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Nikon Coolpix 5600 Review
Date: April 4, 2005
Handling & Feel
5.7 mm, Programmed Auto, Multi-Pattern, Macro,
1/3.7 sec., F2.9 and ISO Auto.
The Nikon Coolpix 5600 is a very compact
digital camera with dimensions of 85W x 60H x
35D mm (3.3W x 2.4H x 1.4D in.) and very light
at 130g (4.6 oz). As most compact digital cameras
do now, the Nikon 5600 also uses the SecureDigital
(SD) memory card. Its body is all plastic but
well built, and has an attractive two tone color,
with a vertical bar at the front that works quite
well for a grip.
The controls are a bit crowded at the back, but
quite usable. Because of the close proximity of
the controls, I personally find that I need two
hands to operate the Nikon 5600: the left hand
to hold the camera, while the fingers of the right
hand pressing the control buttons. The Mode Dial
clicks into place positively though it is quite
easy to inadvertently scroll it off its intended
setting. Sometimes it can scroll in between settings,
but the camera will display a helpful error message
to warn you. The Nikon 5600 is geared to first-time
users with a help system (access with zoom tele)
on any menu item.
It is a Point-and-Shoot camera with Auto mode
and, as Nikon digital cameras are well known for,
the most comprehensive number of useful Scene
Modes to automate many picture-taking situations.
For example, the Panorama scene mode allows you
to take a number of panoramic shots and line them
up precisely on screen by overlaying the semi-transparent
previous image on screen.
This also means that there is not too many control
buttons to press, and most options are accessed
via a simplified Menu.
On the Mode dial, there are also four Scene Assist
Modes to help in picture composition, basically
scene modes with additional help features. A handy
one is the Architecture scene assist mode which
displays horizontal, vertical and diagonal lines
on screen -- a feature usually available on more
expensive digital cameras.
The Coolpix 5600 feels very light, helped by
the fact that it uses only 2 rechargeable AA batteries.
Note that it seems the US kit includes only 2
AA Alkaline batteries while the Canadian kit includes
2 rechargeable NiMH batteries and a battery charger.
These can change at the manufacturer's whim, so
check before buying.
The 1.8 in. LCD is only 80,000 pixels resolution
but is quite bright and clear. The LCD monitor
brightness is adjustable via menu, or you can
turn it off completely.
Startup is pretty fast at around 2 sec. though
1 sec. is "wasted" in my opinion by
having to hold the power button down before the
camera powers on. But the need to press and hold
for 1 sec. is a safety measure that first-time
users will probably appreciate.
More importantly, the Nikon 5600 has no appreciable
lag -- which is tremendous for an entry-level
digital camera. This permits taking candid shots.
As is becoming more and more common now with
digital cameras, the Nikon 5600 includes 14MB
of internal flash memory, and so a memory card
is not included in the box. At the 5M* High image
mode, 14MB can store about 5 images. A 256MB or
512MB SecureDigital (SD) Memory card is recommended;
the 512MB card will hold about 199 5M* High images.
This is a one time buy, and I find that with a
512MB card (supplied to me graciously by Nikon
for this review), I don't have to ever take it
out of the camera.
The tripod socket is plastic so be careful not
to damage the tread when using the camera on a
The Playback function has a dedicated button
on the back of the camera, which makes it very
convenient to switch between the Record and Playback
modes with a press of the button.
The Coolpix 5600, though a bit thicker than most
ultracompacts, is still very small and fits in
a large pants pocket. Carrying the Coolpix 5600
in a coat pocket or in a soft case hung on the
belt is probably the best way to go. A soft pouch
Overall, the Coolpix 5600 is well constructed,
lightweight, easy to use and handle, and a take