Opening the box, the first bit of bad news is that like the P100, the P500 charges the battery in the camera (and battery life has dropped from 250 shots to 220). The MH-61 external charger sells for about $19 at reputable online vendors, and that should be the charger provided with this $400 MSRP camera - the camera is unavailable for any operations during battery charging. Second immediate gripe is that only a quick start printed manual is provided - the complete manual exists only on CD-ROM until you print one yourself.
After that, it gets better. By the time the battery had charged it was dark so few flash shots inside were all I could do the first night. The P500 seems to acquire focus fairly quickly in dim conditions and at telephoto focal lengths. In bright outdoor conditions the camera seemed to acquire focus promptly across the focal range. Shutter lag seems good - on a par with the P100, I'd say. Image quality and color look pretty good right out of the camera.
Video capture may be initiated by a one-button push.
While the P100 remains on the Nikon USA website at this writing, the P500 covers that camera's focal range and more, offers HD video, more resolution and latest generation Nikon image processing for the same MSRP. The P100 proved to be a pretty good camera, and while we've just scratched the surface with the P500 so far, first impressions are that it seems a capable replacement for the P100. Our full review of the P500 will follow in the not too distant future.
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