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back to article Nikon stretches Coolpix focal-range beyond belief

Nikon clicked into focus today with the launch of the Coolpix P510, a bridge camera that boasts a whopping 42x optical zoom. The Nikon Coolpix P510 takes the zoom crown off its younger P500 sibling, thanks to a wide-angle Nikkor lens with a stalker-friendly 35mm equivalent of 24mm-1000mm. Nikon Coolpix P510 This joins hands …

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Pint

It's all just a numbers game!

Plato may never have even dreamed of the modern digital camera but he hit the nail on the head with this one when it comes to the art of good photography!

"A good decision is based on knowledge and not on numbers."

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Bronze badge

Plato?

Not sure exactly what you're trying to get at. It would probably be wrong of me to point out that the Camera Obscura was invented in Greek times (not exactly a "modern" camera, as you put it). But I'll match your quote with a contradicting one:

"when you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it; but when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meagre and unsatisfactory kind; it may be the beginning of knowledge, but you have scarcely, in your thoughts, advanced to the stage of science, whatever the matter may be." -- Lord Kelvin

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Pint

Ah the Victorian obsession with boiling everything down to pure logic and quantificaion. So Lord Kelvin was basically saying if something cannot be stated by pure fact, measured and calculated it has no validity and anyone who experiences "it" must have next to no understanding of it as it cannot be quantified.

OK, express the following in numbers. The beauty and joy in young children's faces on a Christmas morning. The emotion of seeing sunset over a sea at the end of a Summer day. The feeling and sound of treading on the light dusting of frost on a footy pitch at the start of a local Sunday friendly. Emotions of happiness, sadness, distress and anger. You, I and almost everyone can understand these emotions, knows them, how to achieve them, when, where, how and why yet they cannot be quantified that easily, if at all. Sometimes numbers are nowhere near enough.

Getting back on track, point was that camera manufacturers are obssessed by numbers. Correction, the ad-men working for said camera companies are obsessed by numbers as photgraphy is based on imparting an emotion of something you see and wish to share. You cannot run an ad campaign that says, "Our latest XYZ camera will impart better emotion than ever before!". It's meaningless and for comparison to a competitors product, utterly useless. So they grasp at straws and use the camera's stats as a selling point, but the numbers up to a point, are utterly meaningless. It's almost always down to the ability of the fleshy thing holding the light box that makes good and intresting pictures, understanding the use of light, tone and composition, but those are not things that are easily measured and quatified for ad campaigns.

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Measurement

One of my favourite quotes regarding progress came from Frederick Lanchester, the engineer: "If you have to measure an improvement, you haven't got one".

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Bronze badge

its what counts that counts.

Not everything that counts can be counted.

Not everything that can be counted counts.

Some bloke called Einstein, apparently, could be apocryphal.

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Anonymous Coward

42x zoom??

I bet that will take nice sharp images with that zoom level !! //sarcasm

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Gold badge

Roll out the barrel distortion too.

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Meh

42x Zoom? You'll be needing a tripod then. My Fujifilm HS10 does 30x and that's enough of a handful to keep steady.

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Anonymous Coward

35mm equivalent of 24mm-1000mm.

Made Possible by using the smallest sensor known to man.. it might be 16MP but it'll have the smallest pixels ever.. with no light gathering capacity and be totally rubbish in low light....

No thanks.

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Thumb Down

Yep...

Can't be fast... No use to me unfortunately.

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FAIL

I bet...

at 1000mm it'll be about as sharp as a cotton wool bud

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Silver badge

It might just be the lighting

But that looks like a very plasticky camera with none-too-hot build quality.

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Sensor Size

6.17 x 4.55 mm, according to http://www.dpreview.com/products/nikon/compacts/nikon_cpp510

Not what you'd expect for £400.

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mlb
Flame

Thermals

At full zoom, even on a tripod, with the sensor size and optical/digital image stabilisation picture quality will suffer due to thermals. At 42x zoom, any heat source between you and your subject will likely result in the same type of visual effect as rain on your windows.

Has zoom taken over from megapixels in the marketing toolkit?

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MrT
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Meh

Looks like it...

...just as megapixels took over from lens speed a long while back in just about any market where price is critical. The lens on this Nikon is only f3 at its fastest. But hey, never mind, because it has GPS! And comes in several metallic colours!! And the screen tilts!!! Smoke and mirrors.

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Coolpix does NOT compete against DSLR/DSLT cameras...

This is a very advanced point and shoot camera from Nikon. It has a 4.3-180mm lens that mimics an SLR perspective at 24-1000 (according to Nikon). That means that the pixel density is substantially higher than on DSLR/DSLT cameras. No doubt that diffraction limitations will creep in at f/8 (perhaps less).

The good news is that their target audience typically points-and-shoots. The camera's pictures on the Nikon site look OK. They have some candlelit shots, too.

I agree that DXO isn't going to find this camera an image-competitor with APS-C competition.

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Megapickles

So superzoom is the new megapickles war?

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Meh

Hazy shade of gray

Nikon omits the aperture from their product specifications but "1:3-5.9" is on the barrel in their product views. I have lens that's f/5.6 at 300mm and I don't think this will work. f/5.9 isn't going to produce much sensor illumination for anything that isn't in unfiltered sunlight. The sensor will be running at maximum ISO and that won't produce a clear enough image to compensate for the large amounts of atmospheric haze to be expected at such a high zoom level.

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It's amazing how some people know exactly how a camera will perform without ever even touching it, let alone trying it or seeing an authorative review.

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MrT
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All we have to go on is physics...

... because most of the 'reviews' so far have been based on unpowered cameras, so outside Nikon's PR, no-one has actually used it - most just guff on about the colours and repeat Nikon's standard stuff e.g. T3, or Engadget, (although their video review nicely sticks the £/$ thing back at Nikon right at the end ... £400 here, $430 in US, which is a big difference even accounting for adding sales tax etc). Nikon only get to 42x zoom because they've wound the wide-angle end to 24mm from 28mm - it's not going to be noticeably bigger on the telephoto end that the previous P500 model so they are definitely waving big numbers into buyer's faces.

Having a sensor about as big as a newborn's thumbnail and a maximum aperture that's as wide as an iPod headphone plug doesn't inspire confidence in the ultimate quality of the image at maximum zoom. Having said that, this isn't going to be used at the extremes for most shots and it may well be fine in the middle and lower reaches, when the barrel isn't trying to unlock the way to the pick of destiny...

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