Thursday, April 10, 2008

New Nikon P80 superzoom and S52/S52c Coolpix (new digital cameras!)

Yes fans of new digital cameras, we have three new Coolpixies to digest today! One superzoom and one compact available in two flavors, wireless or not. But let's get started with the superzoom!

Meet the Nikon Coolpix P80
After the dynamic duo of the 8700 and 8800, Nikon had remained fairly quiet in the world of superzooms, with a few attempts at the "fun zoom" segment with the swiveling S-series models (eg S4, S10). But now Nikon returns to the more "traditional" zoom sizes with the 18X hyperzoom Nikon P80. Specs and press release at Imaging Resource, among many other places.

The P80 features everybody's favorite 10mp 1/2.33" sensor, which makes marketing people very happy because it gives them double-digit megapixels. And if you don't have double digit megapixels... Oops, let's not get sidetracked already :)

The lens is an 18X zoom ratio lens, with image stabilization (Nikon's VR term for vibration reduction), and branded Nikkor. The 35mm equivalent focal range is 27-486mm, which reminds us of the Fuji and Olympus 18X superzooms. It doesn't take a conspiracy theorist to point out that all these may have common ancestry :)

Point of confusion: Some of the sites are mentioning optical image stabilization, meaning a property of the lens, others are mentioning sensor-shift stabilization. We blog, you decide!

But let's get this out of the way first: No RAW! Which is sad considering that Nikon is a traditional photography company, and they should know better, they should be offering RAW with their cameras. No excuses here Nikon!

But good news on the manual exposure front as Nikon offers PSAM on this model. PSAM is what we like to call PASM. Details on why in our 1001 noisy terms post. So we do get manual exposure, shutter priority, and aperture priority whose effects are obviously nowhere near as pronounced as on a 35mm full-frame or APS-C lens. Especially since this is a lens made for a 1/2.33" sensor. But having it is better than not having it :)

The ISO jumps to the moon (ISO 6400), and finds aliens hiding on the dark side of the moon and *shock* they are using silver Canon Digital Rebels - probably because they match their shiny silver flying saucers ;-)

The camera has a 2.7" LCD (230K), with an electronic viewfinder. The LCD is fixed in place, so no swivel or twist, but please feel free to shout ;-)

If you don't object to shooting at lower resolutions, you can get as fast as 13 fps in one of the sport modes. Hey, 13fps is not bad, although obviously nowhere near as fast as the Casio EX-F1.

The battery is a LiIon, with a rather average CIPA of 250. We have perhaps gotten spoiled by more powerful batteries in the 400+ category. Even some of the Casio cutesy P&S cameras were in the 400 ballpark for a few models. Not to mention the legendary Canon G-series (not the new GINOs). But they have to sell extra batteries to make up for the lower price :)

The memory card is SD/SDHC/MMC, something that Olympus and Sony need to wake up and smell. They should both learn from Fuji, which found the best solution: dual format drive taking both their proprietary card (xD) and the now standard SD/MMC.

Pre-Ordering the Nikon P80
The P80 is already available for pre-ordering at Amazon for the list price of $400. You can thank the Panasonic FZ18 of 2007 for forcing the superzoom starting prices at $400, when everybody else was at $500.

Coverage on the net

  • Nikon USA
  • Press release at Imaging Insider
  • Imaging Resource
  • Adorama NewsDesk
  • DC Resource
  • Photography Blog
  • dpreview

    Big in Japan mentions that it will go on sale in Japan in late April for around 50,000 yen. Production output numbers were not revealed in Japan, or we were not able to find them :)

    What are they saying about it in the forums?
    There is some buzz on the P80 in the dpreview Nikon forum, with one discussion asking who needs this and another tracking the announcement.

    Nikon Coolpix S52/S52c

    It looks like our Nikon P80 coverage of the coverage got carried away and got too long and buried the poor S52/S2c duo! These are follow-ups obviously to the Coolpix S51/S51c duo which was announced in late August 2007 when Nikon went in burst mode.

    In short, the S52c is the same as the S52, but support WiFi/wireless. That's what the small "c" stands for in the Coolpix model names. That and a $50 price difference :)

    The cameras have a 9mp sensor, a very pedestrian 3x optical zoom lens with the 38-114mm equivalent focal range, a 3" LCD (230K), SD/MMC, LiIon battery (EN-EL8, 200 CIPA), and optical image stabilization (VR).

    It turns out that this new 9mp sensor is actually 1/2.5", according to the specs at Imaging Resource. Oh the horror you say? Yes, the horror! Now there is a middle ground between the 8mp 1/2.5" and the 10mp 1/2.33", it's the 9mp 1/2.5" :)

    This just in! The ants have called from their anthill skyscraper and they think the pixels are too jam-packed on the new digital camera sensors :)

    Pre-ordering the S52/S52c
    The press release price for the S52c is $280, however Amazon has it listed for pre-ordering at $300. We don't know which one is right, but we can assume that you cannot buy it from a press release ;-)

    Meanwhile the S52 is available at Amazon in two colors, for $250 per color: red and midnight black.

    Coverage on the net
  • Press release at the Imaging Insider
  • Photography Bay
  • Adorama News Desk
  • All the new pretties at the Nikon Coolpix page. We are tempted to call them CoolDigiPixiCams, but we are still not 100% warm on this new name :)

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