Nikon P900 vs P610 vs Panasonic FZ1000 vs Nikon D3300

February 1, 2016

Nikon P900 vs P610, FZ100 and D3300

In this article we are going to have an uncommon comparison between the the Kin of the superzooms, the P900, versus Nikon P610 (ultrazoom), Panasonic FZ1000 (large-sensor zoom superzoom) and an entry-level APS-C Digital SLR camera, the D3300. It seems that many people are still having a tough time choosing between a superzoom, large-sensor superzoom and an entry-level dSLR camera. So although this comparison seems a bit weird, it’s a very relevant one.

Nikon P900

This comparison will be made with the P900 as the anchor of our comparison. This super telephoto zoom bridge camera was announced by Nikon on March 2, 2015.  As of the time of writing, the P900 has the longest telephoto lens among all ultrazoom cameras, a whopping 83x (2000mm equivalent) optical zoom. Yep, I wasn’t mistaken with the number of zeroes when I wrote the 35mm equivalent focal length number.

P900 vs P610 vs D3300 size comparison

P900 vs P610 vs D3300 size comparison (via camerasize.com)

A big zoom lens also means a relatively big lens, and we can clearly see in the image above, that the P900 is considerably larger than the P610 and even larger than the D3300. So the P900 is in no way a compact camera,but the size of a mid-range DSLR camera more or less. The thing is that if you consider what setup it takes on a DSLR or an ILC to have this amazing focal length range, the P900 is actually very compact in comparison.  In fact, in terms of depth, the P900 has about the same depth as the D3300 with the 18-55 mm lens, check the image below.

P900 vs D3300 with a 18-55mm lens depth comparison

P900 vs D3300 with a 18-55mm lens depth comparison (via camerasize.com)

So you can see where I’m going with that and what makes the P900 such a unique photographic instrument and a superb travel camera.

The P900 has a 24-2000 mm equivalent focal length lens with an f/2.8-6.5 aperture, accompanied with Nikon’s lens shift VR and lens-shift plus electronic stabilization for movie recording. A VR is very important here, because it needs to stabilize and hand movements, and in such a long focal length range, every movement can lead to a blurred image. Nikon is well known for its very effective image stabilization system and this particular VR module provides 5.0 stops (CIPA Standard) of stabilization compensation, which as I mentioned, it’s essential to produce sharp images and steady videos.

Now for the most interesting part, a demonstration of the zoom range. I think these videos speak for themselves.

Keep in mind that the second video also includes the extended 166x dynamic fine zoom that brings us to an angle of view equivalent to 4000mm  and up to 8000mm equivalent using the 332x extended digital zoom! Pretty wild stuff isn’t it? This is why so many people are going crazy about the P900 camera.

We were so excited to talk about the lens that we almost forgot about all the other features, so here’s a summary of the P900 Key features:

  • 1/2.3-inch 16MP sensor (effective resolution)
  • PSAM mode control dial / full manual control over the exposure, besides the automatic mode
  • Built-in Wi-Fi and NFC – bind your camera with a smartphone or tablet device and use the Android or iOS app to easily share and transfer images and videos between the devices on the go
  • 3-inch 921K-dots, fully articulated LCD with anti-reflection coating
  • Built-in 921K-dots electronic viewfinder
  • Built-in GPS
  • Very good 360 shots battery life
  • 7 fps burst
  • Moon mode
  • Full HD video recording
  • Exposure Compensation / Exposure bracketing
  • Scene modes
  • Mechanical and electronic shutter
  • 1/4000 sec shutter speed
  • 0.75 sec shooting time lag
  • Built-in Flash
  • Snap-back zoom button
  • Electronic smooth zoom lever on the lens
  • Time-lapse movies

Leaving the amazing zoom aside for a moment, the P900 is an average bridge camera all in all. It doesn’t have 4K video recording nor a very high EVF resolution. That being said, it was designed to satisfy the needs and demands of the casual family and travel photographer, which for him or her, 4K videos, 1/8000 sec shutter speed or very high resolution EVF aren’t necessary. The Nikon Coolpix P900 lack a touchscreen display, but is has many of the features that the targeted market ared about, including good battery life, built-in GPS, rotating display, built-in Wireless capability, fast burst, full manual controls, responsive operation and short shooting time lag, dual-detect VR image stabilization, good ergonomic design and of course, an amazing telephoto zoom lens.

Bottom line, the Nikon Coolpix P900 is the ultimate travel camera and one that will give you the opportunity to capture unique footage that only few photographers can capture; all that in a relatively light and small camera body.

Now for the price. The P900 isn’t a cheap camera. The last time I checked today, a new camera costs around $650 on amazon.com (visit amazon.com for updated prices). For comparison, the D3300 with the 18-55mm lens costs around $450 and the P610 costs around $340. The only camera that is more expensive is the Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 which costs approximately $700 as of the time of writing. So you can now understand what many people are debating whether to choose the P900 or go with a DSLR or the large-sensor beauty, the FZ1000.

The main reason to get the P900 is its huge zoom. The main reason to get the P610 is its big zoom and affordable price. The main reason to get the FZ000 is its moderate zoom range, 4K videos, 1-inch sensor and Leica DC lens, and the main reason to get the D3300 DSLR is its APS-C sensor and the ability to change lenses in most part.

This is why this comparison is so interesting, because it’s like it is asking you to choose a path and focus on what matters to you the most.  I also want you to keep in mind that the price that I wrote above was for the D3300 with a 18-55mm lens (27 – 82.5mm equivalent), but you can purchase the body with a different lens, and that can make the camera less more expensive. So that’s something that you need to solve with yourself and pick up the lens that best suits your shooting style and one that is inside your total budget.

OK, now that you’ve got a pretty good overview of what the Nikon Coolpix P900 is all about, let’s move on.

P900 vs P610 vs FZ1000 vs D3300

In this section we’ll take a close look at the main differences between the four cameras, both in terms of specs and features. I’ll add my side notes where appropriate to give you a better understanding how the four cameras differ. This will give you a very good understanding of the cons and pros of each camera and help you to finally find the camera that best suits your particular needs, so let’s begin.

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Conclusion

This comparison can be a bit confusing, especially for those making their first camera purchase. Having said that, I think it’s pretty straight forward. If you are serious in becoming a better photographer and want the best control over the final output, nothing beats a DSLR camera. You’ll have the option to buy and use different lenses, each one with its own unique characteristics. Of course you can just buy a single lens, but the whole idea of using a DSLR lies in its lens selection and accessories. You also get an excellent battery life,  much better low-light performance, especially when coupled with a fast prime lens. The D3300 is an entry-level DSLR. When you feel the need to more forward, you can always keep your lenses and upgrade to a more advanced camera body.

The FZ1000 sits in between the superzooms and the D3300. It doesn’t have the longest lens, but has a very versatile one nevertheless. It also has a much large sensor than the P900, which means better image quality and low-light performance. The lens isn’t as wide as the P900 and the P610, but I wouldn’t worry about that too much. It has a higher-resolution EVF, fastest burst, better AF system than the Superzooms and has 4K video recording and RAW shooting capability. I would go with the FZ1000 if the lens is adequate for my needs, and I prefer a camera with a fast lens, better image quality, 4K videos and better AF performance.

The P900 remains an excellent choice because is has the biggest zoom in its class, and believe me, many of you will be impressed by this more than any other feature in the other cameras. It’s the ultimate travel camera and excellent general purpose camera. It has a faster lens than the P610 but it’s bigger and much more expensive, but other that that, they are more about the same. The both lack a touchscreen, phase-detection, mic input and hot shoe. However, the built-in GPS, wireless connectivity and eye-level viewfinder are welcomes features.

It’s up to you to decide whether it’s worth paying extra to have the biggest zoom camera on the market. It you have the budget and it fits your needs, by all means, get it. Believe me, it’s an amazing experience shooting with this camera. You can get so close to subjects that at the end of the day, you’ll come home with more interesting shots. The range does make a difference, although I think that the P610 range is also very good.

It’s up to you to choose the camera that best match your shooting style and artistic needs. If I had to choose, I would get the P900, but hey, I am flying abroad soon, so I am totally biased 🙂

Which camera you prefer? share your opinion in the comment section below and thanks for reading.



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