Nikon P900 Hands-On Review: It’s all about the zoom!

Since many potential owners of the Nikon P900 will want to capture some nature images with it, let’s look at some sample images of animals and birds.

NIKON P900, f/5, 1/30, ISO-800, 80mm, efov 450mm
NIKON P900, f/5, 1/30, ISO-800, 80mm, efov 450mm

The above close-up image of an alpaca was taken indoors at the recent Raptor Fest event in Grimsby. The P900 captured a decent level of detail.

NIKON P900, f/6.3, 1/100, ISO-400, 98mm, efov 550mm
NIKON P900, f/6.3, 1/100, ISO-400, 98mm, efov 550mm

The lizard image above was captured at Bird Kingdom in Niagara Falls Canada. It was sitting below a very bright warming light and you can see how the highlights on the top of its head have been blown out by the intense lighting. Any camera using a small 1/2.33″ sensor would face the same challenge with this type of image as the Nikon P900 experienced.

I took the Nikon P900 to the Mountsberg Conservation Area to take a few images of the captive raptors that are on display at the facility. The rear swivel screen was very useful to help capture the following images. Due to some roped boundaries it is difficult to get close enough to the mesh enclosures to shoot through them. I was able to hold the P900 extended out with one hand and adjust the rear swivel screen so I could see how each subject was being captured. Then when I got the framing I wanted I could complete my ‘one-hand’ image capture.

NIKON P900, f/5, 1/320, ISO-100, 98mm, efov 550mm
NIKON P900, f/5, 1/320, ISO-100, 98mm, efov 550mm
NIKON P900, f/7.1, 1/100, ISO-800, 125mm, efov 700mm
NIKON P900, f/7.1, 1/100, ISO-800, 125mm, efov 700mm
NIKON P900, f/7.1, 1/500, ISO-400, 152mm, efov 850mm
NIKON P900, f/7.1, 1/500, ISO-400, 152mm, efov 850mm
NIKON P900, f/7.1, 1/60, ISO-400, 62mm, efov 350mm
NIKON P900, f/7.1, 1/60, ISO-400, 62mm, efov 350mm

Now let’s look at some challenging lighting conditions by viewing some additional images taken hand-held at Bird Kingdom. You’ll notice that the amount of noise varies quite a bit based on the amount of detail in the image as well as the nature of the background in the photo. The EXIF data will also provide you with shooting details including some of the slower shutter speeds at which some of these images were captured. These provide some testimony to the effectiveness of the vibration reduction on the Nikon CoolPix P900.

NIKON P900, f/6.3, 1/15, ISO-1600, 89mm, efov 500mm
NIKON P900, f/6.3, 1/15, ISO-1600, 89mm, efov 500mm
NIKON P900, f/5.6, 1/20, ISO-1600, 125mm, efov 700mm
NIKON P900, f/5.6, 1/20, ISO-1600, 125mm, efov 700mm
NIKON P900, f/6.3, 1/30, ISO-800, 98mm, efov 550mm
NIKON P900, f/6.3, 1/30, ISO-800, 98mm, efov 550mm
NIKON P900, f/5.6, 1/100, ISO-800, 170mm, efov 950mm
NIKON P900, f/5.6, 1/100, ISO-800, 170mm, efov 950mm
NIKON P900, f/5.6, 1/30, ISO-1600, 116mm, efov 650mm
NIKON P900, f/5.6, 1/30, ISO-1600, 116mm, efov 650mm
NIKON P900, f/7.1, 1/25, ISO-900, 107mm, efov 600mm
NIKON P900, f/7.1, 1/25, ISO-900, 107mm, efov 600mm
NIKON P900, f/7.1, 1/60, ISO-800, 170mm, efov 950mm
NIKON P900, f/7.1, 1/60, ISO-800, 170mm, efov 950mm
NIKON P900, f/6.3, 1/60, ISO-800, 125mm, efov 700mm
NIKON P900, f/6.3, 1/60, ISO-800, 125mm, efov 700mm
NIKON P900, f/6.3, 1/125, ISO-560, 214mm, efov 1200mm
NIKON P900, f/6.3, 1/125, ISO-560, 214mm, efov 1200mm

Outdoors in good lighting conditions the Nikon P900 is capable of capturing some very nice images of stationary birds as the following samples indicate. It’s worth noting that the two images of the cormorants were taken by my brother-in-law who has tried other long telephoto options in the past and had only partial success. He got a much higher percentage of keepers with the P900.

NIKON P900, f/7.1, 1/500, ISO-110, 178mm, efov 1000mm
NIKON P900, f/7.1, 1/500, ISO-110, 178mm, efov 1000mm
NIKON P900, f/6.3, 1/500, ISO-250, 214mm, efov 1200mm
NIKON P900, f/6.3, 1/500, ISO-250, 214mm, efov 1200mm
NIKON P900, f/6.3, 1/500, ISO-140, 321mm, efov 1800mm
NIKON P900, f/6.3, 1/500, ISO-140, 321mm, efov 1800mm

15 thoughts on “Nikon P900 Hands-On Review: It’s all about the zoom!”

    1. Hi Frank,
      I haven’t used the P900 for quite a while, since I had a ‘review sample’ from Nikon Canada in order to write my review. If my memory serves (a challenge at times) I think if you keep ‘extending the zoom’ with the power control the camera will automatically go into digital zoom at the end of the optical zoom range.
      Tom

  1. Hi Tom,
    I realise I am a little late commenting and discovering this haha, but I have just recently got into it photography properly and have found your review and pictures really really helpful! Lovely pictures also. I wondered whether you thought this camera would be appropriate for aviation photography? Particularly take off and landing. The zoom on this seems advantageous for capturing mid flight but heard mixed reviews about slow shutter speed, so just wondered what you thought 🙂

    Thank you, and again awesome job on the review really enjoyed it 😀

    Katie

    1. Hi Katie,
      Welcome to the website – always great to have another new reader! It has been quite a while since I reviewed the P900, and I sent the review sample of the camera back to Nikon Canada ages ago. The auto-focus performance on the P900 is not one of the strong points of the camera. I found there was some noticeable hesitation when attempting to photograph birds in flight, and this would not be a camera I would choose for that type of photography. I never attempted to photograph aircraft with the P900 so I have no first hand experience on which to draw. I suppose if you had a decent length of time to focus on your subject the P900 may do an acceptable job as long as it was large enough in the frame. I realize that is a tepid comment – but that’s the best I can offer based on my experience with the camera.
      Tom

  2. Excellent bird photos. In magic light half hour or one hour before sunset wold bring more details. a diffuser on a flash would be great. does it has a shoe that can mount a flash. Gary fong diffusers or a diy wolld aswsome

    1. Hi.I ‘m going to change the macro mode in manual focus to normal.(in my camera ,manual focus range is above 30 cm. Please guide me.

  3. Hi Guys,

    I’m seriously considering the P900.
    I currently have a few lenses for my current camera which is a Sony Nex 6, I just hate chopping and changing lenses, so have been looking for a good bridge camera. I would mostly shoot landscapes/family event type photos. I have my GoPro for my snowboarding.

    Would appreciate thoughts/advice

    1. Hi Stewart,

      I think the Nikon P900 is a decent camera for the money. It really depends on your needs, budget and image quality expectations. As I noted in my review the image quality of the P900 is ok given its tiny sensor. The camera doesn’t shoot in RAW so there’s little opportunity to get more from the files. The big differentiator for the P900 is its incredible zoom range. If you really need this then there isn’t much on the market that competes with it.

      If, on the other hand, you are looking for a good zoom range for most types of photography there are a lot of other cameras to put in the hopper. Panasonic makes some excellent bridge cameras for example. Nikon will likely be introducing at least one (maybe more) higher end bridge camera within the next couple of months. It will likely have either a 1″ or APS-C sensor in it so the image quality would be much better than what you’d get with the P900. If you can wait a few months it may be worthwhile to hold off…typically camera manufacturers launch a lot of new gear in February.

      Tom

  4. I enjoyed your review. I bought a P900 awhile back to take as a second camera on a trip to the Grand Canyon and other Southwest locations. When I accidentally dropped my D5300 while on the trip, it moved up to primary. There are certainly limitations. I find the EVF to be very dim in bright light, making composition more challenging. That may be just a problem with my copy.

    All in all, I was happy with the camera and got some shots that I wouldn’t have otherwise. The anti-shake works incredibly well, salvaging shots in spite of wind and moving vehicles. You can see some samples here: https://www.pbase.com/d_berry/southwest

    Thank you for posting such a comprehensive review.

  5. Hi Tom,

    Great information here. I do think you need to edit the opening header as you have 24mm to 20000mm. Can’t wait for that camera to be built.

    The information you’ve provided here will help me recommend or not recommend this particular model to those who ask me for advice however from what I see of your images the camera seems to be quite capable for those who need a good bridge camera. Thanks for the review.

    1. Hi Mike,
      Thanks for catching that typo on the efov range…much appreciated. The P900 is an interesting bridge camera and for people specifically wanting a long equivalent focal length it would be a very good choice.
      Tom

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