Coolpix P510 f5.0 1/100 ISO 400
It is so cool to be able to shoot hummingbirds when in Niagara Falls I would have to wait for five more months. These birds live in St. Lucia and are greeted everyday with warmth, sun and all the flowers they can visit.
f4.8 1/125 ISO 800
I was uncertain about traveling to such a prime vacation spot without my DSLR and long lenses, but after shooting the Nikon P510 for a few days, I was nothing but pleased with what it could do.
Click any image and see for yourself the clear detail this camera affords.
I love this lightweight camera loaded with features. It does have some limitations, but you can see by the photos, it really is a little workhorse. It also helps tremendously that the hummingbirds were a sitting subject.
I did this post for all of you with a point-and-shoot camera that may think your camera cannot shoot these quick tiny birds. Yes it can! My camera was zoomed in between 130mm and 400mm, so nothing was beyond what most point-and-shoots can capture or what inexperienced photographers can master.
f4.5 1/125 ISO 400
This Nikon Coolpix P510 holds bragging rights at a 42x optical zoom, but even this well endowed camera has some flaws at these zoom ranges. One difficulty is hand holding the camera while trying to focus at extreme zoom range. Holding the P510 still and keeping your subject framed is hard with the autofocus being quite slow.
Also the camera experiences heat haze in the 1000mm range when shooting outdoors which very much affects image quality. It is a great little camera that takes a bit of getting used to if you hand hold the camera and want to zoom in like I did for these images. Even at a 400mm zoom, getting the subject clearly focused was a bit challenging, but not overly difficult.
f5.0 1/200 ISO 400
You can see how clear the images are in a more standard zoom range in my hummingbird photos. Shooting hummingbirds was a great test of the camera’s abilities since they rarely sit for long and are tiny subjects.
f6 1/250 ISO 800
One thing that did disappoint me was the action shots. The slow autofocus was very evident in these images. I even set the camera on ‘Sports’ where it snaps off three consecutive shots and again, it is very slow on the mark having still blurred the images.
There is no comparison to my DSLR cameras in this area. Photographing a Hummingbird in Flight is a much different beast and really requires a fast camera, but you can see, the P510 can still make the captures, albeit a bit soft. Want more moving hummers, see Hummingbirds Come Rain, Sleet and Snow. Fast moving hummers feeding at garden flowers is more challenging for photographers and camera alike.
f5.0 1/200 ISO 400
I am no expert on this camera by any comparison, but using it for ten days straight, I did get comfortable using the zoom. I just learned the limitations and accepted the results. Do I feel I can get the same results as my bigger Nikons and longer lenses? Not close, but pretty darn good for such a lightweight, compact 16.1 Megapixel camera. Don’t you agree that point-and-shoots have come a long way?
f6 1/400 ISO 800
I found this camera fun to shoot with, but have read that at the higher ISO of 800 and above that subjects lose significant detail and “look a little smeary”. You might notice I did not go over ISO 800 like I frequently do with my DSLR cameras. I don’t agree with the assessment at ISO 800, but do agree when the camera is set higher. There is more grain and I did experience the ‘smeary’ look.
f4.5 1/160 ISO 800
I do find that this camera is a good choice for both those that just point-and-shoot and those who want more control like myself.
f5.0 1/125 ISO 800
For many, the selection of scene settings will be very useful. This camera does not have all the kitschy settings of other cameras. Those it does have are extremely useful with great picture quality.
f5.0 1/200 ISO 800
This camera is GPS enabled and take my word for it, it is not too reliable. Also, it will quickly devour your battery. One must remember to disable it before a trip, even when the camera is turned off as it still is in contact with the satellite. You cannot have it enabled for air travel and even some countries prohibit its use.
f4 1/60 ISO 800
The Nikon P510 is a really nice all-around camera for those of you ready to move on from a point-and-shoot to the next step, but it will never best a decent DSLR. I find this camera a great value with its features and fine quality in well-lit, outdoor environments. It is perfect for travel, especially if you are going where you might not want to risk losing a good DSLR to theft.
f4.5 1/160 ISO 400
I added this image of a Bananaquit above because this bird, although not a hummingbird, is one tough cookie to photograph. It was the only bird that I wish I had my fast focusing DSLR camera along on this trip.
I will show the other camera I took on the trip, the Coolpix AW100. I used it in the previously popular post on photographing fish underwater, but also used it for grand scenic shots. I was really enamored with this tiny, true point-and-shoot camera. It is Nikon’s first attempt at a ruggedly built point-and-shoot, and is the sharpest and clearest point-and-shoot I ever used. I did not have much opportunity to shoot underwater and know it could have preformed much better had I been better at snorkeling.
Thank you to all that viewed St. Lucia Fish – Under the Sea (809 views the first day). Also thanks for all your well wishes on my health.
Check out Green Apples, my other blog, for more bird photos shot with the P510. Splishing and a Splashing Grackle in St. Lucia has some cute images.