The Nikon P6000 is a high-end compact with a wideangle 28-12mm lens, 13MP, and new features including Raw shooting and GPS, so how does it perform?
The P6000 takes around a half a second longer than Canon’s G10 to start up and shut down, though focusing times are comparable in good light. The menu system is clear in its descriptions, and with options split into three tabs navigating your way through it isn’t too much trouble, either. Images do seem to be processed a little slowly, though, with the P6000 needing a little time to breathe in between shots. Raw images, for example, take over two seconds to write, though JPEGs are written much quicker.
As I found with the P5100 (reviewed in WDC Dec 07), it also takes around a second for detail to be fully resolved by the screen upon review, though shooting at smaller image sizes reduces this lag. Processing Raw images in-camera is a fairly basic affair, with only five key parameters available for alteration. Any changes may be saved as a file alongside the original, and you can helpfully resize images if you’ve run out of room on your card. Unfortunately, you can’t view the effects of any changes you make upon the image until it comes to saving them.
Another area where the P6000 falls short is with manual focusing, mainly because the low resolution of the screen makes fine focusing difficult to correctly ascertain. This is compounded by the operation itself, which requires you to hold down the MF button while turning the control dial; as the dial sits on the top plate it’s a case of turning it in increments rather than in one continual motion, which makes the process a little tardy. Unfortunately, both the Function and manual focusing controls operate in a similar fashion.
Setting up the GPS function requires you to first update the GPS data, whereby the relevant satellites are located and synchronised to the camera (you can also use the system to synchronise time and date). The success rate for connecting is patchy at best, with results dependent on your surroundings. Outside, I only managed to successfully synchronise the camera on two occasions: once on a roof terrace (after a few seconds) and once at an overground train station (after a few minutes), while indoors the system failed to connect at all. It also failed to connect in any built-up areas. While Nikon should be applauded for incorporating this technology into the P6000, unfortunately it doesn’t work with the required finesse to make it practical, and doesn’t therefore add any real value to the camera.