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Bird on a wire @1000mm

I’ll admit that when I saw that Nikon had a camera that had a zoom on it from 24-1000mm, I thought: I’d love to give that a try!!! I waited around for LensRentals.com to come up with one, but they didn’t, so I had to take matters in my own hands. The FedEx guy dropped it off yesterday. :D

Last evening, I spent two hours and 265 shots, down in McDowell Nature Preserve trying the camera out. Seeing if I could run it’s battery out, take it through its paces, and see what it was about. Currently, it is on sale for $399 with free shipping. B&H was out of stock, so I bought one from Adorama.

Without further ado, here are my thoughts:

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Viewfinder

The P510 has an electronic viewfinder. Well, I remember having an electronic viewfinder on my DiMage A1 – 8 years ago. This viewfinder, from what I can remember of the old one, seems to be about the same quality – fairly crappy. C’mon Nikon, you can do much better than this! I used the Nikon 1 V1 and it had a very good EVF. This, although significantly less expensive, is a huge step down. It’s usable, but tiny and the resolution is not very high. Further, there is no sensor to switch between the EVF and the screen, which the A1 had, as well as the Nikon V1. The switch is done manually with a button on the back. Seems that it would have been easy to include this on the camera.

Charging and battery life
There is no separate charger. There is a small brick that comes with the camera that you plug into the wall, plug one end of your USB cable into it, the other end into the camera. The battery cannot be charged by itself. I don’t know if Nikon provides a separate charger for the battery, but this ties the camera up while the battery is charging. If you have two batteries, you cannot leave one to charge while using the camera. You have to wait!
As for battery life, I’ve seen reports that it lasts about 250 shots or so. I used the camera for two hours, solid, shot 260 shots and the battery was not fully charged. I’d say that it lasts quite a bit longer then that. My battery meter was still showing full.
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Manual Focusing
Forget about it! The viewfinder, in my opinion, doesn’t have enough resolution to do accurate focusing. I suppose one could focus on the rear viewfinder, which is very clean and of pretty high resolution.
GPS
Not all that accurate. Some of the shots had GPS coordinates that seemed remarkably accurate, others were off several hundred feet. No rhyme nor reason. All were taken under open sky. Also, where other GPS’s might work, this one has trouble unless under open sky. Even amongst the trees, it didn’t pick up a signal, where my hand-held GPS had no problems.
Zoom
Killer. I mean, seriously, 24 – 1000 mm! This was the reason that I got the camera. For that reach! At 1000 mm, as one might expect, camera shake is HUGE, but the VR does a great job at allowing me to shoot at slow shutter speeds, hand-held.
Auto-Focus
OK, it’s a $400 camera. I’m trying hard not to compare it to my D700, or even D300. The auto-focus is a bit slow and has quite a bit of trouble, sometimes, locking on at 1000mm, unless there is a great amount of contrast on the subject or between the subject and the background. However, as you can see from some of the photos, it works well and is delivers a very clean, acceptably sharp photo, even at maximum zoom.
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Ergonomics
It’s a Nikon and they’ve got ergonomics solidly. The camera feels good in your hand. Buttons are positioned in places that make sense, and the meaning system seems very familiar, very similar to the V1.
RAW
No Raw – This doesn’t bother me in the least. :) Heck, it’s a P&S camera.
Shooting Formats
Finally, I love the different formats available 4:3, 3;2, 16:9, 1:1. I shot the whole 2 hours in square format. It was cool not to have to turn the camera on the side. :)

I’ve not tried out the 1080p HD video, just yet. Maybe when I go to The Bahamas I’ll try it out. Maybe not.

This camera, even with its faults, makes a fantastic walking around camera, or even in -the-woods camera. I’m sure that I’ll be posting more critter shots, soon. Also, it has 30 or 60 FPS shooting! I’ve yet to try this out … yet!

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My first beaver!
That place which moves you

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