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Nikon Coolpix P100 review

Ben Pitt
1 Jun 2010
Nikon Coolpix P100
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
301
inc VAT

The controls could be more immediate, but the sharp lens and low-noise sensor are capable of great results

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Specifications

1/2.3in 10.0-megapixel sensor, 26.0x zoom (26-678mm equivalent), 481g

The Nikon P100 has much in common with the Fujifilm HS10. Both cameras have a 10-megapixel back-illuminated sensor, record 1080p HD video and lower-resolution slow-motion clips, and both come with a 3in articulated screen. The P100 costs considerably less than the HS10, though.

What you don’t get here are the HS10’s tactile controls. There’s a command dial for making quick adjustments to settings, but most options are accessed by browsing the menu pages. It also lacks an orientation sensor, so portrait-shaped photos must be rotated manually on a PC.

There are a few areas where the P100 beats the HS10. Its screen has twice the resolution and its Li-ion battery is much lighter and more convenient than four AA batteries. The 250-shot battery life isn’t so impressive, though. It’s faster to capture photos, with just 1.8 seconds on average between frames, and 8.5 seconds between shots at full flash power. Neither camera is as fast as Panasonic's FZ38, though.

The P100’s 1080p videos were incredibly detailed at wide-angle settings but they weren’t so impressive at the telephoto end of the zoom. The autofocus struggled to lock onto subjects, and handheld operation or even just adjusting the zoom caused the picture to shake unpleasantly.

Photos were much better, with the lens exhibiting superb corner-to-corner focus and stunning close-ups of distant subjects in bright light. The optical stabilisation was less effective than other cameras’ systems, though. Fully automatic settings chose slow shutter speeds in low light, leading to blurry shots, but there are sophisticated options to customise the behaviour of the Auto ISO mode. The back-illuminated CMOS kept the noise down at high ISO speeds, helping to overcome the stabilisation system's limitations.

The P100 is a great camera but it’s sandwiched between two even better ones – the faster, cheaper Panasonic FZ38 and the feature-packed Fujifilm HS10. Still, it’s an excellent choice for those who are put off by the Panasonic’s noisy high-ISO images and the Fujifilm’s high price.

Basic Specifications

Rating****
CCD effective megapixels10.0 megapixels
CCD size1/2.3in
Viewfinderelectronic (230,000 pixels)
Viewfinder magnification, coverageN/A
LCD screen size3.0in
LCD screen resolution460,000 pixels
Articulated screenYes
Live viewYes
Optical zoom26.0x
Zoom 35mm equivalent26-678mm
Image stabilisationoptical, sensor shift
Maximum image resolution3,648x2,736
Maximum movie resolution1920x1080
Movie frame rate at max quality30fps
File formatsJPEG; QuickTime (AVC)

Physical

Memory slotSDHC
Mermory supplied43MB internal
Battery typeLi-ion
Battery Life (tested)250 shots
ConnectivityUSB, AV, mini HDMI
HDMI output resolution1080i
Body materialplastic
Lens mountN/A
Focal length multiplierN/A
Kit lens model nameN/A
AccessoriesUSB and AV cables
Weight481g
Size83x114x99mm

Buying Information

Warrantytwo-year RTB
Price£301
Supplierhttp://www.amazon.co.uk
Detailswww.nikon.co.uk

Camera Controls

Exposure modesprogram, shutter priority, aperture priority, manual
Shutter speed8 to 1/2,000 seconds
Aperture rangef/2.8-8 (wide), f/5-8 (tele)
ISO range (at full resolution)160 to 3200
Exposure compensation+/-2 EV
White balanceauto, 5 presets, manual
Additional image controlsnoise reduction, Active D-Lighting
Manual focusYes
Closest macro focus1cm
Auto-focus modesmulti, centre, spot, face detect
Metering modesmulti, centre-weighted, centre, AF point, face detect
Flashauto, forced, suppressed, slow synchro, red-eye reduction
Drive modessingle, continuous, self-timer, AE bracket, interval

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