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Nikon Coolpix P950 Review

We review the Nikon Coolpix P950, Nikon's new 83x optical zoom lens camera, it features 4K video recording, raw shooting, manual controls, and of course a massive optical zoom lens!


|  Nikon Coolpix P950 in Compact Cameras
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Coolpix P950

Quick Verdict

The Nikon Coolpix P950 is Nikon's update to the P900, and offers the same 83x optical zoom lens, but improves it with 4K video, a flash hot-shoe, microphone socket, and raw shooting. We test the P950 in a variety of places and find that the optical zoom, whilst impressive, needs care to get the best results. With a 2000mm equivalent reach, you may need to use a tripod to get the best results, and you'll definitely want to use a tripod for video. In good conditions, the images look good, and the camera offers a lot.

+ Pros

  • 83x optical zoom lens
  • Full manual controls and raw shooting
  • 4K video recording
  • Larger screen
  • Improved electronic viewfinder

- Cons

  • Shorter battery life
  • Size, and weight (1005g)
  • Lacks a touch-screen
 

 

Nikon Coolpix P950 (4)

The Nikon Coolpix P950 is an update to the Nikon Coolpix P900 and offers the same 83x optical zoom lens, and 16mp sensor, but now offers 4K video, a flash hot-shoe, raw shooting and microphone socket. The Nikon Coolpix P950 has an RRP of £799.

Nikon Coolpix P950 Features

Nikon Coolpix P950 (14)

When the Nikon Coolpix P900 was first introduced in 2015, everyone (including us), was shocked by the incredible 83x optical zoom on offer. Previously the longest or most optical zoom offered was around 65x optical zoom. We were then waiting for Kodak to beat this, with their Kodak Pixpro AZ901, with a 90x optical zoom lens, and then the AZ1000 with a 102x optical zoom lens, however, before Kodak could release the AZ1000, Nikon came along with the insane Nikon Coolpix P1000, with an incredible 125x optical zoom lens! Along with these incredible optical zooms, there comes a price to pay, and that can be found in the size of the camera. The Nikon Coolpix P950 isn't small, but at least it's not as big as the Nikon Coolpix P1000, which is quite frankly HUGE, and heavy (at 1.4kg)


How does the Nikon Coolpix P950 compare to the P900? Here are some of the main features added:

  • 4K UHD video recording (30,25fps)
  • Microphone socket
  • Flash hot-shoe
  • Raw shooting added
  • Bluetooth added, GPS removed
  • Up to 60 seconds shutter speeds available
  • 3.2inch 921k dot viewfinder
  • 2359K dots OLED electronic viewfinder, 0.39inch (larger), +/-3 dioptre
  • EN-EL20a battery, 290 shot battery life
  • 1005g with battery and memory card
  • The P900 has been listed as discontinued on Nikon's website

The Nikon Coolpix P950 uses a 16mp BSI CMOS sensor, for improved low-light performance, compared to a standard CMOS sensor, but it is still a small sensor at 1/2.3inch - see our guide to sensor size here. Alternative ultra-zoom / bridge cameras, such as the Sony Cyber-shot RX10 IV, use a 1inch sensor, and by being larger they can produce better image quality, although due to the laws of physics, these cameras tend to offer "only" 25x optical zoom.

Aiming an 83x optical zoom lens can often be tricky... if you're using the full 83x optical zoom lens, you can easily lose your subject (if it's moving), and to help with this, Nikon has added ... side controls to quickly zoom out, as well as control the zoom more slowly. You can also have a look at the optional Nikon DF-M1 Dot Sight which helps you target your prey, I mean subject.

The 83x optical zoom lens gives a wide-angle view of 24mm (equivalent) and zooms to 2000mm (equivalent). The lens has a relatively bright aperture at the wide-end with f/2.8 available. As you zoom, this reduces, with the aperture becoming f/6.5 at the telephoto end of the lens. You can focus on subjects 1cm away from the lens.

The camera has P, A, S, M shooting modes, giving you manual controls, and raw shooting is now possible. There are multiple scene modes, a creative mode (with a variety of different effects), auto shooting, plus a "User" mode. There is a dedicated bird-watching mode, plus a moon shooting mode, which is designed to help you get the best bird and moon shots respectively.

There's an electronic viewfinder (EVF), with built-in eye-detection so that the camera will automatically switch between the rear screen and the EVF when you hold it up to your face. The EVF has dioptre correction, and is a larger, higher-resolution OLED viewfinder, compared to the P900, with 2,359K dots.

The screen is now 3.2inch in size but has the same resolution with 921K dots. It's not a touch-screen, but does tilt, and swivel, as well as turning forwards for selfies and other group shots, or video use.

Using Nikon's SnapBridge app you can use your smartphone to add geotag location data to your photos, as well as transfer images (via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi), and remotely control the camera (using Wi-Fi).

4K UHD video recording is possible, with 30/25fps available, and there's a microphone socket on the side, in case you want to use an external microphone. You can record FullHD video at 60fps.

Nikon Coolpix P950 (15)

Key Features

  • 16mp BSI CMOS sensor, 1/2.3inch
  • 83x optical zoom lens, f/2.8-6.5, 24-2000mm equivalent
  • Vibration Reduction (VR) Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS), up to 5 stops
  • 3.2inch 921K vari-angle screen
  • 2,359K dot OLED electronic viewfinder, 0.39inch, dioptre correction
  • P, A, S, M shooting modes, with RAW
  • 7fps continuous shooting speed (up to 10 shots)
  • Built-in pop-up flash
  • 4K UHD Video, 30,25fps, FullHD video at 60fps
  • ISO100 to ISO6400
  • Moon and bird-watching scene modes
  • 1cm macro focus
  • Wi-Fi, Bluetooth built-in
  • Microphone socket

Nikon Coolpix P950 Handling

Nikon Coolpix P950 (5)

The camera has a mostly plastic camera body, although there are some metal accents, including the end of the lens barrel, and the metal flash hot-shoe. It goes without saying, that this camera is large, weighing in at just over 1kg. It doesn’t fit in a jacket pocket, and you’re best carrying the camera in a padded bag to protect the camera from damage. The dimensions are 140.2 x 109.6 x 149.8mm.

There’s a large rubber handgrip, and the style is similar in design to a DSLR. The rubber grip covers the camera grip from the front, all the way round to the back, where you’ll find an area for your thumb, with a protruding area to make it easier to get a firm grip of the camera. The lens barrel has a textured area making the camera texture extra grippy. The use of two hands to hold the camera is definitely recommended, and pretty much essential, in order to make sure you are holding the camera as still as possible.

The updated controls on the side of the lens give more precise control over the zoom speed, which can be helpful when framing your shot, or when recording video.

EVF and SCREEN

The electronic viewfinder (EVF) has been improved over the previous camera, the P900, having a higher resolution and being physically larger. The view provided is good, although often appeared brighter than the final image. The EVF features dioptre correction, as well as an eye-detection sensor to that the camera can automatically switch between the screen and EVF when you hold the camera up to your eye.

There’s a 3.2inch vari-angle screen, so that you can swing the screen out and face it forwards for selfies, or vlogging. The resolution is reasonable at 921K dots, and the screen has good visibility with good viewing angles. The screen is not a touch-screen, which seems a slightly odd choice in the current market.

Nikon Coolpix P950 (6)

Menus

The menus aren't as polished as those found in Nikon DSLRs, however, there are clearly laid out, with large fonts making it easier to read and change options. The photo and video options are separated, making it clearer what options you are accessing. There's a dedicated Wi-Fi / Communications menu, as well as the setup menus.

You can use the buttons on the camera to directly access flash, exposure compensation, self-timer, macro, and on top of the camera there's a customisable function button.

Wi-Fi features

The camera can be connected to Nikon’s SnapBridge app, available for iOS and Android devices, letting you transfer images (via Bluetooth), remotely control the camera (via Wi-Fi), as well as add GPS location data to images from your smartphone.

Nikon Coolpix P950 (8)

Battery life - The Nikon Coolpix P950 uses a new battery compared to the P900, the EN-EL29a. Unfortunately, battery life is lower than the P900, at 290 shots, so we’d definitely recommend a spare battery. The camera battery can be charged in the camera, using the provided MicroUSB cable.


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Buy Now

Nikon COOLPIX P950
HIGH
£877.27
LOW
£710.23
BUY NOW £799

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Photographs taken using the Nikon Coolpix P950

Not A Picky Eater - Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea)Young Bald EagleDavid and GoliathBewick's Wren in full voiceSquirrel deep in the forestLow TideShort Eared OwlKilldeer on the beach in Puget SoundPort Orchard on The Puget Sound at sunsetCommon Merganser on The Puget SoundCommon MerganserRiver Otter in The Puget Sound

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Comments


pablophotographer 9 1.7k 384
28 Feb 2020 12:37PM
Still, it's cheaper that a ticket to the moon.
I'd rent it when the moon is full, get my night sky pictures and return it.

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