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Nikon's seven new Coolpix cameras bet big on huge zoom and Wi-Fi

Nikon Coolpix S9500

Nikon was quiet at this year's CES, announcing just the J3 and S1 interchangeable cameras, but apparently it was just biding its time: the company's now announced seven new Coolpix cameras, essentially overhauling its point-and-shoot lineup in one fell swoop. At the top of the lineup is the new Coolpix P520 (the successor to the P510, which will still be sold), which offers a ridiculous 42x zoom, plus an 18-megapixel sensor and a 3.2-inch tilting LCD. The $449.95 camera also comes with GPS built in, plus support for Nikon's WU-1a Wi-Fi adapter.

Big zoom and Wi-Fi are common themes with Nikon's new Coolpix models, as is ruggedization. The $349.95 AW110 is shockproof to 6.5 feet, waterproof to 60 feet, and freezeproof to -14 degrees Fahrenheit — all three are improved over the AW100, which was probably already plenty rugged for most people. The AW110 also has built-in Wi-Fi, a new direction for Nikon that reps said will quickly start to permeate the company's lineup; soon the clunky adapter won't be necessary. The S9500, maybe the most compelling new Coolpix model, combines built-in Wi-Fi and GPS with 22x zoom and a surprisingly small body — it's part of the "Ultra-slim Zoom" range of Nikon cameras, which the company says is one of its fastest-growing segments. But even the company's cheaper cameras are getting connected: the $179.95 Coolpix S5200 offers built-in Wi-Fi, along with its 6x zoom and 16-megapixel CMOS sensor.

Nikon reps told us that there's growing pressure to hit certain prices with its cameras: there are dozens of options vying for your $119, $179, or $349, and being competitive in price seems to be every bit as important as making the best cameras. The company's also trying to find the perfect spot alongside your smartphone; your phone is always going to be the most opportunistic camera you'll have, reps said, so Nikon's goal (and most manufacturers') is to offer you features your phone can't match. Your iPhone certainly doesn't have 42x zoom, and Nikon's hoping you need to get a whole lot closer.


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