When you look at digital cameras, you usually tend to focus only on two different variants – point-and-shoot and DSLR. What you might not know is the existence of a third variant – the bridge cameras. This is partly because they’re not marketed heavily like the other two popular variants and partly due to them falling square in the middle of an awkward space between the point-and-shoot camera and a full-fledged DSLR. Bridge cameras like the Nikon COOLPIX B500 are basically cameras that combine the properties of a point-and-shoot and a DSLR camera.
For instance, most bridge cameras have a certain degree of manual control, a viewfinder, and a zoom lens, but lack the ability to change lenses. In this article, you will learn more about the Nikon COOLPIX B500 bridge camera, its technical specifications, pros and cons, and how it fares against other offerings.
What Is Nikon COOLPIX B500?
The Nikon COOLPIX B500 is a stylish and compact bridge camera that offers superior control and exceptional zoom capabilities with the convenience of a point-and-shoot. The camera is available in three attractive colors: black, red, and purple. It also comes with a 16GB Class 10 SD Card, an HDMI cable, a carry case, a charger, and rechargeable batteries as part of the package.
With the Nikon COOLPIX B500, you get a powerful camera with DSLR-like capabilities without breaking the bank. This makes it the perfect first camera for non-professionals and for people who wish to enter the mesmerizing world of photography.
The Nikon COOLPIX B500 features a 16-Megapixel CMOS sensor coupled with a 40x optical zoom lens with a focal length equivalent of 22.5mm to 900mm in the 35mm format. With a wide aperture range of f/3 to f/6.5, the camera is capable of handling almost all types of lighting conditions. It has built-in optical and electronic stabilization features that help minimize the blur in photographs.
The Nikon COOLPIX B500 is equipped with a host of connectivity options such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, DC input connector, HDMI Type D micro connector, an audio and video output connector, and a Hi-Speed USB port with support for Direct Print.
The price range of the Nikon COOLPIX B500 is depending on whether you opt for the base variant or the starter bundle. The camera can be bought online from various online marketplaces such as Amazon, Gear Best, Best Buy, Target, Nikon, and Walmart, among others. You can also drop into a local camera store or a consumer electronics store to check it out in person before you decide to purchase it.
How It Compares
We picked a few similar products available on the market to see how they compare.
Ease of Use
The Nikon COOLPIX B500 comes equipped with a 3-inch LCD that can tilt downwards and upwards of up to 90-degrees. The display is not fully articulating though, as you cannot tilt it sideways. Nikon’s SnapBridge technology makes an appearance here.
Using the camera’s Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, you can easily pair it up with a smartphone to wirelessly transfer the images from the camera. The camera also features a zoom rocker around the shutter button that lets you easily zoom in or out and has another button placed on the side of the lens that does just the same.
Unfortunately, the Nikon COOLPIX B500 does not come with any manual modes but is loaded with tons of preset settings for different modes of shooting. The camera supports a wide ISO sensitivity range of 125 to 6400, with shutter speeds ranging from 1/5000th of a second up to 25 seconds.
4 AA batteries power the entire camera with approximately 600 shots coming out of a single charge. You can extend the battery life to around 1240 shots by using lithium batteries to power the device.
The camera manages to get the sweet spot in sizing as it is neither too big nor too small; it feels just right. The large and deep handgrip is rubberized and helps you grip the rather large device properly. Weighing just 542 grams, the camera is easy and comfortable to hold even for long periods of time.
The buttons in the camera are of pretty good quality and are laid out and marked well. The build quality feels robust and durable. While the plain black finish can be boring to look at, the red and purple variants of the camera look refreshing and attractive.
Nikon offers a one-year limited warranty for the Nikon COOLPIX B500.
Equipped with a 20.2 Megapixel CMOS sensor and a DIGIC 4+ image processing engine, the Canon PowerShot SX620HS is the perfect point-and-shoot camera for capturing high-quality images on the go. The camera features a long zoom lens with an optical zoom capability of up to 25x and a focal length equivalent of 25 to 625mm.
This compact camera comes with two wireless connectivity options (Wi-Fi and NFC) with support for Canon Camera Connect app. This enables you to easily share photos taken on the camera with the connected smart device.
Ease of Use
Although the camera looks sleek and stylish, it is challenging to get a grip on it due to the almost non-existent handgrip. People with large hands will find it tough to operate the device, and the tiny buttons and controls exacerbate this issue. The 3-inch LCD is non-articulating and is not touch enabled. However, the one aspect where the camera shines is the weight, as it weighs just 182 grams even with the battery, making it easy to carry in your pocket.
Being a point-and-shoot camera, you are not given much control over the settings as the camera’s computer handles everything. The 25x optical zoom of the camera can be extended to around 50x using Canon’s ZoomPlus technology, making the camera versatile enough to capture different environments.
Another nifty feature in the camera is the Auto Zoom, which detects the number of subjects in the frame and automatically zooms in or out to make sure that all of the subjects appear sharp and are in focus.
The Canon PowerShot SX620 HS is an exceptionally-designed camera that comes in three attractive colors – black, silver, and red. The built-in flash is neatly hidden and is flush with the top of the camera, popping up only when needed. The build quality is very superior, and the plastic construction goes along well with metal accents. The camera is also relatively free from buttons, though the spacing could have been a little better.
Canon offers a one-year limited warranty for the Canon PowerShot SX620 HS.
The Sony CyberShot DSC – WX350 is equipped with a 20x optical zoom lens with a focal length equivalent of 25 to 500 mm. The camera’s 18.2 megapixel CMOS sensor is backed by the latest Bionz X image processor and is capable of continuous shooting of up to 10 frames per second.
The DSC – WX350 also features Sony’s Optical SteadyShot image stabilization, which lets you take blur-free images even under low light and under maximum zoom. The camera also features a wide ISO sensitivity range of 80 to 3200, with an option to expand it up to a whopping 12,800.
Ease of Use
Sony has pushed the boundaries of point-and-shoot cameras by equipping the CyberShot DSC – WX350 with one of the slimmest and lightest camera bodies around. This makes the camera very pocketable and unobtrusive.
All of this comes at a cost though, as the camera lacks any sort of handgrip to properly get a hold of the device, making it tough to hold in one hand while shooting. Sony somewhat compensates for the bad ergonomics by incorporating a dial to quickly change the shooting modes without having to fiddle through plenty of settings.
While it lacks manual settings, Sony’s Auto mode is still highly superior and can do a pretty good job. It even engages an HDR mode to capture more detail in a photograph. With Wi-Fi and NFC built-in, transferring photos from the camera has never been easier.
With an Android smartphone, you can even enable a remote viewfinder and can use it to capture selfies. The shot to shot performance is also on par with the industry standard, with just a 1.2-second delay. The battery life especially is really good and is rated at around 470 shots per single charge.
The Sony CyberShot DSC - WX350 is exceptionally compact and weighs merely 162 grams, including a fully charged battery. The camera’s build quality does not feel very solid or robust but is far from being flimsy or cheap.
The display’s narrow bezels are a welcome change and help increase screen real estate. However, the buttons beside the screen are too small and cramped together, making it tough for a person with large hands to comfortably operate.
Sony offers a one-year limited warranty on the Sony CyberShot DSC – WX350.
The Panasonic Lumix DC-FZ80 is a compact bridge camera similar to the Nikon COOLPIX B500. Featuring an 18.1 Megapixel sensor and up to 60x optical zoom, the camera is perfect for capturing wildlife and vast landscapes. The focal length equivalent of the lens is rated at 20 to 1200mm with wide variable apertures from f/2.8 to f/5.9. Although it looks more akin to a traditional DSLR, the camera has more similarities to a point-and-shoot camera.
Ease of Use
Unlike the Nikon COOLPIX B500, this camera comes with a dedicated viewfinder, making it easy to compose your shots even under bright sunlight. The deep, rubberized handgrip is a considerable advantage as it lets you hold and shoot with just one arm. Although the LCD is fixed, it is touch-enabled and allows you to set a focus point or navigate through the menus.
Due to the large zoom lens, the camera takes about 1.8 seconds to initialize and get ready to shoot. The camera is otherwise very fast, with the autofocus system taking just 0.05th of a second to lock on. The camera’s burst shooting performance at 10 frames per second at full resolution is impressive. What’s more impressive is the fact that in addition to JPEGs, the camera can capture images in RAW file formats.
The camera is pretty well designed and simulates the look and feel of a small DSLR perfectly. The black polycarbonate build of the camera is robust and doesn’t attract fingerprints. The buttons are well laid out with adequate spacing between them.
Panasonic offers a one-year limited warranty on the Lumix DX-FZ80.
The Nikon COOLPIX B500 makes a strong case for itself and manages to justify the existence of bridge cameras. For just a few extra dollars than an average point-and-shoot camera, you get a vertically articulating screen and an exceptional zoom capability, which can be further augmented by the Dynamic Fine Zoom feature.
The lack of a dedicated optical viewfinder and 4K video capture is a bit of a downer though, but the camera’s super long battery life makes up for the shortcomings. Based on our in-depth review, we award the Nikon COOLPIX B500 with 4 stars out of 5.