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You are hereHome > Digital Camera Reviews > Nikon Coolpix P6000


   


Nikon Coolpix P6000 Review

Review Date: Nov 11, 2008

Category: Serious and Advanced Amateur

Nikon Coolpix P6000

HANDLING & FEEL

The Nikon Coolpix P6000 body design retains the general dimensions of the P5100, except that it is slightly wider (9mm) to accomodate the extra built-in GPS Antenna. The handgrip and Mode Dial have acquired a rougher texture. The onboard flash now pops up. The Command Dial is slightly smaller and the Accessory Shoe has moved from the left top to center top. A small design change most people might not even notice is the "Nikon" name is now etched neater on the body, is slightly bigger, and adds to the overall professional finish.

The P6000 is relatively light and is medium compact, which means that it can be carried in a large trousers pocket, a coat pocket or a handbag. A magnesium alloy front panel provides the necessary strength to support the attachment of optional lenses to the body; to allow that, the lens ring screws right off. The 4x optical zoom retracts into the body with a convenient built-in lens cover.

As was the case for the P5100, the Nikon P6000 is attractive in its black body with a few silver and chrome accents. It has a handgrip that is covered with a new non-slip textured rubber and allows you to hold it very comfortably and securely. The angled shutter-release button, handy Command Dial, Mode Dial and well placed control buttons all contribute to make the P6000 intuitive to use.

Startup time has improved to about 1 sec. Shot to shot time (JPEG 13M Fine) is still a bit long at about 2.5 sec. (I took 4 shots in approx. 10 sec.). There is no practical shutter lag in good light. Autofocus is fast in good light though it will sometimes hunt in low-light.

It takes about 7 sec. to save a RAW file and so shot to shot time for RAW is about 7.5 sec. (4 shots in 30 sec.). You can process the NRW (RAW) image directly in-camera or in post processing using Adobe Camera Raw 5 and Photoshop Lightroom 2. Open-sourced RAW decoder DCRaw lists the P6000 as a supported format. SilkyPix Developer Studio 3.0 supports the P6000 in its commercial version. Aperture 2 has added P6000 support. Note that the NRW (RAW) file format is not [yet?] supported by Capture NX.

Continuous shooting is about 0.8fps (JPEG 13M Fine: 5 shots in 6 sec.; JPEG 13M Normal: 11 shots in 13 sec.). Unfortunately, no continuous shooting is possible in RAW.

STYLE
- Colours: overall black with silver and chrome accents
- Looks: rectangular, professional
FEEL
- Comfortable
- Lots of controls
DIMENSIONS & WEIGHT
- Medium Compact: fits in a large pants pocket, coat pocket or small handbag
- Dimensions: Approx. 107 x 65.5 x 42 mm (4.2 x 2.8 x 1.7 in.) excluding projections
- Weight: Approx. 240 g (12.9 oz.) without battery and SD memory card
- Takes 1 Li-ion battery EN-EL5 3.7V 1100mAh
SPEED OF OPERATION
- Average startup speed with lens extending about 26 mm (1.0 in.) and LCD turning on in about 1 sec.
- Shot to shot time about 2.5 sec.
- No practical shutter lag in good light.

The Terminal compartment is on the right side of the camera (viewed from the back) with a rectangular rubber cover that conveniently swings out of the way.

Controls

Nikon Coolpix P6000 - Top Controls

The top of the camera has (from right to left) the Shutter Release Button, the Zoom lever around the shutter-release button, the Power ON/OFF button (which has moved from the left side of the shutter-release button to the right), the Command Dial (that looks just a tad smaller), the Mode Dial, and the Hot Shoe (that has moved from the left to center). All the other controls are found on the back. I like the clean layout.

The Mode Dial is reachable, and can be rotated, by the thumb. Besides the Auto mode (Green camera symbol), it has P (Programmed Auto), S (Shutter-Priority), A (Aperture-Priority), M (Manual), Movie, SCENE (Scene Modes), GPS, Picture Bank, U2, U1 (User Settings). The P5100 had SETUP, Hi ISO (high sensitivity), and Anti-shake (which turns on VR and BSS). On the P6000, SETUP and Hi ISO are now set in the MENU, and VR and BSS are now set separately in the MENU.

GPS on the Mode Dial allows you to verify the GPS satellites strength, turn GPS geotagging ON or OFF, and synchronize your camera's clock with the GPS satellites clocks. If you like or need geotagging, it's quite nicely and simply implemented in the P6000.

Picture Bank allows you to upload pictures from your camera to the my Picturetown server for storage. my Picturetown is a Nikon service that provides you with up to 2GB of free storage. To upload pictures, an Internet broadband connection and LAN cables are required.

The Mode Dial looks a bit crowded and I wonder whether Picture Bank and GPS would not as well be served in MENU seeing they do not require frequent changes.

A Command Dial allows quick selection of shutter speed, aperture and other menu options. In Programmed Auto mode, the Command Dial conveniently engages program shift. In MENU, you can use the multi selector (UP, DOWN, RIGHT and LEFT ARROWS) or the Command Dial. In FUNC., you can only use the Command Dial. The Command Dial is more intuitive and faster to operate but sometimes you still need to press the RIGHT ARROW and OK button to complete the selection. There were a number of places where I thought I could use the Command Dial but I had to use the multi selector instead. This restriction is confusing and unnecessary.

As Nikon digital cameras are well known for, there is a Scene Mode for almost everything you want to do. For example, the Panorama Assist 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. It is a bit on the slow side saving each image captured, but this is still one of the best Panorama implementation I've used.

You can record movies (with sound) at 640x480 at 30fps. The maximum file size for movies is 2GB. You have a choice of Single AF (default, focus locks once movie recording starts) or Full-time AF (camera continuously adjusts focus during movie recording, though focusing sound will also get recorded). You'd probably not find this on other digital cameras, but the P6000 also allows you to record Time Lapse movies, Sepia movies and B&W movies for some nice special effects.

Nikon Coolpix P6000 Back View

All the other controls are found on the back of the camera. Though there are lots of them, they are more or less neatly arranged. Three new buttons have been added: My (My Menu), MF (Manual Focus) and Flash pop-up. The MY and MF buttons have displaced the Monitor and Delete buttons from the left lineup to more appropriate locations. So now, neatly lined up to the left of the large 2.7-in. 230,000 dots resolution LCD are, from top to bottom: Fn (Function button, can be set in MENU), My (My MENU), MF (Manual Focus), Playback, and MENU.

The MF (Manual Focus) mode is new and unfortunately not very well implemented. To use it, you must first set it ON using the DOWN on the Multi Selector. Then you press and hold down MF with your left thumb while you rotate the Command Dial with your right thumb. The center part of the screen is magnified for a better view. Surprisingly, you cannot use the UP and DOWN of the Multi Selector, which is unfortunate because rotating the Command Dial results in the camera bobbing up and down and makes it difficult to determine when the subject is clearly in focus. The central magnification is also not high enough to do the job properly.

I would suggest a redesign of the Manual Focus implementation. First, there is no need to use two controls (DOWN and MF) to turn MF ON. Once it's set in DOWN, you cannot do anything except manual focus, so having to hold down the MF button also is redundant. I suggest using only the MF button to toggle manual focus ON and OFF. Then the UP and DOWN can be used to set the focus.

For those who like to have one, there is a tiny real zoom optical viewfinder.

The Menu icons feature that condenses 4 pages of menu text into 1 convenient page of icons on the P5100 is gone.

Exposure compensation is evoked by simply pressing RIGHT on the Multi Selector, then using UP and DOWN to dial in a +ve and -ve value, respectively.

The Playback function has its own dedicated button, which makes it very convenient to switch between the Record and Playback modes with a press of the button. Half press the shutter-release button to immediately return to Record mode. If you just want to view your pics without turning the camera on, simply press and hold the Playback button for about 2 sec. and Playback will start without the lens extending; when you're done, press the Power button to turn the camera off.

When in Playback mode, the Delete button will allow you to delete the displayed picture; to Delete All, you need to access the Menu.

On the bottom of the camera is the tripod socket, which is metal and placed almost in the middle of the camera. You will not be able to change battery and memory card while the camera is mounted on a tripod.

On the bottom right is the Battery and SD Card Compartment. There is a small latch to secure the battery from falling when the door is opened. The Ethernet port is right under the handgrip with a rubber cover. It allows direct connectivity to your modem or router. Note that no LAN cable is provided so you'll have to get your own.

LCD & Menus

As noted earlier, there is an optical viewfinder and the large 2.7 in. LCD monitor is bright. The 230,000 dots resolution is quite good with a fast enough refresh rate for a smooth display, but not adequate enough to judge focus lock when using manual focus. You can manually adjust the LCD monitor's brightness in SETUP. The LCD monitor gains up very well in low-light and even in extreme low-light, with a smooth display that is surprisingly not too noisy. There is an effective AF-assist Illuminator to help achieve focus in low-light.

SHOOTING MENU 1 of 4

- Image quality
- Image size
- Picture Control
- Custom Picture Control
- White balance
- ISO sensitivity

SHOOTING MENU 2 of 4

- Metering
- Continuous
- Auto bracketing
- AF area mode
- Auto-focus mode
- Flash exp. comp.

SHOOTING MENU 3 of 4

- Flash control
- Noise reduction
- Distortion control
- Wide-angle converter
- Active D-Lighting
- Save user settings

SHOOTING MENU 4 of 4

- Reset user settings

IMAGE QUALITY 1 of 2

- Fine
- Normal
- Basic
- NRW (RAW)
- NRW (RAW) + Fine
- NRW (RAW) + Normal

IMAGE QUALITY 2 of 2

- NRW (RAW) + Basic

IMAGE SIZE 1 of 2

- 13M 4224 x 3168
- 8M 3264 x 2448
- 5M 2592 x 1944
- 3M 2048 x 1536
- 2M 1600 x 1200
- 1M 1280 x 960

IMAGE SIZE 2 of 2

- PC 1024 x 768
- TV 640 x 480
- 3:2 4224 x 2816
- 16:9 4224 x 2376
- 1:1 3168 x 3168 [Note new Square format]

PICTURE CONTROL

- Standard
- Neutral
- Vivid
- Monochrome

PICTURE CONTROL - STANDARD

- Quick adjust
- Image sharpening
- Contrast
- Saturation
- Reset

PICTURE CONTROL - NEUTRAL

- Image sharpening
- Contrast
- Saturation
- Reset

PICTURE CONTROL - VIVID

- Quick adjust
- Image sharpening
- Contrast
- Saturation
- Reset

PICTURE CONTROL - MONOCHROME

- Image sharpening
- Contrast
- Filter effects
- Reset

WHITE BALANCE 1 of 2

- Auto
- Preset manual
- Daylight
- Incandescent
- Fluorescent
- Cloudy

WHITE BALANCE 2 of 2

- Flash

ISO 1 of 2

- Auto (64-800)
- High ISO sensitivity auto (64-1600)
- Fixed range auto (64-100, 64-200, 64-400)
- 64
- 100
- 200

ISO 2 of 2

- 400
- 800
- 1600
- 2000
- 3200 [Image size = 3M]
- 6400 [Image size = 3M]

METERING

- Matrix
- Center-weighted
- Spot
- Spot AF area

CONTINUOUS

- Single
- Continuous
- BSS
- Continuous flash
- Multi-shot 16
- Interval timer shooting

INTERVAL TIMER SHOOTING

- 30 s
- 1 min
- 5 min
- 10 min
- 30 min
- 60 min

AUTO BRACKETING

- Auto bracketing can be set at +/- 0.3, +/- 0.7 or +/- 1.0

AF AREA MODE 1 of 2

- Face priority: focus on face
- Auto: leave it to the camera to select an AF area to focus on
- Manual: select from 99 AF areas
- Center: camera always focuses on center AF area

AF AREA MODE 2 of 2

- When Manual AF area mode is selected, pressing the MENU/OK button allows you to position the Af area at one of 99 possible positions on screen
- Note that the area of the screen outside the four marked corners (i.e. edges of screen) cannot be selected

AUTOFOCUS MODE

- Single AF
- Full-time AF

FLASH EXPOSURE COMPENSATION

- +2.0 to -2.0, in 0.3EV steps

FLASH CONTROL

- Auto
- Built-in off (disables flash even if it is popped up)

NOISE REDUCTION

- Auto (slow shutter speeds)
- On (shutter speed of 1/4 s or less)

DISTORTION CONTROL

- On
- Off

WIDE-ANGLE CONVERTER

- On
- None

ACTIVE D-LIGHTING

- High
- Normal
- Low
- Off

 

SETUP 1 of 3

- Welcome screen
- Date
- Brightness
- Date imprint
- Vibration reduction: turn this ON to enable image stabilization; choose OFF when camera is placed on a tripod
- AF assist

SETUP 2 of 3

- Digital zoom
- Sound settings
- Auto off
- Format card
- Language
- Video mode

SETUP 3 of 3

- FUNC button
- Customize My Menu
- Reset all
- Firmware version

WELCOME SCREEN

- None
- COOLPIX
- Select an image

DATE

- Date
- Time zone

DATE IMPRINT 1 of 2

- Off
- Date
- Date and Time
- Date counter

DATE IMPRINT 2 of 2

- In red, bottom right

VR

- On
- Off

AF ASSIST

- Auto (AF-assist lamp lights to enable focus lock in poor lighting)
- Off

SOUND SETTINGS

- Button sound
- Shutter sound

AUTO OFF

- 30 s
- 1 min
- 5 min
- 30 min

LANGUAGE

- 24 different languages

VIDEO MODE

- NTSC
- PAL

FUNCTION 1 of 3

- Allows you to customize the FUNC button to one of the following:

- ISO sensitivity
- Image quality
- Image size
- White balance
- AF area mode
- Continuous

FUNCTION 2 of 3

- Distortion control
- Wide-angle converter
- Vibration reduction
- Record GPS data
- Save user settings
- Exp. +/-

FUNCTION 3 of 3

- Picture control
- Metering
- Auto bracketing
- Flash exp. comp.
- Autofocus mode
- Active D-Lighting

FIRMWARE VERSION

 

 

PROGRAM AUTO

- Clockwise from top left: Programmed Auto mode, Macro ON, Flash mode ON, Self-timer 10 sec., VR ON, GPS ON, NRW + Fine, space left for 21 images, Aperture F5.0, Shutter Speed 1/60 sec., Auto ISO 64-400, Exp. Comp. +0.7EV

Note: no battery indicator displays until you;re almost out of power.

SCENE MODES 1 of 3

- Portrait
- Landscape
- Sports
- Night portrait
- Party/indoor
- Beach/snow

SCENE MODES 2 of 3

- Sunset
- Dusk/dawn
- Night landscape
- Close up
- Museum
- Fireworks show

SCENE MODES 3 of 3

- Copy
- Back light
- Panorama assist (with semi transparency)
- Voice recording
- Image quality
- Image size

HELP

- Toggle the Zoom control to T to bring up Help whenever a ? is displayed on screen

FACE PRIORITY 1 of 3

- Subject must be facing the camera for the face to be recognized and focused on
- When there are more than one possible faces to focus in, the closest face (or more contrasty one) will be selected

FACE PRIORITY 2 of 3

- Face recognized

FACE PRIORITY 3 of 3

- Face focused on

MOVIE MENU

- Movie oprions
- Autofocus mode

MOVIE OPTIONS

- TV movie 640 * - 640x480 @ 30fps
- TV movie 640 - 640x480 @ 15 fps
- Small size 320 - 320x240 @ 15fps
- Time-lapse movie * - up tp 1800 frames 640x480 silent movie played back @ 30fps
- Sepia movie 320 - 320x240 @ 15fps
- B&W movie 320 - 320x240 @ 15fps

- Movie records until memory card is full or file size of 2GB reached

 

PLAYBACK MENU 1 of 2

- D-Lighting
- Print set
- SLide show
- Delete
- Protect
- Rotate image

PLAYBACK MENU 2 of 2

- Hide image
- Small pic.
- Copy
- Black border
- NRW (RAW) processing

D-LIGHTING

- Enhances contrast and brightness in dark areas

SLIDE SHOW

- Start
- Frame interval

DELETE

- Erase selected images
- Erase all images

BLACK BORDER 1 of 2

- Thin
- Medium
- Broad

BLACK BORDER 2 of 2

 

RAW PROCESSING 1 of 2

- White balance
- Exp. +/-
- Picture control
- Save copy

RAW PROCESSING 21 of 2

- Image quality
- Image size
Use default settings
- Save copy

PLAYBACK DISPLAY 1 of 4

PLAYBACK DISPLAY 2 of 4

- Playback Histogram
- Highlights blink

PLAYBACK DISPLAY 3 of 4

- Highlights blink

PLAYBACK DISPLAY 4 of 4

- No info

 

EXPOSURE COMPENSATION

- Press Exp. Comp. (Right Arrow) and use UP and DOWN to select a value

FOCUS - INFINITY

- Auto Focus
- Macro
- Infinity
- Manual Focus

FOCUS - MF

- You have to select MF here first...

MF (MANUAL FOCUS)

- ... then hold down MF button while rotating the Command Dial to focus manually
- Center portion of screen is magnified

SELF-TIMER

- 10 s
- 2 s
- Remote controller (optional)
- 10 s Remote
- 2 s Remote

FLASH MODE

- Auto
- Auto with red-eye reduction
- Off
- Fill flash
- Slow sync
- Rear-curtain sync

PICTURE BANK

- my Picturetown
- Internet broadband connection and LAN cables required
- http://mypicturetown.com offers 2GB of free storage

 

GPS 1 of 4

- Receives signals from 4 or more satellites
- Strength of receiving signal: gray -> yellow -> blue (stronger)
- Displays latitude and longitude

GPS 2 of 4

- Record GPS data
- Valid storage period
- Update GPS data
- Synchronize

GPS 3 of 4 - VALID STORAGE PERIOD

- If GPS signal cannot be obtained, your picture will record the last positional information obtained:
- 15 s or less
- 30 s or less
- 1 m or less
- 5 m or less
- 15 m or less
- 30 m or less

GPS 4 of 4

- You can use the GPS satellites to set camera clock

 

The Nikon Coolpix P6000 has good handling and lots of practical features, making this camera attractive to those desiring a prosumer compact digital camera with full exposure flexibility, (optional) remote controller and now with built-in GPS geotagging.

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