Nikon Coolpix B500 Review: Worth it in 2021?

In a hurry? Here’s the quick summary

Nikon Coolpix B500

Beginner digital camera users often want a lightweight camera that is easy to use and produces sharp well-exposed photos without the fuss.

Many don’t want to migrate to a DSLR or a mirrorless because they may not feel confident to use the manual modes.

Plus, the whole hassle of changing lenses and having to carry multiple lenses when traveling can be too cumbersome for them.

A bridge camera like the B500 is best suited for such users.

There are many things to like about the B500. It is small, lightweight, easy to use, has a fantastic zoom range, and produces great quality stills and videos in most lighting conditions.

It is easy to carry around and take photos with. You don’t have to change your lens frequently.

One lens does it all. That means less gear when you are traveling.

If you are a casual photographer and not one who is trying to make photography a career then the B500 makes ample sense.

Pros and Cons Nikon Coolpix B500

  • 16-megapixel resolution with a 1/2.3-inch sensor
  • Built-in lens
  • Focal length 22.5mm to 900mm on a 35mm format equivalent
  • Digital and optical image stabilization (4-axis)
  • Native ISO sensitivity 125 – 1600.
  • Bunch of scene modes
  • Continuous shooting speed of 7 frames per second
  • Full HD video recording at 30p and 60i.
  • Built-in stereo mic
  • Extremely lightweight camera
  • No manual shooting mode
  • No option to plug in an external mic
  • The rear LCD screen has no touch options
  • The resolution of the rear LCD screen is low

Nikon Coolpix B500 Review Intro

The Nikon Coolpix B500 is a bridge camera powered by a 1/2.3-inch sensor, bridge cameras are named as such because they have the form factor of a DSLR camera and the usability of a compact point and shoot.

In other words, they combine the best of both worlds.

Let’s dive right in and find out more about this camera and the type of photographer that should invest in this camera.

Nikon Coolpix B500 Specs

If you are looking for your first digital camera, chances are you would be advised to choose between an interchangeable lens camera system or one that has a fixed lens.

All camera systems can be divided basically into these two systems.

Bridge cameras, as I have mentioned, fit in between the DSLR systems and compact cameras.

They have the form factor of DSLR cameras and the convenience of use that comes with using a compact camera.

Let’s start by discussing the sensor of the camera.

The Coolpix B500 is powered by a 1/2.3-inch 16-megapixel CMOS sensor.

This is the smallest sensor size of all the sensor sizes among proper cameras.

There are even smaller sensors, the ones which power smartphone cameras.

Nikon Coolpix B500 Sample Image
Nikon Coolpix B500 Sample Image – Source

Small sensors suffer from noise issues.

And if a small sensor is packed with too many pixels it has acute problems collecting light, something that becomes apparent when shooting in low light. The result is noise.

This is why a lot of compact camera (and these days even APS-C and full-frame) sensors feature the BSI architecture.

Short for Back-side illumination this technology places the wiring and elements other than the lens and the photodiodes at the back of the photosensitive layer.

This ensures that the front side remains largely clutter-free and can capture a lot of light and the resulting improvement in noise performance.

The highlight of this Nikon COOLPIX B500 review is the superzoom lens. At 40x it has one of the largest focal lengths ranges among compact camera systems.

If we convert the focal length range to 35mm format that is a whopping 22.5mm to 900mm.

You could take a close-up shot of the moon’s surface from your terrace without any other tools.

Nikon Coolpix B500 Sample Image
Nikon Coolpix B500 Sample Image – Source

A lens of such a long focal length reach is difficult to operate without some sort of image stabilization built-in.

The Coolpix B500 comes with image stabilization built-in to stabilize the footage and stills in-camera.

The back of the camera is dominated by a 3-inch LCD screen that offers a resolution of 921-K dots. As far as the rear LCD screen goes the B500 does not have the best resolution. But it does the job.

What I would have loved is a touch functionality, which is missing. At least it has some tilting functionalities and so you can experiment with interesting shooting angles.

To round up the Nikon COOLPIX B500 specs let’s talk about the connectivity specs. The camera has built-in NFC, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi connectivity.

As a Nikon user, you can download the SnapBridge application and pair your smartphone or tablet with this camera to transfer images and videos seamlessly to your handheld device.

Although it may not be as instantaneous as shooting with a smartphone and then sharing on social media, it gives the next best feeling.

You can shoot, transfer seamlessly to your compatible device, and then share.

Nikon Coolpix B500 Design

A bridge camera uses design elements that are taken from that of a DSLR.

Pronounced handgrip aesthetically placed shutter release button, command dials, and a large LCD screen at the back of the camera.

Everything gives the vibe of a DSLR, except that it is not one.

This camera is no different. As you can imagine there are no creative manual modes on this camera.

And all of the buttons at the back of the camera are located to the right. You can easily access the buttons and dials using your right finger.

Nikon Coolpix B500 Sample Image
Nikon Coolpix B500 Sample Image – Source

Even the controls at the top of the camera can be accessed with your right index finger which makes it very easy to operate this camera.

In any case, the back of the camera does not have too many buttons and dials.

I loved the pronounced grip at the front of the camera. Even many DSLR cameras don’t have such solid grip.

It gives a solid reassuring feeling when you pick it.

The fact that this is a lightweight camera means it does not hurt your hands when you use it for long durations.

Nikon Coolpix B500 Image Quality

The convenience of shooting with a compact camera is what makes them so viable for an entry-level user.

As the camera processes everything inside and only churns out JPEGs whatever you get is the final product.

You can change the scene modes though and capitalize on the camera’s built-in optimization options.

There are a total of 18 scene modes available on the camera, plus the Easy Auto mode.

You can choose the correct scene mode from these 18 depending on the scene that you are shooting in.

The camera will automatically adjust the exposure according to the scene.

There is an Easy Auto Mode as well. This mode is best suited when you are unable to figure out the correct scene mode for the scene you are shooting in.

The camera automatically identifies the scene and determines the exposure that would be ideal for that scene.

In our experience, the B500 does a great job of color reproduction in good light.

In low light conditions, the performance is noticeably better than a normal sensor (not BSI). Noise is suppressed to an extent.

However, pushing the ISO number higher than 800 stars to show some amount of noise.

This is a great camera for travel purposes because of the fantastic focal length range that covers both wide-angle and super-telephoto with the same lens.

If you are a beginner photographer you will love the B500 because of the super flexibility that comes with it.

Nikon Coolpix B500 Sample Image
Nikon Coolpix B500 Sample Image – Source

Nikon Coolpix B500 Video Quality

The B500 is capable of producing full HD videos at a maximum frame rate of 30p. There is also a higher frame rate possible if the camera was set to 60i.

The camera comes with a built-in stereo mic for recording sound but as you can imagine starter cameras like this rarely come with the option to plug in an external mic.

And that means you will never be able to record better quality audio with this camera.

How’s the actual video quality? Well, it is good in decent light.

There is a bunch of creative modes like the fast-motion sequence and the super-lapse Movie features that offer you some interesting options to play with your camera.

Especially, if you are traveling both super-lapse and fast-motion or time-lapse are some interesting photo opportunities that you can exploit.

Nikon Coolpix B500 Overall Performance

I am happy with the overall performance of the camera. Image performance in broad daylight is great and so are the video capabilities.

Thanks to the 4-axis image stabilization quality of videos are steady and acceptable. I would have loved the option to plug in an external mic.

I think it would have improved the overall audio quality.

This is because a lot of beginners will buy this camera for travels etc. and they would have preferred better audio quality.

This Nikon COOLPIX B500 review would be incomplete without a mention of the connectivity features of the camera. Built-in Wi-Fi, NFC, and Bluetooth are a great addition.

A reason why smartphones are the most dominant photography tool is that it is easy to share soon after shooting.

And for that reason, alone people prefer using smartphones to even proper cameras.

However, with bridge cameras like the B500 you get a fantastic zoom length, optical image stabilization, and the ability to shoot with a bigger sensor.

Concluding Remarks

We hope you enjoyed this review guide on the Nikon Coolpix B500.

Consider everything we’ve reviewed as to whether this is the right camera for you!

Also, check out the full list of best Nikon lenses for landscape photography.

Have fun, good luck, and keep photographing!

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