Nikon Coolpix P900 Review

April 23, 2015 | Amy Davies | |
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Image Quality

All of the sample images in this review were taken using the 16 megapixel Fine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 7Mb.

Directly from the camera, images show a nice amount of saturation and vibrance without going over the top.

You don’t have as much scope as you do with a DSLR to shoot with different colour options, but there is Monochrome, Vivid, Neutral and Standard to choose from, which is a good start. As the Nikon Coolpix P900 doesn’t shoot in raw format, you won’t be able to go back to a standard colour version if you decide down the line that you didn’t want a monochrome shot.

The same can be said of any images you create in the Effects mode. It’s worth experimenting with them to see if there’s any you particular enjoy using - this will largely be down to personal preference - but it’s worth remembering that you’ll be stuck with the effect permanently.

Images have an overall good impression of detail when you’re viewing them at normal print or web sizes, but if you examine at 100%, even those images shot at relatively low sensitivities, such as ISO 400, it’s possible to see some degree of image smoothing. If you move up through the sensitivity range, the image smoothing / noise reduction which is applied is even more apparent, becoming noticeable at normal web sizes from around ISO 800 in some instances.

You can shoot at up to ISO 6400, but this isn’t something which is recommended unless absolutely desperate. Sticking to around ISO 1600, or preferably lower, helps you to get the best results.

Obviously, with an 83x zoom, it’s important to discuss the quality of images taken at the telephoto end of the lens. The Nikon Coolpix P900’s image stabilisation does a great job of helping to keep images blur free, but you’ll probably struggle a little more in lower light conditions. The digital zoom is also not bad, and although the quality is a lower than those taken at the optical zoom, they’re still usable if you really do need to get closer - how often that will be when you have a huge 83x zoom range to work with is debatable though.

Most of the time, the Nikon Coolpix P900’s all-purpose metering does a good job of producing accurate exposures, but there are times when a little injection of positive exposure compensation can help to even out a slightly unbalanced exposure - this is particularly true when shooting high contrast scenes or even slightly dull scenes.

Automatic white balance is excellent, producing accurate colours in the majority of conditions, even under artificial light. There are other white balance presets available to choose, but you may find little need to use them.

Noise

The Nikon Coolpix P900 has 7 sensitivity settings ranging from ISO 100 to ISO 6400 at full resolution.

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

iso100.jpg iso200.jpg
   

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

iso400.jpg iso800.jpg
   

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

iso1600.jpg iso3200.jpg
   

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

 
iso6400.jpg  

Focal Range

The Nikon Coolpix P900's 83x zoom lens provides an astonishing focal range of 24-2000mm in 35mm terms, as demonstrated below.

24mm

2000mm

focal_range1.jpg focal_range2.jpg

Sharpening

Here are two 100% crops - the right-hand image has had some sharpening applied in Photoshop. The out-of-the camera images from the Nikon Coolpix P900 are slightly soft at the default sharpening setting and benefit from some further sharpening in a program like Adobe Photoshop. You can alternatively change the in-camera sharpening level to suit your tastes.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

sharpen1.jpg sharpen1a.jpg
   
sharpen2.jpg sharpen2a.jpg

File Quality

At full resolution, there are two JPEG quality settings available on the Nikon Coolpix P900 - Fine and Normal.

Fine (7.24Mb) (100% Crop)

Normal (3.61Mb) (100% Crop)

quality_fine.jpg quality_normal.jpg

Chromatic Aberrations

Given the range of the zoom lens, the Nikon Coolpix P900 shows remarkably little purple fringing, with limited effects in areas of high contrast as shown in the examples below.

Chromatic Aberrations 1 (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations 2 (100% Crop)

chromatic1.jpg chromatic2.jpg

Macro

The Nikon Coolpix P900 allows you to get as close as 1cm to your subject, in this case a Compact Flash card.

Macro

Macro (100% Crop)

macro1.jpg macro1a.jpg

Flash

The flash settings on the Nikon Coolpix P900 are Auto, Auto with Red-eye reduction, Fill Flash, Manual (Full, 1/2, 1/4 1/8, 1/16, 1/32 and 1/64), Slow Sync, Rear-curtain Sync and Flash Off. These shots of a white coloured wall were taken at a distance of 1.5m.

Flash Off - Wide Angle (24mm)

Flash On - Wide Angle (24mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64
   

Flash Off - Telephoto (2000mm)

Flash On - Telephoto (2000mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

And here are a couple of portrait shots.

Flash Off

Flash On
flash_off.jpg flash_on.jpg

Night

The Nikon Coolpix P900's maximum shutter speed is 15 seconds in the Manual mode, which is good news if you're seriously interested in night photography. The shot below was taken using a shutter speed of 15 seconds at ISO 100.

Night

Night (100% Crop)

night1.jpg night1a.jpg

Vibration Reduction

The Nikon Coolpix P900 has a vibration reduction mechanism, which allows you to take sharp photos at slower shutter speeds than other digital cameras. To test this, we took a handheld shot of the same subject with the lens set to the same focal length and ISO speed. The first shot was taken with vibration reduction turned off, the second with it turned on.

Vibration Reduction Off (100% Crop)

Vibration Reduction On (100% Crop)
antishake1.jpg antishake1a.jpg

Filter Effects

You can apply 10 different filter effects in-camera to photos that you have already taken with the Nikon Coolpix P900.

Cross Process Blue

Cross Process Green

crossprocessblue.JPG crossprocessgreen.JPG
   

Cross Process Red

Cross Process Yellow

crossprocessred.JPG crossprocessyellow.JPG
   

High Contrast Monochrome

High Contrast Monochrome 1

highisomonochrome.JPG high-contrastmono1.JPG
   

High Key

Nostalgic Sepia

highkey1.JPG nostalgicsepia1.JPG
   

Selective Color

Soft

selectivecolor1.JPG soft.JPG

Panorama

The Nikon Coolpix P900's Easy Panorama mode allows you to take vertical or horizontal panorama photos simply by moving the camera in the direction of the on-screen guides. Multiple shots are then combined into a single panorama photo. The angle of view can be selected from 180° (normal) and 360° (wide).

Easy Panorama - 180°
panorama1.jpg