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Nikon COOLPIX P90
We checked out the Nikon COOLPIX P80 earlier this year, and were really impressed by its feature-rich offerings and awesome performance. It's time now to get down and dirty with the Nikon Coolpix P90 - which like its predecessor - shows great promise!
The P90 looks almost identical to the P80, and has similar dimensions and weight - 83 x 114 x 99 mm and 400 grams. In other words, it looks great and weighs just about right. The build quality's great - the body's made of tough plastic with a well contoured handgrip that makes it comfortable to hold. The handgrip, along with a thumbgrip on the facing side of the camera - are coated with rubber to help improve grip.
The best addition to the P90 is the tilt LCD that can be moved to face up or down, using a sturdy double joint extension. While the range of motion is limited to one axis, it's a welcome bonus to help you when you've got to take a shot from a tight spot.
Where button placement's concerned, the P90 gave us nothing to complain about. The shutter button's placed at a convenient angle at the front of handgrip, so that your index finger rests comfortably on it. The zoom toggle ring's placed around it. The interface buttons (navigation pad etc.) are placed in a clutter-free manner on the facing side of the camera.
Even where aesthetics are concerned, the P90 impresses with a mix of shiny and textured black plastic body parts, that come together to give it a sophisticated and sturdy look and feel. So where both build quality and looks are concerned, the P90 certainly left an impression.
The Nikon COOLPIX P90's CCD sensor allows for pictures of up to 12 megapixels. The picture quality wasn't the greatest I've seen though, and the detail levels were just about average. The feature the camera boasts of is its 24x optical zoom capability, that surpasses many in its league and price range. Also, the fact that the camera features great image stabilization, means that you can take shots in full zoom without a tripod, provided you have sturdy hands.
Besides a plethora of scene modes, the camera gives you ample manual modes to play around with, which include Manual, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority and Programmed auto. If you're one who likes to dabble with amateur photography and move past the casual photographer mark, you'll find that these features are just for you. The camera even features two customizable User Modes, that allow you to save all your settings on to them so that you can shuffle between them easily.
Picture quality was pretty average in the P90, with detail levels at just satisfactory levels. Color reproduction and auto-white balance - on the other hand - were accurate and left nothing to complain about. Macro mode performance was rather good, and the camera captured details (and focused on) objects as close as 1.5-inches away.
ISO sensitivity was pretty average too, and image quality started suffering beyond ISO 200, when details would get blurred out or covered by artifacts. The light sensitivity does go up to ISO 6400 though, but it's not even worth mentioning that since, images are completely unusable post ISO 1600.
Night shots weren't the most impressive either, but they weren't too bad. Details in low light shots were lost, but light and dark areas were picked up pretty well.
The Nikon COOLPIX P90 offers a plethora of features, but falters a bit when it comes to picture quality and ISO performance. In spite of that, the manual features allow you quite a bit of control, so if you know how to use them right, this camera can be quite a powerful tool to behold. At the price of Rs. 24,950 (street), I wouldn't call this one a steal; but it certainly makes for a sturdy and reliable companion for new photographers who wish to dabble in amateur photography, provided you can deal with its drawbacks.