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486 of 492 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tons of performance in a very modest package
This is a very versatile camera and responsive to most needs. It has a good macro range to go along with a super zoom range. It compares well to a Panasonic DMC-GH1 which has a much larger sensor and more expensive optics (the lens alone is twice the price of this Nikon). The Panasonic also produced higher saturation and contrast shots in default mode and this gives...
Published on March 4, 2010 by Tom North

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232 of 267 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars didn't excite me
When I spend this much money for a camera it should excite me - it doesn't. I was enticed to buy this camera by the 26X zoom. I am returning it and will stay with my Panasonic FZ35 - 12mp/18X zoom. I took both cameras out to do a comparision, the panasonic pics were as good or better than the nikon - clearer, brighter, sharper.There also were some smaller things I didn't...
Published on March 3, 2010 by K. Chamberland


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486 of 492 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tons of performance in a very modest package, March 4, 2010
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This review is from: Nikon Coolpix P100 10 MP Digital Camera with 26x Optical Vibration Reduction (VR) Zoom and 3-Inch LCD (Black) (OLD MODEL) (Electronics)
This is a very versatile camera and responsive to most needs. It has a good macro range to go along with a super zoom range. It compares well to a Panasonic DMC-GH1 which has a much larger sensor and more expensive optics (the lens alone is twice the price of this Nikon). The Panasonic also produced higher saturation and contrast shots in default mode and this gives the appearance of higher resolution. The Nikon gave a truer auto outdoor color balance and more natural contrast. Even at ISO 800 it was very sharp. You can enlarge a few test shots at the DPReview forums by searching for "Nikon P100 test shots". or if this works: [...]

The two highlights that amazed me were the Nikon's focusing indicator system. It is so cool that when you shoot a bouquet of flowers the display shows you each blossom chosen by the matrix focusing system. You click the shutter with the knowledge that it is choosing what you want. Wonderful. The second highlight is the range of the optics from good macro, nice wide angle, and amazing telephoto. Please see the photos I uploaded showing how well this camera compares. What the Nikon lacks mostly comes down to smooth tones and fine detail at high ISOs; and this is only because it is being compared to a large sensor camera. The images would easily pass a fairly critical viewer on an 8x10 print and seem to be better than previous cameras with this size sensor.

Pros (so far):
Great focus indicator system, Display shows small green squares over selected objects for focus = ready to shoot, red square = not ready
Light, easy to hold good fit to my medium sized hands.
Articulated screen seems more natural than the swing out to the side screens (aligned with lens)
Quick access to shoot videos, focus tracking option, slow motion (lower res 240 fps),
Hugh zoom range and quite fast action, 1˝ ++ second end to end
Outdoor sunlight colors quite natural
Very good resolution lens for this price range and favorably compares to much more expensive lenses (see above photos, several are pieces of 16 x 20 prints)
Very good macro versatility (see blowup of portion of terry towel above)
Adequate viewfinder but very contrasty, necessary info in viewfinder.

Cons (so far):
When shooting a video the focus is not able to keep up with the zoom (I reduced my rating because of this).
No RAW image option (less important with tools like Corel Image Adjustment Lab that gives me color temperature correction on jpg)
Lens cap rather than auto protect system, must remember to take it off before turning on camera (your notified when you forget)
Must use the menu system for several settings (ISO, color balance), slower but OK (hats off to the Canon G11, Panasonic)
Fast zoom over big range means it is tricky to accurately crop a shot (same with others though) Would love to see a 'nudge' feature for small changes.
Color balance with my photo fluorescent lights was tricky to dial in
Quick shutter in most situations but not all
No hot shoe for accessories and external flash
Only an adequate viewfinder
Minimum aperture of f8 (standard for cameras in this class, but would love to see it improved)
Screen does not 'self protect'
Must manually switch viewfinder verses LCD, simple one push button though
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214 of 215 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Functionality of an SLR without the cost or expense, April 15, 2010
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This review is from: Nikon Coolpix P100 10 MP Digital Camera with 26x Optical Vibration Reduction (VR) Zoom and 3-Inch LCD (Black) (OLD MODEL) (Electronics)
Ok, so I gave it a title that probably makes you wonder what I could possibly be talking about so here it is:
1. a really wide angle lens (26mm) for those close up shots and scenery shots (you know, the church with all of the spires that you have to backup all the way around the block to get into the picture).
2. a fantastic mechanical zoom lens that goes up to 678mm to bring in those distant shots (an with a tripod, the digital zoom puts you into the far objects pocket!). Keep in mind that with a zoom this large, holding it by hand is NOT going to produce a nice picture no matter how much stabilization is built into the camera!
3. One handed camera that is easy to use with a single hand and light enough to do so all day!
4. An articulated view screen that allows you to take pictures over the head of everyone crowding around the parade and still see what you are taking a picture of; it even allows you to take the pictue under the legs of someone standing in front of you or take that shot of a flower without having to bend down!
5. A camera body and lens that looks exactly like the SLR Digital Nikon! The only difference is you have a nice range of lens options that the other person (with the SLR) has to keep changing lenses to obtain. The camera also weighs a lot less and certainly costs a LOT less!!!
6. A wide range of shooting options from fully automatic to manual over-rides. Several scene modes also help with fast actions shots and close-ups.
7. A camera that you will not grow out of soon and one that even pleases the pro when they do not want to fuss with things.
8. the option to use a view finder if you want to! Yes, I know the 3 inch screen is nice, but if it is really sunny, the view finder works much better. Also, it is much quicker to use for those rare shots that you did not plan! You can turn off the through the lens view finder, the 3 inch monitor or both.

A 16 Gig SD card (not included, the internal memory is good for 9 pictures) gives you the ability to take over 6,000 shots (enough for that trip to Italy) without worrying about memory cards. While on that subject, this camera essentially becomes free after your first 900 pictures (figuring that film and processing for 24 exposure film ran about $10). On a recent trip to the Tulip Fields in Washington State, I shot over 300 pictures in that one day! So, the camera quickly pays for itself.

On the note of cost, this camera almost becomes a throw-away on a trip! Say you are in Italy and have been there for three weeks. You have averaged 100 pictures a day (very easy to do) and on your last day of the trip, you drop your camera from the third floor. You recover the memory card with your 2100 pictures. The camera was paid for after 900, so you are money ahead, have your pictures, and do not sweat the loss of the camera! (Ok, reality is that we will still be upset, but think how you would have felt if it was the Digital SLR with the nice zoom lens that you paid $5000 for!!)

The only negative to this camera is that Nikon does NOT make a case for the camera! No one really does. However, the Lowepro case comes very close (a little large) with a belt clip (velcro for easy on and off), a carrying strap (detachable), and a carry handle on top with a front pouch that easily fits two extra batteries and extra memory.

Speaking of battery, the included battery lasted for 350 pictures using the zoom extensively. The in camera charging unit works, but makes it a real pain. Purchase the Nikon En-El5 accessory package from Bargaincell (on Amazon) for $14 with shipping. It gives you a spare battery (larger than the original- good for 400 shots), a quick charger, a 12 volt adapter for the charger to allow you to charge from your car, and a European adapter that allows you to plug your charger in many European countries, including Russia.

This is one fantastic camera and a great price to go with it!!

UPDATE TO REVIEW:

I just returned from a trip to Russia (30 days) and I have taken over 13,000 pictures with this camera during this time. I have used the zoom feature extensively in the many churchs that we visited and at all of the other landmarks. The wide angle lens really did an outstanding job getting all of Red Square into the picture! The zoom did a fantastic job (laying on my back on the floor shooting up at the cupala) obtaining the inlaid tile pictures in the dome!

I made a comment earlier that a 16 Gig memory card would be adequate for a trip, but I found that I took almost 36 gigabyte of pictures and video on this trip! I had taken a laptop with me so that I could review pictures daily, but had not intended to actually do all of the storage on it. Well, that became my main picture store since I only had two 16 gig memory cards with me.

The HD movie feature was fantastic as we were able to record several of the live performances of Russian Dance that we went to. Having the articulated view screen allowed me to shoot great video over the heads of the people in front of us. The only issue with taking movies by hand this wasy is that your arm gets very tired after about 10 minutes of holding the camera! I should have thought to bring a tripod!!

We only had one problem in the trip with the camera and it happened after I had been taking extensive pictures in a very hot building (over 100 degrees) using the flash (took about 400 pictures). The camera closed the lens and gave me an error message. Changing the battery did not make any difference. My wife suggested that the camera had gotten too hot, so I waited 10 minutes and then tried the camera again, it worked perfectly! It has not acted up since. This happened in Moscow while the outside temperature was over 100 degrees and the building felt even hotter. As mentioned, I had been using the flash extensively and the camera was quite warm. Over the next two weeks I took over 5,000 pictures and it never acted up again.

My recommendation is a very strong buy for a great camera and HD video unit!!
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251 of 263 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So far I love it...blown away by the low light video, April 6, 2010
This review is from: Nikon Coolpix P100 10 MP Digital Camera with 26x Optical Vibration Reduction (VR) Zoom and 3-Inch LCD (Black) (OLD MODEL) (Electronics)
Just got home tonight with the camera; went to the store with the idea of buying the Canon SX20IS after reading all the reviews of the Nikon p90 and the Canon; previously I had gotten the JVC HD-1 $3000 HD camcorder and several Sony mini DV camcorders, and a Canon S2 (10x zoom) 5MP digital camera. Before that I had the OM-2 (film) SLR, for which I have a zillion lenses. We also have a Panasonic point and shoot and a new Canon 1300 elph. I notice that a lot of people griped about the Canon SX20 focusing and low light, and even more griped about the Nikon p90. At the store, they had the Canon and the Nikon p100. I thought both of them performed very well at high zoom, during zoom, good focus quickly, etc. Color looked good on the displays. I really like the Canon S2 as a point and shoot (early or first with the high zoom); can't stand the low zoom point and shoot idea, since I want to be able to bring out things I can't actually reach (architectural details, wildlife, etc.). I finally decided to try the Nikon (first one I've ever had) on the basis of the CMOS chip, 26 instead of 20:1 zoom, 1080p vs 720p, Li-ion battery vs. AA, and mainly the fact that in the (well lit, but not blinding) store, the image on the display was much brighter on the Nikon than the Canon. However, the actual pictures on the Canon were bright and nice, but it was easier for me to see to compose the shot on the display with the Nikon. It was so easy to use I was able to record video or stills and play them back in the store; and it turned out the Nikon was on sale and cheaper than the Canon.

My philosophy of picture taking is that I want to remember vacations, excursions, etc.; my ideal camera would see things the way my eye does except for bionic enhancements like night vision, zoom, etc. But in particular, I love existing light shots (and video) and love the HAD low light sloppy low res color slow shutter option on the Sony camcorders since you can (for example) take video of your wife at dinner in a dim restaurant and have it even if sloppy, at least in color and something like what the experience really was. So I am after memories, and not art, but if you can do art, that would be great. Anyway, I had no idea what to expect out of this thing; based on the tiny size, ultralight construction, low cost, etc. I figured it would be mainly a toy, but I hoped I could take it on vacation as a one thing does all photographic tool. I got the Sandisk "ultra" 16GB SDHC card for it, 15MB/s, figuring for HD you need the fastest card you can get.

I had not read any reviews before buying it, but when I read them when I got home with it, I was pretty bummed out.. all the stuff about locking up, hellish noisy zoom, sloppy focus, can't use the zoom with video, etc. etc.

I am happy to say that my experience didn't confirm any of that. (Of course, it might lock up etc. at some point, I have only had it a few hours but I have a theory about that I'll mention later.)

Anyway, I immediately went around the inside of the house in regular low light condtions shooting stills and video. By low light I mean some rooms only had light coming through the doorways from other rooms, some rooms had a few 13W compact fluorescents, one last room had 5 65W ceiling can lights on. It was lit for atmosphere not reading books. Bottom line is I had no trouble getting very nicely well lit pix and video in any of the rooms with lights on. In a stairwell with no light except a 13W compact fluorescent 6ft outside an archway leading to the stairs the wall and furniture seemed v. dark brown; by eye I could easily see the color. Where the stairs went up to total shadow, the camera cut out to black and white where by eye I could still see color. In comparison to a 5 year old top of the line Sony mini DV one CCD camcorder it was about like the camera on normal setting, not "slow color shutter". In other words, about as much as I could hope for.

The zoom is not as easy to control to get exact magnification as the Sony, BUT (and this is important) while you can hear the zoom motor on playback, it is very subdued and I didn't find it at all noticeable..when the room is silent, you can hear it, but it is about like a very soft whisper. In normal tourist situations I don't think you'd notice the zoom noise at all. With a bit of practice, I was able to use the zoom to my satisfaction.

Another pleasant surprise to me was that the hand held video when walking around the house from darkness to light was smooth and generally not jerky..the image stabilization must work very well, considering you don't have any weight to stablize the tremor of your hands, footsteps, etc. The video even handles normal panning (aiming the camera forward while walking around the end of a table, for example) without any major glitches...if you shake your hand beyond a given limit, there is an instant of moderate blurriness, but it handles the panning motion by making the whole scene's resolution lower; while walking and turning in low light, it is maybe NTSC quality, not HD. But the JVC HD-1 just blew up and went to blocks of "ice" if you panned, so I have no complaints about that. If you hold the camera still (handheld, low light as described) the picture is very sharp and looks like HD to me. So I don't agree with the review that the video is "crap". I think it will probably be sufficient to take this on vacation as my only camera, but I want to try it out in better conditions for a longer time first. My wife was blown away by the sound clarity, stereo, etc. She thought it sounded better than the Sony camcorders.

It seems to me that the basic operation (load, shoot, zoom, focus, etc.) is very easy and very satisfactory. So, so far I love it. If it had the equivalent of slow color shutter and nightvision it would be pretty well perfect (well, I'd like it to weigh twice as much also, to make it easier to keep steady, but even being light as a feather it competes well with the much heavier camcorders).

The display, navigation, menus, etc. seem to me easier to use than the Canon equivalent; having just set up my wife's new 1300 elph.

The comments about the viewfinder being dark, grainy, etc. is true in very low light...until you take a picture. As soon as you depress the shutter button to focus, the viewfinder lights up in crisp bright detail and it's easy to see what you are going to get...I suppose that is some sort of power saving feature. If you are walking around looking through the viewfinder, it may look worse than the Sony camcorder (or the Canon S2) until you press a button to shoot, then it is bright. I can live with that OK. In decent light (moderately well lit room at night) I don't notice it. In general, no complaints about the viewfinder. The diopter control worked like a champ and I will use the viewfinder not the display for shooting..only use the display for playback.

I like the flash being folded down, so you can suppress it if you wish (which I usually do), and it is easy to pop up if you want it. The flash comes on instantly..unlike the S2..no waiting period on the first use of it.

The Canons Sxx series is better in that you can have the display rotated out of the way (plastic out instead of display out) to keep it clean when you are using the viewfinder.

In short, I just tested it every way I could think of under the worst lighting and shooting (all hand held, low light) conditions and it did very well. I displayed the pictures and movies on a 44 inch top of the line Sony 1080p TV with mini HDMI/HDMI connection cable, and even handheld, you could zoom in (easy, from the camera) before you could see pixelation on the stills so I presume they are better than a couple of MP of usable info even under these lousy conditions.

Just a word of encouragement for its capabilities as a hybrid camera/camcorder...it well exceeded my expectations. With a tripod or decent technique it should be excellent indeed..and very usable without it.

I am very pleased with it. When it's daylight, will do some more rigorous tests of image quality outside in decent light. By the way, it takes (handheld, so very blurry) time exposures up to at least several seconds of exposure ...so I would expect that like the OM-2, which was great for taking full color pictures of my parents' backyard in the country by starlight, one should be able to take pictures in very dim light with a tripod.

If anything negative turns up, I will post a followup. Otherwise, very happy. I do notice it dies quickly when its buttons are not being pushed...I wonder if this is the "lock up" some talked about. I didn't find it a problem, just hit the power button and you're good to go. A bit disconceting vs. the Canon or Sony which stay inactive a lot longer before hibernating, but you may be able to change the setting on that if you want to.

----Update after more testing-----

I took it around outside in bright sun to see how it does in high light levels, also took some mroe interior shots & video trying some other situations, such as flash with high zoom level in the dark, etc. It did very well. You can point it at something that is so dark you can't see it, and get a perfect flash picture. You can focus perfectly for time exposures (tripod) through moderately dirty glass at things outside. Focus seems fast and reliable under all conditions except when you are shooting video and move to something that is significantly further away. In that case, it is slow to refocus and the focusing makes sharp clicks on the video sound track (you're supposed to turn the AF feature to focus only at the start of the video, and not make that sort of move anyway according to the manual.)
I found the focus worked fine outdoors when you were recording video and panning from far off to close up objects, also no noticeable noise. Another defect for video is that the zoom (as others have commented) is very quick, but you can slow it down by using lighter pressure on the lever; I found the rate of zoom could be controlled to be comparable to a camcorder. However, it has one glitch that is completely understandable for a still camera but requires some work-around for video, which is that when you have zoomed out to high levels (say 20+) and are filming, when you try to zoom back in, there is a wibble and jerk in the image as the drive connects with the lens, making the picture shake all over for a second or so. That is about the only unexpected issue I was able to find. There is a lot of wind noise in high wind; there is a wind noise suppression feature I didn't try. I expect you could put a fuzz pad over the mics also if it bothered you. All in all, I still love it and figure to take it as my sole camera on trips. I haven't tried all the fancy scene and specialty stuff, and haven't yet loaded the Nikon software on the laptop. I find the playback on the HDTV to be an absolute delight, and all the contols to be very intuitive and every day discover new things I like...for example, it remembers what you've been doing, and comes up with the video screen if you were shooting video, still for stills, etc. Of course if you push the other trigger button it immediately switches. Etc. A million little convenient things like that. For vacations, a neat feature is that when you have your clips displayed on the TV, as you move the zoom lever to the left it puts more and more clip thumbnails (up to 16) on the screen, and then goes to a calendar with the days for which you took shots highlighted, so it would be easy to go back after a trip and find a given subject.

For battery life, it told me battery depleted when I had taken about 130 still images and 35 video clips, maybe half the stills with flash. Probably had erased 10-15 stills and 5-10 videos. Had about 30 minutes of video on the camera, probably. Computer said card had 2.5 GB of files. I had watched all the stills and video at least once on the camera display, and at least once on the TV. So if you were just shooting, it should last significantly longer on one charge.

So all in all, I give it an excellent rating. My only real complaint is the jerking of the zoom when the retraction drive is kicked in when you are shooting video. So I have learned to shut off the video and retract the zoom ratio before starting up the video again at the new zoom ratio if operating at high zoom ratios. Otherwise, it pretty well exceeds every expectation. I am delighted with it. It's hard to imagine you can do so much photography so easily with such a tiny camera.

PS: It has not "locked up" on me, but thanks to N Jaeger for pointing out my first night speculation about that was completely off base.. totally separate issue from the hibernation time (which you can change). As others have said, apparently need to do a hard reboot by pulling the battery out if it does lock up.

One other thing is the manual gives the data transfer rates under various uses, and the fastest is 14MB/sec for HD video, so the choice of the "ultra" Sandisk card (15MB/s)was probably good. I haven't ever seen a delay in saving, processing, or shooting. The camera indicates about 29 minutes of shooting time when you bring it up in 1080p record mode, but I can't imagine that being a limitation. But if you wanted to set it up on a tripod and just shoot your life for the full 2 to 4 hours a big card would allow, I guess you couldn't do it.

When you play a low light video back through the HDMI cable to the tv, it seems to come out enhanced and bright vs. what you see by just pulling the card and viewing it with Windows on an HP dv6 entertainment pc. The stills and brightly lit videos look the same both ways, but apparently the camera will do some processing on data it considers suboptimal. I assume the Nikon software would do the same in the computer but haven't tried it.

I remain really tickled with the camera. Good luck.
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112 of 116 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent product. Great improvement over the P90., March 4, 2010
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This review is from: Nikon Coolpix P100 10 MP Digital Camera with 26x Optical Vibration Reduction (VR) Zoom and 3-Inch LCD (Black) (OLD MODEL) (Electronics)
I love this camera. I researched several cameras before purchasing the P100 and I was not impressed with any of them. Then I found the Nikon p90 which I thought was alright. It had several features that I liked such as the 23x zoom and the multi-angle view finder. I was a little disappointed with the picture quality I attributed most of the poor quality to the fact that it had 12.1MP resolution which most people will agree is only useful if you are taking pictures that you plan to enlarge into wall art. Then I heard about the New P100 which had an even more impressive zoom at 26x and when I found out it was only 10MP and It shot 1080P HD video I was sold. When my camera finally arrived right out of the box I was impressed with the overhauled version of the p90 they had added several useful features. I have taken several photos so far and the problems with the p90 are gone the photo quality is amazing even in low light. I love the facial recognition mode for up to 12 faces and the fact that the shutter releases when every one smiles. The in camera photo editing software is decent the software for your computer is better. I have found only one flaw the battery does not last but for about 300 pictures less with the flash so it is a good idea to buy extras but they are cheap and easy to find on e-bay also it does not come with an external battery charger but again you can find it cheap. In conclusion I LOVE THIS CAMERA!!
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59 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Camera, March 30, 2010
By 
Paul Garland (El Paso, Texas USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Nikon Coolpix P100 10 MP Digital Camera with 26x Optical Vibration Reduction (VR) Zoom and 3-Inch LCD (Black) (OLD MODEL) (Electronics)
I own several Nikon digtial SLR cameras including a D40, a D80, a D300s, and the wonderful D700 full frame. They certainly have their place in life, and I use them a lot. No other camera manufacturer can touch CLS. But if you are just out walking around, the P100 is truly excellent. Fantastic zoom, HDR built in, active D-lighting, effective vibration reduction, and slow motion movies. I have nothing but praise for the P100. Even at a fully zoomed out 35mm equivalent of 678 mm this camera does a good job. I took a great 97% of full moon shot last night.

This camera does a good job of filling the zone between a full blown DSLR with lots of lenses and a gigantic/heavy camera bag, and a point and shoot that will fit in your front pocket. Despite all of the blah-blah from the naysayers, I am in absolute awe of this little camera. My only complaint is that compared with the P80, the P100 has put on a good bit of weight. Still manageable though. I guess the additional weight mostly comes from all the glass needed for that incredible 26x zoom.

If you want to see a surprising result of a shoot out between the P100 and the D300s see my blog. You will need to paste this address: [...]

SOME TIME LATER: I have owned the P100 for a while now and I'm still very impressed. More and more the DSLRs stay at home, and this is the camera I take with me. The VR works superb even with that incredible 26 X zoom lens.
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232 of 267 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars didn't excite me, March 3, 2010
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This review is from: Nikon Coolpix P100 10 MP Digital Camera with 26x Optical Vibration Reduction (VR) Zoom and 3-Inch LCD (Black) (OLD MODEL) (Electronics)
When I spend this much money for a camera it should excite me - it doesn't. I was enticed to buy this camera by the 26X zoom. I am returning it and will stay with my Panasonic FZ35 - 12mp/18X zoom. I took both cameras out to do a comparision, the panasonic pics were as good or better than the nikon - clearer, brighter, sharper.There also were some smaller things I didn't like: 1) the battery has to be charged in the camera, that means you can't use the camera with a second battery while the first one charges, 2)you have to go to the main menu to make small changes while the Panasonic has a "quick menu" that allows changes in seconds, 3) it goes off too quickly. Yes it can be set for 30 minutes but then everything stays on, I want it to just go to sleep so it only needs a touch of the button to wake up not go through a complete start up.I do mainly wildlife/bird pics and you need to be ready when they present themselves, by the time you go through starting up they are gone. I'm sure these are Nikon features but I don't like them. I will stay a faithful Panasonic user and wait for them to come out with a larger zoom one of these days.
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84 of 95 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nikon Coolpix P100 vs. Canon SX20is......Nikon falls short, Canon for the win!, July 5, 2010
This review is from: Nikon Coolpix P100 10 MP Digital Camera with 26x Optical Vibration Reduction (VR) Zoom and 3-Inch LCD (Black) (OLD MODEL) (Electronics)
Let me first start off by saying I am not a professional photog. However I am not a novice either. After 4 months of regular usage of my Canon SX20is, I noticed a small white dead pixel in my HD video recordings and having a 3 year extended warranty repair plan, the camera has gone back for repairs (an extended warranty is definitely a good idea when dealing with electronic items with moving parts).
I returning my Canon to the electronics retailer I initially purchased it from for repairs and I was told I could take advantage of a "loaner" camera for a 30 day period. I simply needed to purchase another camera and return it for a full refund within the 30 days. I was excited to hear I could take advantage of trying a new Nikon Coolpix P100 and compare it to my Canon.
It's been 2 weeks now, and I am looking forward to returning this Nikon and getting my Canon back! I was seriously considering keeping the Nikon. After all, Nikon is a big name in photography as is Canon, but after putting this Nikon through the "ringer" in the last 2 weeks, I don't see the value in it, considering it costs just as much (if not slightly more) than the Canon.
There are 2 major drawbacks to the Nikon compared to the Canon. The first being the ability to add on accessories and the second being the HD video recording capability. The Nikon does not have a hotshoe attachment for an auxiliary flash unit and no ability to add uv and polarizing lens filters and lens protectors. It also does not have the ability to add a lens hood to help in certain lighting situations. The Nikon 3" lcd screen is nice and large, well lit, sharp and colorful, but it only pivots on a horizontal axis. The Canon lcd being 2.7 inches is slightly smaller and equally as sharp and colorful, extends out to the left of the camera and swings completely 360 degrees allowing the user to actually point the lcd forward for those situations you'd like to videotape yourself. The Canons lcd can also be flipped on it's protective hard-shelled backside and tucked neatly into the back of the camera protecting the lcd screen. You can't do that with the Nikon. The lcd screen is always exposed and open to dust, dirt, fingerprints, and possible mechanical damage to the screen.
Both cameras have viewfinders, but I find the Nikon's is more pixelated and not as sharp as the Canon's. The Nikon's 26X zoom is hardly much better than the Canon's 20X zoom, and the readout on the lcd screen on the Nikon simply goes from "W" to "T" (wide angle to telephoto) whereas the Canon will actually display a reading of 10X, 20X, 25X to 80X as the telephoto extends (of course 80X incorporating digital zoom). It's attention to detail like this in the Canon that sets it apart from the Nikon.
When it comes to picture quality, it is really hard to differentiate. On occasion I've gotten blurry and out-of-focus pictures on both. However they both can take some fantastic photos. The Nikon's CMOS "backside" illumination system is a 10.3 megapixel system. Pic sizes on the "fine" setting are around 3600x2700 at 300 dpi. The Canon's 12.1 megapixel system produces pictures at it's largest size of 4000x3000 and at 180 dpi. Again, it's really hard to tell the difference in picture quality when comparing the two side by side.
The power source in the Nikon is a lithium ion rechargeable. A small rectangular sized battery that completely charges from empty in about 3.5 hours. The Canon requires 4X AA sized batteries. I've been using a good set of Sanyo Enloop and Energizer Nimh batteries which require anywhere from 15-20 hours to fully recharge (depending on the mah battery ratings). However, the best I've managed on the Nikon is about 250 pictures before a recharge it required. The AA's in the Canon have gotten me well over 400 and still going!
The HD video mode in the Nikon is said to be 1080p where the Canon's is 720p. Now I understand some people don't care for video recording, but if you're going to advertise it, better be able to deliver the goods. Again, it's hard to tell the two apart, but here's the real deal breaker. The auto focus in the Nikon in the HD mode is terrible. Anything beyond 60 feet telephoto is a blur. The continuous image stabilization system in the Canon is far more reliable and usable even at full telephoto. In the Nikon, forget about it! I've seen better video out of a $100 Kodak pocket camera than this Nikon! The Canon's stereo mics are situated facing forward towards the subject in the lens whereas the Nikon's stereo mics are situated pointing up towards the photographer. What's the deal? Does Nikon want to get you to hear the photographers heavy breathing??
Here's another thing to consider. Although my Canon is currently in for repairs, during the first 2 weeks of using this Nikon I've had multiple "error" messages and have had the lens lock out on me 4 or 5 times in the process of taking pictures (had to power off the camera and power back on). I've NEVER had an error message with the Canon and NEVER a locked lens at zoom. Also, it may take the Canon slightly longer to focus (a fraction of a second or two) but there isn't a violent shake in the telephoto as is evident in the Nikon (at zoom it's blurry and when you have your target in range you need to actively press the focus button to focus on the subject and engage the "vibration reduction" system). In the end, the Nikon's "vibration reduction" system is sub-par when compared to the Canon's "image stabilization" (imo).
There are a couple of other nice little features with the Nikon. You have the ability to record in high speed video at 240 fps, but what good is that when most of the time when the focus system doesn't work and the picture has a lot more shake at zoom?
When it comes down to it, the Nikon doesn't hold much value when compared to the Canon at around the same price point. I liken this Nikon to a rental car and my Canon a "Cadillac" while it's in the shop for servicing. It's (the Nikon) is fun to beat around with, but not something you'd like to have as a fancy daily driver.
And one more point to consider (and this may be relevant for many people when it comes to electronics), the Nikon is made in Indonesia. The Canon is made in Japan!
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50 of 56 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Wish quality matched the feature set, March 24, 2010
By 
NJ (Glen Ellyn) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Nikon Coolpix P100 10 MP Digital Camera with 26x Optical Vibration Reduction (VR) Zoom and 3-Inch LCD (Black) (OLD MODEL) (Electronics)
My recent luck with the Nikon Coolpix series has convinced me that Nikon quality just isn't what it once was. I was looking to replace my Coolpix 7900, an absolutely terrific point and shoot which unfortunately met its demise in a puddle of spilled orange juice, with a mega-zoom. I picked up a P90 a few months ago (non-Amazon purchase), but ended up returning it after about a month because of sporadic Lens Error messages, where the lens would just stop moving or focusing for no apparent reason. By the time I returned it I had heard that the P100 wasn't far off, and I wanted to give Nikon another chance because I was so happy with the old 7900.

I ordered the P100 from Amazon as soon as it came out, and I must admit that I was impressed with it at first. The feature set on this camera is terrific. The continuous shooting mode works well, the night landscape mode produced some good results, and the camera focused very quickly. The image quality is decent. Although the pictures do sometimes come out on the soft side, they have a very natural, unprocessed look. The high speed video shooting is pretty fun, producing some cool clips even though it only records in VGA or less in this mode. The HD video is also decent. You need a Class 6 card to avoid choppiness when shooting 1080p, but 720p worked fine with a Class 4 card. All around, this camera is a fairly big step up from the P90.

So why the two-star rating then? Because the camera locks up. And not just occasionally, but fairly frequently. I have been taking pictures here and there almost every day since getting the camera over two weeks ago, and it locks up almost once a day. It becomes completely unresponsive, and the battery needs to be removed to recover. It seems like this happens in bunches too; it will usually happen two or three times in a row and then be fine for a while. Given that this is a fairly high-end point-and-shoot, this sort of thing just isn't tolerable.

Given my issues with first the P90, and now the P100, along with other P100 reviews describing similar locking issues, I have decided not only to return the camera but to give up on Nikon as well. I wanted to like this camera and I really did when it was working, but I now have serious doubts about Nikon quality.

I just ordered the Sony HX1 today, and hopefully this one will work out. Yes it's nearly an entire year older, but at least there were plenty of reviews, most of them quite good.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars We love it when it works!, March 31, 2010
This review is from: Nikon Coolpix P100 10 MP Digital Camera with 26x Optical Vibration Reduction (VR) Zoom and 3-Inch LCD (Black) (OLD MODEL) (Electronics)
We just bought a P100 and put it through its paces at Joshua Tree. As owners of a D70s, my wife and I were looking for something lighter and more versatile to reduce fighting over the D70s. The P100 neatly fits that bill, with caveats. Most of the nice features have already been covered so I'll be negative! First, ours locked up once on the three day trip. On/off was non-responsive, even after holding it down 10 seconds, so we hard reset by removing the battery. It was fine after that. Second, the HD video is neat if you want a camera that can occasionally shoot some video, but is NOT sufficient if you want to shoot a good amount of video as well as take some photos. It shot 1080p just fine on a class 6 memory card, though to be honest I would happily sacrifice resolution if the video were more responsive or customizable.

With a wide angle lens on our D70s, the P100 handily accomplished everything else, capturing wildlife shots (sports mode was helpful), zoom shots, and macro (i.e., wildflowers). The zoom is particularly nice. For fun, I zoomed in all the way and snapped a photo of a passing 747. A bit fuzzy (no amount of VR was going to save me, standing in a decent wind & shooting straight up), but it's something we certainly don't have the lens to tackle with our SLR. To be able to go from 30,000' to decent macro shots on a whim is certainly convenient and creates its own opportunities.

All around we like the P100 so far. The obvious problem with the lens locking up drops it down a star. I suppose I could drop it to 3 stars for the HD video, but we never expected we would get fantastic HD video from a camera. When we get our replacement I'll be sure to come back and kill the rating if its lens also locks up!

EDIT: Our second P100 has now experience the lens lockup as well. We still love this camera when it works, but I've dropped it another star. We'll exchange it and try again with one more unit before we give up. I'm not willing to hold on to a camera that has a crappy lens motor/software less than 60 days after we bought it -- twice! If we get lucky with the next one, hooray for us, but I would be very wary as a new buyer of this model. It's sad to see Nikon quality decrease.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Returned It After 4 Days, June 15, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Nikon Coolpix P100 10 MP Digital Camera with 26x Optical Vibration Reduction (VR) Zoom and 3-Inch LCD (Black) (OLD MODEL) (Electronics)
I really wanted to like this camera. I had read all of the reviews on the site and decided to order it. The camera has a nice feel in your hands. It doesn't feel too big or hard to handle. The LCD is really nice. I really liked how you can pull it out from the body and adjust depending on what your lighting conditions are. I charged the battery and started taking a few pictures with it around the house the first night. They were ok. I used the auto setting with and without the flash. There wasn't anything great about the pictures, but nothing horrible either. I go outside the following morning to take more pictures around my pool. I had only taken 4 pictures and the lens locked up on me!! Like other reviews, I had to remove the battery in order to get the camera to reset. I was less than pleased at this point. I continued taking more pictures. Took a few more the following day. They looked good through the LCD. When I loaded the pictures on my computer, most of them looked horrible. The colors were so washed out. I have one dog that is liver and white. His coat looked black and white in several of the pictures. Other pictures were very over exposed. Again, I had the camera on the auto setting. If I am going to have to go in a program a bunch of settings, then I will just get a digital slr and learn how to use it. I hope other people who purchased this camera have better luck with it than I did. I have since ordered the Canon Powershot SX20IS. Waiting on it to be delivered tomorrow.
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