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| Review of the CoolPix 5700 and
by Larry Berman and Chris Maher
CoolPix 5700 and CoolPix 4500 Gallery
Nikons latest, the CoolPix 5700 prosumer digital camera, has a lot going
for it. Its 5-megapixel sensor coupled with an 8x zoom and an electronic
viewfinder produces beautiful images. It feels light and comfortable in
the hand with most controls right where your fingers would expect to find
While we would not characterize this as a large camera, at
4.3Ē x 3Ē x 4Ē and about 17 ounces, this is no shirt pocket camera either.
The magnesium alloy body should prove to be sturdy. At first glance it
appears to be almost identical to the CoolPix 5000, the only difference
being the size of the lens.
The most noticeable change from Nikonís Coolpix 5000 model is in the range
of the zoom lens. While the 5000 excelled with its wide angle (see the
June 2002 issue of Shutterbug Magazine for our review), the 5700 has an 8X
optical zoom that ranges from 35mm to 280mm (35mm equivalent). This is a
bit deficient on the wide end, but nice telephoto on the long end. The
range can be extended with the optional 28mm wide angle optical converter
lens WC-E80 or the 1.5 x optical telephoto converter lens TC-E15ED which
will yield the equivalent of a 420mm telephoto. A minor design issue here.
The wide angle converter is physically as large and heavy as the camera
itself, and only expands the zoom to only 28mm. Whether itís worth
carrying the lens around in your camera bag will be a personal decision.
Our recommendation is that the CoolPix 5700 is really part of a two camera
system which includes the CoolPix 5000. Both have significant strengths to
bring to your camera bag. The CoolPix 5000 with itís wide angle converter
gives you the 35mm equivalent of a 19mm lens at one end and the CoolPix
5700 with itís 1.5x converter extends the focal length to 420mm. The
combination of cameras gives you a range that any shooter would be envious
of. The added benefit of the two camera system is that if something
happens to one camera, you always have the other to complete the shoot.
Nikon has always been justifiably proud of the performance
of their optics. The 5700 is the first CoolPix to use ED glass in itís
built in lens. This lens uses 14 elements in 10 groups (including the 2 ED
elements) and Super Integrated Coating to yield crisp images from 1.2
inches to infinity.
Above the lens is the pop up flash, which opens automatically when needed.
As with most small flash units, the light output is limited. Several flash
modes are offered, like slow synch, red eye and forced fill. But there
appears to be the same problem that plagued the CoolPix 5000 earlier in
the year. There is no internal menu setting to disable internal flash, so
using studio strobes or off camera SB flashes is somewhat problematic. But
we were able to work around the flash limitations of the CoolPix 5000 so
with a little ingenuity the limitations of the 5700 can be overcome. I
should note here that there was a recent firmware update to the CoolPix
5000 which cured all the flash problems and Iím now using it daily for
The power source is the same as used on the last few Coolpix models, a
proprietary EN-EL1 rechargeable battery. Nikon rates this battery at about
90 minutes of use. We are not fans of proprietary power sources, as we
feel that AA rechargeable batteries are much more affordable and available
anywhere. In a pinch you can use a 2CR5 non-rechargeable battery, but they
are expensive. Serious shooters will want to buy more than one $39.95
EN-EL1 battery or purchase the $140 MB-E5700 power pack, which uses 6 AA
batteries. The power pack also gives the camera more balance and a firmer
grip. The MB-E5000 is the CoolPix 5000 version of the AA battery pack.
No complaints from us. The picture quality is all that you can expect from
a camera bearing Nikonís name. Images were sharp and contrasty, even with
the 1.5 converter lens at 420mm. Macro capability is also all that youíd
expect from a CoolPix. Because of the extended zoom range, we were able to
shoot as if we were using a 105mm macro lens on a 35mm film camera. We
shot some wonderful butterfly close ups and auto focus worked flawlessly.
The TC-E15ED telephoto converter lens let me reach out and capture
some winning moments when we tested it at the zoo. Even in the images that
were cropped for composition, the image quality was still there. Itís
important to note that when using a long telephoto lens, some kind of
camera support is necessary. I did use a tripod for almost all the photos
I took with the CoolPix 5700.
Nikon has provided no way to connect filters to the internal lens. Due to
the lens design, the UR-E8 adapter, which is required for the accessory
wide angle or telephoto lens, cannot be used as a filter holder because
the internal lens zooms through the adapter into the rear of the
converters and would hit any filters that were screwed in. Fortunately,
there is an enterprising small business for custom adapters.
creates and sells custom adapters for the CoolPix 5000 and 5700. Heís
designed a very clever adapter that snaps on the lens of the 5700 and
enables you to screw on your choice of filters. It can even stay attached
when turning off the camera and retracting the lens and only requires a
standard size lens cap to protect the lens.
Our favorite viewer, the Xtend-a-View, is now
available in a smaller 1.5 inch size to match the newer smaller LCD
monitors on Nikonís latest cameras like the CoolPix 5700 and CoolPix 4500.
It can be purchased from
Though there is now a useable electronic viewfinder that makes you think
youíre actually looking through the lens, the LCD can still give a larger,
more detailed view if used with the Xtend-a-View.
| Because of the size, weight and focal
length limitations of the 28mm accessory lens, we looked closely at the
full frame fisheye (model number DCR-FE180PRO) from
Raynox. It needs
a proprietary CoolPix 5700 (model number RT5253NW) adapter and gives you a
full frame fisheye 180 degree (measured diagonally) angle of view. As with
any lens that gives that wide a view, there was the expected distortion
and slight vignetting at the edges. But that can easily be compensated for
by zooming slightly towards telephoto until the vignetting disappears.
Weíve always been big fans of the swivel body CoolPix and its fisheye lens
and welcomed the Raynox lens for its creative possibilities.
| Pro photographers who use the Arca Swiss
style quick release system for mounting cameras on their tripods will be
happy that Kirk Photo
has designed a quick release plate for the CoolPix 5700 like he did for
the prior CoolPix models.
| Authors note
Chris purchased the Raynox fisheye to use on his new Sony 717.
As we previously stated, the CoolPix 5700 could be considered part of a
dual camera system with its long telephoto reach compared to the CoolPix
5000ís wide angle view. The image quality is excellent and it would make a
great addition to any photographerís camera bag.
| CoolPix 4500
The CoolPix 4500 was also sent to us for review. We loved the smaller
physical size and ease of use and consistently high image quality. We
especially liked using it with the FC-E8 fisheye lens for both circular
and full frame images. The new programmable multi selector button on the
back makes it easy to use exposure lock, one of the features we liked best
about the CoolPix 5000. In the short time we used the CoolPix 4500, we
became very comfortable with it, as much as we had with our CoolPix 950s
and 990s. That goes well for Nikon as the CoolPix 4500 is the logical
upgrade for those who canít live without the swivel body design. In fact,
I recommended a client purchase the 4500 to photograph his jewelry and
heís thrilled with the way his images are coming out compared to his
previous camera. Nikon has had a good release year for their CoolPix
| Authorís note
As previously mentioned, we had reviewed the
CoolPix 5000 for the June issue of Shutterbug Magazine. Contrary to
some of the widely publicized reviews, we had nothing but good things to
say about the image quality, as could be seen in the pictures that
accompanied the review and in the CoolPix 5000 galleries on our web site.
I then made a three week trip to the Southwest, visiting Arizona and
southern Utah and came back with almost 2000 images, the best of which
appear in the November/December
issue of eDigitalPhoto Magazine. I ended up liking the camera so
much, I purchased it along with the WC-E68 wide angle lens and now use it
almost every day.