The Coolpix P3 features a 1/1.8-inch CCD and, because it offers 8.1 effective megapixels of image resolution, it delivers outstanding imaging power that's not only enough to show beautiful skin texture and capture the myriad colors of the human eye, it also means shots stay breathtakingly clear even when significantly enlarged.
The Coolpix P3 incorporates a high-quality 3.5x Zoom-Nikkor lens with a focal range equivalent to that of a 36-126mm lens in 35mm format. This provides ample opportunity to zoom in for close compositions, zoom right out to capture breathtaking scenery and even enjoy macro shooting from as close as 4 centimeters.
Perhaps the most exciting element of the Coolpix P3, however, is the inclusion of Nikon's innovative VR (Vibration Reduction) capability. Originally developed for Nikon SLRs, lens shift VR capability is available in two modes that compensate for camera movement to realize a shooting experience akin to shooting at shutter speeds three stops faster.
VR Normal compensates for the minor movements that can happen all too easily during handheld shooting, while VR Active compensates for more pronounced movements--so you can even achieve rock-steady results while shooting from a moving vehicle, for example. Allowing photographers to shoot without blurring in lower light or when taking handheld macro shots, VR also extends to movie shooting, and even helps support faster framing on the large 2.5-inch 150,000-dot LCD.
Delivering further photographic fun and freedom through built-in Wi-Fi capability, the Coolpix P3 offers IEEE 802.11b/g LAN support. Surprisingly easy to set up and use, it lets users send images instantly to a selected computer as soon as they're taken, or alternately send all images stored on memory to a computer in one go. Wireless freedom also extends to printing too, so users can carry out cable-free printing to PictBridge-compatible printers. (Cable-free direct printing requires optionally available Wireless Printer Adapter PD-10. The PD-10 adapter is not included and must be purchased separately.)
A range of advanced imaging features make the Coolpix P3 stand out from other compact digital cameras, giving photographers greater control to produce shots that match their discreet personal tastes. The 11 wide-area AF delivers more accurate autofocus by analysing a larger area of the frame so photographers can experiment with more imaginative compositions. For example, with main subjects positioned away from the center or with multiple subjects, they can still be assured of crisp, sharp results.
The camera also offers Aperture-Priority Auto mode to let photographers benefit from aperture control in 1/3 EV steps, so they can select large apertures for attractive background blurring or stop down to small apertures to extend crisp focus into the distance--all while the camera automatically selects the most appropriate shutter speed for optimized exposure.
For all kinds of shooting, an on-screen histogram provides analytical assistance for exposure. Surprisingly easy to understand, it displays shadow levels on the left and highlight levels on the right of the large LCD, so users can avoid under- and overexposure before they even press the shutter.
There's also a range of Advanced Scene modes (9 Advanced Scene modes; 7 Scene modes) that help photographers capture a single scene with entirely different moods through the use of three effects that vary brightness, color intensity, sharpness, noise reduction, and more.
Helping photographers capture the action as it happens, the Coolpix P3 also features continuous shooting at up to 1.8 frames per second. This capability is also complemented by 5-shot buffer shooting that allows users to keep shooting in a continuous burst and have the camera record the last five images taken. Such functionality can be great when trying to capture an event that could happen imminently.
The Coolpix P3 makes it easy to shoot movies with sound, with a choice of three modes offering up to 30-frame-per-second performance. There's also a Time-lapse movie mode that uses pictures shot with the Interval timer shooting function to create a movie in which the action appears speeded up.
Images can even be improved in-camera through the use of three innovative Nikon functions. Face-priority AF cleverly detects people's faces to achieve sharp focus on them, no matter where they happen to be located in the frame. In-Camera Red-Eye Fix helps users make red-eye a thing of the past by detecting the annoying red-eye effect that can sometimes occur in flash photography and providing automatic compensation for more flattering, natural-looking portraits in low light. There's also Nikon's unique D-Lighting function, available in playback mode, which can improve underexposed images or shots taken with too much back light by creating a copy of an image with added light and detail wherever necessary, leaving well-exposed areas exactly as they were.
Operation of the Coolpix P3 is exceptionally smooth and user-friendly. Icons are clearer and have optimal proportions, users can opt to select functions by either name or icon, and all menus and icons have been created with a new color scheme that's easier on the eye.
Design-wise, the Coolpix P3 has been made even more desirable with exterior lines that convey a distinct air of simplicity and quality, yet which feel comfortable in the hand. The use of aluminum throughout the exterior builds on this sense of quality, while the lens and grip sections have been given a flatter, space-efficient form. Furthermore, various different materials have been incorporated into the design to provide visually appealing contrast.
Like all Coolpix cameras, the P3 comes bundled with Nikon's complimentary and exclusive PictureProject software. Now featuring easy-to-use Wireless Camera Setup Utility, which uses a simple Wizard that will configure the cameras for wireless operation for use with the Coolpix P3, PictureProject adds even more possibilities to digital photography. Complete with an interface that is as elegant as it is simple, it makes for simple image editing and supports easy image organization and sharing, while compatibility with a range of plug-ins lets users add exciting new capabilities on demand.
The Coolpix P3 features the VR (Vibration Reduction) system originally developed for Nikon SLR cameras. Comprising two modes, it allows selection of VR Normal mode that compensates for the minor camera movement commonly encountered when taking handheld shots, and VR Active mode that compensates for more pronounced movements, such as when shooting from a moving vehicle. Providing a shooting experience akin to shooting at shutter speeds three stops faster, it enables photographers to shoot without blurring in lower light, keeps subjects clear when panning, and also helps support faster framing on the LCD. What's more, the benefits of VR (Normal mode) assurance also extend to movie shooting so users can capture action with welcome stability.
Built-in Wi-Fi capability
The Coolpix P3 comes with built-in Wi-Fi capability that's easy to set up and virtually effortless to operate. Adding greater freedom and versatility to compact digital photography, such IEEE 802.11b/g support means users can send individual images from the camera to a computer the moment they are shot. Users can also send a whole batch of images to a computer simultaneously and even carry out cable-free printing with PictBridge-compatible printers. (Cable-free direct printing requires optionally available Wireless Printer Adapter PD-10. The PD-10 adapter is not included and must be purchased separately.)
Advanced imaging features
The Coolpix P3 also offers a range of imaging capabilities extending beyond the norm. Covering a broader area of the frame, 11 wide-area AF achieves better results in more diverse compositions--leaving photographers free to concentrate on the shot while the camera automatically achieves superior, sharp focus. Advanced Scene modes allow photographers to produce pictures better suited to their own personal tastes--offering a choice of three effects that vary brightness, color intensity, sharpness, noise reduction, and more so that the same scene can be captured to convey entirely different moods. The Coolpix P3 also offers the versatility of Aperture-priority Auto mode, which gives photographers control over aperture while the camera automatically selects the optimal corresponding shutter speeds, so users can choose larger apertures to achieve attractive background blur, for example, or select a smaller aperture to extend sharp detail into the distance.
Features for in-camera image correction
The Coolpix P3 features a selection of three Nikon innovations that give the photographer the ability to actually improve the quality of images in-camera. The Face-priority AF function has the ability to cleverly locate the presence of human faces in the frame and then provide optimized focus accordingly for sharper portraits time after time. (Face recognition capability may be limited in some shooting conditions.) In-Camera Red-Eye Fix helps to eradicate the annoying red-eye effect that can sometimes be encountered during flash photography by detecting red eyes in the shot and compensating automatically. There's also D-Lighting, which can improve underexposed images or shots taken with too much back light by creating a copy of a selected image with light and detail automatically added wherever necessary and well-exposed areas left exactly as they are.
- Highly compact dimensions of 92 x 61 x 31 millimeters (3.6 x 2.4 x 1.2 inches) (W x H x D) excluding projections
- Carry-anywhere light weight of approximately 170 grams (5.6 ounces) (without battery and SD memory card)
- USB connectivity enables fast data transfer to computers and other peripheral
- Battery Charger MH-61 supplied
- Ample 23 MB (approximate) of internal memory; SD card compatibility
- BSS (Best Shot Selector) identifies and saves the sharpest image automatically from ten sequential shots
- Date Search function makes it easy to locate a desired shot
- Menu available in a choice of 20 languages: German, English, Spanish, French, Italian, Dutch, Swedish, Japanese, simplified Chinese, traditional Chinese, Korean, Russian, Thai, Portuguese, Polish, Indonesian, Finnish, Danish, Norwegian, Czech
- Rechargeable EN-EL5 Li-ion battery (supplied) can shoot approximately 200 shots on a single charge
- Direct printing with PictBridge-compatible printers via USB cable
- Macro Mode lets users compose as close as 4 centimeters from the subject
- Noise Reduction produces better results when shooting in low light
- Time zone function enables the camera clock to be set to local time, anywhere in the world
- 4x digital zoom extends compositional freedom
- Continuous shooting at up to 1.8 frames per second
- Choice of White Balance: Auto with TTL control, 7-mode manual (Direct sunlight, Incandescent, Fluorescent, Cloudy, Shade, Flash and White Balance Preset)
- Voice memo appends 20 seconds of audio to a selected photograph