Nikon Ups the Superzoom Ante with Coolpix P90

2009 PMA Featured News Nikon Uncategorized

Superzoom digital cameras just keep getting more super.

Nikon today announced the Coolpix P90, a 12.1-megapixel compact digital camera with an impressive 24x optical superzoom lens — the 35mm equivalent of a 26-624mm lens. That’s a lot of lens for a camera that weighs about a pound and will fit in a purse or glove box.

The Coolpix P90’s Nikkor lens features the greatest wide-angle to super-telephoto range currently available from Nikon. The P90’s predecessor, last year’s P80, offered an 18x zoom range (27-486mm equivalent) and 10.1 megapixels of resolution. The P90 was announced alongside its smaller sibling, the new 10-megapixel Coolpix L100, also a compact superzoom with a 15x (28-420mm) lens.

The new P90 competes with similar, recently announced superzooms from Olympus and Kodak, namely, the Olympus SP-590 with 12.1 megapixels and a 26x zoom (26-676mm) and the Kodak EasyShare Z980 with 12 megapixels and a 24x zoom (26-624mm).

Besides its fantastically long lens, other Coolpix P90 highlights include a variable-angle, 3-inch LCD screen that can be tilted up and down for shooting from high and low angles; image sensor shift VR image stabilization to reduce camera shake; and high-sensitivity settings up to ISO 6400 for shooting in low-light situations.

Having recently reviewed two superzooms – the Olympus SP-560 and the Sony Cybershot DSC-H50 (review coming soon) – I’m excited about these latest entries in the category. Until now, the largest zooms on compact digital cameras have been in the 18-20x range, but just in the past year, we’ve seen an increase of 100mm or more in zoom capacity from manufacturers like Nikon, Olympus and Kodak. Zoom technology is growing by leaps and bounds.

More Nikon Coolpix P90 Features

  • Nikon’s Active D-Lighting technology, which selectively adds light and detail to areas that need it.
  • Nikon’s Smart Portrait System, which incorporates face detection technology to recognize faces and smiles while minimizing blinking and red-eye.
  • Macro shooting from as close as 1 cm (0.4 in.)
  • 16 scene modes optimized for different situations.
  • Two user-defined setting modes.
  • Sport Continuous Mode, allowing shooting of up to 45 consecutive photographs at 15 frames per second.
  • Distortion control for shooting landscapes and architecture.
  • A new pre-shooting cache that records up to 10 frames before the shutter is released.
  • Five movie modes with sound, plus time-lapse movie mode.
  • Active zoom.
  • Time-zone function for setting of multiple locations
  • Uses SD/SDHC memory cards
  • Approximately 47 MB of internal memory.
  • High-speed USB connectivity.
  • Powered by an included, rechargeable EN-EL5 Li-ion battery, offering a battery life of approximately 200 shots.

Patia Stephens

Official Nikon Coolpix P90 Press Release >>

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  • Photo-John says:

    Thanks, Patia. I’m curious about the optics on these new super superzooms. There are always optical compromises with zoom lenses. And the longer the lenses get, the more extreme the optical compromises will have to be. Lenses have gotten a lot better over the past few decades. Back in the eighties, when I really got into photography, zoom lenses really weren’t that great. Now SLR zooms are excellent, making prime lens worship sort of a thing of the past. But now we’ve got these huge zoom ranges on compact cameras and you’ve got to wonder what the cost is. We’ll see. The next superzoom camera we get for review, I’m going to take a really hard look at how it performs at the extreme ends of the zoom range.

    Good article. I appreciate your contributions here.

  • Patia says:

    Thanks, John. It will be really interesting to see your studio samples on these cameras.

  • AC says:

    The 15fps continuous is at reduced resolution, isn’t it? Does anyone know what the sustained continuous speed is at *full* resolution.

  • Patia says:

    I’m sorry, AC, I’m not finding it in the specs. All they say is this:

    “Sport Continuous Mode adds the versatility of shooting as many as 45 consecutive pictures at 15 fps” and “Feature available only for image size of 16:9 (1920 x 1080).”

  • Hamza says:

    i m very excited about the nikon P90 upcoming model. i want a guide of purchasing it. i am a beginner to cameras and have lot of interest in it. but i seem to be more interested in P90 coolpix. the question is i need a camera which is P&S and wil some manual function so that i can learn. i could not see the manual Shutter speed setting in its specs… plz tell me about it. it will be highly appreciated.

  • Photo-John says:

    I checked the Nikon site and the Coolpix P90 page says that the camera has aperture priority, shutter priority, and full manual expsure modes as well as Program. So it will give you as much control as you want or need.

  • Hamza says:

    Thank you so much for your response John…After a extended research on super zoom cameras i have found some other options as well with better reviews. Please if you can suggest me. i am simply confused in these cameras..NIKON P90, Panasonic LUMIX FZ28, Canon G9, Nikon P5100 or P6000….Please help in this regard. i want an prosumer camera for some creativity which will be the best. Suggestion will be highly appreciated.. Thank you

  • Seannie says:

    Hamza… best to wait for the reviews. I was at first leaning toward some of the others you mentioned, in particular the FZ28 by Panasonic, but in-depth internet searches for users of these cameras has kept me on the fence and not making a decision till we have some real reviews. I think we all need to be concerned about the actual performance since we don’t know anything about the lens glass quality or the sensors, which are more important than megapixels. I’m assuming the quality is not as great as our DSLR’s but for those of us who want a light duty back up camera, it will hopefully suffice.

  • photomaster says:

    Hello guys! This camera is absolutely is a Masterpiece of Nikon. If you want to learn very detailed specifications and features, i recommend you to take a look at the adress given below.

    I make you sure you will find all the answers for all obsessed questions.

  • Kaustubh says:

    Is there Manual Focus function in P90???

  • Aaron says:

    Yes if you look on the website ( it says there IS manual zoom. I don’t actually have the camera (yet) but on the web page it says yes.

  • Mona says:

    I am looking for a new, fairly inexpensive camera with specific features. I believe this one has all I am looking for, however, one may not be avaialble. Does this camera have the option where it will put the yellow (or whatever color) date in the lower right hand corner of jpeg images? I currently have a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ20 and it shows a “date stamp” feature, however, it will not place the date on jpg images, only on the actual photographs when it is taken in for printing of pics. I need one that will allow me to use the date right on jpg images when I want it to. Does this one?? Thank you.

  • ai says:

    Thank you for p90 detail

  • amardeep singh says:

    I am also searching for manual focus,,, in superzoom rather than manual zoom that is better electronically.

  • John McFarlane says:

    I once used a manual focus with a small squre in the screen, but can’t find this option again. Please help.

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