Every time a new megazoom is announced, the ever-expanding zoom range never ceases to surprise us. Just when we thought optical zooms in bridge cameras couldn’t get any longer than the Canon PowerShot SX60’s 65×, Nikon comes out with an 83× zoom in its new Coolpix P900.
This 16-megapixel CMOS bridge camera has an optically stabilized lens that has a 35mm-equivalent 24-2,000mm focal range, and an aperture of 4/2.8-6.5. It has an ISO range of 100-1,600 in auto mode, and up to 6,400 in PASM modes (although you should normally never push that high anyway). Not extreme enough for you? You can push it up to 166× if you employ Nikon’s digital Dynamic Fine Zoom. Ideal for vacationers, families, or users who don’t want to step up to an interchangeable lens camera, the P900 will cover everything from portraits to telephoto. Another value-added feature for travelers is the built-in GPS, which lets you add location information. The P900 has Wi-Fi for image uploads or remote operation via Nikon’s smartphone app for iOS or Android; NFC is also available for those with compatible Android devices. For movies, it can record Full HD 1080 at 60p.
Weighing approximately 2 pounds, the P900 has a lot of DSLR-like qualities. The Nikkor lens uses a super extra-low dispersion glass element “for capturing sharp images and videos from extreme lengths,” Nikon says. It has a new Dual Detect Optical VR stabilization technology to help further compensate camera shake — crucial if you are zooming that far out. The P900 has a fast autofocus system and can shoot 7 frames per second in burst mode. There’s a bright, 3-inch vari-angle 921K-dot LCD, as well as an electronic viewfinder with an eye-sensor that automatically switches between the EVF and LCD. And like a DSLR, there are plenty of dials and buttons for quick settings adjustments, including a full manual mode. For more casual users, there are scene and special effects modes, including time-lapse with star trail. Rechargeable battery life is rated at 360 shots, or about an hour and 20 minutes.
However, the P900 is not completely like a DSLR. It uses a 1/2.3-inch sensor, which is typically found in compact point-and-shoot cameras. And at 83×, it will be interesting to see how good the stabilization system is, because a camera is really susceptible to shakes at full telephoto.
The P900 will list for $600 when it comes out in April 2015 — a good price for a megazoom on steroids.