With pocket-friendly dimensions and high picture quality, we like the Nikon Coolpix P6000.
As well as another million and a half pixels using the same size 1/1.7-inch sensor, the Nikon Coolpix 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-stabilised and retracts into the part magnesium-alloy, part plastic body almost entirely.
Other compelling features of the Nikon Coolpix P6000 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 2.7in (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.
Geo-tagging using the built-in GPS transceiver should be a neat addition, but in the time we had with the camera (a week and a bit in all), we couldn't get the Nikon Coolpix P6000 to locate a single satellite. Left to record GPS data, the P6000 will drain the small but potent battery, even when you think it has powered down completely. So in our view it would be best to manually update when needed.
A rubber bung covers the ethernet socket on the underside of the Nikon Coolpix P6000, but it's used to exclusively upload re-sized snaps and video clips to Nikon's complimentary My Picturetown server. It seems a little extravagant to us, but it could be transformed into a useful option with a future firmware upgrade.
Fortunately autofocus operation is quicker, but it's still a little sluggish at the longer end of the zoom where the maximum aperture drops from f/2.8 to f/5.6. Accuracy appears much the same - that's to say it's good, with the Nikkor-branded zoom delivering pin-sharp shots with only marginal fringing. We can't get too excited about the huge sensitivity range (64-6400 ISO): if you go above ISO 400 the speckles look like confetti.
While the main camera features work as well as can be expected, with a heavy price tag, the value of the seemingly unreliable geo-tagging feature and unnecessary ethernet option are questionable. You can buy the Nikon Coolpix P6000 for a little less in the US – and we rather suspect that’s closer to its true worth.