Nikon Coolpix P510 Review

Digital Cameras with Extended Zoom Lenses

16 Megapixels    42x Zoom

Dimensions: 82.9 x 119.8 x 102.2mm    Weight: 555g

Good Points: Picture quality, long lens, features, LCD screen quality, GPS, movie quality with stereo sound

Bad Points: No RAW mode, no hot shoe, no filter thread, slow focusing when full zoom used


Nikon Coolpix P510 Shutter Lag Rating par Ease of Use par Camera Name Rating

Overview

The Nikon Coolpix P510 offers incredible zoom power for a compact digital camera with a 42x zoom lens. This length of lens gives you all the flexibility you need to photograph subjects like landscapes, sports and wildlife as well as more every day photo opportunities. It is one of the most feature packed digital cameras you can buy. With a range of manual settings you have plenty of control over the way your final images will look.

If you are interested in shooting movies with your digital camera the Coolpix P510 offers plenty of scope in this area including the ability to record stereo sound.

As well as a range of traditional camera features Nikon have also included some of the more recent feature additions such as 3D photography and the ability to create both 180 degree and 360 degree panoramas. In fact there is not a lot that has been left out.

Compared with other pocket digital cameras at this price point the Coolpix P510 has the following:

Plus Points

  • 42x zoom lens
  • 16 megapixels
  • 3 inch tilting LCD screen
  • Full High Definition Movies at 1080p
  • Stereo Sound
  • 1cm macro focusing
  • GPS
  • 3D photo mode
  • 360 degree panoramas
  • Manual Focusing

Negative Points

  • No long shutter speed
  • No filter thread
  • No hot shoe

Why Buy the Nikon Coolpix P510

Nikon have packed in just about everything you need for picture taking. The Coolpix P510 offers you great all round flexibility. Picture quality matches up too.

Features

Megapixels and Zoom

The Coolpix P510 has 16 megapixels and a 42x zoom lens. The focal length of the lens is equivalent to 24 - 1000mm in 35mm format. Image Stabilisation is available to help minimise any blur in your photos. Additionally this lets you use slower shutter speeds than you would otherwise be able to.

Memory Cards

You can store images on SD, SDHC and SDXC memory cards. The camera is also compatible with Eye-Fi cards. These give you the ability to transfer images by Wi-Fi.

Batteries

Power is provided by a lithium ion battery. A battery and charger are supplied as standard. Nikon estimates you should be able to take around 240 shots in between charges.

Movie Mode

You have a number of options for shooting movies. These include being able to record Full High Definition Movies at 1080p. Stereo sound can be recorded. Other options include being able to record slow motion and fast motion movies. There is also an option to record in iFrame format.

LCD Screen and Viewfinder

The LCD screen is 3 inches in size. It is made up of 921,000 dots. You can tilt the screen away from the camera body. There is also an electronic viewfinder for composing your images.

Shooting Modes

The preset shooting modes are Beach, Close Up, Copy, Dusk/Dawn, Easy Panorama, Fireworks Show, Food, Museum, Night Portrait, Panorama Assist, Party/Indoor, Pet Portrait, Portrait, Snow, Sports, Sunset and 3D Photography.

Macro Mode

For close up work you can focus as close as 1cm away from your subject.

Manual Exposure Controls

For when you would like to take extra control over the way your photos look you have access to a set of manual exposure controls. These are fully manual, aperture priority and shutter priority. Shutter speeds can be set in the range of 4 seconds to 1/2000 seconds. The aperture can be set between f/3 - f/8.3 (wide) and f/5.9 - f/8.3 (tele). You can also use bracketing when you are unsure of the optimum settings to use for your shot.

GPS

GPS tagging means that you can find out exactly where you were in the world when a picture was taken.

180 Degree and 360 Degree Panoramas

If you are looking for something a little different you can shoot both 180 degree and 360 degree panoramas.

3D Photos

There is a mode available for producing 3D photos.

Manual Focusing

For more exact focusing you have access to manual focusing.

Burst Mode

The high speed burst mode can shoot at a rate of 7 frames per second, but it can only maintain this speed for 5 shots.

Interval Timer

The interval timer fires off a series of shots at regular intervals. This feature is sometimes referred to as a time lapse movie. You can set the time delay between each shot. Typical subjects include clouds moving across the sky and a flower opening.

Image Quality

Picture Quality Summary

This type of digital camera tends to produce pretty good pictures. If you are looking for ultimate quality you are likely to need a Digital SLR, but if you are looking for pictures that look good on a screen or in a reasonably sized print then the Coolpix P510 will certainly give you that.

Outdoor Scenic Shot 1

For a lot of digital cameras a high percentage of the zoom available is used in this shot. In this case only a fraction of the zoom power is used. Sharpness is good and noise is controlled well in the more shady areas of the shot. The sun was very powerful when the shot was taken and this shows as a fair amount of detail is lost on the boats.

Outdoor Scenic Shot 2

The Coolpix P510 handles this tough test well. Digital cameras find it difficult to achieve sharpness right across the scene when the lens is zoomed out, but this camera produces an above average picture. There is a touch of purple fringing showing, but this will only be an issue if you are planning to make extremely large prints.

Outdoor Scenic Shot 3

Despite the extreme length of lens the Coolpix P510 is capable of producing sharp shots when the lens is zoomed in to its full capacity. The level of detail showing in the photo is surprisingly good. There is a touch a purple fringing again, but no more than expected. Unless you are viewing full size images on a computer screen it is unlikely to be an issue for you.

Outdoor Building

Sharpness is maintained very well as you move out towards the edges of the shot. This is one of the biggest differences between this type of camera and smaller, cheaper compacts. The overall level of definition is impressive.

Outdoor Portrait

This type of picture is standard stuff for the Coolpix P510. Moving close in, presents no problems with focusing. You also have access to fine control over white balance to get the colours more or less as you would like them to be.

Indoor Portrait With Flash

There is plenty of power in the flash unit compared to a lot of compact cameras. The good news is that the Coolpix P510 can work out exactly how much light is required when a full blast is not needed. This means there is plenty of colour showing in the face and any washed out look is avoided. The light spreads well with the entire picture lit.

Indoor Portrait Without Flash

In this test the photo is taken using window light. The lighting is not too challenging, but if it was you are likely to require flash. The resulting picture is another decent effort. This suggests this camera can work as well as most compacts in ambient lighting conditions.

Macro

The Coolpix P510 can focus from almost next to your subject. Macro quality is very good with excellent definition even when you enlarge a photo to full size on a computer screen.

Colours

With the current batch of digital cameras there is not a tremendous amount of difference between the different brands when it comes to the colours they produce. Nikon cameras tend to produce softer colours than Canon and Panasonic, but the difference isn't massive. The softer colours can give a truer reflection of how a scene looked when you took a photo whereas the slightly stronger colours add a bit of extra pep to a photo. It is very much a personal choice as to what you prefer.

Noise

Noise is controlled well, although this is one of the main areas where you can see a difference between pictures taken with this type of camera and a decent quality Digital SLR. This is especially true once you start increasing the ISO rating you are using.

Top Rated Cameras in this Category

Panasonic DMC FZ48 Rating 87/100

The Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ48 is very hard to beat. It is up against some stiff competition, but the combination of features, image quality and pricing makes it the outstanding model in its category. When it comes to picture quality it has few weaknesses and its length of lens means it can cope with more or less any photo opportunity.

Read Review: Panasonic DMC FZ48 Review

Fuji Finepix HS30EXR Rating 86/100

The Fuji Finepix HS30EXR does offer a number of differences to rival Super Zoom or Bridge digital cameras. The main difference is the twisting lens barrel, but there are other handling aspects that make it that bit closer to a Digital SLR experience. In terms of features Fuji have packed in just about everything they can think of. Picture quality compares well against rival cameras and shutter response times are also impressive. This makes this camera a very attractive proposition if you are looking for a fully featured camera with a great deal of zoom power.

Read Review: Fuji Finepix HS30EXR Review

Nikon Coolpix L810 Rating 79/100

The Nikon Coolpix L810 offers something different as it gives you the power of an extra long lens, but with the simplicity of a point and shoot digital camera. This helps to make it somewhat cheaper than the more fully featured models with similar zoom power. Picture quality does not match up to the more expensive models in this category, but it is only if you are planning to make extra large prints that you are likely to see much difference between photos taken with this camera and those that give you that bit of extra quality. This camera is a good choice if you are looking for simple operation and a powerful lens.

Read Review: Nikon Coolpix L810 Review

Related Pages

Nikon Coolpix P510 Specification

Nikon Coolpix P510 Sample Images

Digital Camera Reviews

Nikon Digital Cameras

Review Date

Review Date: May 2102

Verdict

At the time of writing this review the Nikon Coolpix P510 is out in front when it comes to the length of zoom on offer. Picture quality is inline with other extreme zoom digital cameras like the Canon Powershot SX40 HS. With the wide range of features on offer this is a true 'all in one ' camera. There are no major problems, although you might miss a hot shoe for connecting to an external flash unit. There are a lot of good points about this camera and if the zoom power is a big attraction to you then there is nothing stopping you from buying.

Ratings

Ease of Use:
Features:
Movie Mode:
Build Quality:
Colours:

7
9
9
7
9

Photo Quality:
Style:
Indoors:
Macro:
Value for Money:

Total:

9
8
9
9
8

84

Main Features

Megapixels:
Zoom:
LCD Screen:
Dimensions:
Weight:
Macro:
HD Movies:
Manual Controls:
Batteries:
Memory Cards:

16
42x
3 inches
82.9 x 119.8 x 102.2mm
555g
1cm
Yes
Yes
Lithium Ion
SD, SDHC, SDXC

Shutter Lag Times

Single Shot:
Five Shots:
Single Shot With Flash:
Five Shots With Flash:
Turn on Time:

0.38 seconds
7.77 seconds
0.5 seconds
10.59 seconds
2.2 seconds

Shutter Lag Table

Handling

General Handling

The Coolpix P510 handles well. There are plenty of buttons to give you fast access to key features and there are two selection wheels that speed up the selection of settings. On the side of the lens is a second zoom control that you can operate with your left thumb. The Dioptre Correction wheel allows you to focus the viewfinder to suit your eyesight.

The larger size of the camera means there is plenty of room for a firm hold. As well as the rubberised grip on the front there is a rubber area on the back for you to rest your thumb. This all helps when you are looking to hold the camera steady.

Flash Positioning

The flash unit pops up on the top of the camera. This is well out the way of your hands

LCD Screen Quality

LCD screen quality is impressive. The resolution of 921,000 dots is far higher than standard and this helps to make the screen easy to view. You can also tilt the screen so that it is out the way of direct sunlight or to make the shooting position more comfortable for you.

Turn on Time and Shutter Delay

Turn on times and shutter response times are about average. Considering the price of the camera you might expect a little bit more than that. It is also worth noting that when the zoom lens is fully extended or near full extension focusing times increase and the camera slows down. You may even find that when you use burst mode when photographing moving subjects focusing is unable to keep up with the rate at which pictures are being taken.

Design, Build Quality and Finish

The long lens and grip on the front give the Coolpix P510 a classic, SLR camera look. Build quality is a bit of a mixed bag. There is a solid looking control dial on the top of the camera that hints at good quality and the textured, rubber grip on the front does too, but the main body does have a bit of a plastic feel to it. The finish is shiny.

Camera Controls

Starting with the top of the camera there is an on / off button, the main control dial for selecting the shooting mode, the shutter button and a zoom ring. There is also a button to give you quick access to a main function. An option in the menu system lets you to select the function that this button activates. Choices include continuous shooting, white balance or metering.

On the left hand side of the camera is a slider. This can be used as a secondary zoom control or it can be changed to control manual focus or back zoom.

Looking at the back of the camera there is a row of three buttons near the top. The first is for switching between the LCD screen and electronic viewfinder. Next is a button to change the information displayed on the LCD screen and the third is to shoot a movie. To the right of these buttons is a dial for selecting menu items. Moving down is a button for reviewing images. This is followed by a control area that gives you access to selecting the flash mode, exposure compensation, placing the camera in macro mode, the self timer and confirming a setting. This section also contains a second selection dial. Finally there are two more buttons. The first takes you into the menu system. The second deletes unwanted photos.

Product Shots

Front View

Nikon Coolpix P510 Front View

Back View

Nikon Coolpix P510 Back View

Top View

Nikon Coolpix P510 Top View

Sample Menus

menu 1 menu 2

menu 3 menu 4