Nikon Coolpix P900 Review – Should You Buy It?

Nikon Coolpix P900 is an ultimate camera for anyone who wants to get up close to their subject. It boasts an insane 7 fps shooting speed and a zoom range of 24-2000mm. This is a versatile option for various types of photography, especially wildlife.

Let’s have a look at this Nikon Coolpix P900 review to see what else it’s good at.

Nikon Coolpix P900 Review

Nikon Coolpix P900

Effective Pixels: 16.0 million | Monitor size: 3-inch diagonal | ISO sensitivity: ISO 100 | Monitor type: Vari-angle TFT-LCD | Storage media: SD memory card | Movie: HD 1920×1080/60p | Battery: Rechargeable Li-ion | Sensor size: ½.3 inch | Weight: 2 pounds | Size: 4.1 × 5.5 × 5.5

Design & Attracting Features

The majority of superzooms are bulky, but P900 is extraordinarily massive. It is heavier than most SLRs with the addition of a kit lens. However, a kit lens does not guarantee the same reach as the camera. Much of its weight is stored in the lens, which is surprising. The ½.3 inch image sensor is identical to the ones found in beginner-level compact cameras and superzooms.

The lens covers a 24mm field of view at the widest setting in full-frame terms. It zooms all the way to 2,000mm. This is longer than any SLR lens in the market currently. Irrespective of the long range, the P900 does not cover the widest angle in this category.

It can be challenging to focus on the subject while zooming. Fortunately, the maker adds a Framing Assist button. It is settled on the left side of the lens barrel. Holding this button will zoom the lens out, while displaying an outline that represents how far the user was zoned in.

Letting go of this button returns the lens to the default position. The barrel also adds a zoom rocker, which can be reprogrammed to serve as a manual focus control. This is helpful if you are employing the camera to focus on other objects or capture the night sky.

Extra controls are present at the back and top. Plus, there is a huge pop-up flash with a mechanical release. However, the P900’s body lacks a hot shoe for an external trigger or flash. Following functions exist on the right side of the flash:

  • A control dial
  • Zoom rocker 
  • Standard mode dial (effects mode, standard PASM, and scene modes)
  • Programmable function button
  • Shutter release

The function button tweaks the drive mode by default. However, it can be changed to tweak other settings, such as the metering pattern, ISO, focus area, and white balance. The control dial tweaks the shutter speed or aperture while shooting in the respective modes. Moreover, it establishes the shutter speed when the camera is fixed on full manual operation.

Back controls add the following functions:

  • A dedicated Record button for movies
  • A toggle switch to change between the EVF and LCD
  • A Disp button to toggle the visible information while reviewing or shooting images
  • An eye sensor for automatic switch

All of these functions are set across the top of the rear face. The Record button runs into a textured thumb grip. Extra buttons consist of delete, WiFi, menu, and playback controls. A second control wheel exists at the back, but it does not directly tweak any settings in the majority of modes. However, it can adjust aperture in Manual.

It is disappointing that neither this nor the top control wheel can be arranged for direct control of EV compensation. In order to adjust this, you will have to press the right direction on the wheel and set it from an on-screen menu. It is confusing that turning the back or top wheel in the clockwise rotation dials in negative EV.

But the reverse directional press enables the user to toggle Macro shooting, establish the self-timer, and tweak the flash output. The back wheel comes with a middle OK button through which options are confirmed in the menus. An annoying detail is how the self-timer automatically switches off after one shot.

Pictures can be framed through an eye-level EVF or the back 3-inch LCD. The LCD screen displays a sharp 921k-dot resolution and is positioned on a hinge which swings out from the body to face up, forward, or down. It can also be closed against the back, which will shield the LCD screen in travel.

P900’s LCD is definitely an improvement from the Panasonic FZ70. It adds advanced options, such as RAW support. The in-built EVF is usual for this category in terms of size – 0.2-inch diagonally. This is sharp enough for framing shots. Plus, it is a breeze to balance the camera when holding it to your eyes as compared to holding it out in front of you.

Users frequently do the latter when employing the back LCD to frame up a picture. The addition of an eye sensor is rare in this class. You will need to move up to elite superzooms, like the Sony RX10 or Panasonic FZ1000 to have a better EVF. However, their zoom ratio is shorter.

Both WiFi and GPS are built in the camera. The latter records the address data, and can be employed to establish the camera clock. It rapidly locks on, in 20 seconds. Users can copy videos and pictures over to an Android or iOS device via the free Nikon WMU app with the help of WiFi. This is a simple interface.

Nikon Coolpix P900 broadcasts its own network when WiFi is kickstarted, and you just have to link to it through a tablet or smartphone. Pairing with compatible devices is also possible through NFC. Although the default settings pose no WiFi password, users can add one.

Users can flag pictures for transfer and the images will then be automatically copied over when the connection is established and the app is launched. Alternatively, one can just surf through the contents of the memory card through the smartphone’s screen.

A remote control function is built into the app, but it is extremely basic. It displays a Live View feed with minimal lag, which is satisfactory. But when it comes to control, users can only tweak the zoom and launch the shutter. Additional remote apps assist advanced features, such as tap-to-focus and offer access to manual shooting controls.

Performance

Although the brand has addressed some performance problems that plague the P900, improvement is still needed. But on the bright side, the camera starts and captures an in-focus picture in 1.6 seconds when the lens is set at 24mm position. Users can also establish it to zoom at 135mm, 28mm, 105mm, 35mm, 85mm, or 50mm when starting.

The focus speed is remarkable because the camera locks and fires in only 0.1 second at the widest angle. When it is zoomed all the way in, it requires just 0.4 second. In case the camera has to search for focus while zoomed in, it can slow down to 1.3 seconds, but this rarely happens.

The camera demands 2 seconds to kickstart, 0.2 second to lock focus at the widest angle, and around 1.7 second to accomplish this when completely zoomed in. More improvement is required in burst shooting. The camera can fire off a 7-shot burst in just a second, but becomes unresponsive for 5.3 seconds afterwards because pictures are committed to memory.

Nevertheless, it is a significantly better outcome. It is possible to shoot 59 images if you choose to do so at the slower 2.3 fps burst speed.

Picture Quality

Long zoom lens does not translate to an upgraded image quality, and it usually means the opposite, particularly for point-and-shoot. The camera employs a tiny ½.3 inch 16-megapixel BSI CMOS sensor, which is way smaller than the ones found in a DSLR, mirrorless compact, or upscale compact models.

Picture quality
Shot at 2000mm, the furthest reach of the Nikon P900. For more samples, click here.

P900’s images are decent and benefit from editing to assist with sharpness, color, and contrast. But since there’s no RAW support, you can only do so much.

Pros
  • 1080p60 video shoot.
  • 83x zoom lens and digital zoom.
  • In-built WiFi and GPS.
  • Great image stabilization system.
  • Fast autofocus.
  • Complete manual control.
  • Macro focus to 1 cm.
  • Vari-angle 3″ flip/tilt LCD.
  • Eye-level EVF.
  • Full HD.
  • 7 fps burst speed at full resolution.
  • Pre-shooting cache – it records pictures prior to complete depression of the shutter release.
  • 16 MP sensor.
  • 5-stop vibration reduction.
  • 18 scene modes, such as moon shot, time-lapse, easy panorama, birdwatching, and more.
Cons
  • No external charger.
  • Detail compromises on moderate ISOs.
  • Hot shoe not included.
  • RAW support not included.
  • Big and heavy.

Final Verdict

This Nikon Coolpix P900 review makes it clear that the camera boasts the longest zoom range. However, the absence of detail at higher ISOs stops P900 from being a favorite. It is not an ideal mega zoom, but the lens is excellent. If you require the most zoom on a compact camera, P900 is the winner. 

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