For photographers who wish to get a close up of their subject without necessarily getting close, the Nikon COOLPIX P900 is the ideal camera. It’s no wonder there was quite a stir when Nikon unveiled the COOLPIX P900. This camera has an insane zoom range and can capture wide-angle scenes, producing excellent images of distant objects.
Its 83x optical zoom has an ultra-wide range starting at 24mm and ending at 2,000mm. You can also use the digital zoom, which can give you a range of 4,000mm, without affecting picture quality significantly. Such features, along with a 7 fps shooting speed, make the Nikon COOLPIX P900 a versatile camera. As such, it is suitable for many types of photography, including sports and wildlife.
As impressive as the COOLPIX P900 is, it also has some limitations. Read on to learn the features, pros, and cons of the P900 in detail.
Design and Features
Ordinarily, when buying a compact camera that offers superzoom capabilities, you expect something a bit bulkier. This is precisely what you get with the Nikon COOLPIX. With dimensions of 4.1 x 5.5 x 5.5 inches (HWD) and weighing 2 lbs, it’s much larger and heavier compared to some cameras with an attached kit lens. In terms of performance, the P900 offers better reach than a kit lens.
Most of the camera’s weight is in the lens. It also has an image sensor of 1/2.3 inches, which is similar in size to those used in entry-level compact cameras and most superzooms. While taking pictures in full-frame, the camera offers a wide viewing range of 24mm, with a 2,000mm zoom.
When using the widest angle, you will get an aperture of f/2.8. This narrows down to f/6.5 when zoomed in completely. Though the P900 is not the camera in its class with the longest range, it still offers an undeniably appealing range.
One of the main challenges of taking photographs of distant objects is focusing on the subject. With the Nikon COOLPIX P900, photographers do not have to worry about this anymore. On the left side of the lens barrel is a Framing Assist button. Holding this button triggers the lens to zoom out. This, however, is not the most interesting use of the Framing Assist button.
As the lens zooms out, it will show an outline of the area zoomed in initially, making it easy to zoom in without losing focus on the subject. This feature is especially useful if you are zooming in on a subject that’s moving. Once the Framing Assist button is released, the lens will return to the previous position.
Also, the COOLPIX P900 comes with a zoom rocker on the barrel. When shooting objects that make it challenging for autofocus, the zoom rocker can be used as a manual focus control. This allows the photographer to hone in on subjects that would be otherwise difficult to focus on.
On the top side and rear of the barrel are additional controls. Among them is a big pop-up flash that has a manual release. To its right, you will find a series of buttons. These include the zoom rocker, standard mode dial (standard PASM, scene modes, and other effects mode), a control dial, and the shutter release.
The shutter release is a programmable Fn button that adjusts the drive mode by default. It can also be used to alter other settings such as focus area, ISO, white balance, and metering pattern. You have the option to use full manual or any of the semi-manual modes, which will adjust the shutter speed or aperture depending on the mode.
The controls available on the rear side include:
- Toggle switch – Used to shift between EVF and LCD. The camera also has an eye sensor that can be used for automatic switching.
- Disp button – Adjusts the amount of information in view when taking or reviewing images.
- Record button – Used to switch to video mode.
On the back of the camera, you will also notice another control wheel. It’s mostly used in manual mode as it does not adjust any settings directly in most modes. Unfortunately, none of the control wheels can be used for direct control of EV compensation. This can only be achieved via the on-screen menu, which is displayed after pressing the right direction of the wheel.
Turning either the top or rear wheel clockwise brings about negative EV. This is arguably the only counterintuitive and confusing feature of the Nikon COOLPIX P900. With the other directional presses, you’ll be able to set the self-timer, toggle Macro shooting, and adjust the flash output. To confirm the settings changes you make, press the OK button at the center. Each time you take a shot, the self-timer will turn itself off automatically. This is another disappointing feature of the P900.
When it comes to image framing, you can use the eye-level EVF or the 3-inch LCD on the rear. The LCD is mounted on a hinge that can slightly eject from the body to face up, down, and move forward. It offers an impeccable 921k-dot resolution and can be closed to protect it from damage. Compared to other cameras, the LCD offers quite a significant upgrade. Features such as RAW support offer greater photographic value.
As with other cameras in this class, the built-in EVF measures 0.2 inches diagonally and specced at 921k-dot resolution. Though it’s not exceptional, it makes it easy to keep the camera steady when taking shots. This reduces the need to keep checking the LCD to frame a shot.
GPS and Wi-Fi
The Nikon COOLPIX P900 comes with GPS and Wi-Fi capabilities. With the former, your location data will be recorded, and it also sets the clock. Under clear skies, it can hone in on your location and record it in less than half a minute.
The WMU app by Nikon is available and free to use. By using the Wi-Fi capability, you can transfer videos and images to android or iOS devices via the WMU app, which is relatively easy to use. All you need to do is activate Wi-Fi, and the camera will broadcast its network for a phone or tablet to connect. Alternatively, you can transfer via NFC to other NFC-enabled devices.
How Does the Nikon COOLPIX P900 Compare?
In the DSLR-like camera group, the P900 faces competition from SONY’s RX10 II. Here’s how the two devices compare:
|Nikon COOLPIX P900||SONY RX10 II|
|Max Mech. Shutter||1/4000s||1/2000s|
|Smartphone Remote Control||Available||Available|
Is the Nikon COOLPIX P900 Worth the Money?
Nikon has undoubtedly addressed some of the main issues that affect their other models. With a wide range of features such as 83x zoom, quick autofocus, and image stabilization, the Nikon COOLPIX P900 is undoubtedly an excellent camera to use. Though there are areas that need improvement, it offers great value for money with a retail price of approximately $600.