• Review
  • Specs
  • Images
  • User Reviews
  • Buy Now
  • Nikon COOLPIX P50
  • Nikon COOLPIX P50
  • Nikon COOLPIX P50
  • Expert Rating

    4.25 / 5


  • Has a decent manual mode for such a small camera, crisp and clear shots, no obvious chromatic aberration, no obvious lens distortion


  • Vibration reduction made our shots look too soft, it sometimes mishandled very bright and cloudy conditions

Bottom Line

Small and powerful -- thanks to an 8.1-megapixel sensor -- the P50 is suitable for almost all situations and it even has a decent manual mode to tinker with.

Would you buy this?

The P50 is small camera that'll capture big pictures. Flaunting an 8-megapixel sensor, a 3.6x optical zoom lens and electronic vibration reduction to counter shaky hands, it's a handy 'happy snap' camera for almost all occasions.

It weighs in at 200g with two AA batteries, and the battery compartment doubles as a hand grip. However, the camera is so tiny (only 9cm long), it could be a little uncomfortable to use. The chassis itself is very strong, while the menu buttons and shutter are all responsive. The only unnecessary feature is the optical viewfinder, which is a little hard to see through due to its size, and it doesn't show the results of a focusing operation.

When left in 'auto' mode, the P50 will take vibrant and crisp-looking images, which are virtually devoid of any chromatic aberration. High contrast areas looked well defined and free of any purple fringing, and noise wasn't much of an issue in our test shots either. Blacks were rich, while colours were vibrant in bright sunlight conditions, but too much sun caused oversaturated bright colours. Also, cloud cover tended to confuse the camera a little, resulting in overly dark shots.

We found the vibration reduction feature to be a cause for soft images, as our test shots looked crisper with it switched off. Unless you are shooting in very low light without the flash, it's probably best to keep the vibration reduction disabled. Night shots with the flash look well defined and have accurate colour tones, but depending on the situation, say you're at a concert, for example, the camera will compensate with a high ISO, which will make photos look unintentionally grainy.

The camera did sometimes miss the focal point, which has a lot to do with user error when viewing the scene through the LCD viewfinder. In bright light conditions, especially, it might be hard to ascertain if what you're shooting is exactly in focus. However, we did manage to take some decent close-ups of flowers, and the lens can render the background with a slight 'bokeh' effect. It takes less than one second for the lens to focus when there is adequate light, but it does make a disturbing mechanical sound while doing so (it's a combination of ticking and buzzing -- or, tizzing , as we like to call it).

For creative types, the P50 offers a decent manual mode, in which you can change the shutter speed from eight seconds, all the way down to 1/1000th of a second, and the aperture from f2.8 to f5.6 (or down to f11 when the lens is at full zoom). The ISO can be changed from 64 all the way to 2000, and the dial even has a 'high ISO' mode, which will take good-looking artistic shots that are heavy with graininess.

Quick scene selections can also be invoked via the dial, and these include 'portrait', 'scenery' and 'night time' modes. You can also attach a tripod to the base of the camera if you want to set-up night shots for best results. Meanwhile, videos can also be shot by the P50 and will record up to 30min on a 2GB SD card when the highest quality setting is selected; whether your batteries last that long in video mode is another story.

A set of disposable AA batteries allowed us to shoot close to 120 shots -- over a quarter of them with the flash enabled -- as well as 5min worth of video.

Overall, this is a fun camera with a lot to offer. It's small and it takes relatively crisp, clean and vibrant images. It did sometimes struggle with very bright light or heavily overcast conditions when in 'auto' mode, but it still does a better job than most point-and-shoots, and you can always park it in manual mode to setup shots yourself.

Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?