A raging trend for bridge cameras has become popular among photography enthusiasts. The bridge cameras are known for their superior image quality in a compact package. The cool Pix P520 from Nikon is a popular P-series range. It has various noticeable features to give competitors a run for their money. The camera flaunts a super zoom (42X Stabilized range) and a built in 18.1 MegaPixel Sensor. The camera was launched in January 2013;it is a steady replacement of the CoolPix P510. The new P520 retains the 24-100mm f3-5.9, which has been adapted from the previous models. The new replacement offers better resolution under the camera’s bonnet.
Another major change is the new screen that is far too different than the CoolPix P510, the previous camera had a hinge that allowed up and down movements. But, the P520 has a vari-angle screen and has been hinged at the side of the camera. Users can pretty much tilt and turn the lens in any direction (you can use it to capture good selfies too) The new screen measures at 3.2 inches which also happens to be bigger and brighter but it carries the same 912k dot resolution.
The camera also features a built in GPS receiver and geo tagging options with location information. Sadly, there is no Wi-Fi but, the camera is compatible with Nikon’s Wu-1A Wi-Fi dongle, it comes in handy. Born a market leader and a crowd puller, the CoolPix P510 was pretty famous, the Cool Pix P520 carries the legacy by carrying the longest optical zoom range among competitors. We are simply going to cut to the chase and get on with the camera.
Nikon has put in efforts to reduce the previous complaints regarding image shake issues and seeming problems, but the lens shift VR system and the Active shooting mode takes care of the issues. The 42X optical zoom is larger than life and it is complimented with a 24-1000mm in a 35mm lens, the aperture of f/3 helps shoot wide-angle images and zooms in telephoto of f 5/9. However, the rivals get the better of the P520 on this one.
The camera sports up an 18.1 MegaPixel 1.23in Sensor. The camera doesn’t follow the usual ongoing trend of latching in a compact camera and compromising with big sensors to help increase the quality of the images. The backlit sensor helps in managing the noise quite well and offers pristine quality High Definition Video with stereo sound. The ISO sensor ranges from 100 to 3200 and the option of extending the ISO depending on the Hi1 or Hi2 settings of 6400 and 12800. An EXPEED C2 processing engine that performs adequately well considering the size of the camera. The high performing ISO setting helps achieve only 7 fps maximum burst speed at high resolution. Although 7 fps sound less, the quality of the image remains impressively clear.
The 3.2-inch LCD screen is a very prominent addition with 921k-dot resolution, it is a high-resolution screen that enlivens the user experience and makes the images sharper, brighter and clearer. The camera smartly senses and recognizes landmarks with a built in GPS monitor. Once the software is installed, the geotagging feature gets activated and images can automatically be sorted, and uploaded on the basis of the tagging.
Being one of the lightest rivals, the P520 is noticeably a diet conscious camera. But, don’t let the slender body deceive you, it is one tough competitor. The glossy finish of the camera feels a little bit of extra make up. But, it is better than the build quality of various canon cameras. A few more commendable design elements are; the FN button that can be located on the top of the camera’s body and offers a helpful service by offering quick adjustments that change key controls. The ISO and metering modes can also be adjusted. There is a well-built mode dial that can be located on the rear end of the camera, it is well engineered and offers ease of usage. The camera has two types of zoom controls; one can be located next to the shutter release and the second found next to the barrel of the lens.
The Nikon P520 is a performer but just like any camera, it too has a few nibbles and a few disappointing factors. There is a missing eye sensor under the viewfinder on the P530; you have to press a button to power up the viewfinder and repeat the same to turn on the LCD screen. The GPS also plays spoilsport when users click photos at the same location, the GPS pretty much gives up. These might just be minor bumps compared to the excellent quality it builds up. The inbuilt AF system is quite prompt and performs really well, a bit slow during low light conditions but that is not disappointing at all. The LCD screen has a very prominent level of contrasting colors and a splurge of brightness. The details are in the resolution, making image viewing a feast to your eyes.
There are a few chromatic aberrations that you might notice, but what’s great is the metering system built on the P520. Although, there have been observations regarding the slight overexposure of images, the colors seem a bit bleached out. It might not be an issue at all, but adjusting the white balance would be a sensible solution. The ISO performance is also quite satisfying, there seems to be a problem with the noise as and when the noise levels are changed, you could keep the images noise free but you might have to note that the exposure sharpness and color are disturbed.
While the massive zoom lens has won attention of crowds, the LCD screen has also been a prominent addition making the camera a worthy buy, however the build quality is similar to canon’s build, there is also a missing viewfinder eye sensor which might be a little frustrating. For those looking for a small and powerful companion, this camera is your friend indeed.
Nikon Coolpix P520 Rivals:
Canon Powershot SX50
Nikon Coolpix P600
Nikon Coolpix P530
Nikon Coolpix P510