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The Nikon Coolpix P90 has been replaced with the Nikon Coolpix P100.
- Zoom: 24x optical
- Resolution: 12.1Mp
- Sensor size: 1/2.33in
- Sensor type: CCD
- Max. image size: 4000x3000
- File type: JPEG
- Sensitivity: ISO64-6400
- Storage: 47Mb internal, SD, SDHC cards (MMC not accepted)
- Focus types: Face detection, auto, manual, centre spot
- Normal focusing: 50cm-infintiy
- Close focusing: 1cm-infinity
- Metering types: Matrix, centre-weighted, spot, spot AF area
- Exposure compensation: +/- 2EV in 1/3 step increments
- Shutter speed: 8sec-1/2000sec
- Flash: Built-in
- Monitor: 3in articulated LCD
- Interface: USB 2.0
- Power: Li-Ion battery
- Size: 114x99x83mm
- Weight: 460g excl. battery and card
It's been ten months since I reviewed the Nikon Coolpix P80 and it received a cool verdict because of it's noise results. It's worth seeing if the P90 has improved on image quality because a camera can have all the bells and whistles but if the images aren't up to scratch, there's no point.
Design-wise, the camera has the same layout albeit on a slightly larger shell which is to house the increased optical zoom of 24x from 18x.
The new 3in screen is articulated to 90 degrees up and 45 degrees down.
The lens on the P90 has been extended from 18x on the P80 to 24x optical.
A side view of the camera shows the 45 degree angle of the articulating screen.
The command dial has added features and the power button lights up green.
Pastel colours aren't coming out as much as I've seen but the mono tones are nicely balanced.
I'm also impressed with the portrait result. It's warmer than I expected after the colour test chart with good detail and soft shadows. There's a little under exposure in program compared to the portrait mode but it's just as warm and sometimes a slightly darker image can look better.
Adding flash has increased light and evened out the skin while adding catchlights to bring the eyes to life. Unfortunately, it's given a cast that is bordering on light yellow. Standing alone the image looks great but when comparing it to the cast of the images without flash, it's definitely there.
Portrait mode has a good exposure and nice detail.
Switching to program shows little difference except a small amount of under exposure.
Adding flash is great and looks like it hasn't been used but for tell tale signs such as catchlights. A nasty cast has been added to the image though.
Looking at the landscape image and the exposure is balanced with good colours being reproduced. I like the detail of the grass in the foreground but not that the camera shifts slightly out of focus towards the middle distance.
I tested the zoom capabilities of the P90 and placed them here. It's certainly impressive and if you're going to need this kind of pull then it's a worthy camera to look at.
Remember that with a zoom this size, the closer you are to the subject, the more that any shake will be amplified so a tripod may be necessary.
At the widest, plenty of landscape is shown.
At full zoom, the barge can be clearly seen.
This is the area that the P80 really fell down in. So far I'm quite pleased with the results of the P90 in terms of picture quality with the exception of the fringing in high contrast areas.
We start at ISO64 which gives a lovely smooth result with plenty of detail in the petals, much as I'd expect at this low setting. I think there has been some improvements in noise control because it doesn't start showing until ISO400 which is a step higher than the previous camera.
However when you get to ISO400, the noise is pretty aggressive with coloured blotches appearing in the grey card area and detail in the petal beginning to drop. ISO1600 is the last sensitivity setting with full resolution and the image is pretty bad. Hardly an ounce of detail and bad colour invasion all over.
In an attempt to control it, the resolution is knocked to 5Mp for ISO3200 and ISO6400. It's a worthy attempt but the noise is simply too much for the camera to control and the picture is fuzzy and bleak.
Maybe it's just me but I think maybe with the camera being bigger, they might have been able to fit a bigger sensor in to combat the problem. I'm sure they have their reasons for not doing which is a shame.
The ISO64 test.
The ISO1600 test.
The ISO6400 test.
I've kept the review of the P80 open while I did this so I can compare not only what it did in the test but also what I said about it to see if I was repeating myself. I think the three major changes of zoom, resolution and articulated screen are good and the image stabilising options have been increased with the motion detection system.
I still think there's room for improvement in image quality especially in colour fringing and noise control. That said, I mentioned the P80 as the camera for everyone and that wasn't strictly true. It wasn't perfect for low level photographers and now the P90 has covered that base as well.
Nikon Coolpix P90: Plus points
Nice colour rendition
Fast shutter lag
Nikon Coolpix P90: Minus points
Colour fringing can be quite bad
Noise control still isn't very good
Macro wouldn't focus below 5cm
The Nikon Coolpix P90 costs around £380 and is available from Warehouse Express here:
Nikon Coolpix P90