PopPhoto.com readers rate the Nikon Coolpix P5000 and the Fujifilm S5 Pro, as well as the Nikon 200-400mm, 18-200mm and 180mm lenses.
December 17, 2008
Nikon Coolpix P5000 (MSRP: $400)
Roberta Leon from Morton Grove, Ill., writes:
What's Hot: Auto and manual controls in a small and easily held camera with a big (2.5-inch) LCD screen, as well as an optical viewfinder for the old-fashioned types. What's Not: No capability to shoot RAW images, although the JPEGs seem to be very good quality.
Review: This camera seems a happy compromise between a pocket-size point-and-shoot and a DSLR. It combines the ease of use of the Coolpix auto and scene modes with P, A and M settings for more complete control over your shots. Wide-angle and telephoto lenses are available, although I've not tried them yet. The Nikon speedflash system is also compatible and offers a good choice, especially for portraits. Clear, good-color images are produced with the help of the optical VR stabilization feature. Possibly too much camera for a rank amateur, but for those of us who are aspiring photographers it offers the ability to shoot quickly when photographing a toddler as well as allowing full control experimentation when more time for shooting is available. A purse- or pocket-size camera with all these capabilities for a reasonable price and including the Nikon quality makes for a winner in my opinion.
Fujifilm S5 Pro
Steven from Los Angeles writes:
What's Hot: Color, image quality, D200 quality of construction, focus, Nikon lens mount. What's Not: Menu not as good as D200, some teething problems, no wireless yet, no aperture support for RAW.
Review: A good camera that might be great -- I've only had it for a week. The auto ISO feature is poorly implemented; working in "manual" when it shouldn't caused me great problems on a shoot. Fuji support seemed kind of lackadaisical in responding to this problem. The colors are wonderful and the high ISO quality is astonishing -- far better than the D200. It would be nice if the WT-3A wireless could work with it, but it doesn't. I really like the look of the stuff I get out of this camera. I hope I don't find more wrinkles.
Nikon 200-400mm f/4G ED-IF AF-S VR Zoom Nikkor lens
Ray Ninness from Bedford, N.H., writes:
What's Hot: Lens is sharp and functions flawlessly. In my case, the jury is still out on the VR functioning. What's Not: The weight is a real challenge.
Review: I've had the lens for about nine months and have had zero issues with it. I find it to be sharp and easy to use, but it isn't an easy lens to lug around. I still haven't decided if the VR functioning is all that useful. I tend to stick to the old photographer's standby that the focal length is the minimum usable shutter speed, and generally stay on the high side of that. If I feel that the shutter speed is getting too low, I break out the large tripod -- a set of bogen 3058 legs. I have used the lens with the Nikkor TC-14E II and find it very useful, as well, although the AF speed seems to suffer a bit with the TC attached. The lens has worked flawlessly from day one.
Nikon 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G ED-IF AF-S VR DX Zoom lens
Ralph Weisheit from Normal, Ill., writes:
What's Hot: Amazing zoom range and high quality of images. What's Not: Lens creep -- it can be quite annoying.
Review: I love this lens! The zoom range is remarkable, as is the quality of the images it produces. The wide range means not having to carry a bag full of lenses and it makes me more likely to quickly grab the camera when I'm taking a walk or making a short trip somewhere. My only complaint is lens creep. Carry the camera hanging from the strap around your neck and within a few minutes the lens is fully extended. This also makes it a nuisance to take shots looking straight down, which is too bad because the lens focuses relatively close.
Nikon 180mm f/2.8 ED-IF AF Nikkor lens
E.R. Vermeulen from Delft, Holland writes:
What's Hot: Superb sharpness even from wide open, light, great manual focus. What's Not: Non-AF-S lens, 72mm filter standard.
Review: I have used this lens for some time now on a Nikon F100 film body and a Nikon D200 digital body. The lens performs very well on both. Sharpness is superb even wide open on the full-frame F100. The lens requires a body with a strong autofocus motor, such as the aforementioned cameras. I have tested it on an F75 also and that AF motor is a bit on the light side.