Nikon CoolPix P90 Review

By soumitra, Gaea News Network
Friday, July 24, 2009

10727-nikonp903quartThe Super-zoom cameras are having a go nowadays; Nikon also joins the party with the Coolpix P90 that packs in 24X Zoom and 12.1 MP Sensor replacing its predecessor P80 which had 18X Zoom Lens and 10MP Sensor. There are also more useful features like a tiltable 3 inch LCD, comfortable hand grip and easy to use interface. But is this camera worth a buy? We have made a review to find an answer. Read it before you make a decision to buy it.

Design and Build Quality

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Personally, I like those big boys with large lenses and all. They just give me the feeling of a real camera. And this one is really a big boy even by super-zoom camera standards measuring at 114 X 83 X 99 mm. However, it will not weigh you down with its meager 490g weight including its 1100 mAh Li-Ion Battery. The overall build quality is also very good as per Nikon standards. Although the body is made of plastic, the quality of the plastic seems very good and firm. The rubber coated handgrip is very comfortable to hold on and large aluminum lens barrel looks very good. The external control buttons are well placed and are easily accessible. The overall look and feel of the camera is very clean and elegant.

nikoncoolpix p90Lens

Lenses are the heart of a camera especially when it is a super-zoom camera like this. The 24X Zoom Nikkor Lens has a equivalent 35mm focal length of 26-624mm with a maximum aperture of f/2.8-5.0. The lens have negligible amount of distortion in either end of the zoom and provides superb edge to edge sharpness. Only a limited amount of chromatic distortion is seen at the full telephoto range which is better than any of its competitors and can even be compared with some DSLR Lenses.

nikonp90

Sensor

The sensor is a 12 MP CCD Sensor capable to shoot at maximum resolution of 4000 X 3000 pixels. The size of the sensor is 1/2.3 inch which is same as the other competing models in the market.

Image Quality

In one word, the overall image quality of the P90 disappoints. The low light photos show stray pixles and purple fringing. It also shows up problems in focussing close up images. Images show noise artifacts even at 400 ISO, and images shot at ISO 800 is quite unusable. The image quality is just average and we expected more from Nikon.

nikoncoolpixp90

Display

The 3 inch tiltable LCD screen is one of the most interesting feature of this camera. It is tiltable upto 45 degrees downward or upto 90 degrees upward which is a nice and handy feature when shooting from some awkward angles or while using a tripod. There are anti reflective coating and five brightness levels to make sure that it is usable in bright outdoors. The resolution of 230K dots looks nice and sharp.

Image Stabilization

For a camera with this much long focal length, image stabilization is a very essential feature to shoot in the telephoto range of the lense. The P90 uses a 4-way vibration sensor shift image stabilization technique that gives out very reliable output. However, if you wish to shoot at the maximum focal length of the lens system, try to use a tripod for optimal performance because no image stabilization is 100% accurate.

nikon p90Features

There is a wide range of camera control features including aperture and shutter priority and and full manual exposure. From the menus you can select image size and quality, white balance, ISO Setting, Metering modes, AF Mode, flash exposure compensation, auto bracketing, lens distortion correction, active D lighting and many other features. Other than the manual modes there is also a full auto mode to do all the stuff itself.

Interface

The camera interface is simple and works quickly and intuitively. It seems that Nikon has developed a simple solution for all the camera setings whether it is a compact camera or a complex camera like this.

nikon coolpix p90

Video

Unlike some of its competitors it can’t shoot HD videos. It can only capture VGA Video at 30 fps with mono audio. Also you can’t zoom while in movie mode which adds more to the disappointment. However, there are some interesting features like monochrome movie and sepia tone movie which will stop you from crying.

Pros

  • 24X optical zoom lens
  • Comfortable Handgrip
  • Tiltable LCD
  • Framing Photos is easy with Live View or Viewfinder
  • Easy to Use

Cons

  • Overall image quality is no at par with its competiting models
  • Focussing of Close Up Photos not very good
  • It is not a DSLR, so no possibility of using interchangeable lenses
  • No HD Video Mode

nikon p90

Conclusion

The P90 has a lot of nice features to satisfy a photographer but the image quality isn’t just as good as we’d like to see. The price is also too expensive for a point and shoot and the image quality isn’t as good as a DSLR. If you don’t need to grab those distant objects using a telephoto lens or like the best image quality from your camera we would advice you to stay clear out of Nikon Coolpix P90.

Discussion

handytasche
January 16, 2010: 2:11 am

Nice camera.Can I take pictures of moon also?


nintendo dsi r4
December 12, 2009: 4:07 am

This camera has sparked my interest as a photography hobbyist. The zoom issues described in previous reviews are easily solved by tweaking the iso, aperture or shutter speed.

July 25, 2009: 7:53 am

Aww… I was hoping that this will be a lot cheaper. Turns out I could just very well buy a real DSLR. Thanks for the review though.

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