how-to block ads
The Nikon Coolpix 5700 is a 5 megapixel camera with a built-in 8x telephoto lens. It has an electronic viewfinder (EVF) as well as a live fold-out, swivel LCD screen, and although the EVF to me seems much more convenient and provides a very good representation of the final shot, the LCD is also certainly useful in some situations. The 5700 features Automatic, Aperture priority (f2.8 to f8 at 1x, shorter range at higher x), Shutter priority (8s to 1/4000 plus bulb), and full Manual modes; it's very easy to switch between modes and settings with only the touch of a few buttons/dials necessary, all located on the top of the camera. It's also very easy to switch the +/-EV setting.
The 5700 has macro and landscape modes, and although a bit inconvenient to use, allows manual focus as well, which is very useful for lower light situations and very close macro shots where the autofocus is sometimes lacking (which I suspect is the case for many cameras). The autofocus can be set to continuos or single (half-depress of the shutter causes focus), and the display gives a green light when AF is achieved. ISO speed can be set from 100 to 800 or left on auto; although 800 is probably a bit too noisy without post cleanup with something like Neat Image. Controls located along the lens barrel allow setting of the ISO speed, as well as macro/landscape/flash mode and picture size; the location of these take a little getting used to, but after a while I've found these to be a very convenient and easily accessible location.
Other features, such as adjustable white balance (see dpreview link above), are located through a system of menus. I found the menu system, like the other navigation buttons, to be very intuitive, and after a few hours of use was able to navigate through these with very little difficulty. With 2560 x 1920 mode (fine), a 256 MB CF card will hold up to ~150 photos. Transfer of the pictures is easy as well; this can be done directly from the camera or using a CF card reader. Nikon supplies Nikon View 5 software, but I usually transfer directly (XP). Battery life is acceptable; I've taken over 100 photos (no flash) on a single charge.
So far photo quality has been excellent. Colors appear vivid and realistic and details are sharp, even at 8x zoom. The Aperture and Shutter mode controls allow easy bracketing, but in general Automatic mode does an excellent job under most conditions. The flash is powerful, but doesn't seem to wash out the subject under most conditions. I particularly like the design itself; I've found my usually shaky hands can hold the 5700 steadier than any other camera I've used, even getting the occasional clear handheld shot (very rare and usually after multiple tries!) at shutter speeds of 1/8s, something I've never been able to do with other cameras where usually my 1/30s shots were blurred! While shutter lag could be less, it seems acceptable. Performance under low light with the Noise Reduction feature is excellent, producing very little grain in photos I've taken so far. Finally, the different metering modes and focus modes have proven to be very usual is some situations; it's certainly nice to have that flexibility.
Things I dislike about the 5700 are minor. The camera I received (slightly used) has two stuck pixels that showed under low light; however, the Noise Reduction feature corrected these under lower light, and one slowly seems to be fading on its own. Also, the focus noise seems loud compared to other cameras, but not something I can't live with. The manual focus is tedious to use for close-up/macro shots, but certainly is functional. Some of the accessories (e.g., lens adapter for filters) at one time were difficult to come by, but now seem to be widely available. Finally, it's a bit pricey when new; I'm sure I wouldn't have bought this model if I had not gotten a lower price because it was slightly used. However, I must admit, after using it, I would probably be tempted to spring for even the full price, especially now that the price has dropped.