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  Nikon Coolpix 5000 9/10. Date Posted 22/08/2002.

When I bought this camera, it was a very difficult decision, given that it's quite expensive. How can a camera really be worth 700 pounds? I can safely say that after using it for a week, I know I made the right decision! Several years ago, I owned a Nikon Coolpix 950. It was great, but had several shortcomings, most notably its battery. Thankfully, with this Coolpix 5000, Nikon have supplied a Lithium Ion battery. It lasts over a whole day of shooting (sometimes upto two days, depending on how you use the LCD). The 5 megapixel resolution is probably the highest available at the time of review (other than digital SLRs which are 6.1 megapixel, but cost double the price). As such the picture quality is first rate. The images produced by this camera are very sharp, and are indistinguishable from film cameras (provided you don't expand images too much). Even when you zoom in on images, you can see a considerable amount of detail. The lense is made by Nikon as well, and has a decent zoom range. The Coolpix 5700 is basically the same camera, but with an improved lens. It's not quite upto SLR standard but is nevertheless very good for a compact. The Coolpix 5000 is currently one of the smallest compact 5 megapixel cameras. However, it is perhaps still a bit big for some people. It just about fits in my pocket, but I certainly would not call it pocket sized! If you want a very small camera, you probably need to go elsewhere (and also settle for a 3 or 4 megapixel camera) at this time.

Thankfully, unlike other manufacturers, Nikon give you the choice of using this camera both in fully automatic and fully manual settings. The whole point of digital cameras is that they give you the opportunity to experiment with different shutter speeds, exposures etc. without wasting lots of film. There are several different modes, fully automatic, aperture mode (but with auto shutter), shutter mode (but with auto aperture) or fully automatic where you choose both aperture and shutter speed. I prefer to run it on shutter mode most of the time, but eventually once I get the hang of this camera, I'll put it on fully manual. The automatic mode is relatively good at guessing shutter speed and aperture, but I find you generally get better shots if you can carefully select the modes yourself (and this applies for every camera I've ever used).

You can also put the flash on auto, or turn it off. If you prefer to use your own external flash, this can be fixed on top of the camera, just like on most SLRs. As for general use of the camera, it is nice to use, but not quite as easy to use as Sony, so takes a few hours to get used to. Having said that, as a previous owner of a Nikon digital, the setup was quite familiar. It's quite simple to change both the size and quality of shots, without entering the menu system. I found I could store about 12-15 shots on the included 32MB CompactFlash card, in fine mode at maximum resolution. If you opt for uncompressed mode, you'll only be able to fit one picture on the card. In any case I bought an additional 64MB card and I am thinking about getting a Microdrive, so I can take uncompressed shots as well. I think Nikon are a bit tight, only including a 32MB card!

In the above shot you can see the rear of the camera. The LCD is not as bright as I would have liked, and can be difficult to see in very sunny conditions. If you prefer you can move the LCD and turn it around to another position.

I made a good choice buying this camera, but it's very expensive at the moment (although it has come down in price since launch) and as such I cannot give it a 10/10 rating, but it is worth noting it is probably one of the cheapest 5 megapixel cameras around. Hopefully I'll be able to review some of it's rivals soon!