Nikon CoolPix P50 - Nikon CoolPix P50


The P50 isn’t exactly bursting with advanced features, and even the unusual features that set it apart are nothing special. The optical viewfinder is quite small, and has only about 75% frame coverage. It also suffers from very bad parallax, and has no reticule lines or aiming points, so it’s virtually useless for framing a shot. The monitor is smaller than average for a modern camera, and at only 115k dots it is also quite low resolution. Nikon’s website claims that it has an anti-reflective coating, but they must have a different definition of “anti-reflective” to me, because it’s so shiny you could shave in it.

The manual exposure option isn’t all it could be either. Only minimum (f/2.8-f/5.6) and maximum (f/5.6-f/11) apertures can be selected, and the range of shutter speeds is quite limited too, ranging from eight seconds to 1/1000th of a second in one-stop increments. There is no option for the useful shutter or aperture priority modes found on most manual-exposure cameras. It does have portrait mode (with face detection), landscape mode and night portrait mode, as well as 11 scene programs in scene mode, but these are just the usual selection, including sports, party/indoor, beach/snow, sunset etcetera. The menu options do include colour optimisation, with a custom setting for adjustable contrast, saturation and image sharpening, but these parameters can only be adjusted to high, low or normal.

Other menu options are more useful, such as a range of AF fields including a manually-positioned AF point, and a range of metering modes including matrix, centre-weighted, spot and AF-point spot. Flash exposure can also be adjusted. Drive modes include single shot, continuous shooting, Nikon’s helpful Best Shot Selector mode, the rather less useful 16-in-1 multi-shot mode and interval timer shooting with optional time-lapse movie making. Noise reduction can also be turned off, although this is of dubious benefit on a camera of this type. One handy feature in playback mode is the D-lighting function. This compensates for very high contrast shots by brightening shadows, and it does produce quite nice results.

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