Check Out The X86 Zoom of Nikon P900
One photographer took out his Nikon P900 with 83x optical zoom and pointed it to the moon. The results are astonishing.
So what makes it special?
- 16 megapixel BSI CMOS sensor
- 83x optical zoom lens, equivalent to 24-2000mm
- 5.0-stop Dual Detect Optical VR (Vibration Reduction)
- 3inch vari-angle screen, 921k dots
- EVF (Electronic Viewfinder), 921k dots, 0.5cm
- GPS / GLONASS / QZSS
- P/A/S/M shooting modes
- FullHD 1080/60p Video recording, stereo sound, zoom mic
- Time-lapse movie creation in-camera
- ISO100 to ISO6400, ISO12800 available in High ISO monochrome mode
- 0cm macro mode
- HDR, Panoramic mode
- 7fps continuous shooting
- Wi-Fi and NFC built in
- Moon and bird-watching scene modes
Nikon Coolpix 900
The Nikon Coolpix 900 is a bridge camera which features a zoom ratio of 83x optical zoom. This camera will give you an equivalent of 23-2000mm in 35mm terms. There is also a Dynamic Fine Zoom that can boost up to 166x or a 4,000mm equivalent. Indeed the new Nikon CoolPix P900 goes beyond the standard 50-65x zoom category boasting its own 86x optical zoom lens.
Yes, this is optical which means that it can reach as far as 2000mm or a 35mm equivalent and if that’s not enough, P900 offers a 8000mm when you factor in a full 4x digital zoom.
The Nikon Coolpix P900 is a very large camera, and pretty heavy too. It’s about as big and heavy as a DSLR with 18.55mm kit lens attached to it. So, if the zoom is very important to you, then get used to the size and weight of this camera.
The flash, on top of the camera is large enough to reach over the tops of the lens. While it looks odd the first time you prop in the camera, it will make more sense as you take pictures with it.
On the top of the camera you’ll find a mode dial that allows you to choose between various exposure modes. It offers automatic, scene and effects modes. You’ll also find Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, and Manual mode (which I’ll discuss later), and there’s also a space for you to save several custom settings which is useful if you take a specific shot under specific settings.
At the top, there’s a scrolling dial that has different functions depending on the shooting mode you are in. If you are in manual mode or priority mode, you can set this to alter the shutter speed. This dial is also used to scroll through options when using the special effects mode.
At the back of the camera, all of the buttons are located at the right side. This makes it easier to change settings with just your right hand. There’s a decent range of buttons which allows you to do quick changes to the most used settings. At the right side, you’ll find a scrolling dial that is identical to the top dial of the camera. This dial functions depending on the shooting mode you are currently in. The dial also acts as a four-way navigational dial with each direction accessing a specific function.
Also at the rear of the camera is a large 3.0 inch, 921l-dot RGBW vari-angle LCD screen complete with anti-reflective coating and 6-levels of brightness adjustment. You can place the LCD screen on varying angles and even protect it by facing the screen at the back of the camera.
Nikon Coolpix 900 comes with a Wifi, the dedicated WiFi button allows you to switch it on or off. When switched on, the camera’s WiFi can connect to your phone or tablet’s and launch the Nikon Wireless Utility app. The app lets transfer photos and take remote shots from the camera.
If your device has NFC, connecting your phone to the camera is made even easier. All you need to do is hold the device to the side of the P900. If you don’t have the Nikon Wireless Utility app, you’ll be prompted to download it, otherwise it should automatically launch the app when the NFC connection is detected.
Shooting Speed and Frame Rates
The P900 can shoot at 7fps and you can get up to 7-frame bursts before the buffer fills. The buffer clears for 4 to 4.5 seconds. The buffer increases for 60 shots for up to 60fps and 120 burst rates. However, to achieve this the image size have to be reduced to 1920×1090 for 60fps and 640×48 for 120fps.
Auto and Manual Focus
The AF performance is fast but at longer focal lengths it is offset by the P900s shutter lag. The P900 usually grabs the nearest focus pattern to focus on, so if you are trying to take a shot of the bird amidst the branches, the camera will get fooled by the branches.
There are workarounds such as trying to find the object at the same distance to your subject but that’s not the scope of this article so I won’t get into details on that.
Like most manual focus in cameras, this too is a tedious process in the P900. If you are taking photos of a stationary subject, try focus peaking. Focus Peaks takes the areas of crisp, micro-contrast in the composition and highlights them in white including those that are in focus.
With the camera’s outstanding 83x zoom, the sensor should be able to compensate to it. The 1:2.3 sensor used offers a pretty decent resolution at 16mp. However, such a small sensor results in poor performance and small dynamic range.
According to Nikon/CIPA test results, the battery life is rated for up to 360 shots, which is quite good for this camera. Take note that using the GPS and Wi-Fi will likely reduce the number of shots possible.
Nikon P900’s main selling point is the 83x zoom, which got us pretty impressed. It offers the largest optical zoom lens in any camera, but with that comes the sacrifice of the bigger and heavier camera.