I’ve had the Nikon P900 (Coolpix) for just under two years, and I still use it often. No, it’s not a DSLR with interchangeable lenses, but that’s not why I bought it. I bought it because it was slightly smaller than my D810/D800 which made it easier to travel with if I wasn’t trying to get professional-level shots.
Also, the novelty of having 83x zoom was attractive.
Nikon P900 Review
I don’t use this camera for any professional use, but I do use it quite often. We recently moved to a small property in Michigan, and since we’ve always lived in subdivisions – we’ve been fascinated by all the wildlife. This camera has been the perfect ‘spotting scope’ with picture/video capabilities.
Here is some example footage from the Nikon P900. Note:
– this is 1080p at 30fps – the P900 will also shoot up to 60fps in 1080p; more than many DSLRs.
– it’s RAW – no color correction or grading has been applied.
– For zoom capabilities, the turkeys at :42 to 1:00 are about 440 feet away.
As you can see, the autofocus while recording video isn’t great. Even when there is plenty of light, I would sometimes have to stop recording, refocus, and begin recording again. This has to do with the mechanism that focuses using ‘live view’ or focusing while shooting video. While DSLRs are much better, they have a similar struggle between the focus capabilities during still/video shooting.
Also, the auto-exposure can create a wide variety of brightness/contrast issues.
The zoom is so far that on warm days, the lines of heat radiating from the earth can be distracting – but this isn’t a fault of the camera.
These are the reasons we wouldn’t use it for professional work where consistency and quality is paramount, but it does a hell of a job capturing the creatures in our backyard.
For filming and traveling, I like this lightweight setup:
Sirui T-025X Carbon Fiber Tripod with C-10S Ball Head (See price)
Manfrotto travel-friendly Be Free Live Fluid Video Head (See price)
Nikon P900 Coolpix (see price)
I also like it for traveling to places where I wouldn’t be crushed if it was stolen.
Shooting video at any focal length is recommended, and shooting still photography when zooming on the far end is practically a must. Even in bright sun, it can be hard to get a clear hand-held shot at 83x.
If you’re going to use this for extended video, or for traveling when you’ll be away from a charging station, it would be wise to invest in a couple of extra batteries for the P900.
Nikon P900 Zoom
Even though this camera has been out for over two years, it has yet to be out-done in the optical zoom department. 83x optical is an incredible range. Even though you’ll need a tripod at the high-end, the zoom capability and image stabilization is quite useful for most snapshots for travel, or even bird-hunting/spotting if they aren’t too far away.
It’s a great spotting scope alternative. I’ve even used this at the gun range to view my target when sighting in a rifle. Several of the other guys thought the flip-up screen and zoom capabilities were easier to use than crawling on the ground with their spotting scope trying to see where their bullet went.
Nikon P900 Price
The Nikon P900 has come down over $100 since being introduced, and can now be bought for around $480 (see current sale price).
It’s a hell of a camera at that price, and we’ve thoroughly enjoyed this purchase.
Here are some still photo examples for the Nikon P900: