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[again] Nikon Coolpix cameras


#1

I’m in the market for a new camera. I previously used a Nikon
Coolpix 4300 and loved it. Unfortunately, it’s discontinued now.
Does anyone use a more current Nikon Coolpix they’d like to
recommend?

Thank you - Janice


#2

Janice,

The point & shoot market (Nikon CoolPix, Canon Powershot, etc), as
far as I can tell (see the camera data base on www.dpreview.com) is
getting pretty shakey in the macro area. Most offer some macro
capabilities but with a couple of caveats: All of them offer jeweler
usable macro only at the wide end of the zoom range. This results, in
all cases, in varying degrees of optical and perspective distortion,
and edge/corner softness. The telephoto end macro, which always has
less distortion, does not allow close enough focusing for smaller
jeweler items like rings. And, as far as I’ve been able to tell using
several Nikon CoolPix and Canon Powershot cameras, there is no middle
range. Setting the camera on macro and then zooming to mid-range
created a situation where the camera’s focusing systems would not
function.

To be fair, when shooting an object centrally located in the
viewfinder the distortion may not be readily perceived. You can back
the camera off a bit which will give you a smaller, less detailed
image, but one with better proportions (no “big nose” syndrome from
the camera being so close) and often better overall sharpness (in
macro the closer you are to the subject the less of it you actually
have in focus in front of and behind the focus point).

Another problem for the jewelry photographer is the often extreme
contrast range polished metal and gems entail. The point & shoot
sensors can’t handle it and you end up with either severly
underexposed images or severly burned up areas of the image.

Even the DSLR’s don’t have the dynamic range of film, but the most
modest of the them do a better job than the best P&S - in my humble
opinion.

Some DSLR’s have gotten downright affordable (stick with Canon or
Nikon). Although the digital macro lenses are not so cheap you might
be better served to shop for a used Canon or Nikon DSLr (see
www.keh.com - absolutely the only place to buy used equipment on the
internet) with a longer focus macro (105mm). There are some third
party lenses -Tamron, Sigma, etc - which while not a Canon or Nikon
are still heads and shoulders above the cheap glass on the point &
shoots.

Stay away from zoom lenses which claim a macro capability. Macro
quality in these lenses is always low and usually never close enough
for the jeweler.

Ultimately your needs and budget need to determine the $$ spent. If
it comes down to a point and shoot then I’d choose the newest P&S
available in either Canon or Nikon. Check it out as much as you can
on the net (besides the dpreview site try www.dcresource.com) and buy
either locally where you can try it out in the store) or be sure
you’ve got a return privelege from an internet vendor.

Newer is better than closeout because of repair issues. The P&S’s
won’t be supported in repair and parts (indeed, if they are at all)
as long as the DSLR’s from Nikon and Canon.

Two cents worth.

Namaste,

Les Brown
L.F.Brown Goldwork


#3

I switched from the coolpix to a Nikon D70s, which I dearly love! It
is simultaneously a fabulous digital, with many of the capabilities
of an old time Nikon SLR which I trained with. The available lenses
and flash are super. The very best part, to me, is the speed - turn
it on and photograph, instantly. No wait time, nor any wait time
between pictures. That said, I have had it two years and still
haven’t gotten all the settings figured out - it is definitely not a
no-brainer camera. I do love that I can use any light source, and
there is a setting to adjust for it. Nice.

Downsides - it is heavier than the old Coolpix I still have, and you
must use the viewfinder - it does not preview on the small screen.
Plus the lens doesn’t rotate in relation to the viewfinder, which my
Coolpix does, which is nice when you want an interesting angle on
something. Also not cheap, but well worth the money imo.

Beth in SC


#4
I previously used a Nikon Coolpix 4300 and loved it.
Unfortunately, it's discontinued now. 

I took a quick look, and it a[ppears that you can buy one (or more!)
on eBay, if your preference is to get another of the same.

I bought my Nikon Coolpix 995 on eBay several years ago, at
substantial savings, and am still very happy with it.

Noel


#5

I use a Nikon Coolpix S4 and I’ve been pretty happy with it. It’s
great on product when using a tripod, but I find that for people
shots and as a carry-along camera, I prefer other cameras that I
own. The Nikon is excellent on macro shots though.

Sandi Graves, Beadin’ Up A Storm
Stormcloud Trading Co (Beadstorm)
http://www.beadstorm.com


#6

I had the Nikon Coolpix for a bit (7 days, actually), and was not
impressed. I have always loved Nikon, trusted the name, and love my
good ol’ 35mm Nikon (which I sadly don’t use very much anymore). The
first digital camera I got was the Olympus Camedia. LOVED IT! It was
pricey when I got it back then (in 1999), but it was chosen (given to
me as a gift) because of the macro & he knew that was VERY important.
It became the camera I used most often for “regular” stuff, too,
especially after my son was born & I could take pictures & have them
ready to send to the relatives later that day.

I also learned it was great for travels, as even inside an ancient
and dark cathedral, I could fairly easily get a good shot, no big
equipment & tripods required. After years of use and use and use, one
of the buttons stopped working, some of the pixels seemed to “burn
out” (don’t know what that really is, but that’s how I’d describe
it), and I knew I needed to upgrade the megapixels, maily to get
clearer shots for slides & big enlargements. I went to the store &
saw the new version of the Camedia, as well as Nikon’s “point and
shoot” model, the Coolpix.

I trust the Nikon name, and, although it sounds silly, it didn’t
have a lens cap to lose, so I decided to get it instead of the new
Camedia. Well, I’m sure if you pay a few hundred bucks more, you can
get a fantabulous Nikon digital camera, but in the same price range
as the Camedia, it’s not great, IMHO. There were soooo many preset
functions, it seemed you had to put waaaay too much thought into
taking a simple photo (am I indoors or out, taking a portrait or
group photo, back lit on a cloudy day or front lit on a sunny day,
am I at a party, is my subject wearing yellow, is it a dog or a
cat… OK maybe those last couple are exaggerating).

Also, I couldn’t get it into any sort of simple manual mode, so I
couldn’t adjust things the way I wanted them, it was all only what
the camera wanted. No ability to play with the depth of field, which
really bugged me. I got some great close-up macro pictures, assuming
I didn’t want the back half of my little ring to also be in focus.
Nice & dramatic for an enlargement in my booth, but not so that
people could see what the whole ring actually looks like. Well,
needless to say I returned the Coolpix within a week and bought a
different one. I went for what I knew I’d like, the Olympuc Camedia,
misplaceable lens cap and all (actually now it’s attached to the
strap, so no more losing it!). LOVE IT! For the price range, it’s a
nice camera with good quality and functionality, and it doesn’t
treat you like someone who doesn’t know how to operate a camera, at
least not unless you want it to. :wink:

Lisa
Designs by Lisa Gallagher
www.lisagallagher.com


#7

Hi Lisa,

FWIW, Canon has a 43% share of the digital camera market! There is a
reason for this. Among D-SLR’s, the Canon Rebel has been the top
selling digital camera for four years, and headed for five.

In total camera sales, Nikon is in sixth place, having slipped below
Samsung.

The Coolpix’s have had their problems over the years, some being
nearly worthless in comparison to products from Olympus, Fuji and
Canon.

Among professionals who use digital, the Canon top end cameras are
well acknowledged as the world’s finest…Nikon just doesn’t cut
the mustard with those folks, any more.

Wayne