Hello one and all! My wife and I are looking into buying our first
As you have probably already discovered there are a daunting number
of options when it comes to making this decision. Given that let me
cut to the chase.
My wife and I have two Nikon CoolPix cameras, a 995 with it's swivel
body and a 5700. They're both great cameras, they're good for pretty
much everything on your shopping list although the telephoto
capabilities are limited. In general our experience is that the
CoolPix cameras are good and they keep getting better. I believe the
Nikon 8700 now retails at about the same price we paid for our 5700
about 18 months ago.
Macro is very good on both cameras. She prefers the 995 because she
does a lot of nature photography, particularly close-ups, and the
swivel really helps her (sadly Nikon has discontinued their swivel
bodied cameras) while I prefer the 5700 for technical and jewellery
photography, partially because it's laid out pretty much like an SLR.
With these cameras your lens options are limited since they're
basically designed to be used as is. Unless you step up to the pro
and "pro-sumer" cameras the old idea of interchangeable lenses is
atypical. For wide-angle stuff though, assuming you mean wider angle
than normal, you can add a screw-on "filter" that gives respectable
results if you're willing to accept a little softening around the
edges of the frame.
One thing I must say about the 5700, and I assume it would apply to
the 8700, is that you'll need to spend some time reading the manual.
There is a bewildering amount of stuff packed into these cameras and
even though I've been into photography since the 80s I still needed
to stop, rewind and take it step-by-step when I picked up the 5700. I
think that's just the nature of digital cameras: one needs a little
I'm not much of a snap-shooter so I tend to run full manual, manual
focus and care a lot about things like white balance and so forth.
My wife is less inclined this way and she uses many of the auto
features. These cameras can do all of this and so we're both happy.
One nice little feature of the 5700 is that you can define user
profiles so that when one of us picks up the camera we flip it back to
our profile which recalls (most of) our preferred settings, including
where the photos are stored on the media. I find this very
Both have built in pop-up flashes and both accept external flash
connections but I don't use flashes so I'm in no position to comment
one way or the other.
One thing worth thinking about when you're budgeting for this
purchase is media. We tend to shoot at high quality settings so it's
not hard to eat up a memory card pretty fast. On the 995, for
instance, my wife has a small handful of 256 mb cards which she swaps
in and out and then downloads to her laptop at the end of the day. I
put a 1 gig microdrive into the 5700 and we seldom have to swap that
out, but it does happen.
Another expense to consider is extra batteries. On a typical day my
wife can burn through 3 or 4 batteries without even trying. One gets
somewhere between one and two hours of continuous use out of a battery
so swapping just becomes a fact of life.
Last but not least I believe there are a number of threads in the
Orchid archives where people's digital camera recommendations are
discussed. Of course a wide variety of cameras are mentioned but I
think it's safe to say that a few of our other members have found the
Nikon CoolPix models quite satisfactory too.
FWIW I've found this site quite useful for digital camera
reviews, spec sheets, et al: http://www.dpreview.com