Pros: High picture quality (at low ISOs); handy image stabilization; exposure control and small, well-built body.
Cons: Occasionally tardy auto-focus operation; unreliable GPS operation; Raw file not officially supported on Mac OS X.
Nikon’s eagerly awaited CoolPix P6000 is the replacement to the maker’s P5000 and its P5100 upgrade. Like those earlier offerings, the 13.5 million-pixel P6000 is pitched unashamedly at the high end, but it’s a market that has been dominated by arch-rival Canon, with its highly capable G-series compacts, and in particular the G9 and forthcoming G10.
Although we praised the P5000 models for their pocket-friendly dimensions and high picture quality, we also grumbled about tardy operation and the lack of a wide-angle zoom and Raw capture. To its credit, Nikon has put right much of what was missing from earlier offerings.
As well as another million and a half pixels using the same size 1/1.7-inch sensor, the P6000 sports a wider 4x zoom range (28-112mm equivalent) that’s handy for both interiors and portraits. Like earlier offerings, the lens is optically image-stabilized and retracts into the part magnesium-alloy, part plastic body almost entirely.
Other compelling features include the addition of Raw capture, geo-tagging with a built-in GPS locator, standard ethernet LAN connectivity for uploading stills and video clips and a new, larger 2.7-inch (but still 230k dot) screen. All this looks good on paper, but isn’t very well implemented.
First, the Raw file is a new .NRW format, which requires development using only utilities that support the WIC (Microsoft’s Windows Image Component) codec. Although it’s not supplied on disc, only the Windows-based Nikon View NX can be used to develop the new Raw files, and as yet Nikon isn’t saying whether it will support the format with its Capture NX2 utility.
Fortunately, Adobe’s Camera Raw (from version 4.6) can be used to fully edit and convert the new format for use with Photoshop and Lightroom, and it looks like an opportunity for others – but this seems to suggest that Raw was an afterthought.