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You are hereHome > Digital Camera Reviews > Nikon Coolpix 5600


Nikon Coolpix 5600 Review

Review Date: April 4, 2005

Category: Point-and-Shoot

Handling & Feel

Floral Shop
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 shutter 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 tripod.

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 is recommended.

Overall, the Coolpix 5600 is well constructed, lightweight, easy to use and handle, and a take anywhere camera.

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