Because of its unprecedented monsterous 83X 24-2000mm equivalent optical zoom lens, the Nikon COOLPIX P900 makes a huge difference among other high-zoom bridge cameras. Even though many people have SLR or mirrorless cameras now, small cameras with small image sensors still have their advantages in featuring wider zoom range. And their image quality has improved dramatically. So, even if you have a main system, compact camera industry is hard to ignore because of a product like this one.

( Photography : A.Inden / Text : 48 )

Let try how much this super zoom lens can pull subjects in distance. I added focal length information (35mm equivalent in the parentheses) for your reference. This shot of Enoshima and Mt. Fuji was taken at the widest 24mm.

I zoomed to 220mm to shoot Mt. Fuji. This focal length must be familiar to many people because it’s covered by conventional high zoom lenses for SLR cameras. It captured the surfers and this is impossible with the naked eye. Just looking at the telephoto world through the viewfinder is amazing enough.

Next, I zoomed to 1100mm to shoot the summit. This focal length must be new to many people. The contrast and the sharpness seem to be lowered, but remember that the captured the subject in 60 to 70 kilometers away through the air. This means that image quality is affected by external factors such as air fluctuation and dust.

Around the tele-end 2000mm. I shot the observation lighthouse in Enoshima which was very far away, and I could capture the people climbing up. The 2000mm world is simply sledgehammer and it was very hard to include the subject within the frame. Nikon seems to know this issue because it has a function that zooms out a little while pressing the button on the side of the lens. This means that by pressing the button you can compose with a wider focal length and by releasing it you can zoom in to the desired focal length. And, remember, you can do it handheld. The vibration reduction must be very powerful.

Even though this camera tempts us to zoom in, we mostly use the standard range starting from wide. And, the images are very sharp in such zoom range. The 1/2.3-inch sensor has 16 megapixels, but the image quality is one a different level compared to older compact cameras. Of course, the image quality can’t beat larger sensors. Yet, the tonal gradation is fairly smooth on this contrastive shot.。

It only takes JPEG images, but the color reproduction is neutral and the images aren’t sleepy. And, with the built-in Wi-Fi and NFC, you can share the image instantly after shooting.

Spring is just around the corner. This camera lets me crop scenes so freely. Wherever I stand, all I need to do is to zoom in until I can frame the subject as I like and I never wished if I had a longer lens. I took this shot at 600mm and the subject is big enough.

The reflected scene on the water surface looks unexpectedly sharp and clear. The bokeh can become quirky in some conditions. But, overall, this lens is great enough to feel I may not need other cameras.

Of course, sometimes we need to use wide angle. This camera is best for traveling because it can deal with any kind of situation.

Close-up of food and small articles? No problem. The sensor size isn’t big enough to enjoy bokeh, but it faithfully reproduces the texture as well as the 3D quality. This image quality was totally unexpected when I head it has a 1/2.3-inch sensor and a 83X optical zoom lens (sorry, Nikon!). And, now, I really want this camera. I even recommend it to prime lens users because this can become their super-sub camera supplementing main system.

Crop the world. Any way you like.

It’s simply moving when you zoom from the wide-end 24mm to the tele-end 2000mm. And, I think few people have experienced this high magnification even with binoculars or telescopes. It’s never easy to capture subjects with this super telephoto range, but at least this experience is special. Even though the super telephoto-end gets attention, the true value of this camera is the ability to compose freely. I noticed I used 24-500mm range most of the time, and my longest focal length was 1000mm. But, it doesn't mean 2000mm is unnecessary. It simply means more flexibility. When we use a high zoom lens, we often end up in using only wide and tele ends. But, with the COOLPIX P900, it’s even hard to reach the tele-end. So, inevitably, you will be more careful in framing. This means, everything is up to you, even though it has the super zoom lens.

Because of the wide zoom range, just this one camera will take care of travel photography. Or, it’s a great sub-camera supplementing your main system. We want to bring many lenses, but nothing is better than bringing fewer of them because it will let you react to your emotion more instantly.

( 19.03.2015 )