Summary: The Coolpix P50 is Nikon's latest effort to offer an entry-level model into its performance-oriented "P-Series." In reality, the small and handy P50 is somewhere inbetween a performance model and a point & shoot camera. We like the slightly wide 3.6X Nikkor zoom lens, the presence of an optical viewfinder, the generous onboard storage (52MB), and the wealth of features. Also, the P50 can be powered by standard AA batteries, always a plus as they can be found anywhere.
Pros: 8 megapixel resolution, Some manual operation in addition to 16 scene modes, Electronic image stabilization, Very small and handy for this much power, Face recognition mode, Voice recording, Full speed VGA movies with sound, Optical viewfinder
Cons: Smallish, low-res LCD, No full optical anti-shake, No optical zoom during movies
Conclusion: The P50 is a no-nonsense little camera. It's fairly compact, has a useful zoom range and doesn't cost very much money. The build quality is good and it is constructed using pleasantly tactile materials. Many people walking into their local store will be able to pick one up, like the way it feels and go off and use it quite happily.
Pros: Generally decent image quality (at lowest ISO settings), though nothing 'special', Consistently accurate metering, Useful lens range with true wide-angle, Nice use of materials, D-Lighting can make the best of difficult situations, Icon-based interface is good (and optional), Good range of flash modes and control, Sensible number of scene modes, AA battery convenience
Cons: eVR is no substitute for optical stabilization, Soft images with little latitude for additional sharpening in-camera, Lens on our test model had softness on left side of image., Sluggish performance, ISO range more ambitious than capable, Manual control extremely limited, Battery life below average (even for AAs), Long flash recycle times, Sound STILL drops out before videos end, Lots of competition makes P50 look like an 'also ran'
Excerpt: Few will argue that Nikon's DSLRs are among the most esteemed digital cameras available; however, the prevailing sentiment among photo enthusiasts is that the compact Nikon digicams often pale in comparison to their bigger siblings. All that's about to change with the introduction of the shirt-pocket sized Nikon Coolpix P50 ($160, street), an 8.1-megapixel image-making dynamo.
Excerpt: I think Nikon is getting fed up with all the great press Canon receives in the point & shoot camera market. I also think Nikon is really getting feisty about battling all of the product reviews out there which carefully examine 100% crops of really large photos in an effort to see which small lens and sensor performs better in conditions no typical (or even more advanced) point & shoot camera user could ever possibly care about.