Winter in our cove which is less than ten minutes from the beaches of Emerald Isle is rarely harsh enough to keep us from venturing over to the beach at least a few days even during the coldest part of the season.
With that thought in mind, I ordered a new Nikon COOLPIX P500 just before Christmas. I chose that particular model of the COOLPIX line of cameras for a few reasons. First it has CMOS imaging technology. Second it has an electronic viewfinder in addition to a large tiltable LCD viewing screen. Third it has 36X optical zoom. Finally it was reasonably priced at just a few dollars above what I had paid for my last pocket camera.
I have had three pocket cameras in the last eighteen months. Two were Panasonic Lumix models and one was a Sony DSC-HX7V with GPS. All three have developed spots on their image sensor. I am hoping the Nikon will be more resistant to this problem.
One of the reasons that I wanted a new beach camera was to be able to leave my Nikon D3100 and expensive telephoto lens at home. While there are days when you can guarantee no rain on the beach, there are some days when rain seems to pop up from nowhere.
While I typically carry a plastic bag in my back pocket, I would rather keep my Nikon DSLR D3100 for close to home work. Many of my walks on the beach last three or more hours like the really neat one that I did at the Point on January 24, 2012. A beach walk in January when the weather requires only a long sleeved tee-shirt is always a magic time in my book.
The Nikon COOLPIX P500 isn't as good as the D3100 for catching waves in action, but it does a great job even with movies when shot from a tripod. It is also quite a bit lighter in weight than my D3100 with a telephoto lens.
I recently did a website with P500 movies of a pelican preening itself. Apple iPad and iPhone users can see the same movie at this link. If you have trouble viewing it, you can see it on YouTube. If you have signed up for YouTube's HTML5 trial you can also see the movie in high definition. I am partial to the 720P version. I am exceptionally pleased with the movies that I am getting out of the P500.
I have a number of photos taken during my last beach walk with both the Nikon COOLPIX P500 and the Sony DSC-HX7V at this Picasa Web Album. If you are looking at an individual picture, you can tell which camera took the picture by going to the full details page. Many of the Sony images had to be cropped or retouched to get rid of the image sensor problem.
Though I have only had the Nikon a little over a month. I have gotten some great shots with it, including this Kingfisher shot.
As the beach walking season moves into full gear, I will quickly find out if the COOLPIX can stand up to harsh beach conditions.