The Coolpix P500 is a logical extension of Nikon’s product line in the superzoom compact digital ranks, dramatically expanding the focal range (both wide and long) and adding features over the P100 that it replaces. A slight increase in resolution is accompanied by what looks to be similar or slightly better low light ISO performance, so a net gain there.
Ergonomics are improved by the addition of a checkered hand grip and the addition of a side zoom control in addition to the traditional zoom lever located at the shutter button. HD and HS video options are carried over, and shutter lag and AF acquisition times meet or beat the P100 in those arenas. The whole package is a light, compact setup that carries and handles nicely. So far, so good.
The fly in the ointment here seems to be image quality, which looks pretty good when shooting wide angled close ups, but just a bit soft and average when the zoom heads toward the telephoto end of the spectrum, at least at 100% magnifications. In this regard the P100 seems just a bit better and sharper overall, especially if producing large prints is your objective. And the internal adjustments that are available to modify the images being captured by the P500 just don’t seem to have much effect in the sharpness arena.
That’s the main concern with this camera – if your images are meant for the internet or small prints the P500 does a credible job, but to my eye, some post processing sharpening would be in order to get many larger prints sharp enough to pass muster for me.
- Good ISO performance
- Very good shutter lag and AF acquisition times
- Good color rendition
- Relatively distortion free lens
- Battery charges in camera
- Image quality a bit soft at telephoto