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Backpacker Magazine – April 2009

Editors' Choice 2009: Nikon Coolpix P6000 Camera

Backpackers get a made-to-order digital camera with the first affordable GPS-enabled shooter.

by: The Backpacker Editors

Nikon Coolpix P6000 (Courtesy Photo)
Nikon Coolpix P6000 (Courtesy Photo)

See more gear that made the cut in our 2009 awards.

There must be a hiker in the R&D department at Nikon. Who else could come up with a camera that treats map coordinates with the same attention as it gives to image quality? The P6000 is simply in a class by itself, thanks to an internal GPS that digitally stamps photos with latitude and longitude data. Translation: It creates geotagged photos that you can easily and instantly download to Google Earth, Nikon Picturetown, or our own site ( On our site, just upload the photos into a trip report and watch as the images zoom to the map–and the precise spot on the planet where they were taken.

This camera will also upgrade your slideshows–and not just because you can now integrate maps. The 13.5-megapixel P6000 outperforms most point-and-shoot cameras in photo quality, and even rivals bulkier, more expensive digital SLRs (see the proof above and on page 42). The retractable lens captured crisp, color-rich photos in sun (Arizona desert), snow (Vail, Colorado), and rain (Wales). We also found that the P6000 picked up subtle highlights and shadows that other digital cameras missed. And when the sun was too bright to read the 2.7-inch LCD screen, we loved the old-school viewfinder for framing shots. It also has pop-up flash, full manual options, high-speed Internet port, panorama stitching mode, and optional wide-angle lens.

And how good is the GPS? In the field, whether the camera is on or off, the internal computer periodically updates its location in order to shorten the time it takes to acquire satellite reception (about two minutes from cold start to satellite lock, depending on terrain and weather). We cross-checked more than 200 geotagged photos shot in two countries and three states with a high-end handheld GPS, and each was placed within spitting distance–literally–of the correct location. Our only complaint? That guy in the R&D department must be a dayhiker, or the P6000 would accept lithium AA batteries. Expect about 11 hours with the onboard rechargeable cell. $449 ($350 street price); 8.5 oz.; 4x optical (28-112mm) lens; SD or SDHC expandable memory; lithium-ion battery;

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Reader Rating: Star Star Star Star Star


Nov 10, 2009

I've also been looking at these - they're so much lighter than the Canon G10 or 11...

Mauricio Carneiro
Jul 28, 2009

I smashed my Nikon P1 yesterday at Mahoosuc Notch when I fell and it was in my pocket, between the rock and my butt.

Reason enough to buy a P6000, but question is, what's the best way to carry it during the hike, to avoid this kind of accident?

I have a bruise the size of my hand on my butt.

Carl Bishop
Jul 12, 2009

Good write-up and well balanced. Thank you. I'm going to buy one of these.

I see that the techno-photoligest have some pause about this camera (not "studio-pro" quality) but after looking at one, your write-up, and some sample photos.... It's a very good camera for Backpackers!!!!

After I get mine ... I'll post some stuff from various locations I'm going to hike and backpack this late summer and fall.


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