Nikon P900 – Small & Mighty

Tokina 11-20-New

Nikon P900 – Small &  Mighty
– Special Review by Xing Asia

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Photo: Namibia – shot with Nikon P900 by Xing Asia.

09th June 2015, Namibia/Africa – The NEW Nikon CoolPix P900 is probably the most-talk-about digital camera lately. And it is not that difficult to understand why. This is a high-spec bridge camera that caters to big diverse group of photographers by looking at the specs.  Before we go on, we would like to remind you that we are not a technical site, instead, we are more keen to share on our hands on experience on using the camera and the images that camera can produce. If you are looking for official specs for the Nikon P900, please visit their official sites from your respective countries.

So why is the Nikon CoolPix P900 making waves? Let us sum it up for you. The P900 features a 83x Optical Zoom that translates into about 2000mm (based on a 35mm format). Apart being the 1st CoolPix that are able to zoom that far, it also happened to be the first bridge camera among it class to have such an insane focal range.

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Photo: Namibia – shot with Nikon P900 by Xing Asia.

Featuring 16 megapixel sensor, the P900 promises excellent quality images and many will also find it a joy to use the P900 when it comes to the handling department. The P900 is designed and styled like a compact-size DSLR with a proper handgrip that feels a little close to the D3XXX range DSLRs and that gave the assuring feel when handling and holding the camera. The swiveling Vari-angel display is another bonus as it allows shooting from all sorts of weird and low angle.

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Photo: Namibia – shot with Nikon P900 by Xing Asia.

We like the regular shooting modes on the P900 as it means Nikon also have the seasoned photographers in mind when they are designing the P900. (Program Auto, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority & Manuel) This is awesome as that means any photographers who had been using the DSLR will be able to adapt to the P900 in seconds. What about those who are beginners, leisure shooters or totally new to photography? Well, the P900 is designed for everyone in this case and there is always the Automatic mode which in our view (or examples below) allows the photographer to shoot at ease and concentrate on framing/ composition and let the P900 do the rest.

The 3 inch screen is pretty standard and the P900 uses Hi-Res EVF (Electronic View Finder) that is very responsive. When using the Semi Auto Modes or Manuel mode, you can view real time movement, exposures etc from the EVF, pretty cool. For those who does videos, the P900 can produce Full HD videos up to a recording rate / size of 1920×1080/ 60p. Pretty decent.

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ISO is always an issue especially when it comes to cameras that uses sensors that are smaller than the regular APS-C size. On the field, we tested the P900 and it performed well and very useable ISO up to 6400. Do note that when shooting in regular modes, the P900 will select (or you select) the ISO from a range of 100 to 1600, and you can have access to ISO 3200 & 6400 when you are shooting in the Semi-Automatic modes or Manuel mode. And there is a “secret mode” that allows you to shoot up ISO 12,8000 –  a special effect called “High ISO Monochrome” that uses ISO Noise as the effect.

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Photo: Namibia – shot with Nikon P900 by Xing Asia.

The P900 has a continuos shutter of 7 fps (frames per second) which allows the photographer to capture or panning fast moving subjects. Coupled with the long focal range, this P900 may seems like a good alternative to having a top of the line DSLR with a super-telephoto lens? Not really. Although it seems pretty close it, you should not compare it with say a Nikon D4s + 400mm F2.8 + 2x Tele-Convertor. There are limitations as one can easily point out that the P900 will not focus as fast a DSLR and getting sharp photos takes a little practice and a little getting used to.

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Photo: Namibia – shot with Nikon P900 by Xing Asia.

Since the Nikon P900 is designed and styled like a DSLR, we like the fact that the lens accepts 67mm screw-on filters and that further expands the creativity options on P900 – means you can also use special filters like GND, CPL or even ND filters. On the hand, it really feels solid and built for mild to level 3 abuse and having a fixed lens also means the possibility of having dusts inside the camera or sensor will be greatly minimized. The P900 is pretty light and compact so with all that we had mentioned above, we decided to pass the Nikon P900 to Xing Asia, our appointed travel agent for their recent trip to Namibia, Africa.

The Nikon P900 was passed to a few of the tour participants and let’s hear what they have to say about the P900 after using it in Africa.

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Photo: Namibia – shot with Nikon P900 by Xing Asia.

We were wondering what does 83x optical zoom do – with an equivalent of 24 – 2000mm in 35mm format. In fact, we will never imagine that this is even possible to be manufactured optically. On this trip, we were told about the beautiful landscape and the wildlife, so the Nikon P900 fits the trip profile completely with its wide angle that we can use for shooting landscape and the super-telephoto range that we can use to shoot wildlife comfortably. To our best knowledge, no DSLR lens with a 2000mm focal range is publicly available, and the Nikon P900 nails it.

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Photo: Namibia – shot with Nikon P900 by Xing Asia.

“The camera feels a little bulky (when compared to Digital Compacts), but still a smaller and lighter camera than most DSLRs. Honestly, it feels good when it hand-held and the large & DSLR-like handgrip makes handling the P900 comfortable. The articulated flip screen is also very useful when shooting from unusual angles, and we get to choose if we want to shoot using the EVF (Electronic View Finder) or via the 3 inch screen. However for those who wish to use the P900 for wildlife, we will advise shooting using the EVF as there is a need to bring the camera closer to the body to maintain balance and minimize handshakes.”

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Photo: Namibia – shot with Nikon P900 by Xing Asia.

“The P900 also offers the user flexibility on using the camera. For example, we discovered that there are actually 2 ways to zoom around the focal range. There is a zoom button (near the right index finger) and there’s another button on the lens barrel that is/can be operated by the left hand thumb. Very thoughtfully designed in our view. On the zooming, it is quite responsive, imagine zooming from the widest 24mm to the super-telephoto end takes merely 2 to 3 seconds!”

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Photo: Namibia – shot with Nikon P900 by Xing Asia.

“For a bridge camera, the AF is surprisingly fast, but to capture shots of animal moving, it takes a bit of practice and of course, the user have to understand how the P900 behaves too. From the photos that we had shot (published along with this article), we got lots of good keepers and we are really glad to have the Nikon P900 for this trip. And the best part, the Editor of Ourshutterjourney.com passed us ONLY the camera, battery and charger – without the Instruction Manuel. He remarked that he wants to know how easy it is to start using the Nikon P900. Lucky him, we found the menu to be easy to navigate and we found what we needed easily.”

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Photo: Namibia – shot with Nikon P900 by Xing Asia.


“While many will think that a lens that covers such a huge focal range (24-2000mm) and with a variable aperture of F2.8 to 6.3 will be slow – we will invite you to rethink of having a focal range of 2000mm at an aperture of F6.3, now that is not slow anymore isn’t it? And given that the P900 comes with the company’s proven VR (Vibration Reduction), you are technically given another 5 stops of advantage too. We took quite a fair bit of photos right at the 2000mm mark with shutter speed in excess of 1/500 – we got sharp and crispy photos, this is simply amazing!”

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Photo: Namibia – shot with Nikon P900 by Xing Asia.

“We were quite sad that the P900 only shoots JPEG and without the option for RAW. This is due to the flexibility of White Balance Adjustments but however, we found the AWB on the P900 to be pretty accurate. And if we want to manipulate the WB, there’s a dedicated WB button that is easily accessible on the back of the camera.”

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Photo: Namibia – shot with Nikon P900 by Xing Asia.

“As for the Battery Life, a full charge had us shooting about 320 shots which is pretty ok for a day’s use. If you are going to be out at the safari for more than a day, it is recommended to have a few spare batteries. Last but not least, we love what the Nikon P900 had produced and the image are of good quality. An easy camera to use and a powerful one in disguise. We are going to get our Nikon P900 when we are back in Singapore!”

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Photo: Namibia with Xing Asia, Irene Seet, Jian Wen & Sok Cheng, guest reviewers for P900.

“Thank You Ourshutterjourney.com,  Xing Asia & Nikon Singapore for the opportunity to test the Nikon P900!”

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About Nikon
Nikon. At the Heart of the Image. Nikon is the world leader in digital imaging, precision optics and photo imaging technology and is globally recognised for setting new standards in product design and performance for its award-winning consumer and professional photographic equipment. Nikon Singapore Pte Ltd distributes consumer and professional digital SLR cameras, NIKKOR optics, Speedlights and system accessories; Nikon COOLPIX compact digital cameras; Nikon sports optics as well as the Nikon 1 advanced cameras with interchangeable lens system in over 50 countries.

For more information, please visit www.nikon.com.sg
Nikon Singapore Facebook Page www.facebook.com/nikonsingapore

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About Xing Asia.

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Xing Asia is a fully licensed travel agent by Singapore Tourism Board. We seek to provide exceptional value and authentic experience for like minded people to experience Asia and beyond through the eyes of our lenses. We differentiate ourselves by creating a platform for people to share and express their passion through immersing themselves in the local culture and lifestyles, befriending the locals and giving back to the community. Our mission is to ensure that your photographic travel experience expands your soul, refresh your perspectives and rejuvenate your spirit.

Join us for a journey of new beginnings, friendships and an enriching experience! For more trips & information, Please visit www.xing-Asia.com

 

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About Editor AL

About The Web Editor: http://about.me/shutterjourney
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