Nikon P900 vs Panasonic FZ300 / FZ330 vs Sony RX100 IV vs Sony a6000

February 3, 2016

Nikon P900 ultrazoom camera on a grungy blue background

In this article, I’ll compare the Nikon P900 amazing ultrazoom bridge camera versus the Panasonic FZ300 / FZ330 (f/2.8 24x superzoom), Sony RX100 IV (large-sensor compact) and the Sony a6000 (a mirrorless camera). It might look like a weird comparison at first, but considering the P900 price and targeted audience, it seems that people will also debate whether to get a more advanced super-zoom or an entry-level DSLR instead.

The Nikon P900 is quite expensive for a bridge camera. As of the time of writing its costs around $600, about $200 more than the FZ300 / FZ330, $50 more than the Sony Alpha a6000 16-50mm lens kit (#1 best seller on amazon.com as of the time of writing), and $350 less than the RX100 IV,  my favorite compact cameras. So it’s easier to understand the dilemma when looking at the price difference. Each of these cameras has its own unique features that can appeal to those who don’t need to have the longest zoom on the market. If that’s all you need, well, nothing beats the P900. That being said, I recommend reading this comparison review thoroughly before making up your mind. I’m pretty sure you’ve spent quite a lot of time in debating between two or more of these cameras, so let me help you make up your mind.

Nikon P900 Introduction

I’ll start with a short introduction to the P900, which is our main camera in this comparison. The P900 was announced on March 2, 2015. If we look at Amazon.com best sellers in the point-and-shoot category, we can see that it’s very saturated vendor wise. We can see Nikon with the L350 in the first place, Sony with the W800 in second place, Canon SX400 in the 5th place and Nikon L840 in the 7th place. The P900 is at the 13th place, but if you look carefully you can see that relatively to its price, is the most popular digital camera on Amazon.com above the $500 mark and fourth most popular point-and-shoot camera from camera over $200 (after L850, Olympus TG-4 and Nikon AW130).

Nikon P900 ultrazoom camera

The button on the lens barrel is useful when you zoom back and want to reframe the subject. The T/W switch makes it easier to smoothly zoom in and out while composing your shot via the viewfinder.

So there is something unique about the P900 that convinced people to purchase it instead of buying other superzooms, which are much cheaper than it. This isn’t a hard riddle to solve when you look at the P900 specs. The main reason why people are buying this camera is due to the P900′ humongous.

Yes, the P900 lens is the main reason to get this camera. It features an 83x optical zoom Image stabilized (5-stops) lens (83.3x to be exact). This allows you to touch the subject from very far away, and with the 166x dynamic fine zoom, you can get an even optimized enlargement of the subjects as well. The “Dynamic Fine Zoom” is a pretty name that describes a digital zoom with a processing enhancement. Yep, the P900 has a telescope lens and you’ll be able to capture images that only few can. The reason is because most people who don’t have this camera won’t be able to get this reach unless they have an interchangeable camera and lens setup, but this setup is way bulkier and much more expensive.

The P900 isn’t that compact either, and it has a size of a mid-range DSLR and it’s larger than the D3300 entry-level DSLR. It’s the largest among the four cameras. It’s still comfortable to carry around, in the “comfortable zone” as I tend to call it, but some of you might find it on the heavy side and bulkier compared to the Sony alpha a6000 and the Sony Cyber-shot RX100 IV.

The P900 looks like a DSLR camera. It has lots of buttons and dials that allow quick access to frequently used camera settings. It has a nice electronic viewfinder at the back, a fully-articulated display, dedicated movie button, full manual control over the exposure settings (with PSAM dial), a function (Fn) button, built-in GPS, built-in Wi-Fi and NFC, 1080p video recording, 7 fps burst speed and a good selection of creative function that helps to get the optimal shot in various shooting situation.

The P900 has some downsides obviously, like any other camera. It lacks weather-sealing protection, it has a 1/2.3″ sensor, it has an average AF performance (it’s good, but sluggish in low contrast scenes and when shooting small objects), noisy images at moderate ISOs, no RAW support, it takes time to recover from a long burst, it lacks a hot-shoe connector (so you can’t connect an external flash), its viewfinder is OK and it’s relatively large and heavy (899 g / 1.71 oz).

Many camera reviews’ websites did criticize it for its relatively poor high ISO performance. The lens is pretty fast at wide angle (f/2.8), but much slower at the tele-end. So the thing is this. It’s an ultrazoom camera, and you probably want to shoot with it at the largest zoom, but at the tele-end the lens is slow, so if you shoot when it’s start getting dark, you’ll find yourself bumping up the ISO, which leads to more image noise obviously. That being said, the Vibration reduction function works very well, so you’ll be able to shoot at slower shutter speeds while still maintaining a sharp image, which is good. This is why other superzooms like the FZ1000 and FZ300 / FZ330 might be a better pick because they have a faster lens. The FZ1000 doesn’t only have a fast f/2.8-4.0 lens, but it also employs a considerably larger sensor (1-inch). I’ve written another detailed comparison, comparing the P900 vs P610, FZ1000 and D3300, so you probably want to read it as well.

So if you care about having a long zoom, but also don’t want to compromise on image quality and low-light performance, the other cameras might be better choices, but hold down your horses, we are just getting started.

So as you can see, the Nikon P900 is very impressive ultrazoom camera. It covers most of the key features people are looking for in a general-purpose camera, a travel camera or both. Because it isn’t cheap, I encourage you to get to know all the key differences between those four cameras before making up your mind. I know it’s not easy, but once you have a good understand of the pros and cons of each one, you can make a smarter buying decision, without regreting it later on the road.

OK, before we move on, you really want to see what the P900 optical zoom looks like in action. Here, take a look at this amazing video by gutentagproduktion YouTube user, who tested the P900 zoom.

If you are saying “OMG!”, you feel exactly like what I felt when I first saw some of the amazing zoom test videos on YouTube. You can easily understand why so many people want this camera in their hands.  At the end of the day (or your trip), you’ll come home with some amazing shots, that you won’t be able to get with the other cameras (unless your buying the D3300 with some very heavy and expensive lens setup). You can see that the Bokeh looks pretty good at the tele-end as well.

This is just a single video among tons of other videos posted on YouTube, so just head one to YouTube and write “P900 zoom” to view them. OK, now it’s really the time to move on.

P900 vs FZ300 vs RX100 IV vs a6000

Now it’s time to move on to the comparison section. Here you’ll get a good detailed view of the key differences between the four cameras, so let’s begin.

P900 vs FZ300, a6000 and RX100 IV camera size comparison

P900 vs FZ300, a6000 and RX100 IV camera size comparison (via camerasize.com)

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One thing that I didn’t extend on is the camera weather sealing. The FZ300 is the only camera among the four that has weathersealing protection against water splashes and dust. Therefore it’s more suitable for outdoor. If you plan to take your camera where there are some harsh weather conditions, to the beach or shoot in the rain, the FZ300 is your only choice here with its rugged design.

Although I’ve included the RX100 IV due to reader’s requests, it’s a really unique camera because of its size. I would pick the RX100 IV if I want to travel light and prefer a pocket camera than one that I need to carry on my neck or in a camera bag. Yes, it has limited optical zoom, but sometimes it’s better to have a camera that goes everywhere you go, instead of leaving it at home and missing good shots.

Four very different cameras no doubt about it. Each one has its pros and cons and I think the decision should be that hard.

Conclusion

It’s time to make a decision. I can tell you what I would choose. I would get the P900 if I need only a single versatile camera to take on vacations and for family shooting and if I really enjoy shooting with the long zoom (And I do!). I would pick the FZ300 if I need weather sealing, good zoom range, 4K video recording, good AF performance, very good low-light performance (f/2.8 aperture for the entire focal length/zoom range), and want a touch user interface. I get the a6000 if I don’t want my creativity to be limited by the lens, I want to become a better photographer, can’t stand image noise and want great high ISO performance and image quality. I would get the RX100 IV if I want the best compact camera money can buy, want to travel light and capture high-quality photos and videos and not mind not having a limited optical zoom range.

I think that by now you should know what you are searching in your next camera. Yep, you’ll need to make some compromises, but you need to know what matters to you the most. I think that the P900 is an amazing camera, because it has a wide range of standard features, but provides you with opportunity to capture very unique stills and videos that you won’t be able to achieve with the other cameras. It’s not that small nor lightweight, but I think that at the end of the day, you’ll be more pleased with the photos you bring home with the P900 than what you would achieve with the other cameras in most part. The a6000 is more versatile because you can choose between different lenses. It is a big plus, but you’ll need to carry those lenses with you. It’s not always the optimal solution, sometimes you want to travel light and don’t mind having a top-performing camera with you. If that’s the case, get the P900, you will enjoy shooting with it, and it’s the perfect vacation camera in my opinion. With wireless connectivity, full manual exposure control, vari-angle swiveling display, Full HD video recording and EVF, twin dial operation and built-in GPS, I have little to complain about — an amazing camera!

Have any questions or something you want to add? please do so by sharing those in the comment section below and thanks for reading. Don’t forget to LIKE our Facebook page, and be among the firsts who are notified when we post a new comparison article – see ya!

 



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