The Nikon Coolpix P2 is a five megapixel digital camera with a 3.5x optical zoom lens. In terms of features this is a fairly standard digital camera, but with one significant difference. The Coolpix P2 has technology built into it that allows you to transmit your images directly to your computer. There is no need to connect your camera using cables. This technology is called wi-fi. For the process to work the computer you use must also be wi-fi compatible. If you are not sure your computer is wi-fi compatible you will need to check with your computer supplier.
The Coolpix P2 is likely to appeal to anyone who is looking for a straightforward digital camera that offers an easy way to transfer images to a computer. You will also have to be prepared to pay a premium for this additional ease of use.
91 x 60 x 39mm
The new technology would not be of much use if the camera was unable to take good quality photos. I am pleased to be able to say that the standard of photos produced by the camera compares well against other five megapixel point and shoot digital cameras.
My favourite feature of the photographs I took while testing the camera is how bright and vibrant they are. This is especially noticeable in the outdoor scenic shots. This is not something that I often pick up on so it must stand out to have caught my eye in this way. Part of the reason for this is the colour reproduction. They have a natural feel to them and come over very well. The photos are sharp without having quite the razor sharpness I have seen in some Canon images. There is no noticeable fall off in sharpness towards the edges of each shot. Areas of contrasting light and dark areas are handled well too.
The outdoor portrait is another shot I like. When taking this picture I used the built in flash unit to add a bit of life to the shot. The camera handled this well and managed to avoid blasting out the detail with overpowering lighting.
The dedicated test for colour is another photo producing a strong result. This is not surprising given the colours showing in the outdoor scenic shots. You can be confident this will help you to take colour balanced photos in just about any situation.
Moving indoors the picture taken of beer bottles in more or less complete darkness also produced a strong result. The focusing is more or less spot on despite the conditions and the photo is also well lit.
The next test is the indoor portrait. This is the one photo that proves to be a disappointment. The camera has found it difficult to focus in these conditions. This is something I have noticed in other Nikon models I have tested.
Finishing on a high note the macro shot is excellent. The Coolpix P2 has managed to produce a clear and sharply focus image.
Shutter Lag and Recycling Times
I was able to take a single photo in 0.30 seconds and five photos in 12.59 seconds. I would describe these as average times. Based on these times shutter lag should not act as a deterrent to you buying this camera.
You can compare this camera to other models by taking a look at the Shutter Lag Comparison Table.
The 3.5x optical zoom lens has a focal length equivalent to 36 - 126mm in 35mm format. The aperture range is f/2.7 - f/7.6.This is supported by a 4x digital zoom feature. For close up work there is a macro mode that helps the camera to focus from 4cms away from the subject.
From time to time I notice some LCD screens being better than others. I found the screen on this camera to be very bright and clear. It is 2.5" in size and is made up of around 110,000 pixels. There is no viewfinder.
For lowlight photography there is a built in flash unit. This has a maximum range of 2.6m. This falls to around 1.3m when the zoom lens is in use. The flash modes you can use are Auto, Auto with Red-eye Reduction (In-Camera Red-Eye Fix), Flash Cancel, Anytime Flash, Slow sync and Rear Curtain Sync.
To help you take better pictures there is a wide selection of scene modes. All you need to do to use a scene mode is select the most appropriate type of scene. The scene modes are Portrait [Face AF], Portrait, Party/Indoor, Night portrait, Landscape, Night landscape, Sunset, Dusk/Dawn, Fireworks show, Back light, Close up Panorama assist, Beach/Snow, Museum, Copy and Sports. Panorama assist is also available to help you stitch together panoramic type shots.
The Coolpix S2 offers a number of controls to help you get the best results when you are taking a photo. To start with there are white balance settings for auto, custom, sunlight, incandescent, fluorescent, cloudy, shade and flash. The sensitivity levels can be set to 64, 100, 200 or 400 ISO equivalents. For auto-focusing you can select from area, centre or a custom position. There are four types of metering matrix, spot, centre weighted and spot AF plus exposure compensation and shutter speeds ranging from 8 to 1/2000 seconds.
Advanced features such as bracketing and white balancing are available too. There is also an aperture priority setting.
Other features available to you include voice recording, a self timer with a three or ten second delay, a best shot selector and date imprinting. The levels of contrast, sharpness and saturation can also be adjusted.
Continuous shooting has a number of different settings. There is a standard setting allowing you to shoot at 2.3 frames per second and a high speed setting that lets you shoot up to 100 shots at a rate of 30 frames per second. You can also produce a multi shot. This takes 16 shots and builds them into a single image.
D-Lighting is a useful feature you can use after a picture has been taken. This lightens up a dark photo.
You can shoot movies at a maximum resolution of 640 x 480. The maximum speed is 30 frames per second. This produces movies that can be displayed on a television screen. Sound can be recorded and you can also zoom in and out while recording. You can also shoot black and white and sepia movies at low resolution without sound. Time lapse movies can also be made.
The wireless connection will work up to 30m away from the computer. The distance can be less depending on the environment. In addition to the wireless connection you can also connect the camera to a computer through a more traditional USB cable. Nikon also supplies all you need to connect the Coolpix P2 to a television set and PictBridge compatible printer.
Ease of Use
I find Nikon digital cameras pretty easy to use. With this camera you have the option of using a menu made up of icons or the normal text design. Whichever one you choose it should not take you long to find what you are looking for. The camera carries a standard set of buttons. On the back of the camera you will find controls for flash, zoom, self timer and macro, as well as reviewing and deleting images. On the top of the camera is a control dial letting you select the camera mode. This covers items such as scene mode, movie mode, wireless transfer, movie mode and automatic mode.
A help button is also available to explain to you the options in the menu system.
Transferring images to a computer is obviously made easier by the wi-fi technology.
You can pick up a Nikon Coolpix P2 for around £205. This compares to around £190 for a Canon Powershot A610, £131 for a Pentax Optio S55 and £140 for a Nikon Coolpix 5600.
The inclusion of the wi-fi technology clearly uplifts the price. The Coolpix P2 is similar in many ways to the Coolpix 5600 and there is a significant difference in price. In fairness I also prefer the pictures I was able to take with the Coolpix P2. The Canon Powershot A610 offers a wider range of features than this camera and still works out to be cheaper.
The Coolpix P2 is a neat and tidy camera. There is nothing that really marks this camera out from being significantly different to most other digital cameras, but I like the design nonetheless. It has a useful grip on the right hand side of the camera to help you hold the camera steady while taking a shot.
The camera has dimensions of 91 x 60 x 39mm and weighs in at 170g.
Batteries and Memory Cards
Power is supplied by a rechargeable Lithium Ion battery. Nikon estimates up to 200 shots can be taken before the battery requires charging. Both the battery and a charger are supplied with the camera.
16mb of memory are built into the camera. This means that Nikon do not supply a memory card with the Coolpix P2. I was able to 16 shots before the internal memory became full. Therefore I would suggest buying a high capacity card to go with the camera. The camera is compatible with SD cards. Click here to save money on SD cards..
Points I like:
Wireless transfer to PC
Where it is not so hot:
Limited flash range
There is a lot to like about the Nikon Coolpix P2. I was impressed by the picture quality it produces and it is also the first consumer camera to offer wi-fi. Incorporating this latest technology understandably increases the price and you will need to decide how important this is to you before you go ahead and buy this camera.
Nikon Coolpix P2 Front View
Nikon Coolpix P2 Back View
Nikon Coolpix P2 Top View