Nikon Coolpix P100 Review

April 22, 2010 | Zoltan Arva-Toth |

Image Quality

All of the sample images in this Review were taken using the 10 megapixel Fine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 5.5Mb.

The Nikon Coolpix P100 produced images of good but not spectacular quality during the review. While the photos were generally sharp, this was partly down to in-camera sharpening (edge enhancement). High-frequency, low-contrast detail was often smeared by noise reduction, even at relatively slow ISO speeds.

On the plus side, the increase in the amount of noise as you went up the sensitivity ladder was perhaps a little less dramatic than with many other compacts. Those who do not plan on making big prints from their photos will likely be pleased with the results. Still, we expected better images from a 10-megapixel back-illuminated CMOS sensor.

As regards the other aspects of image quality, colours were for the most part vibrant and pleasing, chromatic aberrations were less prominent than we would have expected from a superzoom like this, the macro capability of the camera was outstanding, and the night shot came out pretty well too. Vibration Reduction definitely worked, although we would like to point out that shooting at the long end of the zoom still requires that you pay attention to shutter speed, at least when not using a tripod.


The Nikon Coolpix P100 has a base sensitivity of ISO 160. At the other end of the scale the highest setting is ISO 3200, which is available at full resolution, unlike in the P90. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting.

ISO 160 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)


ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)


ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

Focal Range

The 26-678mm equivalent focal range is massive and immensely versatile, as demonstrated by these examples.



File Quality

The Nikon Coolpix P100 does not shoot raw. The available JPEG quality settings are Fine, Normal and Basic.

10M Fine (100% Crop) 10M Normal (100% Crop)
10M Basic (100% Crop)  


The Coolpix P100 has pretty strong in-camera sharpening. You can of course add some more in a software like Adobe Photoshop, but as these examples show, this will not necessarily lead to more natural-looking results.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)


Chromatic Aberrations

For a superzoom, the Nikon Coolpix P100 handled chromatic aberrations very well. These examples demonstrate what you can expect in the worst case in real-world situations.

Example 1 (100% Crop)

Example 2 (100% Crop)


Example 3 (100% Crop)



The Nikon P100 has an excellent macro mode. In order to achieve maximum magnification, you will want to zoom in a little from the wide end - this shot was taken at the 85mm equivalent setting, which is what we have found to be the optimum for macro work.

Macro Shot

100% Crop


The pop-up flash has several modes of operation, including auto, auto with red-eye reduction, fill, slow sync and rear-curtain sync. These shots of a white ceiling were taken at a distance of 1.5 metres.

Forced Off - Wide Angle (26mm)

Forced On - Wide Angle (26mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

Forced Off - Telephoto (678mm)

Forced On - Telephoto (678mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

And here are a couple of portrait shots. The flash caused a bit of redeye and the redeye reduction setting appears to have had almost no effect.


On (100% Crop)

Auto/Red-eye Reduction

Auto/Red-eye Reduction (100% Crop)


The slowest shutter speed of the Nikon Coolpix P100 is eight seconds, which is fairly good news if you are seriously interested in night photography. The shot below was taken at a shutter speed of 2 seconds, aperture of f/3.2 at ISO 200. We have included a 100% crop to show what the quality is like.

Night Shot

Night Shot (100% Crop)

Vibration Reduction

These crops are from two photos that were taken at a shutter speed of 1/10th of a second, with and without Vibration Reduction. As you can see, VR can mean the difference between capturing a successful, sharp shot or missing the opportunity altogether.

Shutter Speed / Focal Length

Anti Shake Off (100% Crop)

Anti Shake On (100% Crop)

1/11th sec / 33mm