Nikon’s Coolpix B600 is long on zoom and short on price, but you should skip it

    The development of the smartphone has all however stalled the as soon as common price range digicam class, however the superzoom class continues to indicate indicators of life because of optics that may’t slot in a cellphone. At about $330, the Nikon Coolpix B600 falls simply into the price range class, however brings with it a 60x zoom lens. However, to achieve that low worth, Nikon threw out a number of large options, like 4K video, guide publicity, and quick efficiency. What’s left is a boring, limiting digicam that fails to make a powerful case for itself.
    It’s straightforward to search out an awesome digicam when you might have 1000’s of dollars to spend, so we will forgive the B600 for slicing corners to hit its low worth. But the 60x zoom lens is the digicam’s solely hit, and with so many misses, that simply isn’t sufficient.
    Compact, easy design
    The grip of the Nikon B600 says DSLR, however the controls say point-and-shoot. It’s a cushty digicam to make use of for lengthy intervals, which is a bonus over a cellphone. The low weight — only a contact over a pound — builds on that consolation issue, and draping the B600 round your neck with the included strap feels pure. The lens barrel is substantial — a pocketable digicam this isn’t — however the physique itself is fairly skinny for this fashion of superzoom.

    Hillary Grigonis/Digital DevelopmentsThe B600 doesn’t maintain any surprises within the management scheme. There’s a mode dial on the highest, zoom toggle across the shutter button, and a spattering of buttons on the again, conserving the whole lot inside straightforward attain of your proper hand. Shortcuts buttons are provided for macro mode, self-timer, publicity compensation, flash, and video mode.
    On the left on the lens barrel, a rocker button affords a second possibility for controlling the zoom, whereas a “zoom back” button quickly zooms out so you will discover your bearings and goal the digicam in the precise spot. This rocker button is a bit smoother than the zoom change across the shutter button and likewise encourages a two-handed maintain that can assist maintain the digicam regular when utilizing that lengthy zoom.
    This seems like a digicam that may be extra succesful, nevertheless it doesn’t ship on that look

    The digicam’s menu is simply as easy because the bodily controls, although that’s due partially to the price range digicam solely together with fundamental options and features. A fast explainer shows throughout the underside of the menu when an possibility is chosen, simplifying the menu for these unfamiliar with images jargon.
    But the digicam lacks any kind of guide publicity mode, together with aperture and shutter precedence modes. It is basically an all-automatic point-and-shoot with an enormous lens connected, and thus the time period “bridge camera” doesn’t actually apply right here. Despite the DSLR look, that is very a lot an entry-level digicam. Sure, that’s not very stunning given the value, however it’s a bit deceiving; this seems like a digicam that may be extra succesful, nevertheless it doesn’t ship on that look — it even has a viewfinder bump, with out the precise viewfinder.
    User Experience
    While you gained’t be capable of alter the shutter pace or aperture by yourself, there are many no fuss scene modes that not less than grant some management over the look of the picture. Options like auto, sports activities, backlighting, and sensible portrait (which is meant to use make-up results however simply tends to blur the whole photograph) are proper on the mode dial, whereas a number of extra could be accessed by rotating the dial to Scene.
    While the auto modes do a typically first rate job of getting the publicity proper, the digicam tends to maintain the shutter pace comparatively low in most modes. Despite providing shutter speeds as quick as 1/4000 second in burst mode, or 1/1600 for single taking pictures, the digicam didn’t transcend 1/250 in auto mode. Sports mode not less than pushed the shutter pace to 1/800 on a vibrant sunny day, however with such a protracted lens, it appears odd that sooner speeds weren’t getting used extra typically.
    Hillary Grigonis/Digital DevelopmentsThe conservative shutter pace could be a downside. Shooting within the bird-watching mode, for instance, it’s important to have a really nonetheless hen to get a clear photograph with out movement blur. The next shutter pace would additionally assist keep away from blur from the lens itself, which is tough to carry regular when zoomed in. Part of the issue is that the utmost lens aperture of f/6.5 on the telephoto finish simply isn’t vibrant sufficient, however even when elevating the ISO was an possibility, the digicam tended to maintain the shutter pace beneath 1/250.
    Alongside the shortage of guide choices, selections like burst mode and totally different autofocus settings are solely obtainable inside some taking pictures modes. Thankfully, you’ll be able to not less than flip the flash on or off.
    The auto modes make the B600 straightforward to make use of, however the digicam isn’t with out its frustrations. Besides the conservative shutter, the efficiency is a bit gradual. The most 7.7 fps burst pace can solely proceed for seven pictures earlier than slowing down in auto mode; in sports activities mode, we solely acquired 4-5 pictures earlier than it slowed down, and we don’t know why. The digicam takes about 5 seconds to course of the photographs earlier than it could shoot one other burst. The digicam additionally takes a number of seconds after switching modes earlier than being able to shoot. All of which means for those who have been pondering that lengthy lens makes the B600 sports activities or wildlife digicam, nicely, you’ll be mistaken.
    If you have been pondering that lengthy lens makes the B600 sports activities or wildlife digicam, nicely, you’ll be mistaken.

    Thankfully, the autofocus efficiency isn’t as sluggish. Lock-on pace about common, though the digicam had some bother with close-ups when zoomed in, even with macro mode turned on.
    What the B600 lacks in pace, it tries to make up for with its versatile lens. A 60x zoom could make a speck within the distance flip into an in depth close-up, and the B600 does that for little or no money. The macro mode permits the digicam to focus as shut as 0.4 inches in entrance of the lens on the widest angle and roughly 6.5 ft with the lens totally zoomed in. Like any digicam, nevertheless, we suggest turning the digital zoom off — you’ll be able to all the time crop your images in put up if you actually need extra zoom.
    Another small, however useful, upside is that the B600 battery can shoot longer than the 280-exposure score. We shot greater than 300 images and the battery icon nonetheless learn as totally charged.
    Image Quality
    As a digicam that prices lower than most smartphones, we will’t count on an excessive amount of within the picture high quality division. The 60x zoom is definitely a function no cellphone has, however in any other case don’t count on the B600 to ship footage that outshine these out of your cellphone. Image high quality is on par with the price range zoom class in good lighting circumstances, corresponding to taking pictures open air. Indoors and in low mild, some smartphones can most likely outshoot the B600 because of wider apertures and computational images.

    Hillary Grigonis/Digital DevelopmentsThe 60x zoom isn’t unusual for a bridge digicam today, however exhausting to return by outdoors the class. For reference, that’s equal to a 24-1,440mm lens on a full-frame DSLR — one thing that merely doesn’t exist. Image high quality is comparatively constant from the vast angle to the utmost zoom, although photographs are typically a tad softer each at full zoom and in macro mode.

    Thanks to the optical stabilization system, it’s doable to handhold that lengthy zoom in good lighting. The stabilization isn’t fairly ok to shoot at nightfall. In any mild, when taking pictures totally zoomed in, you doubtless gained’t have a 100% hit price with out being very cautious with the way you grip the digicam.
    The 1/2.3-inch sensor is nothing to brag about, however such a small sensor is critical to have the ability to construct such a big zoom lens. Detail is first rate for the category, however not sufficient for heavy cropping (after all, that’s what that 60x zoom is for). Similarly, you’ll need to maintain the ISO as little as doable. Noise is noticeable at ISO 800, however not horrible till pushing as much as ISO 3200.

    While the digicam captures first rate pictures in good lighting circumstances, we couldn’t get a pointy shot indoors. That’s a mixture of the digicam’s smaller sensor, restricted aperture, and lack of guide controls pushing the shutter pace too low to freeze any movement. Even on the vast finish of the lens, which permits for the brightest doable aperture of f/3.3, minor motion nonetheless brought on blur.
    The B600’s video mode carries over a lot of the identical — image high quality is sweet, however nothing to brag about. Video is recorded at 1080p and 60 fps; not getting 4K isn’t a shock on such an affordable digicam. Electronic stabilization can be turned on for video, however don’t count on to make use of that 60x zoom with no tripod. Impressively, although, you should use practically half of it handheld with out inflicting an excessive amount of seasickness for viewers.
    Our Take
    The Nikon B600 affords most zoom on a minimal price range — however mixing an enormous zoom with a low worth comes with some vital tradeoffs. Image high quality suffers indoors and in low mild, whereas even in good lighting the digicam tends to stay with conservative shutter speeds which may introduce blur. Performance is gradual, although not unexpectedly so for the price range class.
    The digicam lacks superior options, however comes with a set of easy-to-use scene modes and a straight-forward menu system. Despite the larger lens, it is usually comparatively light-weight for the class, and cozy to shoot with because of a good-sized grip. Battery life can also be strong.
    Is there a greater different?
    Finding a $300 digicam is getting more durable — however there are nonetheless a number of related choices within the price range zoom class. The Canon PowerShot SX530 is about $30 cheaper and consists of guide modes and a bit sooner burst price of 10 fps, however the zoom is simply 50x, video is at simply 30 fps, and the digicam is now about 4 years previous.
    Originally priced at round $400, the Panasonic FZ80 generally goes on sale for round $300. Even at its authentic worth, nevertheless, the FZ80 packs in sufficient options to make it the higher purchase, together with a brighter f/2.8-5.9 lens, guide publicity modes, RAW taking pictures, an digital viewfinder, 4K video, and 4K photograph modes like Post Focus which helps you to alter focus after the very fact.
    How lengthy will it final?
    Budget cameras sometimes have a shorter lifespan due to a less expensive construct and fewer superior options. Still, the Coolpix B600 ought to final a number of years, as long as you’re effective with its limitations and don’t want a digicam that provides room to develop into.
    Should you purchase it?
    If you simply desire a lengthy zoom as cheaply as doable, the B600 delivers — however that’s most likely not sufficient. The common smartphone can shoot higher footage, and different point-and-shoots supply related zoom ranges with out the B600’s limitations. Even an affordable product must be beneficial, and the B600 simply doesn’t supply sufficient to make it value $330.

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