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Nikon CoolPix P6000 - Nikon CoolPix P6000
The main feature of interest is of course the built-in GPS locator. There are a number of accessory GPS locators on the market, such as the ATP PhotoFinder and the Sony Location Recorder, but this is the first time I've seen it built into a camera. It is simple to activate and works very well, locking on to multiple satellite signals within a couple of minutes and maintaining its connection while moving about, although like most GPS systems it won't work indoors.
The GPS menu screen is very clear and informative, showing the relative strengths of various signals as well as the current latitude and longitude, which could be used for navigation if you have the map reading skill. The GPS location data is added to the EXIF data when you take a photo, and this can be used to accurately locate the place at which the photo was taken on a map. Google's Picasa image handling program has a Geotagging feature that integrates with Google Earth to automatically place your photo on the correct map position. I tried it with some photos taken on the P6000 and found the location to be accurate to within about 20 feet, which is pretty impressive.
Another highly unusual feature of the P6000 is found on the bottom of the camera, where a rubber plug hides an Ethernet LAN socket. If a LAN cable is plugged into this while the camera is being recharged, it automatically attempts to connect to the Nikon My Picturetown photo sharing website and then upload your photos. In theory this should be very quick, but in practice transferring 20MB Raw files takes around three minutes per picture even over a high-speed 10MB broadband connection. Also the camera is not supplied with an Ethernet cable.
On the subject of charging, the battery is charged in place, via a charging socket on the side of the camera. This is not a problem, but if you buy a spare battery it does mean that you can't leave it on charge when you go out shooting. Nikon claims a 260-shot battery life, but in fact I found that I was down to one bar on the battery meter after about 170 shots, some with flash, although they were taken over a period of several days on a brand new battery.
The P6000 has a very comprehensive menu system, with four pages of options including fully customisable presets for contrast, saturation and sharpness, and noise reduction can also be turned off. Custom setups can be saved as user presets and accessed via the "U1" and U2" settings on the main mode dial.
The P6000 has all the usual metering modes including spot, centre-weighted and multi-zone metering, plus spot metering on the user-selectable AF point, which can be almost anywhere in the frame.
Two less usual features are the distortion control, which corrects the slight barrel distortion at the wide angle end of the zoom range, and the Active D-lighting mode, which enhances shadow detail in high contrast shots. I was particularly impressed by this latter option. It substantially improves the effective dynamic range of the camera without increasing the noise in the affected shadows too much.
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