If you are buying a compact camera these days, it is better to get something that can do what your smartphone can’t. One of the areas where these cameras better a smartphone is with their ability to provide amazing zoom. And buyers now have a lot of choice when it comes to zoom. I just tried playing with the Nikon Coolpix P610 that offers an out of this world 60X zoom.
The Nikon Coolpix P610 is what you would call a bridge camera. It is not as small as a compact camera but is not as big as a DSLR. If you overlook the fact that this does not let you change lenses, the P610 might be mistaken for a very compact DSLR. But the 60x ultra zoom does not add extra weight or bulk to the camera.
There is a menu dial on top, another control ring beside the tiltable LCD screen to help you sort through pictures and a control panel just under it. The peppering of buttons can be a bit intimidating for some users, but then they have the option of going full auto. The textured grip is one of the best in this segment. And it is very essential as a steady grip is important to click a decent photo using the ultra zoom.
What is good?
You must have noticed that I said “out of this world”. There is a reason for that. How else can you describe a zoom that takes you so close to the moon, almost as if it is something in your next compound. For me the best test for a telephoto lens or ultra zoom camera is its ability to capture a stunning closeup of the moon and the P610 does that with elan.
The picture quality is really good and crisp even when you are at the extreme end of the zoom. The moon pictures came out really sharp even though I was struggling to lock on to the subject as it happens with ultra zoom. The camera has an amazing ability to reduce vibrations from your hand and give you a steady shot provided the subject is well lit. This adds value to the camera as it is not every day that you can shoot ultra zoom photos without a tripod.
The camera offers a good variety of photos styles and shooting options. For instance, there is a mode just for shooting food and birdwatching. There is also an easy to set up time-lapse video mode that I really liked. The effects modes for sepia and high contrast etc seemed a bit fanciful.
The camera comes with GPS+ GLONASS for location tagging. The coordinates of each photo is stored in the Exif data, but you must remember to switch on the feature from settings. The zoom can be accessed from both the toggle near the trigger as well as on the left side of the lens. Which means you can zoom with both the hands and that avoid unnecessary shake. Another good thing is that you don’t need to take the battery out to charge the camera. Might appear like a small feature, but it is something that will really make life easy for those who use the camera a lot.
What is not that good?
The camera comes with Wi-Fi transfer option. However, I just could not get my phone to connect to the camera despite multiple attempts. There is an NFC option to get over these situations, but that too did not work with the Sony Xperia Z2. The battery life could have been a bit better as it seems to drop suddenly after a point, around when you have a quarter of juice left. Not sure if this was because of the attempt to get the Wi-Fi working. The camera finds it a bit tough to focus on things that are nearby if the macro option has not been selected.
Should you buy it?
If you are looking for a camera that fills all the gaps in your photography needs without making you buy a DSLR, then this is a great option. I would suggest it for those who love nature and clicking pictures of its bounties. This camera will not disappoint anyone.
* Type: Compact digital camera
* Image sensor: 16 MP 1/2.3-in.type CMOS sensor
* Lens: NIKKOR lens with 60x optical zoom
* Maximum aperture: f/3.3, –6.5
* ISO sensitivity: ISO100, –1600, ISO 3200, 6400 1/4000 shutter speed
* Monitor size: 3-inch LCD
* Media: SD, SDHC, SDXC storage
* Weight: 565g
* Estimated street price: Rs 23, 950