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Holiday Review | Nikon Coolpix P90

Updated on December 2, 2009

The Nikon Coolpix P90 is what I call a transition camera from the pocket size to the new SLR Digitals. This hybrid has some features that really allow you to go to the next level with your pictures, but is small enough and light enough to be more portable than the D Series Nikons, (weighs in at 1 pound), but with the exceptional ‘Glass’ you find in the higher end models.

It has several features that bring the user creativity that is not found in the pocket size cameras; and at less than $200.00 dollars, may even be less expensive than some of them.(Update 2 Dec - the price has moved up to a little over 300, at Amazon still a bargain!)

Here are some of the highlights with my take on the matter in Italics

Coolpix P90 Highlights

12.1-megapixel resolution for stunning prints as large as 20 x 30 inches

This doesn’t seem important top most amateurs at first but as you start to crop pictures and then make a 3 X 5 inch into an 8 X 10 the pictures can get grainy in a hurry, the 12 megapixel capture allows a lot of freedom in this arena.

24x optical wide-angle (35mm equivalent focal length: 26-624mm) Zoom-Nikkor ED glass lens provides exceptional images throughout the zoom range

Nikkor lenses have been industry standards for many many years. The quality of the glass is impeccable and the power of this range of focal lengths gives you enormous creative powers for getting that great shot.

Bright 3.0-inch Vari-Angle LCD and Electronic Viewfinder makes it easy to compose and share your pictures with friends and family

The Nikon Electronic Viewfinder acts like the HUD display in a Fighter jet and gives you the info you need in an easy to understand way.

New EXPEED image processor concept ensures high-quality pictures with stunning color and sharpness.

Sharpness has been an issue in the past with all digital cameras but with the 12.1 megapixel EXPEED processor it is rivaling film in that area.

4-Way VR Image Stabilization

Image Stabilization is important both in low light conditions and when using the zoom over 150mm focal equivalent. The ISO variables rival any professional film camera and allow for some really creative and professional effects.

  • Nikon’s Optical VR image stabilization compensated for the effects of camera shake by moving the image sensor
  • Motion Detection automatically detects moving subjects and adjusts shutter speed and the ISO setting to compensate for cameras hake and subject movement
  • High ISO 6400 capability helps give you sharper results when shooting in low light or capturing fast-moving subjects. ISO 3200 and 6400 are available at 3MP or lower resolution
  • Nikon’s original Best Shot Selector (BSS) automatically takes up to 10 shots while the shutter is pressed and saves the sharpest image

Program, Shutter Priority, Aperture Priority and Manual Exposure modes gives ultimate control over your pictures

This is one of the features that really set it apart from the pocket cameras. As even the higher quality ones are generally fixed for either shutter or aperture priority, but do not allow the option to switch, and manual is generally not found until you move up to the Pro Models

New Sports Continuous Scene Mode for shooting at up to 15fps, up to 45 frames, when you set the resolution to 3MP or lower

Here is the functional equivalent to the old big motor drives found on film cameras like my old Nikon F series, I had to pay extra for that and it added two pounds to the weight and 6-10 fps was achievable on a good day with lots of light (its harder to move film than digits).

Nikon’s Smart Portrait System:

This is a really nifty feature that is pretty much self explanatory and is certain to be useful to amateur or pro alike.

  • In-Camera Red-Eye Fix automatically fixes most instances of red-eye in the camera. You may never see red-eye again How cool is that!
  • Face-Priority AF - Nikon’s face-finding technology that automatically focuses on faces
  • Smile Mode automatically releases the shutter when your subject smiles
  • Blink Warning displays a warning message, should the camera detect your subject has blinked

Besides this Portrait technology the coolpix P90 also has a wide variety of scene selections so that automatically adjusts aperture and shutter speed for many various ‘scenes’ from bright light and sports to low level candle light or cityscapes at night.

Some of the additional features include five levels of brightness for the LCD screen and an anti reflective coating that really makes a difference on those bright days. While the Picture Project Software is not as powerful as say Adobe’s Photoshop, it is quite a bit easier to use and gives you some very powerful tools to edit and really get creative with your pictures.

To be fair, the Coolpix P90 has issues with the battery life on a charge. It is easily solved though be picking up a couple extra batteries as stocking stuffers as they are not overly expensive. Two extra Batteries should guarantee you getting through a long tourist sort of day without any issues.

All in all a great camera at a truly exceptional price right now (I checked it on 1 December). Santa are your reading this??


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    • Hmrjmr1 profile image

      Hmrjmr1 8 years ago from Georgia, USA

      TFT I was amazed at how compact it was with so much capability!! Thanks for stopping By!

    • Truth From Truth profile image

      Truth From Truth 8 years ago from Michigan

      Good post I really like the Nikon coolpix camera line myself.

    • Hmrjmr1 profile image

      Hmrjmr1 8 years ago from Georgia, USA

      Thanks Tammy hope you get what you want!!

    • Tammy Lochmann profile image

      Tammy Lochmann 8 years ago

      now I know what I want Santa to bring me. Just emailed it to him. Good article.

    • Hmrjmr1 profile image

      Hmrjmr1 8 years ago from Georgia, USA

      50 Cal - It does Video as well, not a strong point for me personally but it does do a good job at it. The VR stability feature is a huge plus as well.

      SCP I have a D50 that I've taken all over the world this one simplifies all of that and adds a few features as well and no more hauling all the extra Glass. Santa please be good to me!

      Thanks for Stopping by Guys!

    • 50 Caliber profile image

      50 Caliber 8 years ago from Arizona


      thanks for doing the foot work! I been studying on a camera to use with this computer. Don't suppose they make one that does video too? I don't want to buy 2 and there is a lot of picture shooting to do around here. Be fun to video a couple of fellas after I take a few pot shots at them for trespassing.

    • SCP profile image

      SCP 8 years ago from Raleigh, North Carolina

      Great information! I have a D40 and I love it. Nikon are by far the best cameras. It may be time to upgrade :)