Nikon Coolpix P100 Review
Usability - How easy is it to use?
The Nikon P100 is very easy to handle and operate. Its body is well built and features a deep-but-narrow hand-grip to hold it steady. The entire camera feels solid and even the hinge for the LCD screen is substantial.
The main controls are easy to use with positive click points. The shutter-release is decent with a very soft halfway point used to focus the camera before taking a picture. The P100 has a single command dial which is set on the camera's back within reach of the thumb. The dial froze several times during testing and has a cheap plasticky feel to it.
The tethered lens-cap easily stays with the camera but causes a lens-error when powered on with it in place. Underneath the P100, a metal tripod mount is placed at the camera's physical center. It is better for panoramas if the tripod mount is aligned with the lens' center but for other uses the physical center gives better balance.
The P100 is powered on by a simple button on top of the camera, behind the shutter-release. The zoom is fast with small steps. The controller is wrapped around the shutter. The top of the camera also holds the mode dial. It features the usual Auto, Program, Shutter-Priority, Aperture-Priority, Manual and Movie mode. Additionally, it has one user-mode and 5 additional positions: Auto, High-Speed Sports Continuous, Scene, Auto-Scene, Smart Portrait and Subject Tracking. The Scene mode hides all individual scene modes under one setting.
As most ultra-zooms, this camera features a large rear LCD and a small EVF. The EVF it is quite small, making judging details and focus very difficult. Despite the LCD having twice the resolution and being plenty sharp with good visibility, the coverage is quite poor. Under normal use, it has 94% coverage which is below the standard 100% coverage norm for fixed-lens digital cameras. In Backlit HDR mode, the viewfinder shows approximately 108% coverage instead. This makes accurate framing impossible as part of what is shown in the LCD is cut off when the image is captured.
The LCD preview is unfortunately rarely accurate. While white-balance does not seem to be much of a problem, exposure is. Sometimes the LCD shows an image of the wrong brightness before the shutter is pressed and sometimes it shows a wrong one after. EC changes the preview but not by the correct amount. Therefore you do not know when images will be incorrectly exposed.
The camera has a button to switch between the EVF and LCD which is separate from the display mode button. The display mode button cycles through the image-only, information and alignment grip modes.
On the camera's rear, a standard 4-way controller is used to navigate menus and as short-cut to some camera functions. Those functions are: flash-mode, self-timer, exposure-compensation and focus mode. Unfortunately, ISO, white-balance and drive mode do not have dedicated buttons and therefore must be changed by using the menu system. The menus are easy to navigate. This camera is shooting-priority, so a halfway press of the shutter returns this Coolpix to the set shooting mode. There is a playback button which toggles playback mode. The user interface has plenty of useful and intuitive indicators to remind users of how to operate the camera. There is also a delete button which prompts for deletion of the last image shot when in shooting mode. In playback mode, the delete button prompts for deletion of the displayed image.
ISO is selectable between 160 and 3200. Because the usable ISO range depends on the medium, it is very nice when a camera like the P100 allows the Auto ISO range to be selected. The Nikon P100 offers 4 possible ranges: 160-200, 160-400, 64-800 (called Auto) and 160-1600 (called High ISO sensitivity auto).
This ultra-zoom allows for -2 to +2 stops of exposure compensation and flash compensation, both in 1/3 stop increments. Exposure bracketing can be set in increments of 1/3, 2/3 or 1 EVs and always captures 3 frames. This camera allows to reset file numbering via the Setup menu, file-numbers keep increasing, even after formatting a card, otherwise.
Nikon P100 Highlights
Sensor-Size: 6 x 5mm
Actual size when viewed at 100 DPI
|10 Megapixels Ultra Zoom||ISO 160-3200|
|26.1X Wide Optical Zoom||Shutter 1/2000-8s|
|Built-in Stabilization||Full manual controls|
|0.24" Built-in EVF 230K Pixels||Custom white-balance|
|10 FPS Drive, 6 Images||Spot-Metering|
|1920x1080 @ 30 FPS Video Recording||Lithium-Ion Battery|
|3" LCD 460K Pixels||Secure Digital High Capacity|
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