The Nikon P900 – Nearing A Decision

Yes, I’m still playing around with the camera. Between videos and photos, I’ve done about 1,200 captures, probably a few more videos than photos. Yes, I know you, my readers, are tired of hearing about it. By the way, for all you wondering, I bought this camera at Costco. They have a return policy of 90-days from date of purchase (no questions asked). Right now, I’m still leaning toward keeping it, but there are days when I consider returning it. The title says it all. 

Anyway, I’ve still not found the optimum settings both for all-around shooting and with consideration to the limited amount of tweaking inherent to shooting JPGs. The problem is that the camera can sometimes thrill me . . . 

2400mm Equivalent Zoom - moving target, hand-held, 300-yards

As it came out of the camera with a slight crop: 2400mm Equivalent Zoom, moving target, hand-held, 300-yards.

. . . and sometimes leave me underwhelmed . . . 

Edited, processed, beat and cajoled: 1500mm Equivalent Zoom, hand-held, at 300 yards.

Edited, processed, beaten and cajoled: 1500mm Equivalent Zoom, hand-held, at 300 yards.

Those two photos are two weeks apart, the first one shot a few days ago. So, yes, I’m getting better. 

This post is a bit lengthy. I won’t post all the photos, but I will have a gallery of them at the end. Same with videos . . . I’ll show a few but link the playlists containing all the videos at the end.

Part of this is to help anyone who might be looking for a camera like the P900 or wondering, like me, if the P900 merits a place in our equipment arsenal. 

Let me begin with photos from January 19th. That was a high surf day and I had posted a few videos from that day on my previous P900 update. Here are a few photos from that same day along with a few more videos (the playlist has 12 videos, but the last four are copies of the first four that have been stabilized, meaning, the hand-held shaking has been removed). 

Here are the photos (the gallery will have all of them), and one note about them; they have been processed. This was me trying to treat the photos as if they were RAW files instead of JPGs. It gives them a . . . different look. Not awful, but different.

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They are not bad, but also not great. It was after I saw these that I began playing with settings. FYI, there are two days of heavy surf — January 25th and 26th — that I will process separately because I also had my Nikon with me and was shooting with both. 

It’s easy to get focused on the P900 and forget the capabilities of the D7000 with a nice lens hanging from it. More on that in a few days.

Meanwhile, heavy surf videos from the 19th. Note: there is a weird noise on these videos which I have not identified. It’s not repeated in other videos, but it sounds like air-brakes. Don’t know if it’s the camera or something else I did not notice while I was there . . . perhaps it was me saying “woosh!” aloud and doing so subconsciously. 

One thing to be noted: some of these videos were run through the YouTube stabilization feature. While these videos were hand-held and there was a bit of “sway” to them, they were usable as they were. For comparison, the playlist includes videos 1-4 as shot and then stabilized.

At the end of the 19th, we had a pretty good sunset . . . which the P900 still has trouble capturing. I mean, it doesn’t suck and it’s probably pretty good for blogs and Facebook sharing, but these are not what I would call quality photos. Nice, yes, printable, no. 

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Edited to color-balance and making it more realistic.

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Tried a “softer” look to remove some of the noise. Could not get rid of the red/magenta tint without affecting the way the sun looked.

These next ones are me playing around with the camera settings. I suppose these are not bad, but that reddish tinge bothers me. 

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The next day, the 20th, the surf was still decent, although you would not know it from these photos . . . 

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Again, these are post-processed. I had set the camera to do as little processing as possible thinking it might give me more control over the final product. I’m not unhappy with these — 300 yards, hand-held — but I don’t have a good video editor that allows fine control of the quality of the picture. 

The videos look under-saturated and with low contrast and the fact it was a hazy day did not help matters. My bad on that, not the camera. I’m now leaning toward the camera doing most of the processing, but it’s too late for these videos.  

These next videos are from a different vantage point, taken the day after, now 800 yards from the surfers, still hand-held.

These give more of a side view.  I start wide and you can see the surfers in the distance in the first video as I zoom in on them. 

Earlier that morning, I shot these from the condo we are renting. As a reminder, about three miles away.

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. . . and these are a few shots from later that morning when I shot the videos above. Again, about 300 yards away. 

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The next set of shots and videos are from February 4th. The photos say Feb. 3rd, but that’s an error. I rename the files when I download them, and I made a mistake on the names, something I corrected after I processed these photos. 

Notice these photos are a bit better. I let the camera do more of its thing. You already saw the first photo at the top of the post. Here are a couple of photos to show the zoom (again, 300 yards) and zoom is one of the reasons for buying this camera . . . if not the only reason. 

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The exposure is different between the photos because I’m using Center-Weighted as opposed to Matrix. 

Here is an interesting photo . . . 

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It took me a second look to figure out what was going on with this photo. 

Which brings me to another annoying thing with the camera. The electronic viewfinder is pretty small and I don’t see well out of it to figure out exactly what I’m shooting or even knowing if it’s in focus, especially when wearing sunglasses. Looking through the rear screen is better, but makes it more difficult to shoot movies. 

Here are a few more from that area . . .  

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This is approaching the resolution of the D7000 with the 70-200mm lens, although this is still a closer zoom than I can crop a 200mm shot. 

What I can’t do with the D7000 — at least not easily — is shoot movies like this one. There are a few more in the playlist.

As I looked in front of me, I happened to notice something out of the corner of my eye . . . about 750 yards away, according to Google Earth.

Those surfers are here . . . 

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60mm equivalent zoom

Wait; let me zoom in a bit . . . 

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700mm equivalent zoom

. . . and a bit more . . . 

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2000mm equivalent zoom

This next one is 2400mm equivalent zoom, into the digital portion of the zoom. Remember, about 750 yards away.

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Click on them to see how they look twice as large. By the way, I’m not including a SmugMug gallery because these are really not photos you would want to examine at pixel-level magnification.

Here’s the movie of the guy above . . . 

Back in front of me (300 yards away) . . .

I think I’m getting better at shooting action and hand-holding. 

I would prefer if the camera were better balanced and heavier, especially at full zoom. It’s light enough that it’s easy to have the lens jump all over the place at every little movement or old-man-shake. Also, unlike my long lenses, you can’t really grab the front of the lens because that part moves. Because of it, it’s difficult holding the camera steady at full zoom. 

OK, so, I will probably do a few more of these posts, so get mentally ready to either enjoy or ignore them. I hope they are useful for any prospective buyer. If not . . . well, I still have fun writing them. The posts, not the prospective buyers. I can’t write them since I don’t know who they are.

Survey time (multiple answers allowed):

Here are the links to the playlists with all the P900 videos. Remember to watch them at the highest resolution and that you have the choice to watch them at different speeds.

P900 Video Tests (from a previous post)

Heavy Surf Series (from a previous post)

Heavy Surf Series II (from a previous post with a few more videos added)

Surfing II – P900 test videos (most of them less than a minute each)

Here is the gallery of sample photos from this post:

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

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Note: if you are not reading this blog post at DisperserTracks.com, know that it has been copied without permission, and likely is being used by someone with nefarious intention, like attracting you to a malware-infested website.  Could be they also torture small mammals.

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Please, if you are considering bestowing me recognition beyond commenting below, refrain from doing so.  I will decline blogger-to-blogger awards.   I appreciate the intent behind it, but I prefer a comment thanking me for turning you away from a life of crime, religion, or making you a better person in some other way.  That would mean something to me.

If you wish to know more, please read below.

About awards: Blogger Awards
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Note: to those who may click on “like”, or rate the post; if you do not hear from me, know that I am sincerely appreciative, and I thank you for noticing what I do.

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

Finally, if you interpret anything on this blog as me asking or wanting pity, encouragement, or advice to better my life, know my subtle mix of irony, sarcasm, and humor is blowing right by you.

About disperser

Odd guy with odd views living an odd life during odd times.
This entry was posted in My YouTube, Photography, Photography How To, Stuff, Writing Stuff, YouTube Stuff and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to The Nikon P900 – Nearing A Decision

  1. interesting reading, I almost bought a Nikon Coolpix the other day (AW130 not P900), but I swayed against it because of the whole JPEG thing. I ended up with an Olympus TG4 as it has RAW Support. I want mine for underwater shooting, so there are other factors involved, but I was concerned about going back to shooting JPEG. I must admit I have not tried the video component as yet.

    Like

    • disperser says:

      Shooting underwater (or in inclement weather) is not a high priority for me.

      The P900’s main attraction is the amazing zoom (83x, 2000mm equivalent). I do a lot of nature shooting and being able to get “close” on birds and animals is very attractive. I can achieve better quality and nearly the same zoom for a lot more money, but that’s the rub; I’m not all that keen on walking around with 15 pounds of camera and lenses and needing to swap lenses from one shooting situation to another.

      Now, if I’m going to a National Park or somewhere similar, I’m likely to have my full gear with me, but casual shooting is another matter. These past few years I ended up using the phone a lot because I did not bother to bring my camera with me. While this is not small, it is more portable than the regular rig and hence I’m more likely to walk out the door with it even when I’m not planning to photograph anything.

      The JPG has me concerned as well . . . however, I’ve been shooting my D7000 and saving both NEF and JPGs and for the vast majority of shots, the JPG would be just as good as the NEF.

      RAW comes into its own when one wants to do lots of stuff to a photo, but my typical post-processing is minimal.

      Really, the JPG issue is more of a mindset than anything else. It’s also a relevant factor is one is a pixel-examiner which, I confess, I am. However, realistically, the end result is what matters, and I can’t really fault the camera for bad photos since it’s capable of taking great photos that look good up to 1280pixls for the longest side and even larger for many photos.

      But, here’s the other thing. I would like to shoot more videos, and the DSLR I have is not geared to easily do that because you have to go to live view and it’s difficult to see what I’m shooting (I don’t have an articulated screen).

      I used to have an 18-200mm lens that worked well but really had no better results than this camera. What annoys me is that I suspect Nikon could put a larger sensor on a similar camera to the P900 along with a better electronic viewfinder and the latest Exif and add RAW capability and I would have an amazing all-around camera . . . and sell all my DSLR stuff.

      Probably why they don’t do it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • All good points…….I must admit the size of the Coolpix cameras are amazing, I am using the D7100 and just swapped from the 18-200mm to the 16-85mm as my go to workhorse……..however I rarely use a telephoto and mostly use a prime. But I can see the lure in small and light weight. Mine is only 16 megpixels and I can see a big difference between it and the D7100, even in RAW. Perhaps on larger landscapes it would not matter so much………I tend to work up close. I am yet to try video, it will be interesting to shoot video underwater I think.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. oneowner says:

    You need this camera for potential-grizzlies! That’s my go-to excuse for everything now.

    Like

  3. These photos and vids were such a joy…after a rough, cold day. Thanks, Emilio!
    I always enjoy your surf and sun captures!
    HUGS!!! :-)

    Like

  4. Eddy Winko says:

    I would imagine it is the PI’s favourite new camera choice.

    Like

    • disperser says:

      If it isn’t, it should be. It does make me a bit uncomfortable when I’m photographing people who have no idea I’m even around, let alone photographing them.

      I’ve never been comfortable with street photography even though it’s perfectly legal and considered art.

      The odd thing here is that I don’t see as many birds or animals as I’m used to on the mainland. Animals, I understand because there isn’t a whole lot in the way of large wildlife here, but birds? There should be tons of them. I mean, I catch brief glimpses, but they never sit still for me to photograph.

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