Steve's Conclusion

Steve's SnapShot

  • 16-Megapixel CMOS Imaging Sensor
  • 3.0-Inch Vari-Angle LCD Screen
  • 921k dot LCD and EVF
  • Eye sensor for shooting with EVF
  • 60x Optical zoom lens: 24-1440mm (35mm equivalent)
  • VR optical image stabilization
  • Dedicated Video Record Button
  • Auto and Auto Scene Selection modes
  • Full 1080p HD video recording
  • Pop-Up Flash unit
  • Built-in WiFi
  • Built-in GPS
  • Side Zoom control gives you a dSLR feel
  • Rechargeable Li-Ion battery
  • SD/SDHC/SDXC memory card compatible
Pros
  • Program and Auto modes deliver excellent image quality
  • Dedicated Video Capture Button is always ready to record
  • 60x optical zoom lens is ready for any shooting situation you will find yourself in
  • Built-in WiFi adds the ability to copy and share images anywhere
  • WiFi also acts as a remote with your connected device
  • Good overall image quality
  • Nice, Bright 3.0-inch, 921k-dot Vari-Angle LCD
  • Great shooting performance
  • Excellent Battery Life
  • HDMI output to view images and HD videos on any HDTV
  • Competitively priced
Cons
  • Noise levels found at ISO 800 and above degrade overall image quality
  • No Included external battery charger
  • VR helps but is not enough to shoot handheld at full zoom consistently
  • No audio input for external audio source
  • Pop-up flash unit is useful only when the subject is close to the camera
Timing Test Results
  • Power up to first image captured = 1.4 seconds
  • Shutter lag when prefocused = less than 1/10 of a second
  • Shutter lag with autofocus = approx. 1/10 to 3/10 of a second
  • Shot to shot delay wo/flash = 0.82 seconds
  • Shot to shot delay w/flash = 1.94 seconds
  • Low Burst = 2.27fps
  • High Burst = 6.36fps for 7 images
  • All of our tests were completed using a SanDisk Extreme Pro UHS-1 8GB SDHC memory card, Program mode, ISO auto, Flash off and all other settings at the factory defaults unless stated otherwise.
Bottom Line
The Nikon CoolPix P610 is a compact digicam with a huge 60x optical zoom lens that allows you to be ready for any situation. Excellent performance and good overall image quality makes this camera a must see for travel or anyone looking for an affordable camera for any situation.
Pick This Up If...
You are looking for a camera that is ready for any situation with its monstrous optical zoom. This is a great camera for anyone that likes to travel and is always in a new situation.
The Nikon Coolpix P610 is one of Nikon's point-n-shoot cameras with a huge zoom range. Falling in right behind the P900, the P610 features a 60x optical zoom lens with a 35mm equivalent of 24-1440mm. This is well beyond the zoom range you will find on most digicams, not to mention the focal coverage one typical sees with various lenses for a dSLR. Along with the lens, the camera also features a 16-Megapixel CMOS imaging sensor, Lens-Shift VR, an eye-level EVF, a 3.0-inch Vari-angle LCD, GPS and built-in WiFi. Along with these great features, you will also find the fantastic automatic shooting modes and ease of use that you would expect from a Nikon Coolpix camera. Along with still images, the camera also has the ability to record full 1080p HD movies at the touch of a button. As with many of Nikon's cameras, the P610 is available in more than one color; black or red/black.

Two great features that Nikon included with the P610 are the built-in WiFi and GPS features. The GPS allows you to record the location information for all of your images and even create a log of where you were shooting. This is a great feature for anyone that likes to travel, showing exactly where you were shooting and allowing you to return to the exact places in the future. Secondly we have the built-in WiFi that allows you to connect the camera to a smartphone or tablet. Once connected, images can be seen and copied from the camera to the device. This allows you to share your images anywhere you have a wireless signal. The connected device can also be used as a remote control for the camera. To connect, your device must have the free Nikon Wireless Mobile Utility installed.

The size and shape of the P610 gives it the feel of a smaller dSLR, and it is actually just a fraction smaller and noticeably lighter than the D5500 with the kit 18-55mm lens. Thanks to the EVF and side zoom controls, you also get a similar shooting experience to that of a dSLR. Putting the camera up to your eye and having the ability to support the camera and zoom with your left hand is not something you will find on the majority of mega-zoom digicams. For the more relaxed shooters, the zoom control around the shutter release and LCD screen is another great option for composing your images. Two command dials allow for easy menu navigation and control of the camera's advanced settings.

Framing, composing and viewing your images can be accomplished with either the EVF or LCD screen. Both high quality, 921k dot screens show a ton of fine detail and have great color reproduction. The EVF features an eye-level sensor that turns the EVF on and the LCD off when the camera is put up to your eye. Both feature adjustable levels of brightness and color balance and various amounts of shooting information. With the 3-inch Vari-Angle LCD screen, tough situations become much easier, allowing you to see and compose your images while shooting under, over or around objects without just holding up the camera and hoping for the best.

Performance from the P610 is very good for a compact point-n-shoot model. The camera is able to capture its first image in just 1.4 seconds after being turned on, so you don't have to worry about missing any of the action. Its shutter lag is almost non-existent when the camera is pre-focused, and very quick with just 1/10 to 3/10 of a second when allowing the autofocus to work. In single shot mode, the shot-to-shot delay of approx. 8/10 of a second which increases to 1.94 seconds when shooting with the flash. The camera features several burst and bracketing modes as well. We tested the standard Low and High burst modes, capturing images at 2.27fps (Low) and 6.36fps (High). High burst mode topped out the buffer at 7 images. All of our tests were completed using a SanDisk Extreme Pro UHS-1 8GB SDHC memory card, Program mode, ISO auto, Flash off and all other settings at the factory defaults unless stated otherwise.

Looking at our outdoor sample images, we see excellent overall image quality. Great color and exposure in both Auto and Program shooting modes present a very pleasing image. Auto mode does provide slightly more bold, vivid color than program mode. When looking closer, the images are a bit blotchy, which helps to reduce noise but causes the image to lose some of its fine details. Other than that, aberrations and other flaws have been controlled very well with the amazing 60x optical zoom lens. With a 35mm equivalent of 24-1440mm, it has a great wide end and an unbelievable zoom to give you versatility that can only be matched by a few cameras on the market. Built-in VR (vibration reduction) goes a long way to help steady the camera when shooting at the full telephoto or any handheld shooting. It is not enough to shoot handheld at the full telephoto and expect to have tack-sharp images. You may get some with excellent light, but the zoom is so great you will want to have a tripod or something else to steady the camera when shooting.

Our indoor sample images show more great exposures and colors while allowing us to see the increase in the amount of noise when ISO is increased. At the lower ISO settings, noise is present but at acceptable levels that do not decrease the image quality too much. Once the camera hits ISO 800, the noise levels increase much more noticeably, dulling out the fine details within the image.

Helping to assist you with your low-light images is a built-in, pop-up flash unit. At ISO Auto, the flash has a range of up to 24ft. at the wide end, decreasing to approx. 13ft. at the telephoto end. This range falls off quickly and increases the ISO when you use the zoom, so try to stay as close as possible to your subject when you are relying on the flash.

Portrait shooting is fun and easy thanks to the face detection software. The P610 detects and follows multiple faces with ease, as long as they stay within the frame. Once a face has been detected, the camera not only keeps the face in focus, it keeps all of the exposure settings based on the face as well. This assures you that the face will be the focus point of your image. The camera did very well shooting both with and without the flash. The flash helps to keep the ISO settings lower and we did not have any instances of redness in the eyes. Our non-flash image looks much softer due to the increased ISO setting.

The Nikon P610 offers several creative shooting modes that allow you to produce images with styles that are not normally captured. This saves you a great deal of time creating these looks in post-production on your computer or transferring them to your phone to do it. We have included several samples on our samples page, to see the effects applied to a standard image. The first image is a standard image taken in iAuto, the rest are images with the effects applied in-camera while shooting.

Recording movies is as easy as pressing the dedicated video recording button on the back, no matter what shooting mode the camera is currently in. Since there is no video shooting mode, all of the settings can be found in their own tab in the camera menu. Once they are set, they are ready to go for video in all shooting modes. The camera records beautiful 1080p HD video with stereo sound for a compact camera. Lower resolutions and high speed video options are also available. Since the camera records its audio with a built-in stereo microphone, it captures the sounds that are closest to the camera. The zoom microphone and wind noise reduction help to an extent, but the best way to increase your audio is to stay close to your subject and away from anything that makes constant noise (HVAC units, etc.).

Powering the P610 is a 3.8V, 1850mAh rechargeable Li-Ion battery. This battery was more than enough to capture over 160 images and several videos on a single charge, while still being able to use the WiFi sparingly as well while completing our tests. This fits pretty well with the 360 images on a single charge that Nikon claims, and is an excellent battery life for a mega-zoom camera. An included adapter comes with the camera to allow you to recharge the battery while it is still in the camera, which makes it a little more challenging to keep a spare on hand and ready but not impossible. A portable charging unit is available from Nikon to charge spare batteries outside the camera. Also, remember that the more you use the Wi-Fi and GPS functions, the faster you will drain the battery.

Bottom Line - The Nikon CoolPix P610 is a compact, and quite versatile digicam. Featuring a huge 60x optical zoom lens with Vibration Correction, this lens has you covered in any situation. Its small 16-Megapixel CMOS imaging sensor prevents the images from being as sharp as they could be when looking closely, but as long as the ISO is kept at 800 or below, you will not notice much noise in your prints. Other great features like WiFi, GPS and Full 1080p video gives you a feature set that makes the camera fun and easy to use in all situations. With a MSRP of $499.99, this mid-range compact mega-zoom camera is definitely worth a look.



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