Nikon Coolpix P520 ultra zoom review

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Nikon Coolpix P520 is a flagship ultra zoom camera from Nikon. Besides this one there are two cheaper models; the L820 which I already reviewed and the basic L320. P520 offers more features and had better specs in almost all regards compared to cheaper brothers; it has 42x optical zoom with image stabilization (VR), back-illuminated 18 megapixel sensor, GPS, records full HD video with stereo sound and has a nice set of manual functions and controls. Its main competitors are Canon SX50 and Sony HX300.

GENERAL SPECIFICATIONS

  • Announced: 2013.
  • Type: Ultra zoom
  • Dimensions: 125 x 84 x 102┬ámm
  • Weight: 550 g
  • Sensor: CMOS 18MP (4896 x 3672)
  • Lens: 4.3 – 180mm (24-1000 in 35mm), F/3 – 5.9, optical image stabilization
  • ISO range: 80 – 6,400
  • Dust and moisture protection: No
  • Flash: Built in flash
  • LCD screen: 3.2″, 921,600 dots, tilt able
  • Memory card: SDHC
  • Battery: Li-Ion
  • Video: 1920×1080 (30p)
  • Connectors: USB 2.0, mini HDMI

CONSTRUCTION AND HANDLING

Build quality is superb for this camera class. Nikon P520 is built from smooth but tightly assembled plastic. Hand grip is very big and covered with non slippery rubber so it fits in my palm perfectly. Combined with the rubber thumb-rest on the back, P520 offers very secure grip. The design is also quite attractive, at least in my opinion and the camera is available in several colors (depending on the country).

Besides usual controls, P520 has twin control dials which are both operated with the thumb. If you use the camera in manual exposure mode, one will operate shutter speed and the other aperture value.

Two buttons are customizable: “Fn” at the top can be assigned for 6 or 7 different settings like ISO, metering, drive, focus points etc. The “W-T” switch on the left side of the lens can be used for zoom (default) but can be reassigned for manual focus (my choice) and snap-back zoom which remembers how far have you zoomed and returns to that position upon the press.

Nikon P520 has GPS receivers which can geotag photos, but it drains the battery pretty fast.

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