Shot-to-shot times are also unimpressive. In single-shot mode the P5000 takes on average three seconds per shot, while in continuous mode it can manage six shots in about nine seconds, but then the buffer fills up and it slows back down to one shot every three seconds. There is also a flash continuous mode, but this can only fire a burst of three shots.
Battery life is approximately 250 shots from its 1100mAh Li-ion rechargeable, and a 1GB SD card provides enough space for approximately 200 shots at maximum quality.
Fortunately the P5000 does have one major saving grace, and that is its excellent image quality. It has a 1/1.8-in type sensor, giving it superior noise characteristics and greater dynamic range than most small compacts, as well as practically eliminating the recurring problems of purple fringes around highlights. The lens is also pretty good, and although it does suffer from significant spherical distortion at wide angle, edge sharpness is very good and there is virtually no chromatic aberration. Despite the relatively strong file compression (average JPEG size is around 2.7MB, very small for a 10MP camera) there don’t appear to be any major problems with compression artefacts. Exposure and colour rendition are outstandingly good, producing rich well-saturated images with good tonal range and plenty of sharp detail. It may take a while to focus on a scene, but the results are usually worth the wait.
The Nikon CoolPix P5000 isn’t the top-drawer semi-pro compact that many were hoping for, but it is a well-made and well-specified camera suitable for more experienced photographers. Its lack of performance and slow AF system are handicaps, but comfortable handling, a good range of options and features, and excellent photographic results more than compensate.