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Nikon Coolpix 5600 Review
Date: April 4, 2005
The Nikon Coolpix 5600 is a digital camera
targeted to point-and-shoot photographers. It
has 5.1 megapixel resolution on a 1/2.5 in. CCD
image sensor, and a 5.7-17.1mm (35-105mm, 35 mm
equivalent) 3x optical zoom lens, with a maximum
aperture of F2.9(W)-F4.9(T).
The zoom range covers a useful slight wide-angle
to portrait medium telephoto coverage. Metering
is Multi-Pattern and works fine in most situations,
though the highlights tend to be blown. Exposure
compensation is possible and is accessed through
We find the overall image quality of the Nikon
5600 to be good.
(35mm, 35mm equivalent)
(105mm, 35mm equivalent)
In the above pictures, we show the coverage for
35mm, and then 105mm.
|Macro using Best Shot Selector
6.4mm, Programmed Auto, Multi-Pattern, Macro,
1/1.4 sec., F3, ISO Auto
Macro can be as close as 4 cm (1.6 in.). Don't
just set Macro on and shoot away, though, or you
might well end up with out of focus images. Ensure
the macro flower indicator turns green (looks
more like blue to me) first by adjusting the zoom
a bit as necessary.
With macros, don't expect to be able to handhold
the shot: using a tripod is mandatory. Also ensure
the subject is not moving at all (e.g. in the
breeze); though a fast shutter speed can freeze
the movement, the subject may have slightly moved
into an out-of-focus zone. Out-of-focus macro
shots are usually caused by trying to handhold
the shot of a moving subject.
The above shot was hand-held, but I cheated by
using one of the Nikon 5600's feature: Best Shot
Selector (BSS) that you set in the Menu. BSS works
by taking 10 shots in a row (as long as you keep
your finger on the shutter release button) and
then discarding all except the one that comes
out the sharpest. Very cool feature!
As the above two pictures show, the auto white
balance (AWB) indoors under fluorescent artificial
light (since most sites demonstrate tungsten lighting,
we decided it would be more helpful to demonstrate
fluorescent lighting) tends toward the yellow.
The Nikon 5600 allows manual WB to be set via
the Menu: Preset WB allows us to correct the colours
to real white. AWB works very well in natural
You cannot set the ISO on the Nikon 5600. The
camera chooses it for you, and in low-light situations,
it will invariably select a high ISO. The 100%
crop above (area delimited by the white square)
demonstrates the noise that is visible at high
ISO. Since the camera does not record the ISO
setting used, you have no idea which one was used.
CA is minimal in everyday shots. It's not too
sunny here, but out of our high contrast shots,
we found a couple with a bit of purple fringing
at full image size. In the above photo, the corner
delimited by the red square at top middle, and
reproduced at 100% crop at bottom right, showed
some purple fringing. At 4x6 in. prints, this
should not be a problem at all and won't show
|6mm, Programmed Auto, Multi-Pattern,
1/1.6 sec., F2.9, ISO Auto
Macro, Self-timer, Tripod Used
The Nikon 5600 allows the use of a moderately
long shutter speed of up to 4 sec. Generally,
with CCD image sensors, noise usually becomes
more prominent at slow shutter speeds.
We decided to take a low-light indoors shot.
Light is from two fluorescent energy-saving bulbs
on the ceiling. To obtain a long exposure, I place
Bamm-Bamm under my desk in the shadows. I could
not get focus lock since the Nikon 5600 does not
have an AF Assist Illuminator, so I moved Bamm-Bamm
forward into the light. Adjust the zoom until
the macro (flower) indicator turns green, set
the 10 sec. self-timer and press the shutter release.
Not the 4 sec. I was hoping. So bear in mind that
you might not be able to get to use that 4 sec.
if you also cannot get focus lock when the light
level is too dark.
Blur Warning will warn you that an image is blurred
and gives you the option of saving it or discarding
it. D-Lighting is in theory a good feature though
in practice it results in high noise; nevertheless
it is a handy "brightness" feature for
those who will never use an image editing software
to post-process images that come out too dark.
All in all, the Nikon 5600 is strictly P&S,
though it does have to following positives going
- Good quality images with nice colours and
sharpness straight out of the camera
- lots of easy-to-use Scene Modes (incl. scene
- BSS is a nifty feature in situations where
camera shake may be a problem
- in-camera red-eye reduction
- exposure compensation
- manual WB
- no AF Assist Illuminator means focusing in
low-light situations can be challenging (no
problem in bright outdoors)
- no AF frame indicator on screen so you do
not really know where the focus is locking on
- movie not high quality but adequate for web
- cannot set ISO so no control over noise (indoors
low-light pictures will generally be noisy)
The pictures in the Nikon Coolpix 5600 Photo
Gallery page provide a good sample of what
the camera is capable of. I have provided samples
at 800x600 pixels (compressed to Quality 60/100
in Photoshop Elements) as well as the 2592 x 1944
pixels original size (click on the image for the
You can safely assume that most macro shots
and slow shutter speed shots required the use
of a tripod. Any image that is adjusted for levels
in Photoshop has "_adjusted" appended
to the file name (though the original sized image
is, of course, not adjusted).
I have defaulted the image size to 800x600 pixels.
For those who have their monitor resolution set
to 1024x728 pixels, everything should snugly fit
and you should not have to scroll to see the whole
image. If your monitor is set to 800x600 pixels
resolution, start the slide show and then scroll
to the right to position the image within your
screen width. Then, press F11 (if you are using
Internet Explorer) to switch to full screen mode,
and the image should fill your screen nicely.
Press F11 again at any time to switch your monitor
display back to normal mode.
To return to this page from the Photo Gallery,
click on the animated graphics of the camera.
Please open and download the original size version
only if you need to and only once
to your hard drive -- and save me some precious