|Nikon P5000 - Quality settings & Format type
Quality and format type are the most important choices as far as the photos are concerned. Nikon’s Coolpix P5000 offers several types of quality. You can photograph in 3:4 in various resolutions, and you can shoot a photo in 3:2 or in 16:9, which just takes a section of the 3:4 format. That is not bad, but it is also something you can do afterwards. I would personally photograph in maximum format. Cropping or reducing can always be done, but adding to your image is impossible. For each resolution there are three quality settings: Fine, Normal and Basic. Normal provides sufficient quality, but Basic is noticeably compressed. I would recommend the highest quality for this setting as well, especially since large flash memory cards are available everywhere these days, and not unimportantly, are very inexpensive.
Nikon Coolpix P5000 - ISO values
The ISO range is 64 to 3200. The higher rates are limited, however. ISO 3200 can only be selected if the amount of pixels is limited to 5 million pixels. The image is converted down from 10 Megapixels in order to diminish noise. This is a common method with inevitable drawbacks, and the Nikon P5000 is no exception. The highest possible sensitivity is not functional. All the details are lost and the image is not sharp, but it has very little noise. I doubt you are looking for this type of image which the Nikon Coolpix P5000 produces. One possible solution is to switch off the noise reduction, so that you can achieve a reasonable end result at ISO 1600. However, up until now the Nikon Coolpix P5000’s high ISO rates are merely a marketing strategy, and albeit a few exceptions, it is not suitable for this small image sensor.
Nikon Coolpix P5000 - Noise reduction
With the full 10 Megapixel resolution you can go up to ISO 2000, which is still a reasonable amount of sensitivity. However, above ISO 400, noise increases and you will notice that the camera has difficulty finding a balance between noise reduction and capturing details. That is why photos taken at an ISO rate above 800 are not really satisfactory. This is too bad, because it is often very desirable to work without a flash in dark lighting situations, so that you can capture the atmosphere. Unfortunately, you have to use a flash, or rely on the optical image stabilizer, although you cannot freeze a moving subject with the VR. Non-moving moments in sparse lighting conditions can be captured without a problem by using the optical image stabilizer. Using the VR saves you 3 stops, which is a very pleasant and effective aid.
Nikon Coolpix P5000 - Automatic white balance
The automatic white balance is adequately convincing. Next to the automatic white balance, the Nikon P5000 has five other settings. The manual setting is very simple to use and it is very effective. Even when you switch off the camera, the metering is saved in the camera’s memory. The automatic white balance has trouble producing a nice, neutral image in artificial lighting, though. Using one of the presets of the manual white balance is recommended. For outside photos you can easily use the automatic setting. It is too bad that the P5000 does not support RAW format, because then you could adjust the white balance afterwards.
|Nikon Coolpix P5000 - Preset options
Via a few preset options you can select the contrast, colour balance, sharpness and saturation. You can also make your own setting, which is great. I personally turn off the image sharpening completely, and use low contrast. The Nikon Coolpix P5000’s sharpening standard is very fine. It is certainly not overkill and it looks natural, which is also true for the contrast and the colour balance. The Nikon P5000 camera makes photographs which you can use almost immediately. Because I personally like to edit photos, I choose a lower contrast and sharpening. You can easily increase them, but you cannot decrease them. This is something you need to play with to find the right setting for you.
Nikon Coolpix P5000 - Face recognition
The Nikon P5000 has face recognition on board. You can only use this type of focusing via a scene, which is a limitation. The face recognition works pretty well and can recognize several faces at the same time. It is not as good as Fujifilm’s, but it is an improvement compared to the other Coolpix models. I would not trust it blindly, though; there are errors too often for that. You also need to be careful with the standard auto focus. The camera has trouble focusing well, especially in low light. The auto focus is also a bit slow, especially compared with the competition. This is especially troublesome in situations where acting fast is necessary. Think of photographing children or animals, sport photography and other fast-moving subjects.
Nikon Coolpix P5000 - Macro mode
Nikon is known for its extraordinary macro mode and this is also the case in the Nikon P5000. A small hit to Nikon’s reputation is the use of the telephoto lens in the macro mode. The distance to the subject is 40 cm, which is not very impressive, but even more noticeable is the difficulty the camera has in focusing while in its farthest telephoto position. The Nikon Coolpix P5000 scores well in the distortion in the telephoto position. Wide angle lenses usually have visible distortion, but with a fully zoomed in camera this is pretty much gone.
Nikon P5000 - Built-in flash & External Speedlight flash
Flash photography is one of Nikon’s specialties and this is also found in the Nikon P5000. The built-in flash does not know any obstructions, has a fine, effective range, and delivers great, smooth and finely balanced lighting. Overexposed shots because of the flash are rare. If you already own an external Speedlight flash, you can mount it onto the little camera. This combination is powerful, and despite the fact that it makes the camera bulky, it is highly recommended. The flash’s extra range is beneficial for the outcome!