Nikon Coolpix P520 Review


Overview of the Nikon Coolpix P520 Camera

The Nikon Coolpix P520 has a very impressive feature that you can’t help paying attention – it has extremely large 42X optical zoom lens in which you can take advantage of the maximum telephoto setting up to 1000mm. This feature is not common for many other cameras.

The Coolpix P520 does not offer other advanced features in terms of some aspects, though. For instance, the RAW format is not supported as I expect and you may certainly encounter some considerable problems with the shutter lag with this camera. In fact, for such a camera like the Nikon Coolpix P520 in this sub-$400 price point, the shutter lag issue is not a small problem. It’s also the reason to lower the star rating of this camera.

Still, this camera is an easy-to-use model for photographers at the beginning levels. With this camera, there are a lot of manual settings that intermediate photographers can control over.

This camera is a really good model among ultra-zoom ones. If you are the one who is looking for a camera with a large zoom, the above listed drawbacks won’t be considerable. Although you can’t find big advantages of the P520 over the last year’s P510, upgrading your current model to the Coolpix P500 is still nice. And this upgrade is really worth your consideration if you really like this model.

Brief review of the Nikon Coolpix P520 Camera


  • The resolution is 18.1 megapixels
  • Optical zoom:42X (24-1000mm)
  • The 3.2-inch LCD has the resolution of 921,000 pixels
  • The maximum image size is 4896 x 3672 pixels
  • The camera uses a Rechargeable Li-Ion Battery
  • The dimensions are 5.0 x 3.4 x 4.0 inches
  • The camera weighs19.5 ounces (with battery and memory card included)
  • The 1/2.3 in.Image sensor uses the CMOS technology
  • A Full HD 1080p (30fps) movie mode is supported


  • Image quality is good for a 1/2.3-inch image sensor
  • Large zoom lens (42X) is a great feature
  • Coolpix P520 offers an articulated, large, and sharp LCD
  • Nice mix of automatic control and manual control features
  • Nikon included a large number of add-on features, including GPS


  • Shutter lag is a significant problem
  • Larger image sensor would be nice at this price point
  • Battery life should be better
  • There’s a bit of image softness, especially with indoor shots
  • Bulky camera body won’t appeal to some beginning photographers
Nikon-Coolpix-P520 Camera Review Buy

Nikon-Coolpix-P520 Camera Review Buy

Detailed Review of the Nikon Coolpix P520 Camera

Image Quality

It would have been nicer if the Nikon Coolpix P520 had included an image sensor that was larger than just the current 1/2.3-inch CCD image sensor. In overall, the image quality would have been better if its image sensor had not been small as currently.

However, in comparison with the images from other cameras with a similar size of image sensor, the images produced by the P520 with the current size of image sensor are still very good.  At least, this result is partly thanks to the 18 MP resolution of its image sensor.

You may easily notice the noise issues with this camera, especially for photos that you are attempting to shoot in low light condition in which you have to select the ISO setting within the mid- to high-range.

For the autofocus mechanism, the softness also happens. For the photos with softness, you will find it hard to make large prints or view the camera’s image at large zoom on a computer screen. You will not have to concern about the image softness if you just make prints of the average sizes or share the images via social networking sites.

There is a flash unit with this camera which is centered directly over the lens. And thanks to this flash popup, the image quality of images shot with this camera is pretty nice.


The speed of the P520 in moving through its entire 42X zoom range is pretty fast for such a large telephoto range. It just takes less than 3 seconds.

Thanks to the extremely large zoom lens, you will find it easy to shoot landscape photos in a far distance without having to concern about the shutter lag.

However, the shutter lag will be pretty noticeable when you shoot photos in low light circumstances. To reduce the shutter lag problems, you should press the shutter button halfway and pre-focus on the subject. But keep in mind that you may easily miss several valuable moments when the shutter lag problems happen. Especially, the shutter lad shall be magnified when you move up to the far end of the large 42X zoom lenses.

Beyond the large zoom 42X lens, the large and bright 3.2-inch LCD screen  of the Coolpix P520 is also an advantage of this camera. The LCD screen is also articulated, and you will find it very handy in cases that you want to shoot self-portraits or photos at odd-angles. This LCD is one of the nicer ones among the current fixed-lens cameras.

There are a lot of advanced manual control features with the P520 cameras. And photographers can take more closely control over the camera’s performance.


In terms of the design, the Coolpix P520 is similar to many other large zoom cameras, in which both the lens housing and the right-hand grip is really large. Not everyone will like this style of design because nowadays thin cameras have become more and more popular.

However, in comparison with some other ultra zoom models, the look of this camera is very appealing to me and it is easy to hold the camera in the hand. In addition, it is also pretty comfortable to use the large control buttons as well.

There is a viewfinder included with this camera, which isn’t common in the current camera marketplace. Although the resolution of the electronic viewfinder (EVF) is not so high, it is still very useful in cases that you find it difficult to frame a photo with a LCD.

You cannot switch between the EVF and LCD by just pressing a button. Perhaps this is the weakest point of the EVF with this camera. The LCD screen must be twisted and closed before you want to get access to the EVF.

There are plenty of buttons with the Coolpix P520, at least in comparison with other fixed-lens cameras. But you will be pleasure to see that those buttons are well designed to be used comfortably. In addition, the Function button is really nice, which can help save user-customized settings. Moreover, the inclusion of the mode dial is great, too.

With this Nikon  Coolpix P520, two extra great features are a built-in GPS unit and the capacity to use the Wi-Fi connectivity as an additional option. With many advanced design feature in one camera only, this is a nice camera and those features just well justify the high price point of the P520.

Although I did not as much as the P500 which I reviewed it a couple of years ago, the P520 is still a very nice camera. There are, of course, a few drawbacks related to the image quality as well as the battery life. However, some of the extra features of the Coolpix P520 has belonged  to the best collections of extra features for such a DSLR camera on the current market. That’s why this camera is well worth your consideration

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