updated 08:25 am EDT, Thu April 10, 2008
Nikon P80 and S52
Nikon this morning interrupted the normal pattern of camera launches and released three COOLPIX models that skew towards the higher end of home cameras. The pictured 10.1-megapixel P80 aims to bridge the gap between compacts and entry DSLRs with an 18X, 27-486mm zoom lens and more control than most point-and-shoot models. While it shares the same image processor as newer Nikon cameras, the P80 is the first COOLPIX to offer a Sport Continuous Mode; the camera can take up to 30 shots in a row at speeds between 4 and 13 frames per second depending on whether duration or precision is the focus.
To help generate a stable image at its higher zoom levels, the P80 also receives optical image stabilization and a special ISO 6400 mode that drops the resolution to 5 megapixels in exchange for its higher sensitivity. Nikon ships the camera this month for $400.
More mainstream users are served by the S52 and its Wi-Fi equivalent, the S52c. Both upgrade the earlier S51 from 8.1 to 9 megapixels and double sensitivity up to ISO 3200 for better low-light shots; the 3X zoom lens and 3-inch LCD carry over to both cameras, while the S52c continues to use its wireless link either for sending photos through e-mail or uploading them to photo sharing services. Both models ship in May and sell at prices of $250 and $280 without and with the wireless link.