LOVE THIS CAMERA!!
I have always wanted a Nikon as far back as I can remember, and I finally got the chance to own one. I figured I would work my way up through the cameras. Starting with the COOLPIX P520, and it was a great decision!! I love this camera, it has amazing features, its very versatile, and the picture quality is great for its model! For a starter camera for me, I couldn't have asked for better! Thanks Nikon!!
April 22, 2014
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