The Nikon Coolpix P950 is a robust superzoom compact digicam, constructed round a 24-2000mm equal zoom lens. Successor to the wildly common Coolpix P900, the P950 provides Uncooked seize, a enormously improved digital viewfinder and 4K video.

Cameras that appear to be the P950 was once described as ‘bridge’ fashions: as in, they fashioned a ‘bridge’ between the capabilities and of a traditional compact digicam, and a D/SLR. With the beginning of the superzoom class a number of years in the past, with their monumental zoom ratios, this description turned meaningless. Regardless of its uncommon means to attach objects throughout monumental distances, the P950 is not a lot of a ‘bridge’ between something. It is (nearly) in a category of its personal.

Key specs:

  • 83X zoom (equiv. 24-2000mm)
  • 5.5EV picture stabilization (CIPA)
  • 16MP 1/2.3″ CMOS sensor
  • 3.2”, 921k-dot Vari-angle LCD
  • 2.4M-dot OLED digital viewfinder
  • 4K video (30/25p)
  • 1cm minimal focus at 24mm equiv
  • 7 fps steady capturing (as much as 10 frames)
  • ISO 100-1600 (extendable to 6400)
  • Uncooked seize obtainable
  • Battery life: 290 photographs (CIPA)

The superzoom class is fairly small, and refreshingly straightforward to navigate. Very merely, the extra you pay, the extra zoom you get, and the extra seemingly it’s that you will get good extras like OLED viewfinders, customizable controls and superior video.

If the P950 might be mentioned to have any competitors in any respect, it is principally from inside Nikon’s personal lineup. The cheaper Coolpix B600 affords a barely much less versatile zoom vary of 24-1440mm equiv (and makes do with out an EVF) whereas the Coolpix P1000 boasts a good longer telephoto setting (3000mm equiv) for these occasions when 2000mm simply is not sufficient. You already know: these occasions. The unique Coolpix P900 remains to be obtainable for those who go searching, assuming you do not want Uncooked seize or 4K video.

Nikon Coolpix P950 in contrast

Nikon Coolpix P950 Nikon Coolpix P1000 Canon PowerShot SX70 HS
MSRP (at launch) $800 $1000 $550
Sensor 16MP 1/2.3″ CMOS 16MP 1/2.3″ CMOS 20MP 1/2.3″ CMOS
Lens (35mm equal)

24-2000mm
F2.8-6.5

24-3000mm
F2.8-8
21-1365mm
F3.4 – 6.5
Uncooked Mode Sure Sure Sure
AF system Distinction-detect Distinction-detect Distinction-detect
LCD 3.2″, 921k-dot Vari-angle 3.2″, 921k-dot Vari-angle 3.0″, 920k-dot Vari-angle
Touchscreen No No No
EVF 2.35M-dot OLED 2.35M-dot OLED 2.35M-dot OLED
Burst price at max decision 7 fps for 10 frames

7 fps for 7 frames

10 fps
Video 4K/30, FHD/60 4K/30, FHD/60 4K/30, FHD/60
Wi-Fi + Bluetooth Sure Sure Sure
Battery life (CIPA) 290 photographs 250 photographs 325 photographs
Dimensions 140 x 110 x 150 mm 146 x 119 x 181 mm 127 x 91 x 117 mm
Weight 1005 g 1415 g 576 g

Taking a look at different manufacturers’ choices, solely the Canon PowerShot SX70 HS comes near matching the P950’s talents, with its 21-1265mm equal zoom vary getting near the P950 within the tele vary whereas providing a wider subject of view on the large finish. The SX70 HS can shoot barely quicker than the P950 (and has a equally high-quality EVF).

In comparison with the unique P900, the P950’s superior viewfinder is essentially the most instantly apparent improve (alongside the automated EVF/LCD swap, which was missing within the older mannequin) however the addition of Uncooked mode additionally makes the brand new digicam extra helpful than its predecessor. For followers of videography, the addition of 4K recording could have an analogous enchantment. All of this helps justify the P950’s greater value at launch (the brand new mannequin comes at a premium of round $200) in comparison with the older mannequin.

What’s it like to make use of?

The P950 is much less a digicam with a built-in lens, and extra a lens with a digicam bolted on. As such, Nikon deserves credit score for making it impressively usable. The P950 does not function precisely like a Nikon DSLR, however the expertise of utilizing it alongside (say) a D3000-series digicam is shut sufficient that anybody who’s used to 1 ought to fairly shortly have the ability to become familiar with the opposite.

The P950’s most important controls are all clustered on the upper-right of the top-plate. Regardless of its consumer-level positioning, Nikon supplies a formidable quantity of management customization.

The P950’s most important management dial is positioned on the higher proper of the top-plate, and is operated by the proper thumb. There is a small sub-dial on the rear, and between the 2 you may have full handbook publicity management, do you have to need it. Personally I want there was a correct entrance management dial, however you do have a aspect management wheel, on the left of the lens barrel. By default this operates as an publicity compensation wheel in PASM modes however can be personalized for direct management over aperture, shutter pace, ISO, or white stability.

ISO sensitivity might be set manually, from 100-6400, and there are 5 Auto ISO ranges (100-400, 100-800, 100-1600, 100-3200, 100-6400). It’s doable to set a minimal shutter pace from a variety of 1 to 1/125 seconds, however you do not get the extra superior ‘slower > quicker’ dynamic choices that you just do in higher-end Nikon cameras. Usually, the P950 prioritizes decrease ISO sensitivity settings the place doable, leaning on its highly effective picture stabilization system to maintain issues sharp. This works effectively besides in decrease mild with shifting topics, the place you may discover that it’s good to take handbook management over shutter pace to keep away from blur.

From the aspect, you’ll be able to see the P950’s secondary zoom toggle (which is right to be used when capturing video) and a customizable scroll wheel. The button to the left can be utilized to zoom out from excessive telephoto, for the needs of correct focusing on for those who lose your topic at 2000mm. When the button is launched, the lens returns to its earlier setting.

That large zoom lens might be managed with both the principle W/T collar-type management across the shutter launch, or a easy rocker on the aspect of the lens barrel. The primary zoom lever permits for barely finer management, with two pace settings relying on how a lot pressure you exert. With the lever shifted all the best way, it takes about three seconds to rack by means of the P950’s zoom vary. A gentler pull permits you to zoom extra slowly, making the transition from 24-2000mm in about 5 seconds. The W/T management on the aspect of the lens has just one pace (full-speed) though you’ll be able to customise it for low/medium/high-speed zoom in video mode.

Lengthy telephotos do not solely allow you to seize faraway objects, in addition they can help you ‘layer’ photos in ways in which aren’t doable at extra standard focal lengths.

ISO 100 | 1/2000 sec | F5.6 | 800mm equiv.

Framing scenes at very lengthy focal lengths might be difficult, and to assist, Nikon supplies two instruments: one is built-in, and one is an non-compulsory accent. The built-in helper is a ‘snap’ zoom button on the lens barrel, which scoots the lens out from excessive telephoto to approx. 350mm equiv that can assist you re-frame a shot for those who lose your topic at 2000mm. The second device is the (arguably over-engineered however very cool) accent ‘dot sight‘, which clips onto the P950’s hotshoe and supplies an optical target-finder so that you just needn’t depend on the EVF.

On a associated notice, for those who are likely to shoot principally at one or different finish of the P950’s zoom, it can save you time on startup by presetting your required default focal size through the digicam’s menu.

Relating to efficiency, the P950 is a combined bag. Apart from the flexibility of the zoom vary, simply my favourite options are the picture stabilization (extra on that in a second) and the digital viewfinder. Providing 2.Three million dots, the OLED finder is vivid, contrasty, and a world away from the P900’s EVF, which was susceptible to ‘rainbow-tearing’. It is a actually spectacular improve, even whether it is most likely one of many most important issues that contributed to creating the P950 dearer than its predecessor.

Picture stabilization and autofocus

The P950’s rated 5.5EV of picture stabilization (or Vibration Discount, to make use of Nikon’s parlance) is unchanged from the P900, and nonetheless very spectacular. The primary of Nikon’s trendy superzoom compacts that I can keep in mind utilizing was the P500 (2011) and the ‘snaking’ within the viewfinder at lengthy focal lengths, attributable to the VR system attempting to maintain the picture secure was actually nauseating. There’s nonetheless a few of that with the P950, however on the entire, offered you are not attempting to handhold the digicam at 2000mm in a gale, the stabilization is superb. It is really doable to get sharp photographs at shutter speeds so long as 1/50 sec on the excessive finish of the telephoto vary with some experimentation, which is exceptional.

The most important problem to super-telephoto capturing isn’t stabilizing the lens, however focusing it.

These two photos had been taken moments aside, from the identical place, on the extremes of the P950’s zoom vary. The home which is central at 2000mm is a mere spec at 24mm.

Obtain unique information:

Nikon claims that AF pace is improved over the P900, however there’s solely a lot that its engineers can do with a contrast-detection system in relation to overcoming a really primary, optical downside: distinction tends to drop while you’re distant topics at lengthy focal lengths, and the extra you zoom in, the thinner the zone of focus turns into, which will increase the quantity of labor that the autofocus system has to do.

You solely must zoom in on a distant topic on a sunny day with the P950 (precisely what I did within the pair of photos above) to see within the viewfinder that what was a crisp, contrasty scene at 24mm has develop into a bluish mush at 2000mm. That is on account of atmospheric distortion and isn’t the digicam’s fault, but it surely does imply that you’ll most likely expertise some focus ‘searching’ in this sort of state of affairs, infrequently.

At wider focal lengths and at nearer topic distances, autofocus efficiency is definitely fairly strong. It is definitely not as constructive as a phase-detection system may be, however the place I’ve had critical points with correct focus it is principally been precisely the place I’d count on: with low-contrast topics in poor mild, or on the excessive telephoto finish of the lens, with distant topics on sizzling days.

The P950 can focus down nearly so far as the entrance of the lens component, however for semi-macro photographs, you may get extra engaging outcomes by zooming in, and stepping again. This lets you each enhance cross-frame sharpness, and blur backgrounds (in addition to avoiding the necessity to go head to head with any creepy-crawlies).

ISO 100 | 1/500 sec | F5 | 300mm equiv.

For basic on a regular basis capturing, ‘Face Precedence’ AF works effectively. Human topics are detected reliably and shortly, and of their absence, the digicam makes use of a normal auto-area AF logic, which prioritizes the closest object in your scene.

In conditions the place you want extra direct management, a number of extra modes can be found. By default, the P950 makes use of ‘full-time AF’ which goals to constantly keep an in-focus picture within the viewfinder. Most certainly you may by no means want to alter this setting, however it may be simply disabled within the menu system for those who favor.

How does it carry out?

The large information on DPReview when the P950 was introduced was the addition of Uncooked capturing. I ended up utilizing Uncooked mode greater than I anticipated to with the P950, however not as a result of there’s something severely mistaken with its JPEGs, at the very least not at a pixel degree. At low ISOs (100-400) the P950’s JPEG output is completely acceptable in most conditions, except for poor edge sharpness at large angles. Nikon has tuned noise discount for optimum smoothness, which does come on the expense of high-quality element even at low ISO sensitivities, however you’d must be one thing of a pixel-peeper to note.

The perimeters of this picture (taken at 24mm equiv) are significantly tender, and definition is pretty low throughout the body. Switching to Uncooked and spending a while in Photoshop will allow you to get essentially the most out of the digicam, however you are not going to get wonderful edge-to-edge sharpness for landscapes.

However does it matter? This picture is greater than acceptable for many functions.

ISO 100 | 1/320 sec | F6.3 | 24mm equiv.

Above ISO 400, noise turns into an element, and will increase in severity the upper up the ISO sensitivity scale you go. It is doable to realize acceptable outcomes above ISO 1600 for those who do not intend to crop closely or make massive prints, however bear in mind that colours develop into desaturated at greater ISO settings because of in-camera noise-reduction (and there is not a lot you are able to do about this for those who shoot Uncooked, both).

This can be a 100% crop (click on to obtain the full-size unique) of a picture taken at ISO 1100 in direction of the top of the day, in failing mild. The P950’s lens and extremely efficient picture stabilization system helped me get the shot, however even at such a average (by larger-sensor requirements) ISO sensitivity setting, true element is missing and coloured splotches attributable to noise discount are fairly noticeable. That is simply the fact of working with such a small sensor. I managed to get barely higher outcomes out of the Uncooked file, however not a lot.

ISO 100 | 1/125 sec | F6.3 | 250mm equiv.

The fact is that the P950 makes use of a really small, not-particularly-new 16MP sensor. In case your most important requirement is a digicam that can seize photos which might be ok for sharing, desktop backgrounds or occasional prints for family and friends, it can do the job. Extra important photographers will most likely (like me) find yourself capturing in Uncooked mode most of the time, particularly in conditions the place the P950 tends to stumble, comparable to capturing in combined mild or in poor mild at excessive ISO sensitivity settings.

The P950’s lens (like just about all lenses of this kind) is greatest when you zoom in somewhat. This picture was transformed from Uncooked and I might most likely have sharpened it somewhat extra aggressively (and if I used to be meant to print it, I’d) however cross-frame sharpness is sweet and constant. Taking pictures Uncooked has allowed me to get the white-balance precisely the place I wished it, cut back some minor blue fringing within the foliage in opposition to the intense sky, and get well somewhat element from spotlight and shadow areas.

ISO 100 | 1/60 sec | F3.2 | 50mm equiv.

The primary motive I’ve ended up counting on Uncooked seize with the P950 is to repair white stability points. The P950’s computerized white stability system is fairly efficient more often than not, however can get very wayward at lengthy focal lengths, the place distinction drops and there is much less ‘context’ within the scene. Usually in this sort of state of affairs, I discovered myself a warmish preview picture within the digicam’s viewfinder, solely to seek out that my captured {photograph} was very cool (or vice-versa). Taking pictures Uncooked lets me repair these occasional points shortly, in addition to pull somewhat extra element out of shadows than could be doable from a JPEG.

I intentionally uncovered this picture in order to protect the fragile highlights on the distant mountains, however I went too far. (Professional Tip: At all times use that histogram, youngsters!). The end result was a muddy, uninteresting JPEG (not helped by an over-warm rendering by the P950’s AWB system). A couple of minutes in Adobe Digital camera Uncooked allowed me to drag much more element – and a way more lifelike tone when it comes to colour and distinction – from the .NRW Uncooked file.

Obtain unique information:

The draw back of capturing Uncooked is that .NRW information eat up extra card house and so they take time (and a level of experience) to course of. If you don’t need the effort, you’ll be able to shoot JPEG and manually choose white stability relying in your state of affairs, from the same old vary of presets, together with daylight, cloudy and incandescent.

Apparently, the P950’s most capturing price of seven fps for ten consecutive photos is identical no matter what file format you shoot. Whereas this can be a helpful framerate for capturing quick motion in idea, it is not at all times helpful in follow, since in the course of the time that photos are being written to the SD card, the P950 is ‘locked-up’, and will not even allow you to zoom the lens. Even with a reasonably high-speed card (I used this one) this takes 5-6 seconds: an eternity for those who’re attempting to observe a shifting object. With an affordable no-brand SD card, you may be ready so long as 15-20 seconds for the buffer to clear after a single burst of ten frames.

Video

The P950’s video characteristic set is aggressive, with out being significantly excellent. At its most high quality settings, you’ll be able to document video footage at 4K, at 30p, with the choice of 25p (sadly not 24p) and Full HD seize at 60, 30 and 25p. A microphone jack is offered, however there is not any headphone jack for energetic audio monitoring.

At its most high quality settings, video footage from the P950 appears very good. Element is sweet, and at large angles, video is clean and (assuming the digicam is not moved too quickly) free from apparent distortion. The digicam’s built-in microphone does choose up some zoom noise, but it surely’s not objectionable (and you’ve got the choice of an exterior microphone if it turns into an issue).

within the clip above, taken in direction of the large finish of the P950’s zoom, you’ll be able to hear the built-in microphone selecting up the sound of raindrops falling onto the lens barrel and hood (and me)

The place high quality drops is – once more – at very lengthy focal lengths, particularly when directed in direction of distant topics. Moisture and haze within the air (and optical softness) mix to offer relatively mushy outcomes at 2000mm, however the Vibration Discount system nonetheless does job of retaining footage secure, regardless of snaking about somewhat and ‘grabbing’ if the digicam is moved. Rolling shutter can be a problem when panning: particularly in opposition to a cityscape or a scene with related vertical components.

As you’ll be able to see from the clip above, the extraordinary vary of the P950’s lens makes it a robust device for videography nonetheless, which can go a way in direction of making up for these points.

Nikon Coolpix P950 Pattern Gallery

Conclusion

For $800, the P950 offers you adequate zoom vary to seize all the pieces from landscapes to (at a pinch) the Worldwide House Station. Plus that is coupled with a picture stabilization system so efficient that you will not often – if ever – want a tripod. Assuming you respect its inherent limitations, the P950 is a robust device and might be a really helpful second digicam to accompany a extra standard mirrorless ILC or DSLR setup.

After all, lots of people looking for cameras of this kind won’t have any expertise of capturing with an ILC, and even know what the phrases Uncooked mode or 4K video imply. They only desire a digicam with a extremely highly effective lens that they will take wherever, and use to shoot no matter they discover there.

When you acknowledge your self in that description, and also you’re in search of recommendation on whether or not or not you can purchase the P950, I might say that it will depend on what you are desiring to shoot.

When you want the flexibility of a 24-2000mm zoom vary, and also you need the consolation of figuring out you could shoot landscapes one minute, and heavenly our bodies the following (I do know the chronology of that does not actually add up, however simply go along with it), the Nikon Coolpix P950 is the best choice proper now, for sure.

If you would like the consolation of figuring out you could shoot landscapes one minute, and heavenly our bodies the following, the Nikon Coolpix P950 is the best choice

Alternatively, for those who’re in search of a good digicam to take with you on day journeys, household excursions, or for prolonged journey, and also you do not want large telephoto attain, there are many different choices available on the market which provide higher picture high quality. Particularly for those who’re prepared to pay round $800.

The Panasonic Lumix DC-FZ1000 II, for instance, might be discovered on sale for $800 for time to time, and although its zoom cannot match the Nikon, it is no slouch at 25-400mm-equivalent. When you’re after one thing extra pocketable, the Canon PowerShot G5 X Mark II is a little more costly, but it surely (just like the FZ1000 II) comes with a a lot bigger sensor for considerably higher picture high quality, particularly at excessive ISO settings. After all, neither can match the P950’s zoom vary, and that is the trade-off. For $800 you may additionally have a look at interchangeable lens fashions, which could supply even higher picture high quality though – once more – on the expense of zoom vary.

Let’s be trustworthy although: for those who’ve learn this far, it is due to that lens, proper? In that case the matter is clear-cut. The easy reality is that pound for pound (and greenback for greenback), throughout the present crop of super-zoom cameras, the P950 represents the most effective worth.

What we like

  • 24-2000mm equal zoom affords unbelievable versatility
  • 2.36M-dot OLED viewfinder may be very good (and an enormous enchancment on the P900)
  • Uncooked mode makes the P950 extra versatile than some friends
  • Beneficiant grip and properly organized controls

What we do not like

  • Picture high quality from getting older sensor is simply OK at medium / excessive ISOs
  • Nook sharpness at large angles is pretty poor
  • Diffraction limits sharpness at excessive telephoto
  • Lengthy lockup occasions after capturing bursts (particularly with low cost SD playing cards)
  • Interface might be ‘laggy’
  • Focus slows and is susceptible to searching at excessive telephoto

Scoring

Scoring is relative solely to the opposite cameras in the identical class. Click on right here to study in regards to the modifications to our scoring system and what these numbers imply.

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