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Nikon Coolpix P50

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Nikon Coolpix P50

Postby KathyW » Mon Sep 03, 2007 4:47 pm

My point and shoot Canon D80 is starting to act up after a couple of years of abuse and I'm looking around for a new digital point and shoot with a wide-angle lens. I see that Nikon has a new Coolpix - the P50 that has a wide-angle lens. Has anyone looked at it or purchased it? It's pretty inexpensive, which is always nice. I just leave the S80 on automatic, so I don't need much in the area of manual controls.

edit - it doesn't look like it comes out until October, but I think I'll give it a try when it does come out.


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Postby SSSdave » Sat Sep 22, 2007 2:42 pm

I bought its ancestor the Nikon Coolpix 7900 in spring of 2005 when that 7.1mp model came out. Consequently there have been the usual series of upgraded models though all have a similar body shape and set of operational features. Significantly with the model you are considering, there is an increas in the wide angle capability to the 35mm camera equivalent of a 28mm lens. The 7900 is my third compact digital camera weighing less that 10 ounces and easily the best. It has a considerable array of features for something so tiny. However because of my rather advanced camera experience there are also serious tradeoffs though for others less demanding that might not be the case. My uses are either informational or closeup since I use a view camera for serious landscape subjects. The optical quality is surprisingly good although the default software settings tend to deliver an image that is too saturated with some hues noticeable lacking accurate fidelity.

So I set the camera saturation controls for the lowest adjustable choice that then renders subjects reasonably accurately. Still in Photoshop I have to hue shift blue and cyan elements manually set for between about 180 and 250 degrees about 6 degrees towards blue else the skies appear too cyan. And reds need to be desaturated about 10%. I make considerable use of the camera for closeup work, especially of wildflowers. Given the tiny sensor size, the depth of field at macro distances is significant. And the small size is useful for getting in really close and not casting shadows. Auto focusing at macro distances is however inconsistent. I often have to resort to putting a small product bar code in front of the lens at the subject in order to give it enough a contrasty target to correctly focus. A major nuisance that simply having a manual focusing and focus lock option would eliminate. And by lock I don't mean simply holding down the shutter button half-way for long periods as is often the situation.

One problem with resolution of such compact digital cameras versus far more costly D-SLRs with larger lenses while having similar sensor pixel numbers, is that sensor capability becomes limited due to optics. Thus recent such cameras that have come out between 8 and 12 megapixels may not be adding much potential detail simply because the tiny lens on these cameras is hitting an optical limit. Another issue with that Nikon is the custom battery, of which you will need a few, is more costly than say off the shelf nickel metal hydride AAs.

For above reason one ought to look and some of the similar Canon cameras that work with off the shelf rechargeable AA's and have manual focusing with focus lock. ...David
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