Often times when you think about photography, you think about the big, fancy DSLR cameras that professionals lug around with them. However, many companies have put some serious effort into making the small point and shoot cameras take a leap into being competitive. So, if you have been thinking about entering the photography craze but the large DSLR cameras are just a little too bulky, pricey, or complicated, then read on. We are going to go through the Nikon COOLPIX P900 and some of its competitors to give you some needed information before you buy.
What Is the Nikon COOLPIX P900?
The Nikon COOLPIX P900 is an upgraded point and shoot camera. It is made for those wanting to experience some of the freedoms of a DSLR model without needing to carry around all the extra equipment or spend time trying to understand all the different settings and functions. Nikon has put time and research into pulling different important features together in this model to ensure its capability.
The Nikon COOLPIX P900 is perfect for users wanting something that is not as bulky as a DSLR, without as much additional equipment, and simpler to pick up and use. While this model is definitely capable and has some cool features, it is great for beginners because it is straightforward and easy to understand.
This model could also fill a traveling photographer's needs for a smaller camera that still packs a punch. As it does not need a lot of extra luggage space or equipment, it works well as a smaller option for those needing it without compromising too much in terms of specs.
The Nikon COOLPIX P900 has one key feature that draws people in: an 83x optical zoom. For a non-DSLR camera, that is an amazing range, which is why many traveling photographers gravitate towards it.
This model looks very similar to a DSLR camera with a pop-up lens and familiar shape. It is fairly close to the weight as well at almost 2 pounds - which some will find disappointing; however, to have that range of zoom, it would be hard to make this camera compact. The Nikon COOLPIX P900 also features a rotating LCD screen, which mimics many DSLRs on the market now and makes angled shots much easier. One thing DSLR users may miss with the body, though, is an actual viewfinder. The Nikon COOLPIX P900 has an electronic viewfinder, but there is always some wiggle room in terms of accuracy there.
To continue with the DSLR-like feel, there are plenty of metering, manual focus, and manual photo adjustment options in this model, as well as a video mode. Similar to many DSLR cameras, this model features 1080p video at 60 frames per second. To be competitive in terms of technology, the Nikon COOLPIX P900 also has Wi-fi, GPS, POI (points of interest), and NFC abilities.
There are definitely some concerns with this model as well, though. For instance, at only 16 megapixels, could the 83x optical zoom really be as useful as it sounds? This concern as well as others will be addressed in our comparison.
Prices on the camera market are always changing, so be sure to do your research before you buy. We found the Nikon COOLPIX P900 for around $600, which is not as much as a DSLR. to be fair, but also more than other point and shoot models. We shopped around for some good deals, and we have listed them below:
How It Compares
We picked a few similar products available on the market to see how they compare. It was important to us to have an accurate list of parameters to really draw out the good and bad of each model. We feel that between price, ease of use, performance, design quality, and warranty, all bases will be covered.
- Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10
- Canon PowerShot SX60 HS
- Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000
Nikon COOLPIX P900
As we said, this is a little high. However, we did find some lower listings around $450-$500 that we listed above.
Ease of Use
As this model is meant for beginners, it was no surprise that it was easy to pick up and use without much if any time exploring the manual. While the Nikon COOLPIX P900 does have a manual mode, it also has other shooting options and both are simple to understand.
One concern we had was that some of the dials and buttons are small, which means using them quickly can be difficult. Beyond that, though, the camera is set up well and easy to roll with straight out of the box.
There was a lot of variety in our experience with the Nikon COOLPIX P900's performance, as well as in the reviews of other users. One common thread between them both was concern for action shots. The zoom capability on this camera makes it a great choice for wildlife photography, and for the most part, it performs well in that area. However, action shots just do not seem to be a finely tuned ability this camera has.
To compound this issue, this model only shoots 7 frames per second, and that is just not enough to capture birds in flight - especially if you are already zoomed out and straining the megapixels.
On the other hand though, many users have reported this model working well for low light wildlife photos. Others have said it has noise at even decent ISO levels. Given that the ISO range on this model is nothing spectacular, we lean more towards this end of the spectrum.
One final thing to note is that the response time can get backed up, especially after taking lots of continuous photos. This can be a real con for those into birding or wildlife shots and it can cause you to miss crucial shots because you are waiting for your camera to digest what it just shot.
We want to address the weight first. This is a heavy point and shoot camera at 2 pounds. That is mainly the lens, but it is something to consider if you plan on hiking out with it to shoot wildlife.
There is also an issue we have with the battery. Battery life is decent (about 400 shots), but the battery itself is not removable, which means that whether it dies one hour in and 2 days in, you are out of luck unless you have a portable charging pack.
One final note on the body: the lens carries a lot of the weight, which makes the camera seem top-heavy (or, front-heavy, to be accurate). If you do not have a tripod or another type of stabilizing system, you may need one depending on the shots you are wanting to take.
Nikon has a decent warranty that covers parts and labor for errors on their end. From what we have seen, this is more than enough for those using the camera.
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10
This is another upgraded point and shoot camera that offers almost 21 megapixels and a 24-200mm lens equivalent. It can shoot 10 frames per second and has 1080p HD video with a tilting screen to aid in angled shots or videography. One thing that sets this model apart is its optional included microphone to help catch better quality video - which is something rarely seen in cameras but often wanted.
This is just the camera. If you are wanting the microphone as well, you are looking at around $900. Both of which we feel are slightly high, so we recommend looking through used or refurbished options if you are wanting a better price point.
Ease of Use
The camera itself is simple to understand and easy to navigate. It is great for new photographers who are wanting to upgrade from their basic point and shoot camera. The screen tilts for better views and better angled shots (which is great for video), and the buttons are in natural positions. One thing we wanted to point out though was that the manual itself seems to have a lot of fluff in it - which is odd and makes quick studying or looking up difficult.
As with most cameras, this model is hit or miss - depending on what your priorities are. Sony boasts a great ISO range, and though it is not poor, it is fairly basic. So if you are wanting a great low-light camera, this may not be it. However, it does have a back light setting that can help with lower lighting levels, and of all the "unique features" Sony advertized for this camera, this was the only one we felt was worth mentioning.
This model does have a system that locks onto a subject - even while zooming in - and will help frame the subject. However, users have reported that it is slow, so if you plan on doing a lot of recomposition (zooming in and out or moving to get the right shot), it can be a real pain to deal with because it locks on.
This is also a heavy camera, weighing in around 2 pounds as well. The lens is also heavier than the camera body, which makes taking a clean shot when you are zoomed out difficult without a stabilizing system. Users have also reported that the lens itself is slow to zoom in and out, which can make or break a shot.
While Sony does provide a limited warranty, it is well known that they are pulling out of this end of the camera business, which means it may become harder to get parts replaced. Users have also reported having a hard time getting Sony to live up to their warranty for other cameras in the past.
Canon PowerShot SX60 HS
With a 65x optical zoom, the SX60 comes in as yet another upgraded point and shoot. This model features a rotating screen, 16 megapixels, and 1080p video. It also has Wi-fi and NFC abilities for photographers on the go, as well as 45 different filters for those wanting to explore more creative overlays.
While we would aim a little lower on price, this is pretty standard, and you can always find deals on used or refurbished ones as well.
Ease of Use
Some aspects of the camera are great. It can be easy to set up and run with if you are not doing anything too fancy, and with all the creative filters, there is usually something to try without getting fancy.
However, the manual included with this camera is hard to navigate and inconclusive. Not every aspect of the camera is covered, and some things you just have to stumble upon or fiddle with to understand; which is a huge lapse in product design.
This camera works really well in optimal lighting. Even photographing subjects far away is doable as long as the light is good. When it is poor, though, things take a turn for the worse. No matter what your zoom is set at, photos in low light just do not seem to show up well unless the subject itself is well lit.
Users have also had issues with the autofocus in anything but optimal light settings, which would be fine if the manual focus could do any better - but it cannot.
This is definitely a lighter model than the two previous cameras, which is appreciated. However, users have reported it being unbalanced with the lens out, which means stabilization is a must.
Users have also complained about battery life. Those needing to use it for a full day off and on would be wise to bring a few replacements, unfortunately because the zoom takes up a lot of battery.
Canon has a limited warranty for parts and labor for manufacturer errors for up to a year. Given the price point of this model and the lack of complaints about those types of errors, we feel this is an adequate warranty.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000
We are still on the point and shoot bus with this model, though the DMC goes in a slightly different direction than the rest. This model offers 4K video as well as macro capabilities, which is out of reach of the previous cameras. This model also offers plenty of in-camera creative controls and filters for those wanting to explore some artistic options. It has 20 mega-pixels as well as plenty of equipment you can add onto the camera for better video sound, different lens attachments, and more.
Given the specs, we feel this is an adequate price. However, you can always find deals on used and refurbished models if you are wanting to stay at a lower price point.
Ease of Use
Overall, the set up and navigation of the camera seem intuitive and simple to understand. There are even a few programmable options for users who enjoy customizing their cameras. The added Wi-fi and NFC abilities do help with the functionality as well, and both seem to work quite well.
The only thing we would like to see is a touchscreen. This model already has a rotating screen, which makes photo and video shooting much easier. Adding a touchscreen would only aid in menu navigation and control function.
Overall, this camera delivers where it said it would. The autofocus works well, and even though the ISO range is not optimal for low lighting, it does seem to hold its own as best as it can there - with little complaints from users. The macro shooting levels work well (though not as clean as a professional lens) and even zoomed all the way out, much less was compromised than the other models, and colors have not been an issue either.
The only thing we wish had been more emphasized was the stabilizing unit in the camera. While this model may not have the same capacity as the previous models, it does still need some help with shaking when the lens is at its end.
This is where many potential buyers have turned away. This camera in particular has had issues with an inner lens ring coming loose right after the warranty ends. Many users have reported this issue and have been frustrated by it because it makes the camera inoperable. This is a serious issue in design, and while not everyone deals with it, those who do essentially need to buy a new camera.
Panasonic has a 1-year limited warranty, however, the lens ring issue we mentioned above is why we have knocked the rating down. This issue always occurs shortly after the warranty is up, and Panasonic will not even talk to you about the repair cost or time until you pay a warranty fee - which may or may not go towards the repair cost of the camera; they would not say.
Getting back to the Nikon COOLPIX P900, let's look at it again in comparison to the other models. Overall, the pros outweigh the cons, but that can be different for the different needs of each photographer. The back up issue with the lens can be a real problem for those shooting fast moving subjects, and the low frames per second do nothing to aid in that. So for wildlife or action photographers, this camera would likely sit around a 2.5 out of 5 stars. However, if moving subjects are not a concern, consider this model at 4 out of 5 stars.
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