Nikon Coolpix P6000

A compact camera that feels like a little DSLR.


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Nikon Coolpix P6000

DSLR camera owners have a lot to be happy about when it comes to pure camera performance, but let's face it — the size does get restrictive on many occasions. Really, do you want to be the guy with the bulky camera at family dinners or the guy who can't take those high risk shots because the camera was too big (and expensive)? The point is — even DSLR owners can do with a compact camera's simplicity at times.

For Nikon DSLR cameras users that alternate camera is the Nikon P6000.

At first look the Nikon P6000 can be very deceiving with its simple, compact build, even though as soon as you hold it, you'll get the idea that it's built like a tank on the inside. The sturdy build quality goes hand-in-hand with user comfort thanks to the strategically rubber-coated parts, namely the handgrip in the front and the thumb rest at the back.

The button placement of the P6000 seems heavily inspired by the Nikon DSLR camera counterparts, as the placement between the two is practically identical. That adds a great level of familiarity for a regular Nikon user.

The 2.7-inch LCD display is adequately bright and clear enough to be used in any practical condition. But if you really feel like going old-school, there's also a tiny optical viewfinder, with enough pin-cushion distortion to make you think you're looking through a fish-eye lens.

The tiny flash is well hidden on the upper edge of the camera, and delightfully pops up when required. The flash range was close to 8 meters, which is pretty good for a compact camera.

Besides the great build quality, the camera also has a pretty good feature list. Firstly it comes with built-in GPS, through which you can apply geo-tags to your images. As awesome as this feature is, getting the GPS to connect to the satellite turned out to be quite a task, especially in the Mumbai rains when the skies were always covered with thick clouds.

The other unique feature about the P6000 is the Ethernet port on it. As excited as that got me, it turned out that it was only for connecting and uploading pictures to Nikon's MyPictureTown photo sharing site. I would have really preferred to access/share the camera's images on my home network instead, but I guess Nikon really wanted to keep things simple.

In other specs, the P6000 shoots at a maximum image resolution of 4224 x 3168 (13.5 megapixels) and sports 4X optical zoom. You also have the option of shooting in RAW mode, which outputs Nikon's NEF file format. In-camera editing and dynamic lighting have also made the jump from Nikon's consumer DSLRs to the P6000.

Any way you look at it, the Nikon P6000 has all the makings of a great camera. But as always, it all comes down to how well it performs.

The overall picture quality of the P6000 was excellent under normal lighting. The colors felt fresh while retaining the shade accuracy, and the overall image sharpness was great.

The only noticeable drawback in image quality was that the P6000's higher ISO performance was just average. Sure it's a consumer model with a much smaller sensor than an actual DSLR, but I was still expecting it to have better noise control in higher ISO settings considering it can do ISO 6400.

Though the MRP of the Nikon Coolpix P6000 is a bit steep at Rs. 32,950, we found that the street price with bill and warranty was closer to Rs. 21,000. At that price, the P6000 is without a doubt, a great compact camera to own — whether you're a DSLR user looking for a second camera or an enthusiast. It feels great, works great, and has tons of features that make it future ready. That and the cam will give you great results as long as you can give it decent lighting.

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