Posts Tagged ‘Nikon COOLPIX P100’

Compact Superzoom: Nikon COOLPIX P100 Review

Nikon COOLPIX P100
Text and Images by Allison Gibson

Compact Superzoom

The Nikon COOLPIX P100 may just be exactly what you’re looking for if you’re in the market for a fun, high-end, compact superzoom with impressive image quality, the ability to shoot high-speed full resolution stills at 10 frames per second (fps) and full High Definition (1080p) movie recording. The 10-Megapixel P100 has a back-illuminated CMOS sensor and a 26x optical wide-angle zoom lens—and its sturdy body feels professional in-hand yet much lighter than any entry-level D-SLR. With a host of specialty shooting modes as well as full manual control, the P100 is aimed at the amateur enthusiast crowd, and could be a good option even as a back-up camera for a pro.

Nikon COOLPIX P100
click the thumbnails to see full-size images

UI & Design

The COOLPIX P100 has a solid, professional-looking body, which like most cameras in its class imitates the design and feel of a small D-SLR. The handgrip is deep and coated with a rubberized texture for maximum comfort and one-handed shooting control. Your finger naturally hits the shutter release up front and the thumb rests on another small textured pad in the back, within reach of surrounding controls. The electronic viewfinder juts out far enough from the back of the camera that you’re not forced to smash your cheek against the display screen below it, and is encased in smooth plastic for comfort.

The 3-inch high resolution (460,000-dot) vari-angle LCD pulls out from the back of the camera and tilts up and down, allowing you to more easily get shots in unique shooting situations. This comes in handy at a place like a concert, when you would normally just hold the camera up above the crowd and blindly snap away, hoping you were aimed at the stage rather than the ceiling or the tops of the audience’s heads. It worked great for me when shooting ornate cathedral ceilings in Italy, and also for capturing the carpet of pigeons that lined the ground in Venice’s Saint Mark’s Square. Although the vari-angle LCD offered me this extra freedom when shooting, I would have preferred if it hinged sideways as well—like, say, the Canon G11’s LCD—because that allows for so many more options, such as taking self portraits and shooting around corners.

Performance

The P100 was an ideal travel camera because of its superzoom capabilities and compact size. With the wide-angle (26mm) lens I was able to capture sweeping views of ancient cities, and with the telephoto range (678mm) I could close in on far-away objects from the same location. F/4.6 is not that wide an aperture, but I was able to capture vivid, selective focus photos of exotic foods and wares in markets.

Nikon COOLPIX P100: wide-angle, telephoto, Auto WB, Active D-Lighting
click the thumbnails to see full-size images

Under normal daylight conditions, the P100 did pretty well. I could capture sharp and accurately-colored (in Auto White Balance mode) images that make for crisp prints at modest sizes—which typical travelers would probably choose to print at. In high contrast conditions, there was a loss of initial detail, however. This is where Nikon’s Active D-Lighting function came in handy, darkening blown-out highlights and lightening up dark shadowed areas a bit.

Under indoor incandescent lighting, the Auto and Incandescent WB settings tended toward the warm side , so it was best to kick into Manual there. At ISO 160-400 detail held up impressively, but then noise began to sneak in going past that range, and definitely past 800. This isn’t all that shocking—or frustrating—for a compact of this class though.

Conclusion

The COOLPIX P100 was a fun travel companion and satisfied the needs of a traveler who was constantly moving from place to place, and who did not want to be weighed down by heavy equipment, nor the need to constantly swap out lenses. With this compact superzoom, I was able to capture a much wider diversity of shots than those of my travel companions who used smaller point-and-shoots. And yet, just like them, I could also slip the P100 into my small shoulder bag and keep it concealed in crowded subway cars or in sparsely populated neighborhoods at night. The handling of the camera was really nice and intuitive and the overall image quality was good for the scale of printing output that most enthusiast photographers would probably need. The standout feature of the P100, for my travel purposes, was its ultrazoom capability and the creative freedom that it offered. It is a diverse and portable compact camera that has more than a few impressive tricks up its sleeve.

Nikon COOLPIX P100

  • MSRP:
  • $399.95
  • Size/Weight:
  • 4.5”W x 3.3”H x 3.9”D; 12.5 oz.
  • Image Sensor:
  • 10.3-megapixels, CMOS
  • Lens zoom:
  • 26x
  • Memory:
  • SD/SDHC Memory Card, 43MB internal
  • Display:
  • 3-inch (460,000 pixels) Vari-angle TFT-LCD with anti-reflection coating
  • Video Recording Mode:
  • Full HD: 1920 x 1080p / 30fps; HD: 1280 x 720p / 30fps; Standard TV: 640 x 480 / 30fps; Small Size: 320 x 240 / 30fps; HS movie: (slow motion) 320 x 240 / 240 fps, 640 x 480 / 120fps, 1280 x 720 / 60 fps ; HS movie: (fast motion) 1920 x 1080 / 15fps; in MPEG-4 AVC H.264
  • ISO Equivalent:
  • Auto/160/200/400/800/1600/3200
  • Power Source:
  • EN-EL5: 250shots
  • Contact:
  • www.nikonusa.com
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