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Nikon Coolpix P510 Digital Camera Review$429.95
The P510 handles well, thanks to a large grip and a textured coating, though it's more like a cheap superzoom than a high-end one. It's light and comfortable enough for one-handed point-and-shooting, though you'll need two hands to adjust any settings.
Despite the huge focal range, it's on the small side for a superzoom, so the button layout is a bit cramped. It's actually small enough to fit into a baggy coat pocket, but the shoulder strap is a better option.
Buttons & Dials
The button layout isn't so much different from a regular point-and-shoot, though there are a few extra buttons and an extra dial. It's pretty typical of a superzoom, maybe even on the sparse side compared to the highest-end competitors.
The mode dial makes it easy to keep track of which mode you're in, and easy to switch quickly if need be. The selection dial is useful for cycling through photos in playback, or through the menu. There is a jog dial, which is helpful for cycling shutter or aperture settings in manual exposure modes, and it also helps switching settings within the menu system.
Most of the buttons are pretty straightforward—menu, trash, playback, movies, and a display toggler. The EVF/LCD works fine, though it really just makes us wish that there was an eye-level sensor, so we wouldn't have to remember to press it.
A detail that's sure to please hands-on photographers is the assignable Fn button next to the shutter. We typically used it for changing ISO settings, though it can bring up menus for autofocus, white balance, burst shooting, metering, color mode, and image size. It's a nice touch that makes manual shooting a bit easier on a camera without many external controls.
On the other hand, the LCD is higher quality than we're used to seeing on superzooms. It's a 3-inch, 921,000-pixel articulating panel, bright enough to see outside in anything besides direct sunlight. Colors are vibrant and the lag is minor enough to ignore.
Some viewfinder is better than no viewfinder, but the P510's EVF is small, low-res, and a bit laggy. The plastic eyepiece is smooth and rounded but still not particularly comfortable. There's no eye-level sensor, so you'll have to manually switch between the LCD and the EVF. The one bit of good news is that there is a diopter adjustment dial to accommodate four-eyed photographers.
Our stabilization test measures how sharp images are with stabilization turned on compared to sharpness with stabilization turned off. The P510 didn't perform well on this test, but quite frankly, our test scores aren't worth a toot in this case.
The image stabilization on this camera is excellent. We could shoot perfectly crisp shots at 1000mm without a tripod, so that's what should matter. It's by far the longest-reaching superzoom on the market, and we didn't run into any trouble shooting telephoto shots with IS activated.