Astonishing performance for the money!
I've owned this camera two years; I bought the original 16MP version shortly after it came out. Nikon has increased the sensor size and made a few well-thought-out usability mods since then, but it's otherwise pretty much the same camera.
I worked films in the '70s, and did my best at photographing wildlife (mostly birds) with my two-body, interchangeable viewfinder, 6-lens Minolta system. Over the years, I sold my 4x5s and 6x9 systems; and forewent wildlife photography because of the time and expense. I bought my first digital - a 3 MP Olympus - in 2003. It did well for casual photos for the web, and technology advanced, but I wasn't ready to spend $10-20K on a bulky system to get the great bird pictures people were getting. However, in 2012 I did a detailed search and discovered the new ultrazooms. I was excited, and after detailed analysis of reviews, I bought a P520, with its full range of pro/am features - and never looked back. Since I was still living in the city, I was taking a lot of architectural photos. I could stand in the green in front of Memorial Hall at Harvard, and take a closeup of the gargoyles on the tower - so crisp you could examine the solder joints! Standing out in front of Widener Library, I took a picture of a capital on the top of the massive columns - and only when I examined the photo did I discover they'd put bird netting around it, and it showed absolutely crisply; the camera had resolved a .020" detail at a distance of almost 100'. I took a picture of a Tiger Swallowtail butterfly in the forsythia bush at a distance of 7-8'; when I examined the photo, you could see the hairs on the body and the scales on the antenna! From that distance, the camera had resolved detail which, if you had the butterfly in your hand, you'd require a hand lens to see! From my porch, i got great pictures of birds in the garden. I moved into the country a few months ago, and have used it constantly to take excellent pictures of deer, wild turkeys, various birds - even a tiny vole which was darting out of a snowbank to grab seed below my bird feeder. In a shot of a chipmunk, you can actually see my house and the neighboring spruce tree reflected in the chipmunk's eye! Every now and then, the amazement of crisp 16MP hand-held shots at 1000mm strikes me again, and I find myself just staring at the camera or photos and shaking my head!
This camera produces pictures which were absolutely impossible even 10 years ago, and it's a superb travel camera to cover all situations. I can also take it canoeing; it's instantly available, can shoot wildlife at extreme telephoto while hand-held, and if it goes overboard, it won't empty my bank account.
I've had two problems: The first problem is with autofocus at extreme zoom. I've found conditions where it won't focus where I want it, even in multiple tries (if you release and half-press the shutter, it will try a different area combination) or narrow center focus. At that small image size in the viewfinder, electronically controlled manual focus isn't fine enough; a lens ring would work - but that's still much less trouble than I had with focusing long telephoto on my old cameras, and i'm willing to accept that pushing the envelope that much won't be perfect. In fact, i'm amazed at how accurate its focus is for small objects at great distance.
The second problem is that it routinely underexposes shots on cloudy days, and gets the color balance wrong. i fix that in Photoshop, but I'd think it could do better. in better light, the pictures are excellent, so that's just another thing I take in stride; I'm still experimenting with the metering modes to see if I can find a meter/focus combination which will meet my needs better, but each mod has to be used for awhile to determine its strengths and limitations.
I could also wish the shutter delay was less, or that it wouldn't do a full refocus at times, but I consider that just a factor of how little I paid for the camera; for $400 (less in constant dollars than a single 135mm lens in the '70s), I don't expect the performance of the most expensive DSLRs. And it's possible I can work out settings which will ameliorate the situation; I've probably explored only 10% of its functionality.
I've shown the picture results to my family and friends; now a sister, brother and father all have one of their own, as do a couple of techie friends. The camera is not perfect, but it's amazingly smart, and does so well with so many things that I'm willing to accept some limitations; it's still unimaginably better than what we used to have to work with, at an unbelievably bargain price. I'm sure you can get better pictures with a DSLR and assorted expensive lenses, but what this camera can do for the price has, in my mind, revolutionized photography! The only reason I might replace it is the P600, which has half again the zoom! [I'm waiting for more reviews.]
April 14, 2014
Astonishingly Beautiful Photographs, Quality and Ease of Use
I normally use my trusty Nikon D70 and have owned many fine Nikon film cameras in the past. I bought this camera on the recommendation of a friend to use while my D70 is being cleaned and repaired. This camera is just astonishing, words fail me... ease of use, versatility and outstanding picture quality. My very first pictures were just breathtakingly beautiful...this is now my camera of choice. Wide angle or the fantastic telephoto...just astonishing. Thank you Nikon engineers and anyone connected with the production and manufacture of this high quality camera. However, I must admit that I do covet the Nikon FD...but I am totally satisfied in every way with this camera and without hesitation recommend it to anyone in need of a versatile, easy to use camera. My only wish is for a reasonably priced and ore advanced printer that can take advantage of this remarkable camera and it's potential..
March 18, 2014
This CoolPix P520 Rocks!
I got this as a gift from my wife, and this CoolPix really performs. I feel that is the bridge between the non-inter-changeable lens and the Inter-changeable Lens Nikons. I really like the 42 to 1 zoom, and how one can get up-close to the action without interfering with it. The only thing one needs to pay attention concerns extreme distance photos; one must keep the camera steady, and a tripod really helps. I own two COOLPIX Digital cameras, a 3200 bought in 2005, and a S8100 in 2011, and this CoolPix builds upon its predecessors; I still use both of them at times (especially, the S8100), and I liked how Nikon allowed me to use this P520 without a large learning curve. Also, I like the fact that it has manual settings besides the automatic one, and allows me to use this camera as a DSLR. I know it will take at least two years to outgrow, and master all the abilities of this P520; this camera will prepare me for my next Nikon-a full-blown DSLR.
February 27, 2014
Great Camera in a Small Package!
Bought to use for Wildlife Photography specifically Waterfowl. Was amazed and the zoom qualify and the image quality at full zoom. Would recommend to anyone!
February 24, 2014
Really versatile high quality little camera
I have a D800 as well as the P520 (and a few other cameras). The P520 is really useful for me because of the built in GPS and the vari-angle screen. I do a lot of landscape photography all over the world and the GPS is very accurate. Helps at the end of the day to be able to review everything on a map from the day. The vari-angle screen is great for low shots and unusual angles or even just to see it clearly on a sunny day. the zoom lens of course is spectacular and the quality of the image throughout the zoom range is impressive.
February 8, 2014
Love my Cool Pix!
I am thrilled with my new Coolpix P520. Love the ease of use, love the zoom, love the focus, love the nifty red color!
January 23, 2014
Taking great pictures right out of the box
I just got this camera yesterday, but I am impressed with it right out of the box. I was looking for an easy to operate point and shoot camera and I think I have found it. The instructions were easy to set the camera up. The buttons I found easy to use and understand. It fits great in your hand. I took pictures of the kids indoors last night and they came out so clear. I had the camera on auto setting and took pictures around the house, all shots came out perfect. I am looking forward to taking more pictures today. I think it is a great camera for someone looking for a camera that they can just pick up and get the pictures you want.
January 18, 2014
Love this Camera
Had a Canon before this one. this camera is actually an upgrade to what i had for about the same price. Love it so far.I have a higher Megapixels and wider zoom...can't wait to explore all the features of this camera.
January 18, 2014
A back-up camera
I was using a D5100, 18-135 and 70-300. I bought the P520 as a back-up camera. It does everything that my previous equipment did at a fraction of the weight. My D5100 with lenses has become my back-up.
January 13, 2014
so far great camera
upgraded from point and shoot coopix , this is a great camera , zoom is great , loving the pictures.
January 7, 2014
great compact camera for its price
received this camera as a gift for Christmas and love all the features it has, especially the 3D. This camera has amazing HD video capabilities, great field of depth taking macro shots, amazing 3D picture quality for using only one lens and zoom quality and capabilities are excellent.
December 31, 2013
A very cool little camera!
I'm very impressed with my new Nikon Coolpix P520 camera. I think it was the red highlights of the finish that attracted me, and the zoom features. But the interesting features keep coming, especially the GPS function. In 2009 I bought a Sony GPS that was suppose to work with my Canon, but just ate up batteries. This GPS even knows the name of our local park nearby. My Canon makes it next to impossible to use the LCD screen as a viewfinder, but the P520 screen is large and bright, and just begs to be turned around and used to take Selfies. The tiny flash floods a room, but doesn't seem to leave shadows, and the camera will even tell you if a subject blinked. The only question is will I be able to see the LCD image in bright sunlight. I've read the warning that I might have to use the small viewfinder if there is a problem. I have a Fuji camera where in almost any outdoor lighting situation it is impossible to use the viewfinder. But in that case there is no alternative.
The 42X zoom lens comes out so far, I have to wonder where it can go when it retracts. I don't miss at all having to change lenses.
I look forward to taking this camera on vacation the first of next year. I've already loaded a 64GB SD card, and the camera says I have 9999 photos left. Probably that's as high as it can count. I feel a 1080p movie coming on. The only thing missing from this camera is a microphone jack.
I started off with a 1930s Kodak, and progressed to a 4x5 press camera. Now I'm 65 and this is the perfect camera for me.
December 6, 2013
Best camera I have ever owned.
This camera has everything I could ever want in a camera. It is easy to use and has great zoom qualities. Light weight. Excellent flash distance. Comes in red, which I love.The main thing I really wanted in a camera is a view finder. This uses a monitor or a view finder.. It has the best of both worlds. I love my new camera.
October 21, 2013
Very user friendly!
I have used four different Nikon cameras over the past 20 years. The Coolpix P520 is new, just purchased last week. A great Nikon camera for the price. Takes great pictures, with lots of options to enhance your photos. Small enough to fit in a purse. Love all the special effects!
October 15, 2013
Just Bought the camera, easy to use really have'nt used enough to comment yet.
So far its been very easy to use, I have only had the camera a one day, I love it would recommend it to everyone Awesome camera !!!!
October 13, 2013
My new Nikon Coolpix P520 Camera
I recently purchased this camera while on vacation in Virginia Beach. I am in love with this Camera, the pictures are beautiful, I love the versatility that it offers. Very easy to use and very light. I have now used it inside and outside, day and night and all my pictures are very clear and the colours are fantastic. The only issue I have is that the battery does not last too long. So if you are not constantly charging it you may end it up with no Camera when you need to take that unexpected picture. During a party last weekend I charged it 4 hours before as recommend it then I used it for about half an hour non stop and I run out of battery in the middle of the party .............so I had to charge it again.....I will buy a new battery this weekend to see if that improves. This is the second time that it happens to me. Otherwise, it is perfect.
September 16, 2013
Great point & shoot camera, great camera to take with you everywhere you travel.
This is a great camera to travel with, the focal range is excellent, it is light weight. This camera will be with me all the time unless I am going to do a professional Job.
September 6, 2013
Fantastic Camera Nikon P520
Hubby bought this for my birthday and what a great gift it is! I own the Nikon D70 which was a great camera but this one is so lightweight. The picture colors are so true to what your taking a picture of. (purple is not blue) The ability to zoom for close-ups is fantastic, clear sharp pictures. I'm not so overwhelmed with using this camera, very easy to work with. I also like the way the battery/media card compartment has been designed. There aren't any complaints on my part, even my husband likes it. Plenty of megapixels and zoom! Thanks Nikon
July 29, 2013
An awesome point & shoot camera with quality results !
I recently purchased a CoolPix P:520 Nikon camera, and I'm really impressed with the quality of the photos I am taking. This camera has many new features, one of which is the B&W photos that it captures. I am looking forward to using this camera for scenery, genealogy, flowers, food, and for gatherings involving family and friends. This camera is very versatile and user friendly !
July 29, 2013
Awesome little compact
LOVE this camera!!
I am a professional photographer who has purchased this for an upcoming leisure trip to Japan, Indonesia, Singapore, & South Korea. As we wanted to travel with only carry on luggage, and did not want to take the risk of traveling with my 'big guns' this was the ideal option. With the great optical zoom, nice macro option, built in GPS, and the wifi network adapter, I could not find anything that comes close! I have owned cameras built by other manufacturers, but always keep coming back to Nikon. I have been testing the P520 around Washington DC, and each day I use it, I find something else to love it for. The ability to drop the photos onto my iPhone using the WU-1a adapter enables fast uploads to social networking sites, and back-up to the phone's memory without the need to lug around a laptop computer.
June 9, 2013
such an amazing camera
As a up and coming photographer, this camera has it all! such a great piece to have. The flip screen makes it so easy to take a shoot from different angles, Helps me a lot. Its a small yet powerful tool for any ideal photographer. i would totally recommend this Nikon to any amateur or pro out there.
March 15, 2013
Great point n shoot , I was amazed at its capture of low light situations
Just missing a raw feature, cable release ,, but what point n shoot does ? Great picture colour . , slow to recover from using continuous shots , and wen battery is getting depleted. But great overall,
May 25, 2014
The best camera in less than SLR
The zoom is brilliant. I loved this camera because of its ability to capture the pics in an unprecedented way. The wide variety of options & features available are great. The only drawbacks are RAW feature & Viewfinder. You can undoubtedly go for this camera because of the trust you can have on Nikon. This is the best product you can get below $400.
February 20, 2014
For people looking to upgrade their point and shoot, but aren't quite ready for a full DSLR, I think this is a very good buy. You have a lot of great features in a compact, lightweight camera that allows you to learn more about using manual controls like aperture and shutter priority modes.
The image quality and zoom are top quality - especially when I use a tripod. You can really get some great shots with this camera.
Most online reviews by photography sites agree this is good value. My only criticisms are that:
- I wish the EVF was bigger
- the shutter response was faster
- they should have included a separate battery charger - are you listening, Nikon?
But none of that really takes away from what I consider a great bridge camera at a decent price.
January 13, 2014
this is it
perfect camera,perfect zoom . i am new user for nikon. but i am very happy.
September 17, 2013
Best compact on the market. Light, great features - missing one specific item to complete the package.
I own an N65 SLR, then a Coolpix 100. When the P100 came out I bought one for the ease of use, compactness, wicked zoom & clarity, also no need to lug around one of the big 'D' series and heavy zoom lens.
I have had excellent use of my P100 and would love to upgrade to the P520 however there is one vital item missing from the package: a remote or cable attached shutter release. Because of the compactness and light weight of the camera it requires very cool nerves to take extreme zoom shots - even when using a tripod.
I would love Nikon to add this vital accessory to the camera before I invest in the next upgrade.
July 31, 2013
Owner of P510 but now I wish I waited for this one to come out. way better than anything canon can cook up.
April 2, 2013
Absolute great upgrade from the P510 !
First, let me tell you taht I own Pro Nikon equipment for bird and landscape photography. I use the small Coolpix for travel and to play with at home.
Wow... Nikon strikes again putting the P520 on the market ! I'm a Nikon user since the mid 1980's and I did purchase the P500 and upgraded to the P510 before purchasing this camera. I do have it for 1 week yet, I can say that I'm very impressed about the new features like the swivel screen, the new low ISO and some others. Resolution is there with the 18.1Mpixels. Not a lot more than the P510 but just enough to be able to see differences. With the higher pixels comes the noise of course because photosites are smaller for the same sensor size. If you get the exposure right, noise is extremely fine. If you try to underexpose putting the D-Lightning MED or HIGH, even at 200 ISO, you'll get noise, something that was more manageable on the P510 because of lower Mpixels. The key is to trigger the histogram on on the screen and expose to the right. I can also say that I get far better results with this camera and my old P510 if I use it on aperture Priority putting all the AUTO features manual than the PROGRAM mode or the SCENE mode. The ZOOM is one of the feature that pushed me towards this camera (and the P510). Video is great with lots of different settings and focus is much better than the P510.
To summarize, I'm extremely happy with this camera and would recommend it to anybody ! The only regret that I have is that it can't shoot RAW files... but that doesn't put a negative point on my review !
March 2, 2013
Atende minhas necessidades de zoom com perfeição.
Gosto dos resultados conseguidos com esse equipamento.
December 3, 2014
Excelente relación calidad precio, una cámara sumamente completa y compacta. Ideal para comenzar en la fotografía y muy completa para quienes busquen una herramienta de trabajo semi-profesional.
Nada que lamentar de tener una.
September 23, 2014