Nikon Coolpix P510 Digital Camera Review$429.95
Lens & Sensor
As with any superzoom, the lens is the centerpiece of the P510. This thing has an enormous 42x zoom range, stretching from a 24mm equivalent wide angle out to a staggering, symbolic 1000mm equivalent telephoto setting. Nikon markets it as a glass lens—the implication being that other superzoom lenses have plastic elements, though we're really not sure if that's usually the case). It's an electronic zoom control, so no twist-barrel unfortunately, though there's a secondary zoom tilter on the lens barrel. The aperture is nothing special, at f/3-5.9.
The sensor is a 16.1-megapixel, 1/2.3-inch backside-illuminated CMOS sensor. That's a decent chip, though not as noteworthy as it would've been last year; most worthwhile superzooms are built around something similar. We have a hunch that it could be a similar sensor to the one used in the Sony HX100V, since Sony is known to supply sensors to Nikon for their DSLRs.
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.
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.
The P510 comes equipped with a pop-up flash on the crest of the camera. It has a manual release button on the left side of the body. The spec sheet claims that the flash is effective out to 26 feet, which is powerful for a small, built-in bulb.
Like most compact cameras these days, the P510 has two ports: one mini-HDMI jack for high-def video output, and one micro-USB jack, for everything else (charging, transfers, and the A/V cable).