This review chronicles my experience with the Nikon Coolpix P100 digital camera. This review does not cover every feature on the camera. An full list is available online. The goal of my search was to find a superzoom digital camera that would create high quality print photos. Anything else would be secondary to this goal.
The Nikon CoolPix P100 is a 10.3 megapixel digitcal camera The 26X optical zoom lens is by Nikkor. It has a proprietary battery. Extra batteries can be purchased from Nikon.
What I wanted in a camera was :
Good quality photos when printed
To avoid carrying a large camera bag with extra lenses etc.
Nikon was near the top of my superzoom search list because of my family’s experiences. Hubby uses their D-90 while our daughter has a D -80. Both of them are convinced that Nikon makes the best DSLR cameras on the planet.
DSLR cameras cannot be topped for superb quality. They also require carrying extra lenses. I wanted to steer away from a DSLR because of that. My old Kodak Easyshare was dropped several times. I wouldn’t want that to happen with a $1000 camera.
Cameras compared were
Nikon Coolpix P100
Fujifilm FinePix S2700HD
Canon PowerShot SX20 IS
Lab processed prints were compared in three of the cameras. The Nikon CoolPix P100 was one of the three that were tested. Maximum zoom and similar zoom levels were compared across the cameras.
Since Hubby was more familiar with Nikon cameras than I am he drove with me to the camera store. The friendly staff at our favorite photo shop and lab is usually happy to see us arrive. The Nikon CoolPix P100 was charged up and ready to go. A few minutes after arriving I was evaluating the camera in-store.
My plan was to shoot several photos and print them while at the store. If I liked the camera I would bring it home and more thoroughly try it out. If the Nikon CoolPix P100 performed well for my needs it would become my latest joy. If not, it would be returned.
What I liked
The Nikon CoolPix P100 almost feels like one of the DSLR. It had some weight and felt solid. It was a good fit ergonomically. Familiarizing myself with the key features took only a few minutes. Nikon did a good job by making the controls user friendly.
The Nikon CoolPix P100 has a 26X optical superzoom lens. It tied with the Kodak Z981 with the longest focal length of the digital cameras that I tried.
Controls on the CoolPix P100 are straightforward. That doesn’t mean you won’t have to spend time studying the paper manual. This camera is packed with features that weren’t found on the other digital cameras that I tried.
With these features the Nikon CoolPix P100 can shoot in auto mode. It also has the capability to manually adjust. On board photo manipulation includes the ability to crop, go black and white and a lot more.
What I didn’t like
The Nikon CoolPix P100 weighed a bit more than the other cameras I tried. While it was not a problem for in-store shooting but I think it would get old after a full weekend of shooting.
The proprietary battery did not make me happy. I like the comfort of being able to buy replacement batteries if in a pinch. The Nikon CoolPix P100 doesn’t have that option.
Again, my main concern was photo quality. Neither of the above were deal breakers. There is a lot to like about the camera. Unfortunately, the picture quality wasn’t what I wanted.
I didn’t use a tripod but I did rest the camera fully on the end of the display. This allowed it to be still when using the 26x superzoom. A tripod or sturdy table is a must when holding any superzoom camera steady.
For computer viewing this camera is fine. The photos were acceptable when viewed on the computer. At maximum and near maximum zoom capabilities the noise was obvious. The color balance was good at the lower levels but was noticeably less than perfect on the higher zoom and mid-zoom.
This seemed to be a sad trend among the cameras that I tried. My plan was to absolutely love the Nikon CoolPix P100. We were all a bit sad when that didn’t happen. I like the idea of a 26X superzoom, easy controls and the ability to record video with stereo sound.
The soft print photos and noise were the deal breaker. I decided that the Nikon CoolPix P100 didn’t meet my needs. Thus, the search for the superzoom that would work for me continued.