Nikon Coolpix 5700 Review
The Coolpix 5700 is practically a Coolpix 5000 with eightfold zoom and thus Nikon’s answer to the “zoom guns” from Canon (PowerShot Pro90 IS), Fujifilm (FinePix 4900/6900/ S602 Zoom), Minolta (DiMAGE 5 and 7/7i) or Olympus (Ultra Zoom series). If the focal length range from 28 to 85 millimetres of the Coolpix 5000 was too short for you, the Coolpix 5700 can cover a focal length range from 35 to 280 millimetres. The lens is even faster (F2.8 to F4) than that of the Coolpix 5000 (F2.8 to F4.8) despite the considerably extended zoom range. Unfortunately, the Coolpix 5700 doesn’t have a 28 mm wide-angle focal length, nor does it have a built-in image stabilizer, which would make sense with such a long focal length. Nikon’s VR (Vibration Reduction) technology in the analogue range is quite capable of optical image stabilisation. Because of the large zoom range, the Coolpix 5700 is no longer equipped with an optical viewfinder, but – for the first time at Nikon – with an electronic video viewfinder (180,000 pixels each). Otherwise, the Coolpix 5700 has everything that the Coolpix 5000 can offer; also the rotatable and swivelling LCD screen at the back of the device and the flash system, unfortunately still controlled by an external sensor. But there are two news about the firmware: The Coolpix 5700 supports EXIF 2.2 and – in contrast to the Coolpix 5000 – can store images in the unprocessed NEF raw data format (comparable to the RAW mode of other cameras).
The Nikon Coolpix 5700 is one of three cameras that hid behind the “Coolpix top three” teaser released by Nikon in May 2002. While the Coolpix 4500 closes the “gap” between the Coolpix 995 and the Coolpix 5000 and the Coolpix 2000 targets the lowest price segment, the Coolpix 5700 is aimed at all those who have always looked for a zoom-strong camera model with Nikon. Shortly after about 1,600 EUR have changed hands and immediately after unpacking the camera, the first surprise is already revealed: The Coolpix 5700 is extremely compact, much smaller than you might imagine, if you have only seen it on pictures before. With its external dimensions of 108 x 76 x 102 mm, the camera is only slightly larger than its little sister, the Coolpix 5000 (102 x 82 x 68 mm) and smaller than the latest super zoom cameras such as the Fujifilm FinePix S602 Zoom, the Minolta DiMAGE 7i or the Sony DSC-F707. Only the Olympus C-700/720 Ultra Zoom and the Fujifilm FinePix 2800 Zoom are slightly smaller. In spite of its compactness, the Coolpix 5700 lies reasonably well in the hand, if only it weren’t for the eyelet for the camera strap, which drills into the palm of the hand. The handle is a little too narrow for large “paws”, but people with smaller hands can handle it well. The MB-5700 battery handle, which is available as an optional accessory, possibly improves the hand position; however, this increases the calculation for the Coolpix 5700 even further (however, the handle was not available to me during the test).
Nevertheless, power users should still consider buying the MB-5700 in the short or long term. In the normal configuration, the Coolpix 5700 uses the lithium-ion battery EN-EL1, now known among Nikon users, which with its 680 mAh at 7.4 volts is not necessarily one of the most powerful batteries. With one load, we were able to take about 120 pictures in normal operation; which is no longer a record breaking value for a modern digital camera. The option of replacing the EN-EL1 battery with a 2CR5 lithium disposable cell (expensive) or supplying the camera with power via a power supply unit (depending on the cable) is also not a permanent solution. With the MB-5700, the Nikon Coolpix 5700 can be operated with six standard AA/Mignon cells; the use of powerful NiMH batteries (from 1,600 mAh upwards) should significantly increase the image yield. The built-in flash contributes significantly to the power consumption. The miniature flash “crouched” above the lens tube in its resting position with a guide number of 11 determined by us (which, by the way, also coincides exactly with Nikon’s range specifications) jumps out automatically in low light conditions or backlighting. High enough to prevent (at least partially) drop shadows and red eyes caused by the lens barrel. The flash can also be forced, turned off completely, synchronized to slower shutter speeds, and set for red-eye correction. Flash exposure corrections are possible as well as the option to flash internal and external flash units separately or together. Even if the internal flash is obviously still a bit better tuned than the Coolpix 5000 and in most situations provides correctly illuminated images, the flash measurement is still carried out via the sensor cell. It’s high time that Nikon finally gave its digital cameras a contemporary flash system, such as the 3D measurement from its in-house D and F camera series. And while you’re at it, you should also set “standards” and be the first manufacturer to provide the internal flash of a digital camera with a motorized zoom reflector. Nikon also neglects its Coolpix series when it comes to the connection of external flashes. It’s nice that the Coolpix 5700 and Coolpix 5000 have a standard flash shoe (with fully automatic control of Nikon TTL compatible flash units or semi-automatic support of flash units with their own automatic), but neither the AF auxiliary light nor the motorized zoom reflector of the flash units are supported.
The missing support of the AF auxiliary light with external flash units is all the more painful, as the Coolpix 5700 also has no AF auxiliary light on the camera side. Although it is capable – for a digital camera that measures the sharpness via the CCD – of focusing with some precision even in poor lighting conditions, the autofocus shows its limits when the room lighting is dimmed and begins to “grind”, i.e. to drive aimlessly back and forth. In fact, the cross-shaped five-point autofocus of the Nikon Coolpix 5700 is no longer quite up-to-date. Cameras such as the Minolta DiMAGE 7i or the Fujifilm FinePix S602 Zoom show that it is both faster and – thanks to surface AF – more comfortable. Focusing times of an average of 1.2 seconds in daylight and over 1.5 seconds in ambient light, as brought to the stopwatch by the Coolpix 5700, are no longer considered competitive, at least since the D7i and the FP-S602Z. There is something else to criticize when focusing. In addition to the macro mode (here, despite the enormous focal length range, close-ups from a minimum distance of 3 cm are possible) and the landscape or infinity mode, the Coolpix offers the option of manually adjusting the sharpness. Unfortunately not (as with earlier Coolpix models) with the distance in meters, but with a simple running bar, which can only be described as useless. As far as the other times are concerned, the Nikon Coolpix 5700 is doing well. It takes approx. 5.5 seconds from power-on to ready for operation (the value can be somewhat shorter/longer depending on the memory card used), the shutter release delay after focusing is extremely short and is less than 0.1 second, and the entire zoom range is covered in 2 seconds.
There is even an option in the camera menu to further reduce the shutter release delay by giving the shutter release absolute priority over all other camera functions. For a JPEG image in Fine mode (highest quality; average file size 1.5 MByte), the Nikon Coolpix 5700 needs approximately 3 seconds, a TIFF image (HI mode) with an average file size of 14 MByte is stored in approximately 20 seconds and an image in RAW mode reaches the memory card within 4.5 seconds. Yes, the Coolpix 5700 is the first consumer digital camera from Nikon that also stores its images in RAW raw data format. With Nikon, the images in RAW format have the file extension .NEF (Nikon Electronic Format); such an image occupies 7.65 MByte of storage space and can only be opened and processed with the included Nikon View software. The option in the camera’s playback menu to convert a RAW or NEF image to a TIFF image is very convenient. But with this you will only get two images in TIFF format on the 32 MByte memory card from the scope of delivery. Luckily, the Coolpix 5700 accepts CompactFlash removable memory cards of types I and II (including Microdrive), which are available in the most generous storage capacities and where the conversion function and RAW/NEF format storage also makes sense.
In general, the Coolpix 5700 is only so full of functions. The camera leaves nothing to be desired when it comes to shooting (exposure, white balance, focus, continuous shooting modes, adjustment of brightness/contrast/saturation/sharpness), playback and general camera parameters. A white balance exposure bracket is just as natural as a combination of focus point and spot metering or the possibility to fix the exposure values and apply them to a series of shots. Of course, it also has a noise reduction mode; after all, the sensitivity can be gradually increased from ISO 100 up to ISO 800 and bulb long-term exposures are also possible. Nikon has even planned to be able to change the zoom speed in two stages or, if desired, to keep a constant aperture when zooming. We only missed two functions that we know from other cameras: the adjustment of the color balance via R-G-B control (as in the Canon PowerShot series) and a white balance fine correction (as in the Fujifilm FinePix S602 Zoom, among others). In addition to the exposure modes (program mode with shift function, aperture priority with aperture preselection, aperture priority with time preselection, manual exposure control), the shutter speeds range from 1/4,000 to 8 seconds and the apertures from F2.8 or F4.2 (depending on the set focal length) to F8.
The sheer variety of setting options and functions continues into the setup menu. One of the most notable new features is the choice between standard USB transfer mode and Picture Transfer Protocol (PTP). If the PTP protocol is enabled, it is sufficient to connect the camera to a computer with a PTP-compatible operating system (Windows XP and MacOS X) using a USB cable. No driver installation is necessary; the computer recognizes the camera and automatically starts the Windows Camera Wizard – at least for Windows XP. The camera assistant then displays thumbnails of the images; you mark the images you want to transfer to the computer and the transfer process can begin. After the images have arrived in the folder or default folder (usually “My Pictures”) specified above, the Camera Wizard offers to create the images as a website, send them to a photo exposure service, or send them by e-mail. Since no driver installation is necessary and the camera assistant is an integral part of Windows XP, you can connect your Nikon Coolpix 5700 to any computer with Windows XP without having to pick up a driver CD. So it is conceivable to download your pictures from friends on vacation or from an Internet café (if the computer there runs Windows XP or MacOS X) without “loading” the host’s computer with drivers and third-party software. If you do not have a PTP-compatible operating system, set the standard transfer mode in the camera menu. Then everything is done in the classic way with driver installation and registration of the camera as an external drive (Mass Storage Class compatible drivers are included on the included software/driver CD).
All settings and parameters are displayed either on the 1.5″ color LCD screen or in the viewfinder of the 0.44″ LCD video viewfinder. The most important settings are also summarized on the monochrome LCD field on the top of the camera and can even be read in the dark thanks to the switchable backlight. The basic settings (including the resolution/quality level, flash functions, focus settings or self-timer, sensitivity levels and exposure modes) can be accessed directly from the camera menu at the touch of a button or by pressing a combination of the buttons plus the rotary knob on the control dial. And for all the functions accessed from the camera menu, there are three memories so you can save the most frequently used settings and recall them later at the touch of a button. Of course, the two color screens are used to set the functions as well as a viewfinder during shooting and to display the captured images in playback mode. By default (and unless otherwise specified in the camera’s setup menu), the LCD viewfinder is on. When the LCD screen is opened or switched from LCD viewfinder to LCD screen at the touch of a button, the LCD viewfinder is turned off and the LCD screen is turned on. Of all super zoom digital cameras, the Coolpix 5700 has the smallest LCD colour screen. But it can be swivelled 180 degrees to the right and to the left as well as 180 degrees and 90 degrees up and down (which the competitors Minolta DiMAGE 7i and Fujifilm FinePix S602 Zoom can’t do). The Coolpix 5700 LCD viewfinder also has striking similarities (both in resolution and in size and imaging performance) with the Fujifilm FinePix S602 Zoom viewfinder. Nikon and Fujifilm probably have the same supplier for this. Nevertheless, the viewfinder of the Fujifilm appears larger than that of the Nikon Coolpix 5700. This is not an optical illusion, but can be explained by the fact that the lens system in the viewfinder of the FinePix S602Z enlarges more than that of the Nikon Coolpix 5700.
What about the optical and electronic quality of the Coolpix 5700? There is nothing wrong with the 8x zoom (equivalent to 35-280 mm/F2.8-4.2 for 35mm) of the camera. Except maybe that the zoom only starts at 35 mm (that’s a matter of taste) and that the focal length adjustment is done electrically by pressing a button instead of manually by a rotating ring. Otherwise, the imaging performance of the lens is more than fine. Distortions are hardly noticeable (very easy in the wide-angle range), vignetting is not perceptible at all (at least not with everyday scene modes and not with the naked eye) and chromatic aberrations – thanks to special ED glasses – are also hardly present. In fact, the Coolpix 5700 has less color fringes than the Coolpix 5000, so you can assume that not only is the lens good, but also the camera’s internal signal processing has been improved to avoid blooming effects. Overall, the image quality of the Coolpix 5700 is excellent.
The 256-field matrix metering delivers cleanly exposed images, the autofocus ensures sharp images, the image noise is well under control thanks to various noise reduction algorithms, the white balance works reliably and the color fidelity (independent of the white balance) is also good. If the pictures do not correspond to the personal taste, one can adapt the appearance of the later photos to the own taste thanks to the numerous parameterization functions or do this afterwards at the computer, by saving the pictures in the RAW/NEF format and thus giving the personal touch to his pictures at the computer without loss of quality. If desired, the Nikon Coolpix 5700 can also record pictures as a short (maximum 60 seconds long) QuickTime video sequence in a resolution of 320 x 240 pixels and with sound; despite the built-in microphone and loudspeaker, the Nikon Coolpix 5700 has no voice memo function.
The mere fact that the Coolpix 5700 is the only 5 megapixel camera with 8x zoom currently available on the market will make it interesting for many friends of pixel and zoom superlatives. If you like such values, you can’t avoid the Coolpix 5700. What competitors have already managed better is the autofocus and flash system. Not that the Coolpix 5700’s autofocus and flash system are bad or unusable – but the competition doesn’t sleep. And with cameras beyond the 1,500 euro limit, it’s okay to be demanding. Nevertheless, the Nikon Coolpix 5700 impresses with a good image quality, a high focal length and optically powerful zoom lens as well as a high resolution – and all this packed in a pleasantly small case.
Nikon Coolpix 5700 Datasheet
|Sensor||CCD sensor 2/3″ 8.8 x 6.6 mm (crop factor 3.9
)5.0 megapixels (effective)
|Pixel pitch||3,4 µm|
|Picture formats||JPG, RAW, TIF|
|Color depth||Not tested|
|Metadata||Exif (version 2.2), DCF standard|
|Maximum recording time||1 min|
|Focal length||35 to 280 mm (35mm equivalent
)8x ZoomDigital zoom
|Autofocus Functions||Single autofocus, continuous autofocus, Manual|
Viewfinder and Monitor
|Monitor||1.5″ TFT LCD monitor with 110,000 pixels|
|Video viewfinder||Video viewfinder available, diopter compensation (-4.0 to 1.0 dpt)|
|Exposure metering||Center-weighted integral measurement, matrix/multi-field measurement over 256 fields, spot measurement, AF-AE coupling|
|Exposure times||1/4,000 to 8 s (automatic)
|Exposure control||Program automatic, Aperture automatic, Time automatic, Manual|
|Bracketing function||Step size from 1/3 to 1 EV|
|Exposure compensation||-2.0 to +2.0 EV with step size of 1/3 EV|
|Sensitivity to light||ISO 100 to ISO 800 (automatic
)ISO 100 to ISO 800 (manual)
|White balance||Auto, Cloudy, Sun, White balance bracketing, Flash, Fluorescent lamp, Incandescent lamp, Manual|
|Continuous shooting||Continuous shooting function max. 3 fps at highest resolution and max. 4 stored photos, L mode with max. 10 consecutive images at 1.5 fps;
high-speed mode with 5 fps in SXGA, XGA and VGA sizes;
ultra-high-speed mode with up to 100 consecutive images at 30 fps. (in QVGA resolution);
|Self-timer||Self-timer every 3 s, special features: or 10 s (optional)|
|Shooting functions||Live histogram|
|Flash||built-in flash (hinged
)flash shoe: Nikon, standard center contact
|Flash range||0.5 to 4.0 m at wide angle0
.5 to 2.8 m at tele
|Flash functions||Auto, Fill Flash, Flash On, Flash Off, Slow Sync, Red-eye Reduction|
|Image stabilizer||no optical image stabilizer|
CF (Type I, Type II)
|Power supply||Power supply connection|
|Power supply||1 x 2CR5 (standard battery) (Lithium, 6.0 V, 1,500 mAh
)Nikon MB-E5700 Rechargeable battery/battery grip
|Playback Functions||Picture index, slide show function|
|Picture parameters||Sharpness, Contrast, Saturation, Noise Reduction|
|Ports||Data interfaces: USB video output
: yes (HDMI output Micro (type D)
|Features and Miscellaneous||5-Point AF with Single AF or Focus TrackingSave
Custom SettingsBest Shot Selector Settingsfor Image Contrast, Brightness, Saturation, SharpnessNoise Reduction
for Long ExposureLow Noise ModeMulti-Picture Capture FunctionProgram ShiftEXIF Image Information
DisplayHighlight Emphasis IndicatorPicture Protection FunctionFinder Magnification
0.27 to 2.1x viewfinder cover
LCD monochrome display
Size and weight
|Weight||530 g (ready for operation)|
|Dimensions W x H x D||108 x 76 x 102 mm|
|included accessories||Lithium-ion battery EN-EL1Battery charger
MByte-CompactFlash removable memory cardUSB connection cableAudio/Video cableLens capLens strapPicture editing softwareAdobe Photoshop Elements for Windows and MacintoshCamera software
Nikon View 5 for Windows and MacintoshPicture management software
Fotostation Easy for Windows and MacintoshPicture management software
Panoramamaker 3.0 for Windows and MacintoshUSB device drivers
for Windows and Macintosh
|optional accessory||AC adapter EH-53 AC adapter/charger
II removable memory cards in all available capacitiesPC card adapter
.8-fold wide-angle converterBattery pack
MB-E5700Remote cable release
system flashesCamera bag