Cameras

Nikon Coolpix P900 Review

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There is no way to talk about Nikon’s excellent, though from time to time frustrating, Coolpix P900 superzoom camera without first addressing the lens.

This wide-angle, telephoto wonder can, at 24mm, pull in a startling amount of visual information. At 2,000mm, it can pluck the moon from the sky.

It’s a stunning level of versatility rarely found in a fixed-lens camera.

Because of this, the 16-megapixel Nikon Coolpix P900 is an excellent shooter in a wide variety of scenarios. It’ll handle the portrait along with the nature image, and the action shot and also the, well, moon shot.

Nikon Coolpix P900 Price

It does all this despite having an image sensor that, at 1 2/3 in ., is smaller than competing super-zoom cameras (the size of a sensor defines how much light a camera can bring in).

Nikon released the Coolpix P900 back in 2015, but it remains their most powerful super-zoom offering. Nikon markets it for $599.95, but you can find it online for under $500, which is an amazing deal.

Despite its many a few months on the market, a lot of people I spoke to (also pro-level photographers) were unaware that there’s an 83x optical zoom camera in the marketplace and would marvel as I electronically expanded the zoom lens three inches from the Nikon Coolpix P900’s relatively compact 3.18-ounce body. And they were equally stunned when I showed them some of the images I took without using a tripod.

However, actual pros will likely look elsewhere when they learn they can’t shoot RAW still images or 4K video (it tops out at 1080p full HD at 60 fps).

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Many consumers, though, don’t care to work in RAW (because they’re not manipulating images in a photo editor) , nor even own a 4K-capable computer monitor or TV to showcase all those pixels.

The basics

Best described as a prosumer, super-zoom camera, the P900 offers virtually all the automatic and manual controls you would desire on a big-lens camera. In addition to automated shooting, you can choose aperture- or shutter-priority, fully manual, saved settings, scenes (like action/sports), and effects. The latter are akin to the filters you find in your favorite mobile phone shooting apps and are best avoided.

You can shoot through the electronic viewfinder or the flip-out, 3-inch monitor. Though I grew up using optical viewfinders on classic DSLRs, I’ve gotten used to shooting through the monitor. The one on my Sony Alpha NEX-5 tilts up and down, which lets me raise the camera above my head and discover over obstacles to get my shot. The Nikon Coolpix P900’s monitor, which flips out and away from the camera body, is much more versatile. I can tilt it along or rotate it 180 degrees to face front, which is super useful for selfies and vlogging.

I desire the monitor was touchscreen, but I got used to constantly using the camera’s triad of dials to modify settings and the zoom rocker to zoom in on playback photos. My various other frustration with the monitor was that even though I could adapt the viewing angle virtually any way I wanted, the screen would often black out at the most inopportune instances. To get around this, I usually had to put the display screen perpendicular to the lens. If I got too disappointed, I simply switched to the electronic viewfinder, which immediately turns on when I put my attention near it.

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I have yet to find a prosumer camera that’s completely figured out the simplest way to deal with adjusting manual configurations. The Coolpix P900 splits shutter and aperture handles between two dials about an inches and a half apart. The shutter rate dial can be hard to adjust when you’re gripping the camera with your right hand and have your finger positioned over the shutter key (or resting on the zoom control).

Store and more

The P900 stores images and video on SD cards, but is also Wi-Fi enabled. When coupled with Nikon’s poorly named “WMU” or Wireless Mobile Utility App (iOS or Android), you can take photos through your mobile phone or watch and transfer images already on the camera’s SD card.

Transferring photos from the camera to your telephone is an awkward, multi-step approach that I did a lot because I loved posting the Coolpix P900 photos on Instagram.

The only thing that’s a little too slow for my taste is the speed of the zoom. I’m utilized to a manual, 200mm zoom lens that I expand instantly by hand. At first, waiting almost five secs for the P900’s electric motor to fully extend the 83x zoom lens felt tedious, but I shortly got over it and basked in the satisfaction of the most powerful zoom lens I’ve ever used.

As for video, it looks good and the stereo microphone is sensitive.

You will find more megapixels, bigger sensors and maybe better software, but I challenge you to find a better deal for this much zoom. The zoom lens on Nikon’s Coolpix P900 is truly unforgettable.

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