Nikon Coolpix A900 Review

December 22, 2016 | Amy Davies | Rating star Rating star Rating star Rating star


The Nikon Coolpix A900 is a new superzoom compact camera which offers a 35x optical zoom, or an equivalent to 24-480mm in 35mm terms. Inside the camera is a 1/2.3-inch type CMOS sensor with 20.3 million pixels. It is one of the only point-and-shoot style cameras to feature 4K video recording - full HD recording is also available. Other interesting features include full manual control, and compatibility with Nikon’s Bluetooth Snapbridge technology. The Nikon Coolpix A900 retails for around $399 / £369.

Ease of Use

In terms of compact cameras, the Nikon Coolpix A900 is on the larger side - however it should still fit in all but the very tightest of trouser pockets. The larger side helps to accommodate the huge 35x zoom - which considering the focal length is actually quite impressively packed into the lens housing.

The camera has a relatively utilitarian look, but it appears quite stylish, with some nice rounded edges and corners to give an overall attractive appearance. There’s a textured grip on the front of the camera that helps your fingers to sit quite nicely and comfortably while you’re holding the camera one handed. On the rear of the camera there’s a small thumb rest area, which is also coated.

For a compact camera, there are quite a few dials and buttons on the Nikon Coolpix A900, which reflects the fact that you can take full manual control of this camera. Unfortunately you can’t shoot in raw format, though.

Nikon Coolpix B500
Front of the Nikon Coolpix A900

On the top of the camera is a mode dial which allows you to quickly switch between the different exposure modes on offer. As well as the usual automatic and scene modes you might expect from a point-and-shoot, here you’ll also find P/A/S/M semi-automatic and manual modes. There’s also a “creative” mode found here, as well as the “Short Movie Show” mode.

Also on top of the Nikon Coolpix A900 is the on/off button, which is found just below the shutter release button. Around the shutter release is the zoom rocker switch. It’s a little on the small side, but it feels relatively sturdy. Zooming the lens in and out is quite smooth, and it reaches the telephoto end of the optic pleasingly quickly. You will see a zoom indicator on the display - if you attempt to go into the digital zoom (there are two available), then first it will change to a blue colour, and then afterwards it will change to a yellow colour. You have to hold down the zoom switch for a second before the digital zoom will activate - a noticeable pause to help you avoid using it if you don’t want to.

The final dial on top of the Nikon Coolpix A900 is unmarked because it has different functions depending on when you’re using it. It is used to alter certain settings - for example aperture when in aperture priority, or shutter speed when in shutter priority. You can also use the dial to scroll through images in playback. If you’re shooting in manual mode, the dial on the top will be used to alter aperture, while the dial on the back of the camera can be used to alter shutter speed.

Nikon Coolpix B500
Rear of the Nikon Coolpix A900

The camera’s inbuilt flash is found on the top of the camera, there’s a switch just next to it which you need to slide across to make it pop up. When you’re done with it, you just have to push it back into place.

Moving to the back of the Nikon Coolpix A900, there’s the usual array of buttons we’ve come to expect from cameras of this type. There’s a four-way navigational pad, with each directional key doubling up to a specific function, for example the left key is for the drive mode or timer, the up key is to alter flash mode, the down key is to switch on macro focusing (and off again), and the right key is to access the exposure compensation setting.

Other buttons include a video record button, a playback button, a delete button and the main menu button. There’s also an OK button in the middle of the four way navigational pad, which you can use for a variety of menu adjustments and so on.

Nikon Coolpix B500
Top of the Nikon Coolpix A900

One particularly useful button can be found just underneath the thumb rest. It’s to be used when using particularly long telephoto lengths - if your subject moves out of the frame, you can hold down the button, and the lens will temporarily zoom out. You can then find the subject, and once that’s done release the button and the lens will resume the same focal length you were previously using - it’s a very quick and effective way to use the zoom and particularly useful if your subject is prone to moving.

The screen is mounted on a tilting bracket which allows you to pull it away form the main body of the Nikon Coolpix A900. You can face it forwards to help you when taking selfies. If you place it in this position, the display will flip and be centred in the screen so you can see what you’re composing correctly. The screen can also be tilted to face downwards, which is useful if you’re holding the camera over your head to get a high angle shot.

Unfortunately, the screen is not touch sensitive, so you can’t use it to make changes settings. If you want to change the AF point, first of all you need to make sure that the AF area mode is set to Manual. Once that’s done, you can press the central OK button, then use the directional keys around the screen. Note that you can only manually set AF point when shooting in semi-automatic or manual modes.

Nikon Coolpix B500
The Nikon Coolpix A900 In-hand

The Nikon Coolpix A900 has very quick start-up time, you can go from completely off to ready to shoot in approximately one second. Moving through the menu systems and playback is also very speedy, making it great to use.

In good lighting conditions, autofocus is very quick and generally also accurate. However, it can struggle a little in lower light, even though there is a focus assist lamp to help things along. The macro mode allows you to get very close to your subject to fill the frame which is great - there is also almost no instances of a false confirmation of focus, too.

Like many of Nikon’s newest models, the Nikon Coolpix A900 is equipped with Snapbridge. This means that once you’ve set it up, the camera can maintain a low-power bluetooth connection with your smartphone to automatically transfer images and video across to your phone without having any additional input. You can either have images send across at full size or at a reduced size to save time (transferring over bluetooth is slower than over Wi-Fi). It’s a very handy tool that works well to take the hassle out of transferring your images ready for uploading to social networking - this may be particularly appealing to those who want to use the camera while on holiday.

The Nikon Coolpix A900 is one of the only compact cameras on the market which can shoot 4K video. To do this, you need to go into the Main Menu and change Movie Options to 2160/30p. By default, the camera will record in 1080/30p.

Image Quality

As is so often the case with compact cameras with a small sensor, the Nikon Coolpix A900 performs best when the light is good. In these conditions, the camera is capable of producing some nicely detailed images. Images look best when kept to A3 or below, as when you examine at 100% - even at low ISO sensitivities - it’s possible too see some instances of image smoothing.

Colours are also nice and vibrant, having a good amount of punch without straying into unrealistic territory. Automatic white balance does reasonably well in most conditions, but it can err ever so slightly towards warmer tones under artificial light. You may also want to switch to the Cloudy setting when photographing under grey skies and you want to boost colours slightly.

Having a long focal length is very useful if you intend to use the Nikon Coolpix A900 as an all-rounder. Images taken at the furthest reach of the optical zoom are just as good quality as those taken at the widest reach - switching on image stabilisation helps you to get a blur-free shot at longer focal lengths. If the 35x zoom isn’t quite enough for you, you can switch to digital zoom - these are useful if you’re desperate to get closer to the subject, but are probably best avoided if you want to stick to best image quality.

General purpose metering does a good job to produce balanced exposures, only requiring a little exposure compensation in scenarios where we’d usually expect it - such as very high contrast scenes.

At normal printing sizes, images taken at up to ISO 800 are very good. At ISO 1600, you will probably want to stick to A4 or smaller, while at ISO 3200, the quality degrades a little more and you’ll probably want to only print or share at very small sizes. Noise isn’t too problematic, but you can often see some severe image smoothing which gives a painterly effect when shooting in low light.


The Nikon Coolpix A900 has seven sensitivity settings ranging from ISO 80 to ISO 3200 at full resolution.

ISO 80 (100% Crop)

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

iso80.jpg iso100.jpg

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

iso200.jpg iso400.jpg

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

iso800.jpg iso1600.jpg

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)


Focal Range

The Nikon Coolpix A900’s 35x zoom lens achieves a maximum wide-angle focal length equivalent to 24mm, and is capable of a telephoto reach of 840mm (in 35mm-camera terms).





Chromatic Aberrations

Given the range of the zoom lens, the Nikon Coolpix A900 shows some obvious purple fringing in areas of high contrast, as shown in the examples below.

ISO 64 ISO 64


The Nikon Coolpix A900’s lens will focus as close as 1cm from a subject, however depth of field becomes very shallow at this extremely close distance.




The pop-up flash on the Nikon Coolpix A900 has four settings: Auto, Auto with red-eye reduction, Fill flash & Slow sync. Shooting a white surface from a distance of 1.5m, the flash provides even coverage with the lens zoomed in, though some vignetting is visible in the wide-angle shot.

Flash Off - Wide Angle (24mm)

Flash On - Wide Angle (24mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

Flash Off - Telephoto (840mm)

Flash On - Telephoto (840mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

Whether the flash is set to standard Auto mode – or Auto with red-eye reduction – the camera successfully avoids any trace of red-eye.

Fill Flash On


Flash Auto with red-eye reduction



The Nikon Coolpix A900 offers 28 different filter effects, all of which are previewed live and recorded at full resolution.

ISO 64 ISO 64
ISO 64 ISO 64
ISO 64 ISO 64
ISO 64 ISO 64
ISO 64 ISO 64
ISO 64 ISO 64
ISO 64 ISO 64
ISO 64 ISO 64
ISO 64 ISO 64
ISO 64 ISO 64
ISO 64 ISO 64
ISO 64 ISO 64
ISO 64 ISO 64
ISO 64 ISO 64
ISO 64  

Sample Images

This is a selection of sample images from the Nikon Coolpix A900 camera, which were all taken using the 20 megapixel High JPEG setting. The thumbnails below link to the full-sized versions, which have not been altered in any way.

Sample Movie & Video

This is a sample movie at the highest quality setting of 3840x2160 pixels at 25 frames per second. Please note that this 20 second movie is 38.8Mb in size.

Product Images

Nikon Coolpix B500

Front of the Nikon Coolpix A900

Nikon Coolpix B500

Front of the Nikon Coolpix A900

Nikon Coolpix B500

Side of the Nikon Coolpix A900

Nikon Coolpix B500

Side of the Nikon Coolpix A900

Nikon Coolpix B500

Rear of the Nikon Coolpix A900

Nikon Coolpix B500

Rear of the Nikon Coolpix A900 / Image Displayed

Nikon Coolpix B500

Rear of the Nikon Coolpix A900 / Turned On

Nikon Coolpix B500

Rear of the Nikon Coolpix A900 / Main Menu

Nikon Coolpix B500

Rear of the Nikon Coolpix A900 / Tilting LCD Screen

Nikon Coolpix B500

Rear of the Nikon Coolpix A900 / Tilting LCD Screen

Nikon Coolpix B500

Front of the Nikon Coolpix A900 / Tilting LCD Screen

Nikon Coolpix B500

Top of the Nikon Coolpix A900

Nikon Coolpix B500

Bottom of the Nikon Coolpix A900

Nikon Coolpix B500
Side of the Nikon Coolpix A900
Nikon Coolpix B500
Side of the Nikon Coolpix A900
Nikon Coolpix B500
Side of the Nikon Coolpix A900
Nikon Coolpix B500
Front of the Nikon Coolpix A900
Nikon Coolpix B500
Front of the Nikon Coolpix A900
Nikon Coolpix B500
Memory Card Slot /Battery Compartment


The Nikon Coolpix A900 is a great compact camera if you’re looking for something to take on your travels. It offers a lot in a reasonably small package, and if your main concern is a high zoom ratio, then this is a very good choice. 

It produces high quality images under the right conditions, and not only that, gives you full manual control if you desire it - making it a good choice for enthusiast photographers. It could have been even better if you could shoot in raw format, though. It’s also a shame that the performance under low light isn’t a bit better - you should consider cameras with a larger sensor if you’re going to be shooting a lot of images where the lighting is low. 

Using the Nikon Coolpix A900 is very easy and straightforward, and it’s great how quickly it is ready to go from switch off. Generally speaking, autofocus is good and operational speeds are quick. 

That said, if you have any desire to shoot in low light, you may find the performance a little disappointing. Although images are usable at very small sizes, they don’t match up to the high quality that the camera can produce in bright light. If your main intention is to use it as a holiday or day trip camera, that may not be such a big issue for you. 

Nikon is slowly equipping all of its cameras with Snapbridge, which is great to use in practice and takes the faff out of having your images ready to share online. Having 4K video recording in a camera like this is also a great bonus, and brings a bit of extra quality to your holiday and travel videos - be sure to stock up on high capacity SD cards if you intend to take a lot of movies in this format though. 

At the moment, the Nikon Coolpix A900 retails for around £350, making it quite a hefty investment for a holiday or travel camera. However, you do get quite a lot for your money - a huge zoom range, 4K video recording and full manual control. While it’s not perfect, it’s certainly a good choice for slipping into your bag for your trips, and it’s also a little cheaper than the similarly specced Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ80. 

4 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Design 4
Features 4
Ease-of-use 4
Image quality 3.5
Value for money 4

Main Rivals

Listed below are some of the rivals of the Nikon Coolpix A900.

Canon PowerShot SX720 HS

Travel-zoom cameras are still popular in 2016 - the new Canon PowerShot SX720 HS offers a massive 40x zoom lens in a relatively slim and compact body. The Canon SX720 also offers a 20 megapixel sensor, 3-inch LCD screen, PASM shooting modes, built-in wi-fi/NFC and Full HD 60p movies. Read our in-depth Canon PowerShot SX720 HS review now...

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ80

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ80 is a new travel-zoom compact camera for 2016. The 18-megapixel TZ80 (also known as the Panasonic ZS60) offers a 30x wide-angle zoom lens, 4K video recording, lens control ring, RAW file format, focus peaking, touchscreen control and an electronic viewfinder. Read our in-depth Panasonic TZ80 review now...

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX90V

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX90V is a new premium travel-zoom camera with a 30x Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T-star zoom lens. The HX90V also features an 18 megapixel CMOS sensor, pop-up electronic viewfinder, lens barrel control ring, flip-up LCD screen, built-in wi-fi, NFC and GPS, full 1080p high-definition video with stereo sound, manual shooting modes, 10fps continuous shooting, ISO range of 80-12800 and fast auto-focusing. Read our Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX90V review to find out if it's the best travel-zoom camera on the market...


    • Type

    • Compact digital camera

    • Effective pixels

    • 20.3 million (Image processing may reduce the number of effective pixels.)

    • Image sensor

    • 1/2.3-in. type CMOS, Total pixels: approx. 21.14 million

    • Lens

    • NIKKOR lens with 35x optical zoom

    • Focal length

    • 4.3 to 151 mm (angle of view equivalent to that of 24–840 mm lens in 35 mm [135] format)

    • F-number

    • f/3.4 to 6.9

    • Lens construction

    • 13 elements in 11 groups (4 ED lens elements)

    • Magnification

    • Up to 4x (angle of view equivalent to that of approx. 3360 mm lens in 35 mm [135] format)

    • Vibration reduction

    • Lens shift and electronic VR (movies)

    • Autofocus

    • Contrast-detect AF

    • Focus range

    • [W]: Approx. 50 cm (1 ft 8 in.) to infinity, [T]: Approx. 2 m (6 ft 7 in.) to infinity, Macro mode: Approx. 1 cm (0.4 in.) to infinity (wide-angle position) (All distances measured from center of front surface of lens)

    • AF-area mode

    • Face priority, center, manual with 99 focus areas, subject tracking, target finding AF, touch AF

    • Monitor

    • 7.5 cm (3-in.) diagonal; Approx. 921k-dot, TFT LCD (RGBW) with anti-reflection coating, and 6-level brightness adjustment

    • Frame coverage

    • Approx. 98% horizontal and vertical (compared to actual picture)

    • Frame coverage (playback mode)

    • Approx. 100% horizontal and vertical (compared to actual picture)

    • File system

    • DCF and Exif 2.3 compliant

    • Storage file formats

    • Still images: JPEG, Movies: MP4 (Video: H.264/MPEG-4 AVC, Audio: AAC stereo)

    • Image size (pixels)

    • 20M (High) [5184 x 3888 (High)], 20M [5184 x 3888], 8M [3648 x 2736], 4M [2272 x 1704], 2M [1600 x 1200], VGA [640 x 480], 16:9 15M [5184 x 2920], 1:1 [3888 x 3888]

    • ISO sensitivity

    • ISO 80 to 1600

    • Exposure metering

    • Matrix, center-weighted (digital zoom less than 2x), spot (digital zoom 2x or more)

    • Exposure control

    • Programmed auto exposure and exposure compensation (–2.0 to +2.0 EV in steps of 1/3 EV)

    • Shutter type

    • Mechanical and CMOS electronic shutter

    • Self-timer

    • Can be selected from 10 s, 5 s and 2 s

    • Aperture

    • Electronically-controlled 3-blade iris diaphragm

    • Aperture range

    • 7 steps of 1/6 EV (W) (A, M mode)

    • Built-in flash

    • Yes

    • Flash range (approx.)

    • [W]: 0.5 to 6.0 m (1 ft 8 in. to 19 ft), [T]: 1.5 to 3.0 m (4 ft 12 in. to 9 ft 10 in.)

    • Flash control

    • TTL auto flash with monitor preflashes

    • USB

    • Micro-USB connector, Hi-Speed USB, Do not use any USB cable other than the UC-E21 for Micro-USB connector. Supports Direct Print (PictBridge)

    • HDMI output

    • HDMI micro connector (Type D)

    • Audio input

    • Stereo mini-pin jack (3.5-mm diameter; plug-in power supported)

    • Audio output

    • Stereo mini-pin jack (3.5-mm diameter)

    • Wi-Fi (Wireless LAN) standards

    • IEEE 802.11b/g (standard wireless LAN protocol)

    • Wi-Fi (Wireless LAN) operating frequency

    • 2412 to 2462 MHz (1 to 11 channels)

    • Wi-Fi (Wireless LAN) security


    • Wi-Fi (Wireless LAN) access protocols

    • Infrastructure

    • Bluetooth standards

    • Bluetooth Specification Version 4.1

    • Supported languages

    • Arabic, Bengali, Bulgarian, Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hindi, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Marathi, Norwegian, Persian, Polish, Portuguese (European and Brazilian), Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Spanish, Swedish, Tamil, Telugu, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, Vietnamese

    • Power sources

    • One Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL12 (included), AC Adapter EH-62F (available separately)

    • Charging time

    • Approx. 2 h 20 min (when using Charging AC Adapter EH-71P and when no charge remains)

    • Battery life

    • Approx. 270 shots when using EN-EL12

    • Actual battery life for movie recording

    • Approx. 50 min (1080/30p) when using EN-EL12

    • Tripod socket

    • 1/4 (ISO 1222)

    • Dimensions (W x H x D)

    • Approx. 113.0 x 66.5 x 39.9 mm (4.5 x 2.7 x 1.6 in.) (excluding projections)

    • Weight

    • Approx. 298 g (10.6 oz) (including battery and memory card)

    • Operating environment - temperature

    • 0°C to 40°C (32°F to 104°F)

    • Operating environment - humidity

    • 85% or less (no condensation)

    • Supplied accessories

    • Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL12, Charging AC Adapter EH-71P, USB Cable UC-E21, Camera Strap

  • 1. A plug adapter is included if the camera was purchased in a country or region that requires a plug adapter. The shape of the plug adapter varies with the country or region of purchase.

  • Unless otherwise stated, all figures assume a fully-charged battery and an ambient temperature of 23 ±3°C (73.4 ±5.4°F) as specified by the Camera and Imaging Products Association (CIPA).

  • Nikon will not be held liable for any errors this page may contain.

  • The appearance of this product and its specifications are subject to change without notice.

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