Still looking at the Nikon P900

Sure, the Nikon P900 can focus from here to eternity (hey, that would make a great movie title!) but how does it handle and perform as an everyday camera?

Well, I’m here to tell you a bit about it. No technical jargon, no numbers, just my impression and samples of the photos. These photos have been minimally retouched using a slightly modified process from what I use on my RAW files. These JPGs were also taken with the D-Lighting active, something I don’t do on my SLR. The next batch of photos will be with center-weighted metering, which is my typical setting. 

OK, OK, there is a bit of jargon; this is, after all, a post about photography.



I do have one number to report . . . a half inch . . . that is how close the macro focuses. In taking the above two photos I was very nervous about scratching the lens. I will not do that again. 

All of the photos in the main body of this post are clickable to get a larger size (like my regular photos). Because I have a lot of photos (73 . . . I know, more numbers) I will only show a few and then put the rest in a gallery people can peruse if their interest moves them so. 

One additional comment before I go on; there will be a post just for the movies. 

OK, here we go . . . 

These next four shots were taken from our third-floor balcony at the ground floor below.  





I think those are perfectly fine photos even at the native resolution, but understand my criteria is meeting a level of quality for the blog. That’s different from me wanting to print something, enlarge something by cropping, etc. etc. 

The last two photos are softer than I would like but the regular rig would have had similar issues with those subjects (very bright and very dark). Again, for the blog, I think both my readers and I would be pleased (if, you know, it were different subjects). 




With flash from about 15ft. (oh, look! . . . more numbers)

With flash from about 15ft. (oh, look! . . . more numbers)

Again, I am pleased with the results. I also went out to shoot waves and surfers. The waves were high and violent and it was very bright shooting with an early-afternoon sun. 





One problem with those is that they are soft . . . because I did not realize I was in aperture mode. Still, I’ll call them passable, especially since these were about 150 yards out, and a few of those farther still.

Here is a shot of things I might capture here or there . . . 



I’m going to say my regular rig would have fared better . . . but this does not look bad to me. Certainly better than my phone would have done.

Here are some splashing waves.



. . . and here are some rollers . . . 



The highlights are slightly blown, but I’m not sure if that’s because of the D-Lighting (hey, look; more technical jargon) making sure the rocks look good. I would have metered on the waves and recovered the rocks. You can’t recover from blown highlights.

After our walk this morning, I took a stroll on the flower/garden path near where we walk. Again, sun high in the sky and very bright.





I can’t complain about these shots. The second shot is a macro and it’s a bit soft around the edges (will you give it a rest with the technical mumbo-jumbo? Sheesh!)

One thing that’s hit and miss with the camera is shooting stuff that’s moving. I’d have to play with the shutter speed but the shutter lag is also problematic. 

20170116_dscn0361_1-processed_digi 20170116_dscn0395_1-processed_digi

Both of those subjects were in constant motion and I was zoomed in quite a bit . . . a real challenge, it was. 

There was a breeze, so I’m pleased with the flower shots (they too were moving):





20170116_dscn0392_1-processed_digiBright reds, orange, and yellows are typically difficult colors to photograph in full sun. Again, I’m not displeased with these.




This scene doesn’t have the impact of the actual scene . . . 


. . . but these are rendered quite well . . . 


Two stationary objects for comparison . . . 



After that, I stopped at another site to capture surfers and waves . . . 




Again, more than a hundred yards and less than three hundred. 

I also saw this . . . 



Look, I ain’t no pro . . . photos for me are a way to add to the narrative. Occasionally, they let me do some artistic thing or other, and occasionally I capture photos worthy of framing. That said, these do not look that bad to me. 

Perhaps I’m trying to justify spending the money on this camera, but it’s not like this will replace my regular set-up. It’s just something easier to carry around when I’m out and about and not specifically looking to photograph something. It’s also something much better than my phone and much better than the Panasonic Point-and-Shoot I currently keep in the car.

We are going on a drive tomorrow, and I’ll put it through a few more shooting situations. We’ll see how it do. 

I mentioned videos, and that post will drop sometime tomorrow or the next day. Meanwhile, for them interested, here is the gallery of all 73 photos (that’s the last number, I promise).

If you have any comments about the photos, my amazing writing skill, or questions you want to ask, feel free to leave a comment. 

Here is the gallery . . . there is an option to view the full-size versions of each (lower right-hand corner once you enter the gallery) which for these photos will show the longest dimension set at 1280 pixels . . . dang! another number! I done broke my promise . . .

The original photos are twice again as large, but I did not set up a SmugMug gallery and typically won’t for these kinds of shots.

One more technical note and more numbers . . . the zoom given for each photo needs to be multiplied by 5.6 to get the equivalent zoom. So, for instance, 220mm on the P900 is the equivalent of a 1,232mm lens on a full-size camera. 


That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.


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. . .  my FP ward  . . . chieken shit.

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About disperser

Odd guy with odd views living an odd life during odd times.
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16 Responses to Still looking at the Nikon P900

  1. oneowner says:

    What, no survey? If you want my opinion (and who doesn’t?), I like the camera based on what you’ve shown here and what my friend, who had a similar model, has done with his in the past. I’m not sure if your hesitation is based on the 600 bucks the P900 costs or if you are looking (or waiting for) something better. There’s always going to be something better either now or in the near future.


    • disperser says:

      The hesitation is in part the money (that’s a lot of Malasadas, Bob) but that’s really secondary to whether I will like the camera.

      The hesitation stems more from having a camera I like but that is not as convenient to carry around and knowing that I am not as happy with the phone photos and results from my current PnS. I’m speaking of photos that require any kind of zoom. The phone has no zoom, and the PnS has no viewfinder.

      Summarized, I’m willing to spend the money but want to make sure it will both meet my needs and not regret passing on other cameras.

      There’s still the nagging question of no RAW, and “they” keep saying an upgrade to the camera would have RAW, but that — at an intellectual level — seems even to me as more of a psychological hangup than a practical one. With this small a sensor, the amount of information from a RAW version of the file would not be significantly better. About the only advantage of raw is that I would be able to fully control all the processing of the image.

      I tried scaling down the onboard processing of the JPG, but the results were not that great and I could not recover enough from the images that were saved. The question then comes down to whether I will be happy with the JPG versions as processed by the camera.

      As I look at these photos — and the upcoming videos — I think I will be. Well, close to as happy as I am with the D7000 and current lenses in situations that are difficult to photograph.

      There are cameras that are better rated (photo-wise) but they have minimal zoom and seem geared more to up-close photography of which I don’t do as much. Still, I want to shoot a variety of situations and scenes with this one to both familiarize myself with the camera and find the limit to what I can get from it and see if that limit is OK.

      Thanks for your input.


      • oneowner says:

        The upgrade to the camera is probably for newer versions of the camera rather newer versions of the software in the 900. That software is probably not upgradeable in that respect. The Canon Powershot G cameras shoot RAW and they have a much bigger sensor than the 900 but it doesn’t have nearly the zoom range. It’s a heck of trade-off. If I were looking for a pocketable camera in this price range, I’d go with the Canon but only because I seldom take out my 70-300 anymore. Maybe 5-10% of my photos are made with that lens even though I like the lens a lot. I usually leave it in the car when I go out shooting. I value the quality of the photos more than anything else. You do too, I’m guessing because you want the RAW files.


      • disperser says:

        Correct . . . some people are speculating a newer camera with similar zoom but improved quality in photos at those high zooms. No upgrade to the software can give you capture (or, at least, no reasonable upgrades to the software).

        However, as far as I can understand the issue, that small a sensor will not offer much in terms of using raw. I could be wrong.

        Part of the testing I’m doing is to see just how often I will shoot at those higher ranges. It could be that 1400mm equivalent is good enough and that brings other cameras into play.


  2. Eddy Winko says:

    I just had to read a few reviews on the P900, just so I knew what you were on about, and I have come away wanting to own one myself, although I know it will never happen. How do you think it would mange with moving wildlife pictures at a distance?


    • disperser says:

      It really depends on the zoom, the kind of movement, and if it’s handheld or not. As you can see from the above photos, the dove and butterfly were difficult to capture. The surfers — with smoother and predictable motion — were easier to capture.

      I don’t think it’s a true “sports” camera unless taking videos (for which I think it’s well-suited), but for most wildlife photos it should be fine.

      I mention the long zoom as a problem because to my mind the camera is not as well-balanced as my camera with a larger lens. Meaning, at full or near-full zoom it’s difficult to smoothly follow something. That might also be a matter of practice with the camera, but I tried to follow birds in flight and they are easy to lose. I imagine a similar zoom on a full DLSR would also be difficult to control.

      I’ve not tried the tracking function yet, but that will not help if the subject goes outside the frame.

      As there is not much by way of large fauna on the island, I’m not sure if I can do a proper wildlife test, but then again, my wildlife shots are seldom with the animals darting hither and fro.

      My big test in that regard will be birds. It looks to be a bit of a challenge to acquire and lock onto birds mostly because the viewfinder is not optical, but electronic and it’s difficult to make out small details. That’s one of the things I don’t like, and I often resort to using the articulated display by holding the camera at mid-chest and using the display as a way of framing the photo. I would prefer a larger and better viewfinder, but you can’t have everything.

      Liked by 1 person

    • disperser says:

      Also, a few posts ago I linked to a few useful reviews. Most concentrate on the maximum zoom, but those speak to a more balanced review of the camera as a whole.


  3. susurrus says:

    I’m no expert, but it looks good to me from these sample shots. Photographing flowers in full sunlight is always a big ask. One thing that always influences me is whether the colours are fairly true – especially blues and reds.


    • disperser says:

      That part is covered fairly well. The colors in those pictures are remarkably accurate. Perhaps more accurate than I get with my good camera. And, yes, there are some unwanted highlights in there, but like you say, bright flowers and sunlight = unhappy photographer.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. As I’ve mentioned before…I know zip zilch nada nothing about cameras…but, I love the photos you’re taking and sharing here! With YOUR photos, I feel like I am right there! (the colors, clarity, details, textures, etc.) I don’t feel that way about all the photos that I see other people sharing on WP.

    The artist’s eye is always more critical of his/her own work…I understand all of that…I just want you to know that your work is eye-pleasing to, and evokes good emotion from, someone who is NOT a photographer…someone who greatly enjoys your work!

    Why do the people put the flowers, etc., right by the ocean/water? Is it a memorial or “burial” spot?

    HUGS!!! :-)


    • disperser says:

      Fake it until you make it . . . words I live by.

      Thank you, diem3; I’m glad I offer something that evokes good emotions.

      Those look less like a memorial (there are some, but they usually have a cross and a name) and more like an offering to this or that deity or spirit, probably asking for good surf. I’ll take a look at it if I’m there again, but all up and down that stretch of coastline are ruins considered sacred by this or that group.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. colonialist says:

    I am, as ever, deeply envious both of your skill and of your equipment. It is a long time since I had a really decent camera. Technology overtook mine, and finances have since precluded replacement.


    • disperser says:

      Thank you.

      If it’s any consolation, I’m envious of your musical talents as well as everything else you do.

      So, we can mutually be envious and consoled at the same time.


  6. Isn’t that camera you’ve been looking at obsolete, and probably heavily discounted now? so go get it!


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