rear to the right of the OK button (+-). This allows you to adjust the light exposure in bright or dim conditions. The video is just ok, but I bought it for photos and they are awesome! You will love this camera.
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on June 29, 2012
I ordered this camera as an upgrade to my old Canon Powershot SI3. My Canon served me well but was kind of slow and not very high resolution so I thought the Nikon would be a huge improvement. In some respects it was but overall it was a disappointment. The Nikon has a beautiful LCD viewscreen. Just gorgeous. It had good image sharpness, color saturation and overall clarity. The software touch up features were also nice. Movie quality was average - okay but not great due to noise. The big problem is with the autofocus. It is slow. Mindnumbingly slow, in fact. I bought this camera to take pictures of my pets and family. Family and pets tend to move around and need an autofocus that can keep up with small movements. This really doesn't seem like a lot to ask of a camera. Unfortunately, the autofocus on this camera is disastrously bad. It was constantly playing catch up and I was constantly missing shots because of it. I tried every possible configuration in the software and nothing would help. Burst mode didn't do any better. Further, while the zoom sounds impressive on paper, once again it cannot focus when zoomed. If you have a tripod and are photographing a still image, it may work fine but that's not why I bough it. For a $400 camera this is completely unacceptable and I exchanged it for a Panasonic FZ150. I'm really disappointed that this didn't work as I had high hopes for this camera. I'm not a professional photographer - just an average guy who likes to dabble in photography. Perhaps if you are taking only photos of still scenes using a tripod, this would be a good camera but if you want to take a series of shots of different things that are moving, I suggest looking elsewhere.

Five stars to Amazon for being very good about accepting the return.
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on April 22, 2012
I really like this camera! I purchased it as a replacement for a Panasonic FZ-18 camera that I also loved, but the FZ18 is now a little out of date. Yes, I would have preferred a more expensive camera, but I only spent #429 dollars for the P510.
I have been taking pictures of song birds, from inside a glassed in sun room hand held at 42X zoom, effectively with a 1000 mm lens. I recently took a wonderful picture of a male Bluebird looking out the door of a birdhouse which is 75 feet away and on the other side of the thermal pane windows. Yes, I did initially have a few problems focusing at 42X zoom. But then I found that the camera has 4 different focus setting; "Auto", "Auto-Macro", "Auto-Distance", and "Manual" (my names for the modes not their names). Now with "Auto-Distance" focus mode I only occasionally have focus problems when there is a lot of glare on the dirty double pane windows. Frankly, it is ridiculous to attempt to take pictures through a dirty double pane window hand held at 42X, but this camera has amazed me. And the pictures are even better without the thermal windows.
I have not experienced any short batter life problem, but I have not enabled the GPS or internet or video options so maybe those would use a lot of power. But after reading some of the other reviews I purchased an external charger and a couple of spare batteries for $20.
The 400+ page CD instruction manual means that it will take a while to learn all the options and adjustments but it is well worth doing some reading.
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on May 5, 2012
I always wanted an SLR, it was the logical next step.. I had bought 4 point and shoots over the years and they served my purpose well, though over the past year, I found myself relying on the camera I always had at hand, my iPhone...and its said that the camera that you have at hand is always the best camera.

I found my main requirement was optical zoom ( forget digital zoom, it means nothing). I would find I was too far away from my daughters school play to get a good shot, or too far from a stage show, or my son on the playing field, I needed to be closer to the action. I also found that I would like a camera that I could raise above obstructing heads and take a shot, and I would need a camera with a tilting screen to do that well. I felt I wanted a large and clear screen to view my shots and a GPS would be nice too.

But my main requirement was a long optical zoom, that would take me close to the action, and with that I wanted a good image stabilization , preferably lens based.

I also wanted a backlit CMOS sensor, so that my indoor and low light photos would be better than those taken with the CCD on my Old Canon Ixus

I knew that a super zoom would have a small sensor, it had to, because of the size of the lens. I knew that it would not come close to a DSLR, but I also knew that if I wanted an SLR and the optical zoom of this baby, I would have to lug around a huge bag with heavy lenses and pay 10-20 times the price.. so deciding was easy

The Nikon P510 ticked all of the boxes.

After I got it, I found that it lived up to its specs. The low light shots are incredible, the flash doesn't come up by itself, and I find I rarely need it,as the low light CMOS sensor does its job really well
The Zoom is incredible, I can view number plates of cars half a mile away easily. I have a tripod, but I didn't need it to take those plates.. the lens IS works great! I look forward to the next school play,knowing I will be right on the stage, if I need to be.

The screen is gorgeous and it tilts, so I can use it with versatility, even in a crowd, I can get a difficult shot. It also is high resolution (910K pixels), so viewing photos on it is a pleasure. There is a viewfinder ( not a real,optical one) but it helps if there is glare and the screen can't been seen, such as on a sunny day

The video is really good

A few cons:

The autofocus takes time and works poorly in dim light, but I already knew that
It is bulky, but again, I knew that, and it still is better than a DSLR

In summary, this is not a DSLR, I am well aware of its shortcomings in the image department, but the shots are good enough for me. The other attributes are just what I needed in a camera and I don't think I will ever be buying that SLR

PS: Update 2013: I bought the SLR.. A Nikon D5100. then I bought an 18-200 Lens. I hardly use this now... famous last words!
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on April 4, 2012
I am not a professional photographer but enjoy photography as a very serious hobby and use my camera on a daily basis. When looking to replace my previously damaged Nikon D80 (which I loved)I needed to get a replacement ASAP. I knew that I wanted to stick with a Nikon but was not sure what model to get. I just received my Nikon Coolpix P510 and am so pleased. It fits my needs perfectly and is easy to use. Totally love the fun "red" color too! Cost was a very important factor and I feel that this is a very good camera for the price.
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on April 24, 2012
The zoom range on this camera is beyond belief! It is double what my previous digital mega-zoom camera could do! The image is sharp, the stabilization is good enough to hand hold at 1000mm, and the auto sequences are fine for almost all your needs. That said, there are several things missing that SHOULD be on this camera. Number one is a manual focus. Shooting between leaves, through a fence, etc., the camera will focus on the closest object, even with the center weighted metering. Also, it almost never will go all the way to 24mm -- stops about 28mm. Closeup shooting is also a problem in that the camera will pass optimum focus and then refuse to focus at all until you move either in or out with the zoom. Second, I miss having a PC outlet for external flash. The built-in flash is good for about 10 feet indoors, and is worthless outdoors as a fill flash. Lastly, the charger that comes with the camera requires you to charge the battery INSIDE the camera! That is both inconvenient and (to me) dangerous! I immediately purchased additional batteries and a self contained rapid charger.
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