CNET First Look
Nikon Coolpix P90While the Nikon Coolpix P90 brings its performance up to speed with the rest of its class, it now falls behind in photo quality.
[ Music ] >> Lori Grunin: Hi. I'm Lori Grunin, Senior Editor with CNET, and this is the Nikon CoolPix P90. The P90 is a megazoom camera. This one, in fact, has a 24X zoom lens, which goes from 26 millimeters to 624 millimeter equivalent. That's a bit long. You really don't need that much of a zoom. Like all of the more than 20X zoom lens, I think it's going a big overboard, and it does start at a nice wide angle. Unfortunately, when you zoom all the way out, you start getting a lot of fringing, and the lens just isn't very good. That's one of the general problems with these long megazoom lens because they can't possibly be good all across the zoom range. They generally have a sweet spot. One of the nice features of the P90 is it has the tiltable LCD. It can flip up or down so that you can shoot at odd angles, plus it's a decent LCD. You can see in direct sunlight, and even the EVF, which I normally have a lot of trouble with. It has a high enough refresh that even in low light, you don't get that ghosting effect, and it's useable. One of the big problems we had with the P80 was its performance. Its performance was really kind of slow, and Nikon brought the P90 right in line with the rest of its class. So it's fast enough now. However, the image quality, especially if you go above ISO100, at ISO200, you start seeing noise. The image quality isn't as good as the P80, which is kind of frustrating. Of course, it switched sensors. It's now 12 megapixels, which may have something to do with it. Also, I found that the images just had that slightly overprocessed look that you used to see a lot more in these megazoom models. Haven't seen it as much lately, but it's there with the P90. Another feature that I really like is Nikon has two user settings on its modial. Now, I'm a big fan of these user settings, especially since I constantly accidentally change a setting, and this way, you can just switch it out, switch it back, and everything is reset to where you want it. That's why it's a really nice feature. The camera design is pretty good. It's very comfortable to hold and shoot with with very nice grip. It's a little heavier than some of the other models, but it's not the heaviest. You're not going to want to put this in your pocket unless you have clown pockets. While Nikon improved the P90's performance over the P80, the battery life is still pretty uh [phonetic]. It's rated using the SEPA [phonetic] standard at about 250 shots, which is a lot less than the competition. Overall, it's a decent megazoom camera especially if you're shooting at lower ISO's, and it's fast enough for landscape-type shots although like most of them, I wouldn't use it to shoot kids and pets. I'm Lori Grunin, and this is the Nikon CoolPix P90. [ Music ]