The Coolpix P6000 is Nikon’s flagship compact digital camera. Its main features include a 13.5 megapixel sensor, a 4x zoom lens (35mm equivalent of 28-112mm) with vibration reduction, a beautiful 2.7” LCD display, full manual controls, and RAW image capture. Nikon also added two firsts: A built-in GPS for automatic geotagging and an Ethernet port to facilitate direct uploads to Nikon’s Picturetown online service.

During testing I found the P6000 a pleasure to use. While the camera is small, the rubberized grip felt solid, the controls were easy to use, and the menus, in typical Nikon character, were very intuitive. I activated the GPS, and while it took a few minutes, it did acquire a GPS fix inside my home near a window. Once activated, the GPS feature adds location information to every photo taken (assuming that camera can receive the GPS signal) – a great feature for people who travel and take a lot of outdoor photos.

While innovative, the built-in Ethernet port was a bit disappointing because it only allows uploading photos to Nikon’s online photo sharing service. Hopefully Nikon reconsiders and adds the ability to upload to other services and the user’s hard drive in an upcoming firmware release.

Raw shooting has also returned to the Coolpix line with the P6000. However Nikon, in a bold move, introduced a new raw file format that is not compatible with the Nikon raw format. As of the time of writing, applications like Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom don’t yet support the new raw format.

It’s important to keep these limitations in perspective. The best way to transfer images from your digital camera is to remove the memory card and use a USB reader, and photo applications will catch up with Nikon’s new file format. Perhaps more significant is that innovations in the P6000 signal Nikon is taking the compact digital camera market seriously again, which is good news to Nikon afficionados and great news for the compact market as a whole.

Overall, I was quite pleased with the P6000’s image quality, and the exposure system performed well in automatic mode even shooting in challenging conditions. The Nikon Coolpix P6000 is a great camera that still fits in your jacket pocket, making it attractive as a primary camera for those seeing convincing and a great second camera for those times when you just can’t carry your SLR.

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