The Nikon P900 – Decision Time

Warning . . . long post ahead.

Yesterday, we drove to the Volcano National Park. The only camera I used was the Nikon P900. Got me some photos to share. I’ll post some, but the full gallery and associated video playlists are at the bottom of the post. 

We start out with macros shot at and near the Visitor Center.


Wait, these next shots are not macros . . . 



There is no SmugMug gallery of these shots. You can get a larger version by clicking on the individual shots or going to the gallery at the bottom, but these are not “original size” shots. The Nikon P900 takes a different mindset — or so I concluded — than the photos I take with the Nikon D7000 and my assorted lenses. 

Namely, present the photo as it is. If I want a “larger” or “closer” shot, I just zoom in and take the shot. 

Continuing, these are macros . . . 





Also for the curious-minded, these photos have been processed, but not overly so. I’ve arrived a decent group of settings for the camera and a minimalistic post-processing settings dependant on the type of photos I took.

Here is a shot taken at 185mm zoom from about 25-30 feet away . . . 


. . . and here is a shot at 850mm . . . 


. . . and a shot at 2400mm zoom . . . 


This next shot was taken without flash inside the building using the “museum” scene preset.


This next shot is of a scale representation of the Big Island outside under the shade of a portico. 


The articulated screen came in handy here because I held the camera as high as I could above my head and used the screen to frame the shot.

This next shot is taken in what is considered a tropical forest with a mix of shadow and light. To be fair, it’s not a great shot, but to be fairer, I don’t think the big rig would have fared much better. I know this from experience. 


Ir will eventually serve as a good base for some artistic reimagining or other. 

Going back to more macros, I’m pleased with these, especially the second one. 



It’s difficult to know what one is looking at in that first photo, but that is more a matter of composition than the camera. 

This next rock is about 8″ high . . . 



Stepping outside the Volcano House and looking toward the Steam Vents lining the Kilauea Caldera . . . 



This shot looks toward the smoke rising from the Halema’uma’u crater. 


To the right of the photo, on the ridge, is the Jaggar Museum, our next stop . . . but not before a few macros of the foliage in the foreground. Well, actually, the first shot is at 500mm zoom, the second at around 250mm. Not quite macro.



Also, here is a shot of the lava fireplace inside the visitor center complete with the fire burning (it was a chilly day up there).


That shot needed a bit more processing, but it came out pretty good for having been shot indoor, away from windows, and without flash. 

And, here’s the money shot . . . 


This was more activity than on our last visit here (see THIS post). 

The crater with the roiling lava is a tad over one mile from where I took the photos. This next shot is at 1400mm equivalent zoom. 


I have a playlist of six videos I shot while there. These three were shot hand-held in fairly high winds, so excuse the jumping around. They are all short.

Well, I then decided to get the tripod. 

You might have noticed a lot of talking . . . the place was crowded. Two buses of Japanese and Chinese visitors had dumped a bunch of people in what is a small viewing area. 

Here’s the thing I’ve noticed with Japanese and now Chinese tourists . . . they don’t give a shit that you are there. They will crowd you, get in front of you, and by sheer mass of bodies, force you to move. This is not the first time I’ve encountered this behavior and I’m sort of used to it if not very pleased about it.  

I had been shooting from here . . . 


. . . but had to move to the side. I then had to climb a nearby wall to see anything above the milling Asian crowd — or is it Oriental? I don’t know what’s PC these days.

The wall was not wide enough to properly set the tripod, so I had to brace it by hand, hence still a bit of moving around. 

These next ones are longer video at a lesser zoom (but still much better than I can do with my better lenses):

I have more than these, but these are the ones I’ve uploaded so far. 

On the way back to the car, I saw this tree silhouetted against the sky. 


I like that shot.

We next stopped at the Steam Vents . . . 


. . . and I took the opportunity to test the zoom by looking into the Kilauea Caldera. According to Google Earth, I’m shooting at a surface 400 feet below and about 400 yards out, or roughly 1,270 feet away . . . 





Here’s a movie of it . . . 

On the way back to the car, I shot more macros. The vegetation was in a sorry state (see photo above) but there were small plants here and there that captured my interest . . . 








Did I mention it was very windy? No? . . . it was very windy.

All of these shots taken during this excursion were taken in BSS mode . . . I press the button, the camera takes 10 photos (in an instant) chooses and keeps the sharpest photo and discards the rest. 

So, from the Volcano House, we traveled down the Chain of Craters road. Both Google Earth and Google Maps have street-level-views of the drive for them interested in such things. 

I like traveling that road because you end up going through wide lava fields of previous flows. By the way, I have a bunch of photos from the D7000 from a late December excursion into the park, and I should eventually process them because there are some neat photos on there. 

In fact, I’m way behind in processing photos from the D7000 because I’ve been spending time evaluating — having fun — with the P900. Life is too short to do everything one wants to do. 

To continue . . . here’s what those fields look like . . . 


This was in the early afternoon, with the sun high above . . . not exactly the best of lights to work with. BUT . . . one can shoot down . . . 

Here’s what you are going to see next; pairs of photographs. Each pair has the photo as shot with a slight bump in saturation and the same photo with the saturation cranked up to enhance the colors in the lava.

Colors in the lava? Yup! Enjoy, and for fun, look up what minerals might be present in the lava to give it the particular hues — HERE’s a link to get you started, but be aware identifying minerals from just the colors is iffy since the colors depend on multiple factors. 

20170210_dscn1581_1_digi 20170210_dscn1581_1-2_digi

20170210_dscn1587_1_digi 20170210_dscn1587_1-2_digi

20170210_dscn1588_1_digi 20170210_dscn1588_1-2_digi

20170210_dscn1589_1_digi 20170210_dscn1589_1-2_digi

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Here’s a pair with a plant included for reference . . . 

20170210_dscn1592_1-processed-2_digi 20170210_dscn1592_1-processed-3_digi

On the way back, we stopped at the Punalu’u Beach Park (the Black Sand Beach, as many visitors call it).

This is a small monument near the pavilions . . . 

20170210_dscn1606_1_digi 20170210_dscn1607_1_digi

By law, you are supposed to keep at least 20 feet away from any sea turtle. 

Notice the rock boundary around the three turtles that came ashore to lay eggs . . . 


That’s about 200 yards away and I’m at 100mm zoom. This next shot is at 650mm zoom.


And this next shot is at 2400mm zoom . . . 


This is also a shot at 2400mm zoom of a tree across the bay, 280 yards away.

20170210_dscn1659_1_digiOK, OK . . . that’s me just playing with the zoom. I had no interest in the tree at this distance.

But, how’s the camera for other scenes, perhaps at wider zooms?






I also took a few intermediate shots . . . 




It was difficult capturing a good shot of the dove . . . it was moving around pretty good. Don’t believe me?

The building had an interesting texture . . . like peeling wallpaper . . . 





The other side of the building was better maintained . . . 


So, we are nearing the end . . . almost. Leaving the park, the road swings by a golf course and I’ve had luck getting photos of Nenes there. This time, I also got a few other aquatic avians. 


Don’t see them? Here, let me help you out (1800mm zoom) . . . 





Not as great as I would have liked, but I was shooting from the running car, and that never works well, not even with my “good” rig. 

I think the movies are decent . . . 

Just a bit down the road, I got me some Nenes . . . this time, I got out of the car. 






These were at 330mm zoom, well within the range of my D7000 loaded with the excellent 70-200mm lens.

But, here’s the thing; these are pretty good and most people don’t go look at the originals to see the reflection in the eyes of the goose. The above are good enough for 90% of the readers. Another 8% might click on the above to look at the larger version. 2% are right now disappointed there is no SmugMug gallery they can visit to look at these at full resolution. These don’t look all that sharp at full resolution, but, like I said, pretty good. 

Plus, I’m confident in saying I would have been hard-pressed to shoot this hand-held with my D7000.  

So, what’s the conclusion I take from this and other shooting sprees?

I’m keeping the camera.

Fear not, all you pixel-watchers . . . My camera bag will likely have both cameras in it; the D7000 with the 70-200mm f/2.8 VR lens, and the P900 doing duty for all the other lenses. 

When out and about with no plans for taking photos, I’ll have the P900.

When planning to shoot macros, I’ll have the D7000 with the amazing 105mm f/2.8 VR lens. 

Here are the P900 video playlists:

Heavy Surf Series

Heavy Surf Series II

Surfing II

P900 Test Videos

Volcano NP Lava 


The gallery for all the shots in this post (and a few more) is below. Thanks for reading and comments are always welcomed along with any questions you might have.


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.
This entry was posted in How-To, My YouTube, Writing Stuff, YouTube Stuff and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

27 Responses to The Nikon P900 – Decision Time

  1. renxkyoko says:

    Surprised. You have a UTube acct.
    The tropical plants look primeval.
    Oriental…. I’m not offended, although the term does sound old-fashioned. ^^ It means East, right ?

    When I was in Europe, there were groups of Asian tourists, and yes, they seemed not to care they were in front of my camera….. didn’t even apologize. They saw we were taking pictures, and they just walked in front of me! It didn’t help that the Asian women tourists were carrying open umbrellas,in Italy ! In Venice ! at The Forum ! In Pisa ! Their umbrellas were in the way. O_o Their tour manager should have told them not to open their umbrellas at tourist spots like the Leaning Tower of Pisa.


    • disperser says:

      Yup . . . here’s one of my strangest video (but one I really like):

      As for Oriental, yes, it comes from the meaning of “from the east”. Apparently — I just looked it up — Oriental is “dated, usually offensive”.

      I hate it when they go change words on me.

      Anyway, Asians are presented as deferential in all the movies I’ve seen but are completely opposite in real life . . . got to go with real life as the only data point I have.

      Liked by 2 people

      • renxkyoko says:

        Maybe Filipinos are not as offended as the others because there are so many places in the Philippines named Oriental /Occidental something. I assume Occidental is from the west.

        I guess the Japanese are more deferential. They have been “travelling” since a long time ago, and more often than the Chinese, and hence know more of tourist etiquette. I’ve read about the Chinese tourists and how they behave in travel articles……. very negative. And of course I’ve seen them in action. I don’t know why they brought umbrellas and actually used them ! We couldn’t see the scenery.


      • disperser says:

        Someone somewhere decides something offends them, and wham!, we got us another PC rule.

        Sometimes it’s difficult to keep track of them all. And some are just plain silly . . . but still get play in the press and online.

        That’s not to deny some names are offensive and should not be used, but still, forcing someone to use a different word will not change their opinion of the people involved. Sometimes, it intensifies it.


      • mvschulze says:

        Since I’ve already devoted a fairly good % of my waking life to this post, I might as well comment on the spinning top> Mesmerizing! But as I believe you were once in automotive design, I wonder about the wobble physics of these, vs. those of a “spin balanced” automobile wheel (tire + wheel assembly.) Just pondering….no need to respond! :-)


        • disperser says:

          Well, Bob . . . er, mvschulze, tires and wheel assemblies are easy to calculate because the mass is fairly evenly distributed around the axis of rotation. The “balance” weights we add are generally just a few ounces and compensate for variations in material densities and manufacturing inconsistency. The big deal there is that the axis of spin does not change.

          Spinning something like an upright bottle becomes a math nightmare to calculate. I have a paper somewhere on the math for calculating the stability of a spinning upright bottle, figuring out if it will recover and remain upright or eventually reach a tipping point and fall over. It’s very complex, in part because the axis of spin is constantly changing. Other variables are the height of the bottle, the bottom (rounder, and if so, how much) friction of the surface, and the inconsistency of the initial input.

          One of the big flaws with my impromptu experiment is that I spun things inconsistently, hence the winning spin might be just because I put more initial energy into the lid.

          Truthfully, that particular video was primarily done for one reason . . . Melisa does not like me spinning stuff, but I love both the sound and the visual . . . now I can just put on my headphones and enjoy all sorts of spin.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Wonderful photos. Looks like a great camera.


  3. AnnMarie says:

    Good decision. Between your mastery and its capability, the end results are beautiful.


    • disperser says:

      The photos do have a different look and feel to them, but I think I can make them work.

      But, don’t worry, still planning to shoot with the big rig and have plenty on SmugMug. This will just add to tools I have, not replace them.


  4. oneowner says:

    Now I want one, too.


  5. I like the idea of all the pictures at the bottom, much easier to click on the first and then run through the lot. So now I suppose out of sheer cussedness you’ll stop doing it just to make my life ore difficult than it already is.
    Someone in the comments was complaining about the Chinese and their umbrella’s, They use them more for keep the sun off, than keeping the rain off. Which is pretty sensible really, even if it does inconvenience others somewhat!


    • disperser says:

      Well, I normally have a separate gallery that has all the photos in it . . .

      When I do have the SmugMug gallery, I’m not likely to put one inside the post itself. Plus, the photos are best served alongside the brilliant, witty, and enormously entertaining narrative.

      Again, if you just want the pictures, there’s usually a SmugMug Gallery you can go to and not bother with any words.

      As for the Chinese, the main purpose of the umbrellas is to identify traveling groups and to annoy other travelers. Sure, they say it’s for the sun, but I’ve seen pictures from China, and I don’t see a sea of umbrellas dotting sidewalks. Nope! Strictly to maximize the annoyance factor, I say.


      • perhaps there’s too much smog for the sun to shine through making it unnecessary.


      • disperser says:

        I’ll stick with my assessment.

        I’ve met perfectly lovely Chinese individuals who are the picture of courtesy and consideration, but as with any population, there be usually large numbers who are anything but. By the way, American tourists are no better but in different ways.

        Basically, I don’t like people around me. Like the turtles, I have a minimum distance (mine is 100ft) within which I consider myself as inconvenienced and unnecessarily and maliciously interfered with.


  6. YAY for keeping the camera, Emilio! You two work well together to produce amazing photos!

    Love the macros, the birds, the turtles, all the plants and trees (some of them look cool-y Dr. Seuss-ish!), the colorful lava, peeling wallpaper, etc!

    I’ve seen “fields” in NM!

    The bird’s eating, walking, sitting…were fun! Yes, they were my favs of the vids!

    HUGS!!! :-)


    • disperser says:

      Thank you, and yes, I’m looking to add videos as part of the regular presentation of stuff here. That was one of the big consideration with trying and deciding to keep the camera.

      While I’ll still be primarily a photographer, videos can sometimes provide another dimension to the narrative.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. mvschulze says:

    The decision certainly seems warranted from the comparisons you’ve presented. I additionally see the smooth “live” telescopic zoom in your videos as most impressive, indicating the P900 ‘zoom’ is motorized, a feature not generally available with consumer level interchangeable lenses, and particularly difficult with a much heavier telephotos like my 150-600mm. Adding the light weight and easy transport, latest communication features, and respectable quality of the images – a trial loan may well be in my future. This is not to say I’m dissatisfied with my current gear – I love the quality and range of user options on current DSLR’s, but just as you envision, to me a second camera with the features of the P900 is certainly one consideration to take seriously. Thanks for all the imaging and reviews. M :-)


  8. your closeups are magnificent. I can see all of your (naturalist) travels on the island in book form. Your love for the place shines through!


  9. Eddy Winko says:

    Ok, so I’m not getting your old kit, even if I send you the money for postage! However you have convinced me that I should starve for a while, or sell some stuff, so that I may purchase one of these fandangled new camera thingies in the future. Mind you I am conscious of your early criticisms and will wait for the updated version next year, which gives me time to loose weight and recover from the sale of one of my kidneys.


    • disperser says:

      If I knew there would be an updated version next year, I too might wait. For now, I’m happy with this version.

      . . . and yes, I’ve decided to hoard all my equipment . . . sorry.


  10. Fabulous post, and beautiful photos from one of my favorite parts of the world, the “bottom” of the nature, and what is in the shades. 2400 mm, wow, I have never tries, but i guess it can come in handy with your personal zone of 100 ft. And I wonder how heavy your gear is, and how long time you spent there doing all that wonderful photography. But I also know you have energy and the crafts needed. Interesting post.


    • disperser says:

      Well, the P900 is about half a kilogram. My other gear is around 7 kilograms. All of these were shot with the P900 and it was a lot easier than lugging all the other stuff around. And yes, 2000mm comes in handy sometimes.

      Thanks for stopping by.


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