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. Nikon has also wisely recognized an important gap in its point & shoot lineup: the heretofore empty entry-level spot in its prosumer P-series. The Nikon P50 is almost identical in size to the top-of-the-line P5000/5100 models, and comes with what Nikon hopes is a perfect set of features for both consumers and somewhat more advanced photographers looking for a small, durable, lightweight, versatile camera at a price point which is clearly affordable.
The Nikon Coolpix P50 is an 8.1 megapixel, 3.6x zoom, f2.8-5.6 camera featuring a 4.7-17.0mm zoom lens (which in normal terms functions as a 28-102mm standard zoom when you take into account the crop factor introduced by the small image sensor). The P50 contains Nikon's patented Vibration Reduction (VR) lens stabilization system, and a large 2.4" 115,000 pixel LCD. The top of the camera sports an optical viewfinder, mode selector dial, shutter button and on/off button. The Nikon P50 is almost identical in size to and somewhat lighter than its P5100 top-of-the-line sibling. The back of the camera keeps all other external controls clustered vertically on the right side: a zoom rocker control, playback button, command wheel (for timer, macro, flash control, EV exposure compensation), menu button and delete button. The bottom of the camera offers a plastic-thread tripod mount, and a trap door behind which you'll find the battery compartment and the SD memory card slot. Nikon has positioned a dock connector at the back of the bottom plate. The mini-USB connector is located behind a rubber snap-in door on the upper right end of the body. The flash indicator and auto-focus lock indicator LEDs are located in a column next to the viewfinder bulge. The Nikon P50 has a prominent grip bulge on the right side which is covered with a good quality piece of textured, molded rubber providing excellent feel and control. The upper right end also has a protruding metal tab for use with a neck or wrist strap.