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Nikon Coolpix P510 Digital Camera Review$429.95
The P510 earned a great sharpness score, currently tied for the best in the superzoom class with the Canon SX40 HS. We measured an average of 1622 MTF50s across all focal lengths and all areas of the frame, and a maximum of 2072 MTF50s at the center of the frame at the middle focal length. (We tested with the default sharpness setting and the standard color profile.)
At any given focal length, sharpness is pretty consistent across all areas of the frame. As we expected, sharpness drops notably at the telephoto setting, but only down to an average of about 1260 MTF50s—we've tested plenty of superzooms that don't even average 1200 MTF50s, so the P510 is a legitimate sharpshooter by those standards.
All that said, the real-world images don't look as crisp as the test scores let on. There's some noticeable edge enhancement at work—notice how the edges of the black squares in the crops look darker than the center of the squares, and there's a bright "halo" effect right beyond the borders. Even if the details are technically sharp, the noise reduction (even at base ISO, like here), smudges away the finer points. More on how we test sharpness.
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.