Nikon Coolpix P510 Review

4.5
March 28, 2012 | Mark Goldstein |

Image Quality


All of the sample images in this Review were taken using the 16 megapixel Fine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 5.5Mb.

The Nikon Coolpix P510's image quality is good for a compact camera with a small image sensor. The Nikon Coolpix P510's dealt fairly well with noise, which becomes obvious at ISO 400 along with some colour loss. The noise, colour desaturation and loss of detail gets progressively worse as you go from ISO 400 to ISO 1600 and finally the unusable 3200 and 6400 settings. The Nikon Coolpix P510 handled chromatic aberrations excellently with limited purple fringing effects appearing only in high contrast situations. The 16 megapixel images were a little soft straight out of the camera at the default sharpen setting and either require some further sharpening in an application like Adobe Photoshop, or you should increase the in-camera sharpening level.

The Nikon Coolpix P510's maximum shutter speed is 8 seconds, which is fairly good news for night photography enthusiasts. Macro performance is excellent, allowing you to focus as close as 1cm away from the subject. Vibration reduction is a compulsory feature on a camera like this and one that that works very well when hand-holding the P510 in low-light conditions or using the telephoto end of the amazing zoom range. The built-in flash worked well indoors, with no red-eye and good overall exposure. The backlighting feature increases detail in both the shadows and highlights, although at the expense of some additional noise and loss of fine detail, while the Picture Controls, Special Effects during shooting and Filter Effects during playback offer a lot of creative control over your images.

Noise

The Nikon Coolpix P510 has 7 sensitivity settings ranging from ISO 100 to ISO 6400 at full resolution.

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

 
 

Focal Range

The Nikon Coolpix P510's 42x zoom lens provides an astonishing focal range of 24-1000mm in 35mm terms, as demonstrated below.

24mm

1000mm

Sharpening

Here are two 100% crops - the right-hand image has had some sharpening applied in Photoshop. The out-of-the camera images from the Nikon Coolpix P510 are slightly soft at the default sharpening setting and benefit from some further sharpening in a program like Adobe Photoshop. You can alternatively change the in-camera sharpening level to suit your tastes.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

   

File Quality

At full resolution, there are three JPEG quality settings availableon the Nikon Coolpix P510 - Fine, Normal and Basic.

Fine (5.01Mb) (100% Crop)

Normal (2.94Mb) (100% Crop)

   

Basic (1.72Mb) (100% Crop)

 
 

Chromatic Aberrations

Given the range of the zoom lens, the Nikon Coolpix P510 shows remarkably little purple fringing, with limited effects in areas of high contrast as shown in the examples below.

Example 1 (100% Crop)

Example 2 (100% Crop)

Macro

The Nikon Coolpix P510 allows you to get as close as 1cm to your subject, in this case a Compact Flash card.

Macro Shot

100% Crop

Flash

The flash settings on the Nikon Coolpix P510 are Auto, Auto with Red-eye reduction, Fill Flash, Manual (Full, 1/2, 1/4 1/8, 1/16, 1/32 and 1/64), Slow Sync, Rear-curtain Sync and Flash Off. These shots of a white coloured wall were taken at a distance of 1.5m. Some vignetting and barrel distortion is apparent at the 24mm wide-angle setting, irrespective of whether you use the flash or not.

Flash Off - Wide Angle (24mm)

Flash On - Wide Angle (24mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64
   

Flash Off - Telephoto (1000mm)

Flash On - Telephoto (1000mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

And here are a couple of portrait shots. As you can see, neither the Fill Flash or the Auto with Red-eye reduction options caused any amount of red-eye.

Flash On

Flash On (100% Crop)
   

Red Eye Reduction

Red Eye Reduction (100% Crop)

Night

The Nikon Coolpix P510's maximum shutter speed is 8 seconds in the Manual mode, which is fairly good news if you're seriously interested in night photography. The shot below was taken using a shutter speed of 8 seconds at ISO 100.

Night Shot

Night Shot (100% Crop)

Vibration Reduction

The Nikon Coolpix P510 has a vibration reduction mechanism, which allows you to take sharp photos at slower shutter speeds than other digital cameras. To test this, I took 2 handheld shots of the same subject with the lens set to the same focal length and ISO speed. The first shot was taken with vibration reduction turned off, the second with it turned on. As you can see, with vibration reduction turned on, the images are definitely sharper than with vibration reduction turned off. Here is a 100% crop of the images to show the results.

Shutter Speed / Focal Length

Anti Shake Off (100% Crop)

Anti Shake On (100% Crop)
1/20th sec / 24mm
     
1/15th sec / 1000mm

Backlighting

The Nikon Coolpix P510's Baclighting mode captures three consecutive shots at varying exposures and combines them into a single photo with a broader range of tones. Three different HDR settings are available for selection.

Off

HDR 1
   

HDR 2

HDR 3

Picture Controls

The Nikon Coolpix P510 has four different Picture Controls, which can be individually tweaked (sharpening, contrast and saturation) to suit your taste.

Standard

Neutral
   

Vivid

Monochrome

Special Effects

You can apply nine different special effects as you shoot with the Nikon Coolpix P510, with a live preview on the LCD screen showing exactly what the final image will look like.

Off

Soft
   

Nostalgic Sepia

High-contrast Monochrome

   

High Key

Low Key

   

Selective Colour

Painting

   

High ISO Monochrome

Silhouette

Filter Effects

You can apply five different filter effects in-camera to photos that you have already taken with the Nikon Coolpix P510.

Selective Color

Cross Screen
   

Fisheye

Miniature Effect

   

Painting

 
 

Easy Panorama

The Nikon Coolpix P510's Easy Panorama mode allows you to take vertical or horizontal panorama photos simply by moving the camera in the direction of the on-screen guides. Multiple shots are then combined into a single panorama photo. The angle of view can be selected from 180° (normal) and 360° (wide).

Easy Panorama - 180°
Full-size Image
 
Easy Panorama - 360°
Full-size Image

Entry Tags

hd video, hd, 3 inch LCD, 1080p, 16 megapixel, nikon, super-zoom, coolpix, EVF, 7fps, 42x zoom, p510, nikon p510, Nikon Coolpix P510 Review, coolpix p510

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