Coolpix cameras are a great product line. I bought my Nikon Coolpix 5000 back when 5 megapixels was really a big deal. More recently, I picked up a used Coolpix 990 that I use almost exclusively for timelapse photography. I know it is terribly late to do a product review of these seemingly outdated cameras, but you might be surprised how much life these cameras have if you get a little creative…
Nikon Coolpix 5000 My favorite feature of this camera is the screen that turns and swivels. It allows you to view the screen at waste level, or almost any level. I remember how akward it was to not be looking through a viewfinder to take a picture. Now it is a luxury that I can’t live without.
The other thing that is great about the Nikon Coolpix 5000 is that you can control it completely manually if you want. For example, I override the shutter speed, aperture, focusing distance, noise reduction, and ISO when I am using it as a digital pinhole camera. Sometimes it is slow to scroll through the menus, especially if you don’t use it manually regularly, but the options are there if you need them.
Nikon makes a remote shutter release cable that gets terrible reviews. A better alternative to this high priced piece of garbage is to use Palm Pilot and a serial cable to control your camera. If that strikes your fancy, the previous link will give you more information.
Yeah, so the Coolpix 5000 has been a great camera for me. After a firmware update, the Nikon Coolpix 5000 can even take photos in Raw format.
Coolpix 990 Like I said, I use the Nikon Coolpix 990 almost exclusively for timelapse photography. I used to use my Palm Pilot in combination with The Force software for my timelapse. Due to a relatively short battery live of my Palm, I decided to buy a Digisnap from Harbortronics that can last a week on one battery. It was worth the money, and puts Nikon’s shutter release cable to shame.
Another necessity for making the Coolpix camera timelapse ready are power adapters. There are DC and AC adapters available online through Ebay, Amazon and others. I think I spent about $12 for my car adapter, and $25 for the AC adapter. Definitely worth the money if you plan on taking photos for any extended period of time.
The other accessory that I have for the Coolpix 990 is a wide angle lens. The WC-E63 was a bargain on Ebay for around $60. For fun, I have held this lens over the lens of my Coolpix 5000, and the results were surprisingly good. I think if I would have bought the wide angle lens for my Coolpix 5000 I could have bought an adapter that would work on the 990. Oh well.
If you are looking to buy an older Coolpix camera, you should be warned about hot pixels. Hot pixels are bright pink, blue, purple and green pixels that appear in dark areas of your picture. Most cameras suffer from hot pixels to varying degrees, but the older a camera is, the more prone to hot pixels they are.
You won’t hear a sales pitch from me about digital, but it is undeniable that the convenience of digital is very nice. I can’t vouch for the newer Coolpix models, but if they are anything like the 990 or 5000, it is a very worthy machine.
Ebay is my favorite place to find deals on great old cameras. Here are the Nikon Coolpix 5000 cameras on Ebay right now: