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on March 27, 2009
This camera has sparked my interest as a photography hobbyist. The zoom issues described in previous reviews are easily solved by tweaking the iso, aperture or shutter speed. The camera also has several settings such as aperture or Shutter priority modes to assist with evenly regulating exposure making it easy to use for 1st timers. After reading the manual every picture i took came out in amazing quality. The tilt screen makes taking pictures at impossible angles easy. The 24 inch zoom lets you take close ups from impossible lengths.
it also comes with Vibration reduction to stabilize said zoom shots
Noise reduction to help when high iso is necessary.
Auto and manual whitebalance settings
In camera digital lighting and editing.

This camera may not be a DSLR but in my opinion it takes pictures just as well with half the effort.
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on March 21, 2009
The Nikon Coolpix P90 is what it is, a Point & Shoot Camera. It is not a DSLR and was never designed to replace a DSLR. Duh!

I do a lot of back country travel both in 4X4 vehicles and on foot and the P90 is a dream come true. It's light and packs easily on my belt, it's versatile and the super zoom lets me frame shots without climbing all over a mountain. It has easy to use controls and I can shift in seconds from a macro shot of a cactus blossom to an action shot of a javalina running along the river bottom. I would love to take the DSLR guy on some of my hikes and let him pack a camera, tripod and three or four lenses around for the day. I wonder who will get all the shots and who will still be several miles back trying to shift lenses!

Honestly, I've been the whole SLR/Darkroom route and I have eight film cameras and a dozen lenses sitting in a box in the closet. I started using digital cameras back when you paid a lot of money for a 2 megapixal camera. I bought a Coolpix 4500 and took almost 3000 pictures with it. I banged it around, dropped it in the dirt and it never stopped taking really good pictures.

Nikon knows how to make great cameras and the Coolpix P90 is a great camera. Don't let the "flamers" fool you with their horrific reviews. They buy a Point & Shoot camera and complain bitterly that it doesn't do the same thing a DSLR does. Wow, I suppose the same person buys a Saturn and complains because it doesn't handle like a BMW M6.

I've been playing with my new P90 and have over a hundred pictures in 5 days. It's going to be a great camera and a fantastic travel companion.
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on April 23, 2009
I have owned several Nikon Digital Cameras and was considering an SLR when I read the reviews on this camera. It is everything and more than promised. I just returned from a trip to Italy and the pictures are the best I have ever taken. The wide angle is not quite as wide as my old Nikon 5000 with a wide angle lense and adaptor, but more than sufficient. In Paris I was able to photograph the entire facade of Sacre Cour standing in front of it. The sports feature is incredible. I used it to take pictures of my grand daughters little league game. I got every step of her bat swing and each picture was clear and in focus. It took 15 pictures in less than a minute. This is a great camera.
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on April 28, 2009
I bought the P90 since my wife has a compact P&S and I wanted to fangle with manual settings.

Picture quality: Simply beautiful. Overall the camera takes amazing photos in daylight and cloudy lighting, they are spectacular in auto mode and even better with slight tweaking.

The zoom and lens: I've taken stunning shots in full 24x zoom of skiers in action shots with chunks of snow flying sharp and detailed. The optic stabilization is perfectly adequate to hand hold the camera taking shots in full zoom - and I disagree with the reviewer "E.C. Bummer" and am highly suspicious of that review. So I gave this a 5 instead of a 4 to balance. I've also taken some very nice macro shots of tulips and the focus has been very cooperative and speedy.

Learning curve and manual settings: Getting familiar with adjusting the manual settings for aperture, shutter speed and contrast and white balance does not take long. In about a week and 100 photos I was fully familiar with dialing in the settings and modes. It takes some patience if you want to experiment out of auto mode and be comfortable changing the setup; and you will take some awfully exposed shots in the process - but that is the point of this camera. I do like the overall layout and the menu for changing manual settings - fast and logical with 2 programmable profiles for preset settings.

Lowlight and indoors for any digital camera is a challenge - just a nature of the beast. I've had good results but you will get the usual noise if there is not enough light. You will get very good results indoors relative to the technology, price and less expensive P&S's and even more expensive cameras made just a year ago.

Video: Honestly would have expected more from this. I took a 5 minute vid snowboarding down a mountain. Perhaps this was an extreme test but the video was unwatchable pretty much. I have seen much better results with compact cameras with video recording. No HD. Likely in good lighting with minimal shake the video recording probably does nicely for online video uploading.

LCD and viewfinder: I do agree the LCD does not seem to give a fair representation of the images and there is a delay once an image is displayed in play mode before the processing adjusts the image to high resolution. My high-end gaming machine did the same thing - so not sure if it is because of the 12MP images or something else. I prefer the viewfinder in daylight anyway for taking images.

Size: I was able to fit the camera in the hand pocket of a Columbia jacket. It is large for a P&S and I could certainly feel the weight in my unzipped jacket while snowboarding with it. In your hands it is light and comfortable however. I do like holding it.

What would make this camera better:
1. Ability to go from 'off' to 'play mode' to review pictures. Instead the camera has to wake up the lens and the lens cap must be removed.
2. The camera can be turned on when the lens cap is on. The lens will try to force itself out against the lens cap, eventually giving up and the camera provides an error. Just does not seem this is good for the optic mechanics.
3. I wish there was a lock for the stabilization of the optics. When traveling I can feel the parts moving in my hand. Seems like the ability to lock everything would preserve the life of the optics.
4. No screw for filters. Would have been nice have thrown a polarizer on for bluer skies. The camera does have many digital settings to try to get to filter type results.
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on December 2, 2009
Nikon's P90 Hybrid Point And Shoot

My turn to weigh in on this camera! First, I was pretty surprised at the mixed reviews, most of which I read after ordering my P90. Even the negative posts didn't scare me though, as I have owned a Coolpix 5700, another "hybrid PNS", for about six years and have had nothing but great luck with it. (Many thousands of photos later, I still love it.) And, hats off to Nikon ... five years into my 5700, it came up lame and Nikon USA fixed it and had it back to me in a week at no charge.

To be fair, I AM a user's guide reader, which is one thing everyone should be doing with a tool that offers so many features. Once you've been through a few manuals, it gets easier to understand. Trust me; your manual is your friend.

The accusation that the P90 takes terrible pictures is absolutely absurd. Incompetent photographers take terrible pictures. The camera is perfectly capable of taking excellent quality pictures that will be satisfying to all but true professionals. There are reasons that those National Geographic shots are so impressive ... starting with the fact that few of those photographers are using a three hundred dollar point and shoot for the brunt of their work, and ending with the fact that those people behind the lens are far more trained in photography than the average person, or me for that matter. (And remember, we see the best of their work.)

Getting on with the P90, I am perfectly smitten. The monster LCD screen is just terrific, but it still has a conventional viewfinder with a diopter adjustment. You can switch between the two in an instant with one button. It's a wonderful camera that has so much control at the fingertips, and can be adjusted so quickly, there really isn't any reason, aside from user error, that great results can't be achieved. White balance, exposure compensation, metering, ISO and shooting mode setting are all of general note here, and they are all quick and easy to get to via the menus or the mode dial. And then, a reality check is in order.

White balance used to be corrected with filters on conventional cameras, but now it is done digitally. When you scroll to the white balance menu on the P90 and make a change, feedback is visually immediate on the screen if applicable. For instance, setting it to incandescent will get rid of the orange hue of indoor lights. You should adjust for white balance depending on your shooting situation and think of it each time you shoot.

Exposure compensation is available on the multi-selector with just one push of the button. As you then adjust the exposure by click, again, you see the change on the screen. Although you can also use an auto bracketing feature, I really like this feature when I see the first shot on screen and want to decrease or increase exposure fast and easy.

Four types of metering are available. I happen to like the spot meter for most shooting. One trick (useful with all digital cameras that offer spot metering) is to meter various things in the shot. You will see the exposure change before your eyes. Metering something dark will lighten the shot or, the reverse, metering something light will darken the shot. For instance, I have two black dogs with white paws and briskets. If I meter their faces directly the shots are always overexposed. I often meter the white brisket by pushing the shutter release button half down and then recompose the shot to take the picture. You can do this in all kinds of shooting situations, provided your subject remains in focus.

As in film photography, the most useful ISO speeds are probably 64 through 400. Expect shots at 800 and 1600 to be digitally noisy, just as they would be grainy in film. Again, the P90 allows for almost instant changing of ISO settings, something you couldn't do with film.

As for shooting modes, all the standard modes (aperture and shutter priority as well as program auto) are available on the mode dial, including full manual, and lots of other bells and whistles. A good many people will treat the P90 like a pocket camera and just go full auto, which is fine. That will yield many good results. However, for those who are more inclined to an artistic eye or more control, the camera is feature rich enough to offer almost limitless possibilities. And, that is the reason to digest the manual fully. Remember, it's digital, so you can delete failed shots (and just imagine the waste and money if it was film and prints).

Listen, there are a hundred other added values on the various menus. Voice recording, time lapse movies, continuous shooting at 15 frames per second ... blah, blah, blah. I won't even go there. Suffice it to say that it's a lot of value for fewer than three hundred bucks.

Now, let's address the reality check. Much of the hype about the 24X zoom is just that, hype. Few shots can be terrific at full length on a zoom of this quality, so don't count on using it for bald eagles a quarter mile away, let alone off tripod. As stated above, don't hope for magazine quality shots at ISO 1600, it just can't happen. The built-in flash is standard fare. Straight-on flash can be flat and unflattering in portraiture on any camera. It's also easy to wash out a shot ... so expect to bracket if the shot is important to you.

Some have stated that the camera feels cheap because it is so light weight. I actually love that it is light and easy on the neck. Personally, I don't think it looks or feels "cheap" at all.

Finally, I do have a few minor complaints. I cannot for the life of me understand why Nikon won't thread these cameras for filters. Sure, most filtering is digital these days, but I would kill sometimes for a polarizing filter and would very much have liked to keep a UV filter on the camera for lens protection, just as I always did on my old conventional cameras. Further, I hate rechargeable batteries. I so wish that they would have gone with AA or AAA batteries which you can always find anywhere.

Having stated that, I am giving the P90 five stars, because it's been an amazing, wonderful camera for me, and it's taking some killer good pictures, especially since I took the time to understand its potential. Repeat after me ... "the manual is my friend".
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on April 22, 2009
I had decided to upgrade from the Canon S5 IS, because I really like a point and shoot camera with LOTS of zoom! I have always been a Canon person. My first choice the Canon SX1, but it was going to be expensive, and no one seemed to know the actual release date, so I decided against it. Then, there was the Canon SX10, but it didn't seem like much of a jump from the S5. I not only wanted lots of zoom, I also wanted to be able to take continuous shots rapidly. The S5 IS is really slow in this respect. This was to be my Mother's Day present, and I wanted to make sure I got just what I wanted!

After doing a LOT of research, I began to think the Nikon P90 might be a good choice for me. I had looked at the many pics taken with it on Steve's Digicam web site, but I always struggle to know if they have been photoshopped, or manipulated in some way. I went to a local camera shop, to try out the Canon SX10 against the Nikon P90, and they made my job easy, because they didn't have the Canon model in stock. Oh yes, and I also tried the Panasonic Lumix, but it was just too light for me, and the zoom on it is only 18X. I tried the Nikon P90 around the store, and it seemed like a good fit.

My first shots had a lot of blur to them. It really frustrated me, and I was concerned I had made the right decision. It seemed that no matter what I took a picture of, it was blurry. Also, we have a clear view of Pike's Peak, and I love to get those early morning shots of the mountain, and they just didn't seem to "pop". Our 16 year old son, who really knows his way around a camera, gave me some tips, and now, I really think this is an awesome camera! My early morning shots of Pike's Peak still aren't the best, but just about anything else I take a picture of, comes out awesome! The colors are true, and it is a LOT of fun to use! I just got a tri-pod today, and not having really used one before, I am learning how much it helps steady shots!

There are maybe two downsides to this camera, and to me, they are small ones. First, is the back LCD screen. It doesn't swing out like the Canon cameras do. One real plus to the swing out idea, is that when they swing back in, they can be flipped over, against the camera, so as to protect the LCD screen. I am just used to that is all. I need to get a protective screen cover for it, and I think it will be fine. The other 'downside', is that if I really use the camera most of the day, I pretty much use up my battery. This camera uses the Li-ion batteries, so for me, it was imperative I get an extra. I found a seller on Ebay that sold two of them at a really good price, and they came fully charged, and in small plastic cases too! Now I have 3 camera batteries!

So, if you are looking for a really fun, point and shoot camera, with lots of zoom, I highly recommend this camera. I almost didn't buy it, because I saw some reviews of it that weren't stellar. For once, I am glad I didn't listen to the crowd!
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on May 17, 2009
I wanted to love this camera, I really did! I have had two Nikon Coolpix during the last 4 years and loved them, so I was excited to upgrade to the P90. I had read all the reviews on Amazon as well as other sites, and assumed that the people who were writing bad reviews of the camera just didn't know how to use it. I was wrong.

First, I know it's a point and shoot camera and not a DSLR. But the quality of the photos the P90 took was terrible compared to my old Nikon Coolpix P5000. Unless I was outside with lots of natural light the photos from the P90 were all slightly blurred. Inside, I experimented with flash, no flash, Auto mode, P mode with ISO down to 64, reduced flash, heightened flash, adjusting the manual settings for the aperture, shutter speed, white balance and contrast. Could not get a good photo! And I've been using Nikons with the same features for years with no problem. Also, colors were too orange indoors, even with the flash. Another reviewer said the photos looked like they were taken with a cell phone. I thought this was exaggeration, until I saw some of my shots! Then I would take my old P5000 and shoot the same shot and it would come out perfect! I took over 400 photos with the P90 in two days, trying to see if the photos improved under any circumstances. They didn't. I'm returning it to Amazon tomorrow. (Thanks for the painless return, Amazon!)

You can see examples of what I'm talking about at:
[...]
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on August 25, 2009
I got this camera for Father's Day after I broke my Coolpix P4. I loved that little P4, but not its big restrictions. Like many other reviewers of the P90, I too am a "Nikon Guy". I have owned Nikon's film based 4004 and 8008's, and used the N90 over the years with great success. I researched the P80 and saw many unhappy and disatisfied reviews, so I held off on buying that, then I saw the P90. It is just a point and shoot, but it's a point and shoot on performance enhancing drugs. This thing can do it all, but not if you want to pull it out of the box and set it on AUTO. I understand this camera and I have read the manual, but even when I use the AUTO mode (green camera icon on the top dial), my pictures look horrible.

This camera needs you to understand aperture, shutter speed, ISO, etc... if you want crisp, clear, professional looking shots. I honestly have to say that even using some of the SCENE modes, will not necessarily produce the pictures that you might be expecting. That is why I gave it four stars and not five. That being said, when I select A on the top dial for Aperture priority, then I go into the menu and deselect Auto ISO, adjusting it for the light and subject matter, then turning the thumb dial to an appropriate F Stop, BAM! I get a magazine quality shot.

It's a couple of steps, it takes a little know how and even a bit of effort, but you don't have to be a professional photographer to make it happen. Even when using a scene mode, you can still adjust the exposure manually by hitting the +/- side of the menu wheel on the back of the camera. A little up or a little down will make even a simple shot brighter or give it a dramatic feel if you darken your shot a notch or two.

Another easy way make a good shot a great one is to use the view finder as opposed to the LCD screen. Granted, the big swiveling screen is a great option under the right circumstances, but Nikon gives you a choice for a good reason. Most point and shoots have dumped Viewfinders to save space, but even Consumer Reports will tell you that most people want and like them. A view finder will help you see what you are really looking at without the less-than-accurate influence the LCD will give. It's not unlike the way that when you are printing a picture from your computer, rarely does the printed image look exactly like the one on your monitor.

If you are looking for National Geographic type pictures right out of the box, then the P90 is not for you. There are plenty of fairly priced point and shoots that will give just that. But if you want more than the typical Auto everything, (but with the option of Auto everything), and you will educate yourself even briefly on crafting a photograph by both reading the manual and understanding F-Stop (Aperture) vs. Shutter speed and using the White Balance and ISO, based on your conditions and situation, you will indeed see the P90 for what it is: an Advanced Mega-Zoom Point and Shoot Digital Camera that needs a little coaxing, and a small amount of patience and learning by the user.

I have run 1300+ shots through mine and I'm constantly surprised at what the P90 can do when I try something new with the settings and gamble with some creativity. If you have a P90 and didn't like it at first, embrace your investment and give it another try. If you are thinking of buying a P90, commit to your purchase and know the camera before demanding perfection. I really like my P90. I am keeping it. I know it will never be a Digital Single Lens Reflex camera, but for just under $400, it's the closest you will get. After all it is a NIKON.
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on June 25, 2009
No camera is perfect, but none of the negative comments on here offset the 24x zoom, the equivalent of 26-624mm on a 35mm film camera. And at smaller picture sizes, the optical zoom becomes MUCH greater, maybe 1000mm or more. And on the other end of the scale (26mm), the P90 gives a wider field of view than my prior Nikon, the P5100.

But the P90 is not a one-trick pony. In fact, it can do a number of great tricks. Like the P5100, it has panorama assist (my favorite feature, though combining vertical and horizontal panning for large pictures would make it even better) with automatic stitching software, easy selection of different types of scenes (e.g.: fireworks, portrait, etc.), a wide range of camera/picture controls.

I uploaded a picture of a flag taken inside, hand-held, at 1/15th second exposure with VR, with side-by-side comparison of the P90 and the P5100 and the P90 actually seems to be the better picture with less noise in the blue background. I'm sure you can find a camera which takes better low-light indoor pictures, but can you find one (in this price range) that does that PLUS takes 24x zoom pictures?

I also find taking macro pictures (such as of flowers) to be much easier with the P90, especially with the tilting LCD. I had no trouble getting the P90 to focus correctly in macro mode - something the P5100 had problems doing. The P90's new manual focus is also a welcome addition, as is the much larger LCD monitor.

This is the first Coolpix I've had (of 4) which has an electronic viewfinder, which gives you through-the-lens viewing plus lets you see all the camera settings, etc.

Another reviewer complained about having to pop up the flash to use it. I'm just the opposite. To keep the P5100 from flashing when I don't want it to, I have to do a bunch of button-pressing to stop it, versus pushing one button to pop up the flash when wanted. To each his own.

There's not room to list all the features I love, such as being able to crop, rotate, and/or retouch pictures in camera while reviewing them, as well as the real-time red-eye correction, blink warning, etc.

On the cautionary side:

(1) This is NOT a pocket camera. When the camera arrived in the mail, I was really surprised to see how big it is. I uploaded a picture with the P90 and P5100 side-by side from an angled overhead view so that you can see the difference. The P90 is about 20% wider and maybe 4x deeper (with lenses in all the way).

(2) Even with VR, you cannot expect to take a picture handheld with a 624+mm zoom and get it perfectly sharp. Expect to use a tripod for such pictures, making this even less of a casual camera. If you order the P90 and don't have a tripod, you may as well order one at the same time.

(3) No hot shoe. Again, I'm not getting a 24x zoom camera to do wedding photography, so it's not a big deal for me.

Bottom line: I do not consider this a general-purpose camera. You either want/need the 24x zoom lens or you don't. If you do, there is nothing about the P90 which will make you sorry you got it, especially if you already have a camera which does other things you want, such as doing portraits, putting it in your pocket (though phones are taking over that role), etc.
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on June 4, 2009
Low cost, ($366.95 Shipped) full functioned, easy to use camera.
I have an expensive professional Nikon setup ($3,500.00) with multiple lenses that is wonderful, but this camera delivers quality shots rapidly and with very little effort.
It is much faster at the draw than my expensive setup because you never have to change Lenses. (I keep it in my truck so I never miss a Virginia wildlife shot) The Zoom is 26-624mm Optical, so you have a wide range to go along with the image stabilization and the quality 12.1 Megapixel pictures. It turns on quickly and works as it's supposed to.
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