Capture Stunning Photos with the Nikon Coolpix P520: A Comprehensive Review

Looking for a high-performance camera that is perfect for capturing stunning photos? Then, you might want to check out the Nikon Coolpix P520. In this blog post, we'll take a closer look at this camera's features and capabilities so that you can determine if it's the right fit for your photography needs.

Written by Victor Chan | Updated: Mon May 01 2023

Nikon Coolpix P520 article cover photo

Key Features

Jan 29 2013


18 megapixels


Sensor Type1/2.3-inch

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Overview of the Coolpix P520

The Nikon Coolpix P520 is a powerful camera that boasts a remarkable set of features. This camera comes equipped with a 42x zoom lens that ensures you don't miss a single detail, no matter how far away it is. Moreover, with its 18.1-megapixel sensor and Full HD 1080p video recording capabilities, the P520 can capture breathtaking photos and videos that are sure to impress. However, before you decide if this camera is right for you, let's delve into its features and explore what makes it stand out from the rest.

Nikon Coolpix P520 Pros and Cons

Now, we will look more closely at our review of the Nikon Coolpix P520 camera. We will see what it can do and compare it to other cameras like it. We will tell you what's good about it and what's not so good. This way, you'll know if it's the camera for you!


High megapixel count (18.1 MP)
Impressive zoom capabilities (42x)
Excellent image stabilization technology
Wi-Fi connectivity
Built-in GPS
Large LCD screen (3.2 inches)
Easy-to-use interface
Good low-light performance
Full HD video recording


Pricier than some other point-and-shoot cameras
Not the most compact or lightweight option
Limited manual controls for advanced users
Average battery life (up to 200 shots per charge)
Some users report slow autofocus speed
No RAW shooting capability
Limited aperture range (f/3-5.9)
No external microphone input for video recording.

Build and Construction

Body and dimensions

Nikon Coolpix P520

Weather sealed
Dimensions125 x 84 x 102mm

Weather Sealing

The Nikon Coolpix P520 is not sealed against water and dust, so it's important to be careful when using it in such conditions. If you often shoot in environments with water or dust, it's recommended to check out another camera with weather sealing.

Design and Handling

Main design features

View FinderElectronic
Screen TypeFully Articulated
Screen Resolution921k dots
Body typeSLR-like (bridge)

Suitable for:

PhotographyAbove Avg.
VideographyAbove Avg.
TravelAbove Avg.

LCD Screen

This camera has a fully articulated 3.20" screen, with a display resolution of 921k dots. This makes the Nikon Coolpix P520 very suitable for those looking for a vlogging camera as you can view yourself while shooting selfies. Unfortunately, the camera does not have a touch screen, which may make it less user-friendly.


Coolpix P520 includes a electronic viewfinder with n/a of resolution with a coverage of n/a and a magnification of n/a. This feature enhances the camera's suitability for outdoor photography in bright conditions.

Image Quality

Nikon Coolpix P520 has a 18MP sized BSI-CMOS sensor. You can shoot at maximum resolution of 18 pixels. Nikon Coolpix P520 has a native ISO range of 80 - 3200 which can be boosted to null - null.

Key Features

Jan 29 2013


80 - 3200

ISO Range

Extended ISOnull - null
Max resolution4896 x 3672 pixels

DXO Sensor Scores


not tested

Color Depth

not tested

Dynamic Range

not tested

Low Light ISO

not tested

DXO mark sensor scores

The DXOmark rankings indicate that the Nikon Coolpix P520 camera has excellent color depth performance, which refers to the number of colors the sensor can distinguish. Additionally, its dynamic range is also excellent, allowing it to retain high amounts of details in both bright and dark areas of a scene. The camera's low light ISO performance is excellent, which is an important factor to consider if you plan to use it in dimly lit indoor environments or at night. Overall the image quality of the Coolpix P520 is excellent

Crop Factor

Camera crop factor (or focal length multiplier) refers to how a camera's sensor size affects the apparent field of view of a lens. Crop factor is determined by comparing the size of a camera's sensor to that of a full-frame sensor, which is a standard reference size for camera sensors.

Size comparison

Medium FormatFull FrameAPS-C (Sony, Nikon)

Crop factor calculator

Crop factor


Full frame equivalent


This camera: 1/2.3-inch



Connectivity, storage, battery

Battery Life200 shots
Battery ModelEN-EL5
Wireless Connectivity


The Nikon Coolpix P520 supports SD/SDHC/SDXC with 1 slots for storage. This may suffice for everyday use. However, for professional applications such as wedding photography, it is not recommended as a memory card malfunction could lead to the loss of all footage.


The Nikon Coolpix P520 uses the EN-EL5 model of battery pack. This is rated for 200 shots shots which is high. If you intend to take photos or record videos for an extended period, it might be a good idea to bring along additional batteries.

Photography Features


The Nikon Coolpix P520 has built in flash which is great for event photography and in low light situations. However it lacks an external flash shoe, which limits you to using the built-in flash.


The Nikon Coolpix P520 boasts a maximum mechanical shutter speed of 1/4000s, which is ideal for shooting fast-moving subjects in bright environments, such as in sports photography. Faster shutter speeds enable you to freeze the action and capture every detail, making it easier to get the perfect shot.

With a continuous mechanical shutter speed of n/a or an electronic shutter speed of n/a, this camera is not capable of capturing the perfect moment more easily, making it not as suited for wedding, sports, and wildlife photography. Higher shutter speeds make it easier to capture fast-paced action, ensuring that you never miss the perfect shot.


The Nikon Coolpix P520 includes contrast detection autofocus (AF), with 9 number of focus points.

While contrast detection is generally more accurate and precise, phase detection autofocus is faster and more effective in most situations, particularly when photographing moving subjects.

Phase detection autofocus works by dividing the incoming light into pairs and then analyzing how they intersect on the camera's sensor. This method allows the camera to determine not only if a subject is in focus but also the direction and distance needed to adjust the focus to achieve perfect sharpness.

On the other hand, contrast detection autofocus works by analyzing the contrast of an image and adjusting the focus until the highest contrast is detected. While this method is very accurate, it can be slow, especially in low light conditions or when photographing moving subjects.

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What is the sensor size of the Nikon Coolpix P520?

The Nikon Coolpix P520 features a BSI-CMOS sensor

Is the Nikon Coolpix P520 weather sealed?

No the Coolpix P520 does not have weather sealing.

When was the Nikon Coolpix P520 announced?

The Nikon Coolpix P520 was announced on Jan 29 2013

Does the Nikon Coolpix P520 have in-body image stabilization?

Yes the Coolpix P520 does have in-body image stabilization that can compensate for camera shake, making it easier to shoot handheld in low light conditions.

What is the ISO range of the Nikon Coolpix P520?

The Coolpix P520 has a native ISO range of 80-3200, which can be expanded to ISO null-null for even greater sensitivity in low light conditions.

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