Nikon Coolpix P5100 Review

Advanced Digital Cameras

Nikon Coolpix P5100 Ease of Use 8
Features 9
Movie Mode 8
Build Quality9
Colours 9
Photo Quality 9
Style 9
Lowlight 9
Macro 9
Value for Money 9
12 Megapixels
3.5x Zoom
2.5 inch LCD Screen
98 x 64.5 x 41 mm


The Nikon Coolpix P5100 is an advanced compact digital camera. It has 12 megapixels and a 3.5x zoom lens. It offers a number of more advanced features. My feeling is that Nikon are aiming the Coolpix P5100 at owners of SLR cameras who would like a camera that is more convenient for carrying around. The camera is also likely to appeal to anyone who is looking for a step up in terms of quality from a more typical point and shoot camera.

Main Features

LCD Screen:

2.5 inches
98 x 64.5 x 41 mm

HD Movies:
Manual Controls:
Memory Cards:

Lithium ion

Image Quality - See Sample Images Below

Outdoor Scenic Shots in Good Light

The sharpness levels of this shot suggest that a high quality lens has been used. One of the most significant points for me is the way the sharpness is maintained as you move towards the edges of the photo. Colour balance is good and the scene is a fair reflection of how it looked on the day. There is an issue with glare. This is more or less unavoidable in this scene at this time of year. Every camera I test has the same problems with the low sun.

The brightness of this photo helps to bring it to life. As with other cameras this shot is the softest in terms of focusing. This should not be a problem unless you are planning to make extra large prints.

A pleasant enough shot, but one that makes me wish the lens was that bit longer. This would increase the flexibility of the camera.


The Coolpix P5100 gets this shot just about right. I like the colours. There is a warmth to them, but they do not dominate the photo. Sharpness is also good.

This photo is much better than I have become used to seeing in this test. Focusing is well above average and the shot is also brighter. In order to compensate for the lower light the Coolpix P5100 automatically increases ISO. This adds noise to the photo, but you can choose whether you prefer this result to the indoor shot taken with flash.

This is not my favourite result of these test shots. Focusing could be a shade sharper and there is also a slight greenish tinge to the colours.

Macro, Colours and Noise

It is quite possible that you will buy a digital camera and never use the macro mode. Even so I find the quality of the macro shot to be a fair indication as to how good the lens of a camera is. This is one of the best macro shots I have taken in terms of clarity, brightness and sharpness. There is a small amount of purple fringing visible around the edges. This should only be an issue if you are planning to shoot macro shots of jewelry or other shiny objects under bright lighting.

Colours are a matter of personal taste with some people liking them to be stronger than others. The colours produced by this camera fall somewhere in the middle when it comes to strength. This helps them to retain a natural feel.

Using higher ISO settings can be useful in lowlight where flash cannot be used. Many cameras really struggle as soon as you start to push up the ISO setting. The Coolpix P5100 is certainly one of the better cameras at this level. Above ISO 400 picture quality starts to slide quite quickly. Once you reach ISO 3200 the camera really starts to struggle.


The Coolpix P5100 ticks most of the boxes when it comes to picture quality. There are very few areas I have a problem with.

See sample images link arrow


The Coolpix P5100 has a real feeling of quality to me. Considering the features it has it is a very compact camera. With a grip on the front it has a small resemblance to a mini SLR camera. It is available in black.

Shutter Lag Times

Shutter Lag Rating Par

Single Shot
Five Shots
Single Shot With Flash
Five Shots With Flash

0.31 seconds
10.18 seconds
0.47 seconds
14.3 seconds

Shutter Lag Table link arrow

Ease of Use

Ease of Use - Par With all the features the camera has it will take a while to find your way around. Nikon have made the camera as easy to use as possible. I especially like the option selector dial in the top right hand corner of the camera.

Points I Like

Design - features - picture quality - option selector dial - build quality - LCD screen clarity

Where it Could Improve

There is nothing that really stands out to me.


The Nikon Coolpix P5100 does the job it sets out to do and I would be happy to own one. It has a wide range of features, yet Nikon have still made a camera that is easy to get to grips with. You should soon be able to find your way around. Recommended.

Product Shots

Front View

Front View

Back View

Back View

Top View

Top View

Sample Menus

menu 1  menu 2

 menu 3  menu 4

Top Rated Cameras in this Category

Panasonic DMC LX5 Rating 91/100

This camera is one of the very best I have ever reviewed. Picture quality is excellent and I love the small size of the camera. It is packed with advanced features and I found it was able to handle a variety of different shooting conditions without a problem.

Read Review: Panasonic DMC LX5 Review

Related Pages

Nikon Coolpix P5100 Review Nikon Coolpix P5100 Specification Nikon Coolpix P5100 Sample Images Nikon Coolpix P5100 Features Nikon Digital Cameras

Review Date

November 2007

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