Nikon Coolpix P90 Review

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Nikon’s Coolpix P90 is a camera that can not only make you smile but capture them as well … then shoots people only with their eyes open. We hope you find our review of it helpful below.

Nikon P90 review.jpg

It looks a little like an interchangeable dSLR but it’s far smaller and lighter (500 grams). Then you look at the lens: a 24x Nikkor zoom — just try and find one for a dSLR!

The zoom at the wide end (as a 35 SLR equivalent) is 26mm and racks out to a tele setting of 624mm.

The CCD captures 12.1 megapixels and can seize a maximum image size of 4000×3000 pixels.

Nikon P90 review .jpg

Nikon P90 Features

The 7.6cm vari-angle LCD screen rolls through a vertical arc of 135 degrees but does not swivel laterally (bummer!) … The turret finder is also an LCD — not an optical one.

External controls are relatively few, while the viewfinder menu confirms image size, ISO speed etc. The mode dial offers options of auto, Program AE, shutter or aperture priority plus manual. There are two custom positions that can store personal settings like ISO rating, white balance, metering mode etc.

Face detection: The P90 can detect as many as 12 faces in shot, locking in correct focus and exposure. Then there’s the Smile Timer, which releases the shutter only when the subject smiles. A Blink Proof function automatically shoots two sequential frames and saves only the shot with the subject’s eyes wide open.

The P90’s vibration reduction uses an optical system, built into the lens. This works on stills shooting but an electronic method is used to stabilise movie shooting.

Movies? The P90 only captures 640×480 pixel SD quality. A camera at this price level screams out for High Def video.

The ISO range can run up to 6400, but ISO 3200 and 6400 sensitivity can only be used with a smaller image size. At higher ISO levels you may also have to use the P90’s noise reduction feature — supported at shutter speeds of ¼ second or less.

Obs Hill wide DSCN0012.JPG

Obs Hill tele DSCN0013.JPG

Nikon Coolpix P90 Lens

The lens is well-corrected with only a little barrel distortion at the wide end of the zoom and no sign of any problems at the tele end. The camera as a clever menu ‘fix’ that can remove this problem in-camera: setting the camera to correct distortion gives you a final shot with the barrel distortion removed.

Continuous shooting of full size images can be made at a speed of 1.4 fps but if you’re happy with a smaller image size you can tap into Sports Continuous mode and shoot 45 1920×1080 pixel shots at 15 fps in the 16:9 aspect ratio. This would deliver impressive High Def movie clips of sports action.

A useful cache continuously stores the 10 frames immediately prior to firing the shutter, so you should never miss the peak of the action.

The P90 is close to a dSLR in style yet brings that experience without the penalties of weight and size.

I found in my tests the zoom’s range a whiz! The only thing you may face is that, in tele, over a long distance that atmospheric haze may spoil your shot.

Our Nikon Coolpix P90 Recommendation/Review: A high quality compact digicam with a magic zoom!

Nikon P90 Specifications

  • Image Sensor: 10.9mm. 12.1 million effective pixels.
  • Lens: Zoom-Nikkor f2.8-5.0/4.6-110.4mm. 26-624mm (35mm equiv). 4x digital zoom.
  • Focus Range: Normal: 50cm-infinity; macro: 1cm-infinity.
  • Metering: 256-segment matrix metering, centre-weighted metering, spot, spot AF area.
  • Vibration Reduction: Image sensor shift VR.
  • Image Sizes (pixels): 4000×3000, 3264×2448, 2592×1944, 2048×1536, 1600×1200, 1280×960, 1024×768, 640×480, 3984×2656, 3968×2232, 2992×2992, 1920×1080.
  • Movie Clips: 640×480, 320×240.
  • File Formats: JPEG, WAV, AVI movie.
  • ISO Sensitivity: Auto, 64 to 6400.
  • Flash: Auto, auto with red-eye reduction, forced on and off, slow sync, rear-curtain sync.
  • Power: Rechargeable lithium ion battery, AC.
  • Dimensions: 114x83x99 WHDmm.
  • Weight: Approx. 460 g (minus batteries and memory card).
  • Price: Amazon currently has the P90 priced at $359.99.

Read more from our Cameras & Equipment category

Barrie Smith

is an experienced writer/photographer currently published in Australian Macworld, Auscam and other magazines in Australia and overseas.

  • Abhinav Tiwari

    I am using Nikon Coolpix P90 since september 2009. After buying it I became very disappointed with the image quality, but the main reason was my inexperience. With time I began to learn so many tips and tricks of photography and began to get NICE results. I have made over 4000 shots with my P90 and it’s still wonderful. The image quality is perfect and THE PRINTS ARE JUST GREAT. I got smaller and larger prints and hung them on my wall and people are amazed to see the images. They just can’t believe that I shot them with a P90. One of my photographs taken by my P90 got selected amongst top 300 images in boulevardofphotography.com and got PUBLISHED in a book named ANTHOLOGY OF PHOTOGRAPHY 2010.

    The camera has a lot of features and gives great shots in different shooting modes. The 24X zoom of the camera is just fantastic, taking great and sharp images. It is definitely a must buy camera. Even a top-rated photographer “PAUL TIMPA” appreciated the image quality of the camera. Thank you.

  • Trevor Henry

    Hi guys what do you think about the Nikon P100?.

  • Clay Riness

    @ Abhinav: What a great story! Congratulations on your journey in photography and I hope you will share some pictures with us sometime.

    I have to tell all of you, I recently bought a Nikon D300s DSLR with a 18-200 Nikkor zoom … about $2100. Of course, it is simply amazing … AMAZING. However, my P90 is still a treasured and essential tool in my kit.

    The main reasons are that 1) it takes fantastic pictures and, 2) is so feature rich. However, it is also so light, quiet and unobtrusive that it makes the perfect companion when a three and a half pound DSLR just doesn’t seem practical. I can simply toss it in a day bag and feel comfortable in almost any shooting situation, but not feel like my expensive professional gear is at risk. Among other things, I love my P90 for leisurely candid work, especially shooting people / portraits, because it’s nonthreatening and I can turn of the sound and render the shutter silent. Of course, it does SO much more, and well.

    And, as if that isn’t enough to babble about, I’m going to suggest that you all peek at the Nikon S3000 as well. It’s a tiny pocket point-and-shoot which is smaller than a wallet but offers a powerful 12 megapixels for fewer than $150. Although not nearly as feature rich as the P90, it’s the other tool in my kit because it feels like a cell phone in the pocket but still takes great shots. Undeniable truth … a truly passionate photographer is always looking for a shot, and never without a camera … and as Abhinav has no doubt learned, even a tiny point-and-shoot in the hands of someone with a photographic eye will almost always capture better shots (in many artistic respects) than a pricey DSLR in the hands of someone without. All things being equal … not to worry about the quality of the S3000, though. Big WOW factor for its size … and super easy and fun to use. Seriously, give it a look. Small investment, big fun.

    @ Trevor: All I know is that the P90 was short lived and the P100 took its place to include some improvements. If my P90 should be sacrificed someday to the camera Gods … I will most certainly rush to buy a P100, or whichever camera has taken that one’s place.

    Now … I have to go do my upper body workout with my D300S. Oh, how I do so love my toys … I mean… TOOLS. Be well everyone!

  • If we are fair, we should say that this camera (P90) has some bad things, like a lot of noise and slow autofocus. And as you know you can’t always shoot at ISO below 200. But all depends what you need it for! I realy like it but because of the noise I’m thinking to switch to DSLR.

  • Clay Riness

    Hmmm … I have not noticed excessive noise on my P90 except in very low light / very high ISO. Never had trouble shooting below 200 at all … although I have only gone there for very bright conditions as a rule.

    As for the focus, I have no complaints, but I do agree that if you need it to be lightning fast (such as for sports or live action), then you probably want to choose a different tool in the box.

    If you do decide to step up to an SLR, spend some respectable cash. A good deal of what you are paying for is a far better chip / CPU, and THAT is what will really improve your noise and speed. Having said that, I return to my original review point that at around three hundred bucks, the P90 is (was) pretty hard to beat, considering what you get.

  • DON Davis

    I just can’t resist. All the negative coments are rediculus inexperience! My first colour exposures were on 120 film in a box camera. The P90 is todays version of that box camera and a fantastic value at approx the price of 32 exposures in the 50’s

  • Clay Riness

    Cheers, Don. Of course, the late P90 has been replaced with the P100, but they are almost identical cameras.

  • Dan

    You folks rock! Nikon p90 is my first camera since leaving Nam in 72. I absolutely love its simplicity, compared to the Olympus of yesteryear. Yes, the manual is my friend, and I treat it as a loved pet now. Feed it everyday, lol. It loves seagulls from afar, and lovely little blue beetles up close and tight. So much fun . . .

    Thanks for fueling my adventures!

  • Lindsay

    Hi! Ok so what does everyone mean when they say “I was disappointed with the quility” I thought it might be a good starter camera because im really interested in photography and all I use right now is an iPod, that’s
    How I got interested in photography, and then I hear all these negative comments… 🙁 do you know any good starter cameras? Pretty easy to use and good quility… I like nikons. I feel picky haha I would love any help!!

  • Hello,
    You should probably go with DSLR!
    For entry I’d buy Canon 1100D or Nikon D3100, D5100 or D3200.
    The price is not so different, but the images they produce are.

  • Lindsay

    Thanks! I’ll look into that one, but I was looking at the Nikon coolpix L810. It’s cheap and everyone is saying its a nice camera and I did some research on it and I think I like it! Do you think it would be a nice starter camera? Thanks 🙂

  • Hello,
    I haven’t used Nikon Coolpix L810, but I have had a Nikon Coolpix P90. After one year of using it I switch to DSLR. There is major difference between coolpix series and DSLRs in my opinion. You should decide which model is for you, but I think that the price difference is not so big now.

Some Older Comments

  • Chanev August 10, 2012 10:41 pm

    Hello,
    I haven't used Nikon Coolpix L810, but I have had a Nikon Coolpix P90. After one year of using it I switch to DSLR. There is major difference between coolpix series and DSLRs in my opinion. You should decide which model is for you, but I think that the price difference is not so big now.

  • Lindsay August 7, 2012 08:56 pm

    Thanks! I'll look into that one, but I was looking at the Nikon coolpix L810. It's cheap and everyone is saying its a nice camera and I did some research on it and I think I like it! Do you think it would be a nice starter camera? Thanks :)

  • Chanev August 7, 2012 04:27 pm

    Hello,
    You should probably go with DSLR!
    For entry I'd buy Canon 1100D or Nikon D3100, D5100 or D3200.
    The price is not so different, but the images they produce are.

  • Lindsay August 4, 2012 01:37 pm

    Hi! Ok so what does everyone mean when they say "I was disappointed with the quility" I thought it might be a good starter camera because im really interested in photography and all I use right now is an iPod, that's
    How I got interested in photography, and then I hear all these negative comments... :( do you know any good starter cameras? Pretty easy to use and good quility... I like nikons. I feel picky haha I would love any help!!

  • Dan March 5, 2011 09:02 pm

    You folks rock! Nikon p90 is my first camera since leaving Nam in 72. I absolutely love its simplicity, compared to the Olympus of yesteryear. Yes, the manual is my friend, and I treat it as a loved pet now. Feed it everyday, lol. It loves seagulls from afar, and lovely little blue beetles up close and tight. So much fun . . .

    Thanks for fueling my adventures!

  • Clay Riness January 13, 2011 02:47 pm

    Cheers, Don. Of course, the late P90 has been replaced with the P100, but they are almost identical cameras.

  • DON Davis January 9, 2011 05:57 pm

    I just can't resist. All the negative coments are rediculus inexperience! My first colour exposures were on 120 film in a box camera. The P90 is todays version of that box camera and a fantastic value at approx the price of 32 exposures in the 50's

  • Clay Riness July 22, 2010 11:34 pm

    Hmmm ... I have not noticed excessive noise on my P90 except in very low light / very high ISO. Never had trouble shooting below 200 at all ... although I have only gone there for very bright conditions as a rule.

    As for the focus, I have no complaints, but I do agree that if you need it to be lightning fast (such as for sports or live action), then you probably want to choose a different tool in the box.

    If you do decide to step up to an SLR, spend some respectable cash. A good deal of what you are paying for is a far better chip / CPU, and THAT is what will really improve your noise and speed. Having said that, I return to my original review point that at around three hundred bucks, the P90 is (was) pretty hard to beat, considering what you get.

  • Chanev July 22, 2010 07:12 pm

    If we are fair, we should say that this camera (P90) has some bad things, like a lot of noise and slow autofocus. And as you know you can't always shoot at ISO below 200. But all depends what you need it for! I realy like it but because of the noise I'm thinking to switch to DSLR.

  • Clay Riness July 22, 2010 12:38 am

    @ Abhinav: What a great story! Congratulations on your journey in photography and I hope you will share some pictures with us sometime.

    I have to tell all of you, I recently bought a Nikon D300s DSLR with a 18-200 Nikkor zoom ... about $2100. Of course, it is simply amazing ... AMAZING. However, my P90 is still a treasured and essential tool in my kit.

    The main reasons are that 1) it takes fantastic pictures and, 2) is so feature rich. However, it is also so light, quiet and unobtrusive that it makes the perfect companion when a three and a half pound DSLR just doesn't seem practical. I can simply toss it in a day bag and feel comfortable in almost any shooting situation, but not feel like my expensive professional gear is at risk. Among other things, I love my P90 for leisurely candid work, especially shooting people / portraits, because it's nonthreatening and I can turn of the sound and render the shutter silent. Of course, it does SO much more, and well.

    And, as if that isn't enough to babble about, I'm going to suggest that you all peek at the Nikon S3000 as well. It's a tiny pocket point-and-shoot which is smaller than a wallet but offers a powerful 12 megapixels for fewer than $150. Although not nearly as feature rich as the P90, it's the other tool in my kit because it feels like a cell phone in the pocket but still takes great shots. Undeniable truth ... a truly passionate photographer is always looking for a shot, and never without a camera ... and as Abhinav has no doubt learned, even a tiny point-and-shoot in the hands of someone with a photographic eye will almost always capture better shots (in many artistic respects) than a pricey DSLR in the hands of someone without. All things being equal ... not to worry about the quality of the S3000, though. Big WOW factor for its size ... and super easy and fun to use. Seriously, give it a look. Small investment, big fun.

    @ Trevor: All I know is that the P90 was short lived and the P100 took its place to include some improvements. If my P90 should be sacrificed someday to the camera Gods ... I will most certainly rush to buy a P100, or whichever camera has taken that one's place.

    Now ... I have to go do my upper body workout with my D300S. Oh, how I do so love my toys ... I mean... TOOLS. Be well everyone!

  • Trevor Henry July 21, 2010 11:37 pm

    Hi guys what do you think about the Nikon P100?.

  • Abhinav Tiwari July 21, 2010 02:37 am

    I am using Nikon Coolpix P90 since september 2009. After buying it I became very disappointed with the image quality, but the main reason was my inexperience. With time I began to learn so many tips and tricks of photography and began to get NICE results. I have made over 4000 shots with my P90 and it's still wonderful. The image quality is perfect and THE PRINTS ARE JUST GREAT. I got smaller and larger prints and hung them on my wall and people are amazed to see the images. They just can't believe that I shot them with a P90. One of my photographs taken by my P90 got selected amongst top 300 images in boulevardofphotography.com and got PUBLISHED in a book named ANTHOLOGY OF PHOTOGRAPHY 2010.

    The camera has a lot of features and gives great shots in different shooting modes. The 24X zoom of the camera is just fantastic, taking great and sharp images. It is definitely a must buy camera. Even a top-rated photographer "PAUL TIMPA" appreciated the image quality of the camera. Thank you.

  • Clay Riness June 11, 2010 04:59 am

    @ Trevor: YAY! Nikon comes through with customer service once again. Happy to know things worked out for you, finally!

  • Clay Riness June 11, 2010 04:04 am

    @George: This is the one down side of the P90, in my view. Because it is not threaded for lenses, there is no option to fit it with a UV filter for protection. Unfortunately, you just have to be extra careful not to scratch it. Always keep the lens cap on when not shooting

    .Perhaps Nikon will get he message someday and thread these barrels. I, for one, would gladly pay the extra money for it. Be well, George.

  • Trevor Henry June 11, 2010 04:03 am

    Hi guys I haven’t written in a while, Nikon eventually replace the P90 & send me the P100. Well so far I am really enjoying this camera. The thing about this you don’t of to
    Know about photography to use it. This camera also as a designated video button.

  • george b. June 10, 2010 10:05 pm

    How can I protect the lenses of Nikon Colopix P90?

  • Clay Riness May 25, 2010 11:19 pm

    That's an easy one, Sam. In shooting mode: MENU > OPTIMIZE IMAGE > BLACK AND WHITE

    Once you get to the OPTIMIZE IMAGE menu .... keep scrolling up or down until you get to B&W. There is also a menu under that for NORMAL, CUSTOM, or COLOR AND B&W.

    Consult your manual for further information.

  • samantha May 25, 2010 01:40 pm

    Does anyone know how to change the coolpix camera to take black and white photos??????Please help,thank you

  • rkloss March 13, 2010 06:06 am

    this is an amazaing camera for both the novice and experienced photographer. the menu is complete but does take alot of practice getting used to.

  • Trevor Henry March 9, 2010 01:48 pm

    I got back my camera from Nikon today & I am so disappointed, I had to send it back right away because it as a different problem. When I turn on the camera it came up with system error so I take out the battery & turn it on again to my surprise, the image in the screen start shaking. I turn the camera off & on a number of times but it still continues so I didn’t wait to check on the other problem I just send it back. I taught Nikon would have change the camera because I sent it back 3 times already this is the 4th time. This camera as cost me more for shipping than the initial cost of the camera, because of living in the Caribbean. I have always use Nikon but I am thinking seriously to change brand. So which brand and model with similar features I could choose. Nikon as really disappointed me.

  • Clay Riness March 4, 2010 12:00 am

    @ Brian: I recently got a good deal on a class 6 card and am currently using it. It does seem to process faster. The real problem with action photography seems to be the "lag time" between the shutter and the exposure. Try experimenting with the continuous shooting menu and remember to let the card process in full after you let up on the shutter. If you have taken 25 "moto-drive" type shots, they will require time to process. Be patient!

    Good luck!

  • Brian Beam March 3, 2010 03:52 pm

    Just bought the P90. My question is about memory card speed. I do plan on using the camera to capture fast action events like sports and movies. The manual doesn't mention anything about a high speed card ( class 4 or 6 ). Would a high speed card be useful in these situations or should I just buy the standard speed card ( class 2) ?

  • Clay Riness February 27, 2010 01:23 am

    Oh ... Trevor, that is a real bummer. I'm sorry you had to be the one to get a lemon. Most of us haven't had so much as a hiccup of trouble with ours. I hope Nikon will stand behind their product and take care of you.

  • Trevor Henry February 27, 2010 01:16 am

    I rote in December about the problem with my Nikon P90. I took the advice & sent it back to Nikon they say they repaired it & sent it back. Well i had to send it back because it has the same problem. My problem is I’m in the Caribbean & have to pay all the shipping. This is the 3rd time i sent it for repair one to Best Buy & two to Nikon & just bought it may 2009.

  • Clay Riness February 26, 2010 04:20 pm

    Good for you, Elllen! You are right ... it's who's behind the camera that counts!

  • Elllen February 26, 2010 07:21 am

    I have the Nikon P90 and guess what, the photos it takes are good enough to get me into a show !
    It is not the camera that takes great shots, it's the photographer. Just remember, Ansel Adams took those masterpieces long before any digital cameras were around.

  • Clay Riness January 7, 2010 01:07 am

    @ Ian:

    Fair enough on the battery front ... I must concede that those thin little EN-EL5 rechargeables are very pocket-friendly. I bought two extras and have yet to be stuck without power in any situation. On my other camera, I have paid the price a few times and really wished they had just set it up for AAA batteries so I could just swap out for fresh, common, convenience store stock.

    One point that goes hand in hand with my review ... read the instructions! The little sheet that comes with the EN-EL5 battery clearly states that you should remove the battery from the charger after it is charged. This will increase the life of the battery ... leaving it in the charger for longer, extended periods will eventually weaken the charging capacity. So, there you go ... another great tip from the very stuff they send you right in the box!

    Hey, Ian ... I am very pleased that the review convinced you. This camera should make you very happy. The investment is pretty minimal, but the product is bursting with potential. Just remember that the manual is your friend!

    Best Wishes,

    Clay

  • Ian birkett January 6, 2010 10:15 pm

    To Clay Riness
    Thanks very much for your review and comments above. I've been deciding for almost 12 months now on whether to purchase a P90. Have read many reviews on many websites, but finally, yours has convinced me to go out and buy one.
    Don't agree with your comment re the batteries however. I much prefer rechargeables!!

  • Ildefonso Enriquez January 6, 2010 05:25 am

    I bought my p90 eight months ago, I just love it, I know it has some issues, but having it moved me to increase my interest into photography, I want to share my moon pics taken with it and some others, visit my flickr page: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cyberlounger

    I think that having such zoom in a non reflex camera and without a telephoto or zoom lenses with prices over $2000.00 USD is great.

  • Clay Riness December 24, 2009 06:32 am

    @ Andrew: I'm SO happy that helped! Very pleased that you are enjoying your P90. (LOL ... I am NOT a paid shill for Nikon USA ... really!) I am still loving mine at every click. BTW ... check out one of the lovely shots I got of the frost on my inside windows one freezing morn here in Wisconsin:

    [eimg url='http://www.fileden.com/files/2009/2/6/2309171/window' title='window']

    Yup, taken with my P90. White balance adjusted; macro setting; hand held; image stabilization on. Long live Nikon!

  • Andrew December 23, 2009 11:24 pm

    I was in the same boat as Alex. I had pressed every button I could think of. Thanks for the reply Clay.
    Also I love the camera. I got it from my wife for our 5th anniversary. I love to photograph game wildlife (turkey, deer, elk, ducks, etc.) and this is one of the best cameras I own. Anyone thinking of buying it should. I love the action shot function. I have a reall good set of photos of a buck running across a field and jumping a fence. Buy it.

  • Clay Riness December 22, 2009 12:45 am

    @ Alex ... Page 113 of your manual! In the shooting menu, choose OPTIMIZE IMAGE and then scroll to through and beyond the first list. BLACK-AND-WHITE menu is there. Here, choosing STANDARD will give you black and white shooting; B&W + COLOR will record one of each of every shot shot you take; CUSTOM will get you a few other options including digital filters that simulate what actual filters do to enhance real black and white film. Sepia is not available in shooting modes, but is available for movies

    It's generally thought to be to one's advantage to shoot everything in color and then remove the color if desired with image editing software like Photoshop, Elements, etc. That can be done with a click, and if you like the results, you can just do a SAVE AS. Retaining the original means you always have color available if you want it.

    Hope that helps.

  • Alex December 21, 2009 01:31 am

    If anyone can please tell me how to change the color of the picture (black and white, spedia, ect.) it would make my day. I've had the P90 for just about a month and I've pressed every button, but still cannot find where to do this. Please help.

  • Paul December 18, 2009 03:30 am

    I have been using automatic camera's since my Minolta 9000, thru Nikon F5 and the first Coolpix. I decided that the F5 was too bulky with two lenses and after a lot of research bought a P90 in July. It takes beautiful photos, is easy to use, very reliable after 3000 shots and I would recommend it to anyone. It needs a lense hood and a better battery.

  • Clay Riness December 15, 2009 01:21 am

    @ Trevor ... Go to http://www.nikonusa.com/Service-And-Support/Service-And-Repair.page

    I have twice received amazing service from Nikon with regard to repairs. If there is something legitimately wrong with your P90, they will likely take care of it. Good luck!

  • Trevor Henry December 14, 2009 04:44 am

    I bought a P90 it takes great pictures but, the lens keep ging in and out and i take it back to the place I bought it. the waarenty is up and it starts doing the same thing again, I don't know what to do and I don't know who to contact, other than that it is a great camera. Can someone help me.

  • Clay Riness December 3, 2009 01:54 pm

    My turn to weigh in on this camera! First, I was pretty surprised at the mixed reviews, most of which I read after ordering my P90. Even the negative posts didn’t scare me though, as I have owned a Coolpix 5700, another “hybrid PNS”, for about six years and have had nothing but great luck with it. (Many thousands of photos later, I still love it.) And, hats off to Nikon … five years into my 5700, it came up lame and Nikon USA fixed it and had it back to me in a week at no charge.

    To be fair, I AM a user’s guide reader, which is one thing everyone should be doing with a tool that offers so many features. Once you’ve been through a few manuals, it gets easier to understand. Trust me; your manual is your friend.

    The accusation that the P90 takes terrible pictures is absolutely absurd. Incompetent photographers take terrible pictures. The camera is perfectly capable of taking excellent quality pictures that will be satisfying to all but true professionals. There are reasons that those National Geographic shots are so impressive … starting with the fact that few of those photographers are using a three hundred dollar point and shoot for the brunt of their work, and ending with the fact that those people behind the lens are far more trained in photography than the average person, or me for that matter. (And remember, we see the best of their work.)

    Getting on with the P90, I am perfectly smitten. The monster LCD screen is just terrific, but it still has a conventional viewfinder with a diopter adjustment. You can switch between the two in an instant with one button. It’s a wonderful camera that has so much control at the fingertips, and can be adjusted so quickly, there really isn’t any reason, aside from user error, that great results can’t be achieved. White balance, exposure compensation, metering, ISO and shooting mode setting are all of general note here, and they are all quick and easy to get to via the menus or the mode dial. And then, a reality check is in order.

    White balance used to be corrected with filters on conventional cameras, but now it is done digitally. When you scroll to the white balance menu on the P90 and make a change, feedback is visually immediate on the screen if applicable. For instance, setting it to incandescent will get rid of the orange hue of indoor lights. You should adjust for white balance depending on your shooting situation and think of it each time you shoot.

    Exposure compensation is available on the multi-selector with just one push of the button. As you then adjust the exposure by click, again, you see the change on the screen. Although you can also use an auto bracketing feature, I really like this feature when I see the first shot on screen and want to decrease or increase exposure fast and easy.

    Four types of metering are available. I happen to like the spot meter for most shooting. One trick (useful with all digital cameras that offer metering) is to meter various things in the shot. You will see the exposure change before your eyes. Metering something dark will lighten the shot or, the reverse, metering something light will darken the shot. For instance, I have two black dogs with white paws and briskets. If I meter their faces directly the shots are always overexposed. I often meter the white brisket by pushing the shutter release button half down and then recompose the shot to take the picture. You can do this in all kinds of shooting situations, provided your subject remains in focus.

    As in film photography, the most useful ISO speeds are probably 64 through 400. Expect shots at 800 and 1600 to be digitally noisy, just as they would be grainy in film. Again, the P90 allows for almost instant changing of ISO settings, something you couldn’t do with film.

    As for shooting modes, all the standard modes (aperture and shutter priority as well as program auto) are available on the mode dial, including full manual, and lots of other bells and whistles. A good many people will treat the P90 like a pocket camera and just go full auto, which is fine. That will yield many good results. However, for those who are more inclined to an artistic eye or more control, the camera is feature rich enough to offer almost limitless possibilities. And, that is the reason to digest the manual fully. Remember, it’s digital, so you can delete failed shots (and just imagine the waste and money if it was film and prints).

    Listen, there are a hundred other added values on the various menus. Voice recording, time lapse movies, continuous shooting at 15 frames per second … blah, blah, blah. I won’t even go there. Suffice it to say that it’s a lot of value for fewer than three hundred bucks.

    Now, let’s address the reality check. Much of the hype about the 24X zoom is just that, hype. Few shots can be terrific at full length on a zoom of this quality, so don’t count on using it for bald eagles a quarter mile away, let alone off tripod. As stated above, don’t hope for magazine quality shots at ISO 1600, it just can’t happen. The built-in flash is standard fare. Straight-on flash can be flat and unflattering in portraiture on any camera. It’s also easy to wash out a shot … so expect to bracket if the shot is important to you.

    Some have stated that the camera feels cheap because it is so light weight. I actually love that it is light and easy on the neck. Personally, I don’t think it looks or feels “cheap” at all.

    Finally, I do have a few minor complaints. I cannot for the life of me understand why Nikon won’t thread these cameras for filters. Sure, most filtering is digital these days, but I would kill sometimes for a polarizing filter and would very much have liked to keep a UV filter on the camera for lens protection, just as I always did on my old conventional cameras. Further, I hate rechargeable batteries. I so wish that they would have gone with AA or AAA batteries which you can always find anywhere.

    Having stated that, I am giving the P90 five stars, because it’s been an amazing, wonderful camera for me, and it’s taking some killer good pictures, especially since I took the time to understand its potential. Repeat after me … “the manual is my friend”.

  • Nicki Rakitti December 2, 2009 06:15 am

    I've had the P90 since September and I do like it but I think I liked my Panasonic DMC-FZ28 better. The Nikon P90 makes a really weird noise when the zoom is extended all the way and I depress the shutter button half way to focus. I've noticed a lot more noise in my night photographs than what the Panasonic used to give me. However, it could just be due to my inexperience at getting the right settings down. If I had a choice I would sell the P90 and get the new Panasonic FZ35. But until then, I'll try learning more about photography and maybe I'll get to like this Nikon model in time.

  • Milton November 28, 2009 01:51 pm

    i just purchased a Nikon P 90 from Amazon after much delibration.The reviews here I have found interesting.

  • Oliver November 28, 2009 08:55 am

    I have recently purchased a P-90 and I am an ameture but the photos I have taken has really produced good results.I have no complains about the product

  • JP September 29, 2009 05:47 pm

    Yeah... I kinda feel the same way as @LadyKaldi this is more a overview than a review. Its biggest competitors would be the SX10 and SX20 canons.

    I've gotten the chance to play with the sx10, 20 and the P90, compare images on computer. I've only tested in daylight and indoors with tungsten lighting. My lightmeter read 1/30th @ f/4 @ ISO 1600 indoors.

    The Nikon focuses about 10-30% faster than either canon. It also zooms in faster too. The Nikon is wider angle and zooms in farther. I will note that when zoomed in the Nikon has fringing issues and past x15 sharpness takes a hit. Detail goes downhill. I also find the button layout not as intuitive as Canon's. Lastly The LCD screen is bigger, brighter, and more vibrant than Canon's.

    On Canon's side the image quality is excellent all the way through the zoom although past x15 images start to get a little soft though not as bad as the P90. The canon also has a little bit better high ISO noise quality than the P90. I found that the P90 used alot of in camera noise reduction which lead to rediculous soft images. Canon's SX20 is also the only one that sports HD video up to 720p.

    One feature that the sx10/20 has that the P90 doesn't is the lack of a hot shoe mount. What is cool about that is that I can shoot images with the SX's with my lighting equipment. As a professional photographer, I find value in the 1/500th sync speed as my 50D is 1/250th and my 5d's are @ 1/200th.

    Anyways, a little review/comparision with the P90 and the Canon SX10/20.

  • Chanev August 25, 2009 09:44 pm

    I like this camera.
    You can see some photos on my profile at panoramio panoramio:
    http://www.panoramio.com/user/243521

    Not all are made with this camera, only da recent. Also the photos are resized!!!
    The originals are with much better quality.

  • Glenn Runyan August 21, 2009 01:54 am

    Can you use filters directly on the lens or do you need an adapter like on the Sony superzooms? What size filters? A UV or 1A filter on the front of the lens has saved my lens on more than one occasion when I have dropped or had the camera knocked from my hands.

    Glenn

  • Shannon August 19, 2009 01:05 pm

    I am a complete amateur and am trying to learn alot fast. I had the Nikon P90 and love it. But I have nothing better to compare it to, so next to my Kodak Easyshare it is amazing, and I love the zoom and the action shots I can take. For everything else I carry a Canon sd1100is in my purse. I also love that. I really don't know much at all, but I'm looking forward to learning! I "hear" from my other non photo taking friends that I take really good pictures, but what do they know? Ha ha!

  • santhosh August 18, 2009 12:07 am

    Really bad result. Especially sky/clouds looks too bad. Never expected such a flop from Nikon

  • innk August 8, 2009 08:22 pm

    hi everyone,

    I'm browsing cameras and interested in either this nikon P90 or canon powershot SX10is. Does anyone know which one is better between the two? If I don't have a tripod, can it still produce sharp images despite of the slight movement of my hands?

  • Marty Burke August 7, 2009 10:11 pm

    Ditto that!

  • Kris Peterson August 7, 2009 05:13 am

    Nikon Coolpix P90 Review was the name of this thread and for those of us that have given input concerning the pluses and minuses of this camera solely for the benefit of those perhaps interested in purchasing it, may I suggest that we stay on track. If someone has complaints about the DPS site and its reviews, it is always possible to find another site that better meets your needs. I receive enough junk mail on a daily basis without adding to it by someone who just wishes to complain.

  • LadyKaldi August 7, 2009 01:41 am

    I'm un-impressed by the camera reviews on DPS. They're little more than a repeat of the manufacturers specs. If you want to be valuable, add some value, please. In addition, this site seems married to Nikon and Canon and that's fine for shilling but what about the other camera manufacturers?

  • brian August 6, 2009 05:41 am

    I bought a P90 a couple of weeks ago and am very pleased with the results. I am still exploring the advanced features of the camera. Referring to Jim's review, since when has light been a problem? The reason I chose a compact zoom is that I was getting a curveature of the spine lugging around all the old heavy lenses etc.

    A review on one site showed some images at high zoom, so that the image was starting to pixelate. I found this review just after I had placed the order for my P90. The image was awful. It looked like someone had wiped a wet watercolour. You can imagine I was concerned I had ordered a piece of junk. Pleased to tell you the images I am getting are much much better than those shown on that review site.

    Hand held at full zoom I took a photo of a seagull at about 60 feet distance. The gull 2/3 fills the frame and is absolutely sharp. At 60 feet and full 24 X zoom the photo clearly and sharply shows the pupil in the birds eye. I was amazed at this shot.

    It may not give full proffesional results, no raw, but for the amateur enthusiast, fed up with dragging around a wheel barrow full of kit, this is a good solution. Unless you are a Luddite!

  • Jim August 6, 2009 05:35 am

    As you wish..I have better things to do myself..Good day.

  • Marty Burke August 6, 2009 03:34 am

    For Jim:

    I'm not terribly interested in getting into a watering contest with you. Telling folks that you don't like the weight/feel of the P90 or that it's built in a foreign factory does not speak to any deficiencies in the camera. If you can't articulate the problem then this might be a good time to listen to what other folks - not just me - are staying about the P90 that is constructive.

  • Jim August 6, 2009 03:25 am

    For Marty. I also own a D3 and a D 300 with Several Lenses, 3 of which are 2.8's so when I say the P90 is a piece of junk I feel I know a little about what I am talking about. I owned one for 3 days and then sent it back and got a L100 which works much better for a p&s. The P 90 is way to light for the Zoom range and it feels really cheap. We all know that most of these P&S cameras are made in about 3 or 4 factories in Asia and are built under the Spec's that Nikon and whoever orders them and it would be to those Companies advantage to put a little more Quality in what they produce.I found that Spending $200 less on the L100 was a much better value than the P90. I am sober and over 14. you sound like a person with a pimple on his butt so go get some neosporian

  • Marty Burke August 5, 2009 12:25 pm

    For Jim:

    Assuming you're over the age of 14 and sober, you'd sound a lot more plausible if you substantiate your rants with some facts. In addition to the P90, I use a D200 and a D300. One of the other commentors uses a D3. From the perspective of high end users, the P90 is an excellent camera. It delivers sharp images, has a 24 X optical zoom, has enough megapixels to allow some pretty fancy cropping and has a long list of excellent features that I suggest you should probably read. If you do have legimate complaints, let's hear them.

  • Jim August 5, 2009 11:47 am

    To people who want a whole lot but don't know any better. I am a Nikon Fan to the Core..but this P90 is a piece of amateur junk.

  • Bonnie Freeland August 2, 2009 12:21 pm

    I am confused about what audience this camera is focused on. There is the Coolpix series for those who want the "little camera that fits into a pocket/purse" and there are the D80, etc., which suit the professional to the almost-professional, then of course the larger, more expensive line of Nikon DSLR's for purely professional use. This one seems rather "gimmicky" - whom does it target?

  • Ruth July 31, 2009 04:12 am

    Enjoyed your assessment of the Nikon P90. I am learning as this info is helpful.

  • Kris Peterson July 31, 2009 02:06 am

    I bought the P90 when it came out in March and it is a great lightweight little camera to keep in your bag to capture those shots that you may have missed when not wanting to carry around a heavier counterpart. I use the Nikon D3, and the P90 does not take that quality of photo, but then, it is not intended to. But it does have most of the features of the big guys and the zoom is terrific with a steady hand ot tripod. You can bracket for HDR photos and do almost everything else. And it feels more like a real camera than those pocket models.

  • Marty Burke July 31, 2009 01:41 am

    I've been using this camera nearly every day for the last six weeks as a backup to my Nikon D200 dSLR. It's an excellent little camera. It takes sharp images, performs well at distance and has many superior built-in features normally associated with a camera that's twice its price! I'm sold!!

  • Glenn Fernandes July 30, 2009 06:03 pm

    That's really an awesome camera. Image quality is awesome. I am impressed by its features. I also like the Nikon cool pix L100 camera. It has good design and features. For more in detail refer Nikon Coolpix L100

  • JP Lumansoc July 30, 2009 03:49 pm

    I'll note that the Canon SX10IS has sharper images than the P90 but past that the P90 focuses faster and has a better optical range.

  • Jim July 30, 2009 11:32 am

    Have handled the P 90 and it felt really cheap, really too light to have such a zoom range and at the far end the pic's were no good at all, need a real steady tripod.. I also cannot understand why this camera does not have a lens hood. Save your $$$.

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