Nikon Coolpix P520 - A Pretty Good Update Version Of P510 (Part 1)

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Nikon Coolpix P520 was released in January, 2013 and it was one of the bridge-like camera with a 42x optical zoom lens, 18-megapixel COMS backlit sensor and a 3.2inch multi-anlged LCD screen. This was an update version of P510 and is available in hues such as silver, red and black with the price of $440.

Nikon Coolpix P520

Nikon Coolpix P520


Nikon Coolpix P520 has an 18-megapixel CMOS back-illuminated sensor which welcomes more light to get inside. The 42x optical zoom lens with 35mm equivalent to 24-1000mm, is ideal for landscape shooting and zooming close to your shooting object. To help having the possibly sharpest images, there’s an accompanying advanced lens-shift VR (stabilization), which allows slower speed of up to 4 stops, and Active delivers clear images even when you’re moving.

Nikon Coolpix P520 has an 18-megapixel CMOS back-illuminated sensor which welcomes more light to get inside.

Nikon Coolpix P520 has an 18-megapixel CMOS back-illuminated sensor which welcomes more light to get inside.

There’s a 99-point autofocus system and promises that AF is fast and accurate. You can also use AF tracking mode for the shooting target for the purpose of helping you capture sharp images from the moving objects.

When shooting, there’s an auto mode that can adjust the auto camera settings for the detected images. You can also make your choice from 19 shooting modes or use manual exposure mode (P/S/A/M). Other shooting modes include auto HDR, Easy Panorama 360°/180° and the lens has min focus distance of 1cm for macro shooting. In continuous shooting mode, you can record at 7 fps for 7 frames or 30 full-res images at 1 fps. When you’ve done with your shooting, you can retouch your images in the editing menu, adds the effects such as selective colors or image cropping on the screen.

P520 has a built-in GPS to tag the geographic location for your images as well as mark your itinerary. You can buy the Nikon WU-1a Wi-Fi electric lock which allows you to transfer your images to a handset.

Video is recorded in 1,080p/60i full HD with stereo sound, you can also use optical zoom while capturing. You can also shoot at slow and fast speed, up to 120 fps. There’s an integrated HDMI connector to connect to an HDTV.

Product image

Product image

Main features

·         18-megapixel back-illuminated CMOS sensor

·         42x optical zoom lens (35mm equiv: 24-1000mm)

·         Advanced lens-shift VR (stabilization)

·         Vari-angle 3.2 inch 921k dot LCD screen

·         0.2 inch 201k dot electronic viewfinder

·         Built-in GPS

·         Record Full 1,080p HD video  with stereo sound

·         ISO 100 - 12800

·         Min focus distance of 1cm minimum

·         Auto HDR mode

·         Easy Panorama 360°/180°

·         7 fps continuous shooting

·         Available version in silver, red and black

The display of the camera

The display of the camera

Processing manipulation

P520 has exterior and feels like a DSLR camera, with the grasping made from rubber, which is similar to the patches on the back for your right hand thumb. There’re 2 ways to control the zoom driver, there’s regular zoom on top of the page, but there’s also one on the side of the lens. On the top of the camera, you’ll also find a dial mode, on/off switch and fn button. the back can be adjusted to change the ISO, metering, white balance standards and more. The flash is activated by a button with also sits on the top.

On the back of the camera, but on the topmost are a display, recording and dial buttons to adjust the shutter speed and aperture. Other buttons include playback, menu, erase buttons and there’s also a rotating dial to switch to the menu options. A similar manipulation will also help to access flash, timing, exposure and focusing modes.

The screen is impressive, with the size of 3.2 inch and has the resolution of 921k dot. It’s rotatable, which makes it easy for shooting when the camera is at higher or lower position. The electric viewfinder is very useful when shooting with zoom mode from a long distance as it reduce the vibrations of the camera, but it’s pretty small and has low res.

The menu system is easy for navigating, it looks pretty similar to the menus used on DSLR cameras of Nikon. One shortcoming has been improved since the P510 version, which is when you turn the camera on with a lens cap sticking to it, there’s no error notification popping up. You just need to remove it and start shooting.

Product battery

Product battery

Battery life is rated at 240 shots according to the testing result of CIPA, this result is OK for a shooting day, but if you use GPS quite a lot, you can highly appreciate having time to charge. We take a number of taken shots to test the responsiveness of the camera, switching from the first image, one by one, with focus speed… we take some images and then use the average of them to guarantee that the test is correct and consistent, making it easier to compare to other cameras.

·         Shutter Response: 0.35 secs

·         Wide - Focus / Shutter Response: 0.75 secs

·         Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response: 1.55 secs

·         Switch on Time to Taking a Photo: 2.3 secs

·         Shot to Shot without Flash: 2.8 secs

·         Shot to Shot with Flash: 2.8 secs

·         Continuous Shooting H: 5.0 fps

·         Continuous Shooting L: 1.0 fps

·         Continuous Shooting H: 120 fps: 120 fps

·         Continuous Shooting H: 60 fps: 60.7 fps

Both modes record H and L continuously at full 18 megapixel res, with 60 fps limited to 2 megapixel and 120 fps mode limited at VGA-sized res.

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