The Nikon Coolpix P520's photo quality is very good to excellent, and perhaps just a touch better than the quality of the P510 it replaces. The extra megapixels really don't help much except with well-lit macro shots or frame-filling portraits; looking at the photos at 100 percent only reveals noise and artifacts. Basically, don't be fooled by appearances -- the P520 is not as good as a digital SLR. For its price and features, though, most people should be more than happy with its results.
These are 100 percent crops from our test scene. At ISO 80 and ISO 100, subjects look sharp with fine detail good enough for large prints up to 11.5x15. Things look slightly softer as noise reduction increases as you go up in sensitivity, but it isn't until you reach ISO 800 that subjects lose significant detail and look a little smeary at smaller sizes on screen or in prints.
ISO 1600 is OK for Web use, especially if the subject doesn't have much detail to begin with; things just get a little too soft and smeary and colors look slightly duller. The highest sensitivities really aren't usable for much, though if you're used to bad low-light smartphone photos, they'll be better than those.
April 18, 2013 11:00 AM PDT
Photo by: Joshua Goldman/CNET
| Caption by: Joshua Goldman
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