Nikon Coolpix P950 Review

Bridge cameras like the Nikon P950 are among the few ‘small sensor’ camera genres that still make sense in the smartphone age. Despite not having an APS-C or even 1-inch sensor, their enormous zooms makes them way more versatile than phone cameras, particularly if you like shooting wildlife.

The Nikon P950 follows the five-year-old P900, sitting just below Nikon’s range-topper, the Nikon P1000. The P950 has an 83x optical zoom, which leaves you with 24-2000mm (equivalent) to play with – the same length as its predecessor, but a touch below the 3000mm equivalent offered by the P1000.

Another feature inherited from the P900 is the same 16MP 1/2.3-inch sensor, but there have been some notable improvements.

There’s a new 2.4m-dot electronic viewfinder, 4K video recording, Raw format support and 7fps shooting. In other words, this is a camera which has been finessed from its predecessor to make it a much more attractive all-rounder.

Sony Coolpix P950 (Specs)

  • 83X zoom (equiv. 24-2000mm)
  • 5.5EV image stabilization (CIPA)
  • 16MP 1/2.3″ CMOS sensor
  • 3.2”, 921k-dot Vari-angle LCD
  • 2.4M-dot OLED electronic viewfinder
  • 4K video (30/25p)
  • 1cm minimum focus at 24mm equiv
  • 7 fps continuous shooting (up to 10 frames)

Check Out: Best Superzoom Cameras

Check Nikon Coolpix P950 Price

Nikon COOLPIX P950
  • COOLPIX P950 offers 16. 0 Megapixels of resolution
  • COOLPIX P950 features an 83X optical zoom/166X Dynamic Fine Zoom
  • Built-in Bird and Moon modes along with scene modes for simple shooting

Nikon Coolpix P950: Build Quality

The P950 has stuck to the form of the P900, which means you get a chunky camera which could quite easily be mistaken for a DSLR. If you’re thinking that sounds too bulky for a travel camera, it’s important to remember that if you were to pack the equivalent focal length in DSLR lenses, you’d definitely need to upgrade your luggage allowance.

You can zoom the lens in and out by using either a rocker switch around the shutter release, or a secondary switch on the barrel of the lens itself. Once the lens is at its full extension, the size of the P950 effectively doubles – you’re going to stand out from a crowd if you’re waving this about. It also makes the camera fairly unbalanced, so you might want to consider investing in a tripod if you’re planning to take shots in the garden of local wildlife, or even of the moon.
Speaking of nature and wildlife photos, keeping a subject in the frame can be tricky when working at very long focal lengths, especially if that subject is moving. To assist with that, there’s a button on the side of the lens which you can hold down to zoom the zoom lens out, giving you the opportunity to relocate your subject.

Once you’ve found it, release the button and the lens will go back to the previous zoom position it was in. It is possible to customize this setting so the amount it zooms out varies, which can be helpful depending on the kind of thing you’re photographing.

Another dial privately of the zoom lens can be used to control various settings depending on what you think you’ll need quick or frequent access to. The default setting is to control exposure compensation, but you could also use it for configurations such as shutter speed, aperture, ISO or white balance.

The top of the camera is set up in a similar fashion to Nikon’s DSLRs. This means you’ll find a mode dial for choosing between the various exposure modes the camera offers, including the standard P/A/S/M settings, plus fully automatic, creative control, birdwatching, night and a custom mode. A dial towards the back of the top plate may be used to adjust shutter velocity.

All of the buttons and dials on the trunk of the camera are grouped on the right-hand side, and if you’re familiar with Nikon’s cameras, you’ll be at home here. Buttons here include a video record switch, a playback key, a menu button and so on. An ‘OK’ switch can be pressed if you want to change the focus point.

A 2359k-dot viewfinder includes a sensor for automatically detecting when the camera has been lifted to the eye. This ‘finder is one of the key improvements made to the P950 over its predecessor, being over twice the resolution. It’s a much better experience and gives you a decent view of the scene in front of you.

There’s also a 3.2-inch fully articulating screen at 921k-dots. Sadly, touch-sensitivity hasn’t already been included, but being able to placement it fully forwards is useful for video and selfies.

Nikon Coolpix 950: Performance

When the light is good, the P950 focuses quickly and generally accurately. If you’re looking for a travel camera to mainly use in good light, then overall it’s a good performer.

Focusing is a little slower at the furthest reach of the telephoto lens, while in lower light conditions you’ll notice that the zoom lens hunts a little before finally locking on to the target. There are some occasions when the lens fails to lock onto the target at all – generally in low light and with the zoom extended.

The fastest frame rate available with the P950 is 7fps, which is reasonably useful for moving subjects, but there are better performers on the market. If you find you’re frequently trying to capture moving subjects, a bridge camera like the Panasonic FZ2000 is likely to be a more sensible option for you, thanks to its “4K Photo” functionality.

The P950’s quoted battery life has been reduced when compared to the predecessor. This is presumably a result of the higher resolution viewfinder, with 290 shots per charge quoted, compared to 360 for the P900.

In actual real-world use, it’s likely that you’ll get more than the quoted amount – you can safely expect it to last a day of moderate use. If you do find you need to cost it while on the go, another improvement from the predecessor is the addition of USB charging.

Verdict

The only reason to consider buying the Nikon Coolpix P950 is its lens, which – covering an equivalent focal length range of 24-2000mm – is extraordinary. There are very few cameras that can match the P950’s versatility, although you’ll get better image quality and more advanced autofocus from several similarly-priced (but less ambitious) compact cameras.

Check Nikon Coolpix P950 Price
Nikon COOLPIX P950
  • COOLPIX P950 offers 16. 0 Megapixels of resolution
  • COOLPIX P950 features an 83X optical zoom/166X Dynamic Fine Zoom
  • Built-in Bird and Moon modes along with scene modes for simple shooting

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