Nikon Coolpix 2500 Review

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Steve's Conclusion

If you're looking for a great "go anywhere" digital camera then give the Nikon Coolpix 2500 a close look. This ultra-compact camera fits in the palm of your hand and weighs a scant 5.9 ounces. It comes with a rechargeable battery that can run the camera for up to 80 minutes. Don't let the small size fool you though, it's a point and shoot camera that delivers the same kind of image quality that has made the other Nikon digicams famous.

This palm-sized digicam is equipped with a 2-megapixel imager and a 3x optical Nikkor Zoom lens. The zoom lens covers a range of 37-111mm (35mm equivalent) and features a quick and accurate autofocus system that can focus as close as 1.6 inches in Macro mode. To aid first- time digital camera users, the Coolpix 2500's controls are minimal and simple. A slider control on the top turns the camera on in either Record or Playback mode. If you forget to rotate the lens to the open position you will be reminded by an animated graphic on the color LCD screen. A push button on the back takes you into a SCENE menu that automatically configures the camera for one of the 12 pre-programmed shooting modes. The auto exposure mode covers most average shooting requirements, for those times when it doesn't then try the Portrait, Landscape, Fireworks Show, Sunset, Close-Up, Night Portrait, Night Landscape, Copy, Beach/Snow, Museum, or the Backlight scene mode. The scene modes let you work in difficult lighting conditions by adjusting the shutter speed, aperture, flash and white balance settings for you automatically.

When shooting in Auto mode you still have access to a menu of options including image quality and size, exposure compensation, LCD Brightness, CF Card Format, Date Set-up, Auto- Off settings, language settings and USB output format. These options are easily selected from a two-page menu on the color LCD screen.

Another feature to aid the novice digi-photographer is the Transfer button, one press and it easily transfers pictures from the camera to the computer or the Internet. Working through the USB port of a Windows or Macintosh computer, the camera talks to the NikonView software and tells it to acquire the images. If you want to share your images with the world then you can setup an account with and transfer your files to your online photo album.

A digital camera is nothing unless it has the ability to preview recorded images on a color LCD. The Coolpix 2500 has a 1.5-inch color TFT LCD that is very bright and readable. In fact, it was one of best I've used in bright sun without a LCD hood. This is Nikon's first digicam that does not have an optical viewfinder. So the LCD must be used as a "live" viewfinder. My initial impression of shooting with an LCD only camera wasn't positive until I actually got out in the sunshine and started shooting our sample photos. The LCD performed very well and I didn't miss the optical viewfinder. The only short coming to this is the battery life is shortened as the LCD must be on all the time. Rarely is it a good practice to own a camera with only one battery.

The QuickReview button will "popup" a 1/4-screen display of the last picture captured without leaving Record mode. If you want to see it full screen then press the button a second time. You can return to Record mode by simply tapping the shutter release or press the quick review again. The camera operates in Continuous-AF mode all the time as the LCD is on all the time. This keeps the camera in focus, whatever it is pointed at.

Reviewing of images and moves must be done in camera or after exporting to a computer as this unit has no video connector to hook up to your TV.

The Coolpix 2500 can generate 1600 x 1200, 1280 x 960, 1024 x 768 or 640 x 480 size still images. Images are saved in one of three JPEG quality settings; Fine, Normal or Basic. The Large (1600x1200) size images will print photo-quality prints up to 8x10" although the most "film-like" prints will be the 5x7" or 4x6" size. The camera is equipped with a standard CompactFlash Type I card slot and comes with an 16MB card that Nikon is promoting as their "Starter" CF Card. I have used the massive SanDisk 512MB CF card in the Coolpix 2500 and it's compatible with all other CF Type I cards from most manufacturers.

For those times when a still image just won't tell the story, push the navigation control dial to the Movie position and then quickly move the cursor down the pop-up menu that appears to the movie icon. You are now ready to capture a motion video clip. Up to 15 seconds of action can be captured as a 320 x 240 (Quarter VGA) QuickTime MOVie clip. These movie clips play back full screen on the color LCD or TV set. Unfortunately they are silent as the camera lacks a microphone but the optical zoom is useable during video capture.

With a suggested retail price of just $379.95 the Coolpix 2500 is going to find its way into the hands of many novice and expert users. The only thing you really need to buy is a larger CF card, everything else including the rechargeable battery, charger and a suite of software is included in the base package. If you're looking for a small digital camera with the image quality of the "big boys" then give the Nikon Coolpix 2500 a serious look-see, you won't be sorry.

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