A Simple Nikon Coolpix P500 Review: A Superzoom Digicam?

Nikon Coolpix P500 Wide Lens

Since I got into photography, I have not owned a point-and-shoot. By the time I wanted one, smartphones had just about taken over as replacements for the point-and-shoot camera. Yet I still wanted one. I discovered just the camera: The Nikon Coolpix P500. It has the features of a digicam wrapped in a small DSLR (digital single lens reflex) camera. Though not the latest in the Coolpix range, it was just the camera I needed.

This post offers a simple review of this superzoom.

About The Nikon Coolpix P500

The Nikon Coolpix P500 is a wonderful little camera that is a bridge between a Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLR) and a point-and-shoot digicam.  It is neither as large as a regular DSLR nor as tiny as a pocket-size digicam that easily slips in the inside pocket of your jacket. Yet it is small enough (8.4 x 11.7 x10.4 cm) and light enough (494g) to carry or pack along no matter where you are going. It literally fits in the palm of your hand, though I would advise slinging it over your shoulder for safety.  It comes with a strap that is quite easy to attach and can be adjusted to your comfort.

Who The Coolpix P500 Is For

The Nikon Coolpix P500 is for everyone interested in taking pictures.  It is well suited for the casual point-and-shoot individual interested in taking pictures for entertainment.  It is also for the amateur photographer looking Coolpix P500 Flash Upfor an entry camera that packs features very close to those of a full-fledged DSLR. The professional photographer will also enjoy how close the Nikon Coolpix P500 is to the regular DSLR, barring the fixed zoom lens.

Some Benefits Of The P500

As suggested above, the Nikon Coolpix P500 also comes with a shoulder strap.  Included in the box is also a clip on cap for easy attachment to a vacant lug to avoid losing it. The plastic appearance is well disguised by the black finish and the construction is solid enough to withstand an accidental knock while holding it in your palm.  But no palm holding is necessary with this chunky, but light piece of work. Its design is such that you are able to comfortably snake three fingers around its grip with a roughed surface to prevent slippage. The Coolpix is a light 494g with the SD/SDHC/SDXC optional card and battery inserted.

The affixed lens offers you the longest zoom I have seen of an attached lens, with a range of a super wide-angle of 22.5mm to 810mm equivalent, giving you the versatility of continuous shooting without having to worry about Coolpix P500 LCD Out Flatchanging lenses. The camera also offers 3.0” tilting LCD (liquid crystal display) with 921k dot resolution (about 640×480 resolution) incorporating 12.1 megapixels back illuminated CMOS (complementary metal-oxide semiconductor) sensor to provide, theoretically, low light effectiveness. The electronic viewfinder (EVF) sits right above the LCD.

The Coolpix has a light sensitivity range starting from ISO 160 and ending at ISO 3200 that you can set manually. But there are also AUTO ISO, separate auto high ISO and fixed auto ISO settings.  The latter allows the ISO to be limited to ISO 160 – 200 or ISO 160 – 400 preventing noise and the degradation of the shot.

Additional benefits of the Nikon Coolpix P500 include a full HD video, stereo audio, and a full set of manual exposure controls. In addition to the zoom lever encircling the shutter release button, the P500 also has a second zoom control set into the side of the lens barrel should you want to slow down the zooming.

Some Disadvantages

If you are looking for a pocket size point and shoot, you will probably find the Nikon Coolpix P500 rather bulky as you will have to lug it around slung over your shoulder.

The plastic looking appearance may be a turnoff, but as suggested, the black finish does disguise this well.

If you prefer a fully rotating LCD, the Coolpix’s LCD will be a disappointment.  The LCD cannot flip outward through 180 degrees to one side, or rotated so the screen is facing body inwards. But this is more than Coolpix P500 LCD Outcompensated for in the resolution.

Pressing the P500’s on/off button immediately nudges the lens barrel forward, knocking against the cap preventing the camera from operating fully. Only after 10 or 12 seconds the LCD lights up instructing you to power off and remove the cap. A warning on the cap to remove it before powering up, would have been helpful.

No Doubt, This Camera Rocks!

If you are looking for an older version super zoom to carry around wherever you go, the Nikon Coolpix P500 is certainly the camera.  Beyond this, I would opt for a full DSLR, but be prepared to lug around a couple of lenses.

I hope this simple review has enough detail for you to appreciate what this wonderful little camera can do for the quality of your pictures and your experience, especially as a budding photographer.  Should there be anything on your mind, please feel free to leave us a comment.





Author: Mojalefa

Father and grandfather. Semi-retired executive leadership coach and change management practitioner living in Pretoria East, Gauteng. I have had no less than forty years service in higher education both at teaching and executive levels and wish to plough back while the health and strength hold. I work consistently hard to attain this.

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