The Bottom Line
I found that writing the Nikon Coolpix P90 review to be one of the most difficult camera reviews I've ever written.
The P90 has a lot of nice features, including a 24X optical zoom, a tiltable 3.0-inch LCD, an easy-to-use interface, and a light-weight design that makes it easy to use. Unlike many sub-$400 cameras, you can use a viewfinder or the LCD to frame images.
However, the P90's image quality just isn't as good as I'd like to see. It's a nice camera, but it just doesn't seem to have a good classification: It's too expensive for a point and shoot, and it doesn't offer the image quality you'd want in a DSLR.
- 24X optical zoom is great feature
- Tiltable LCD is a handy feature
- Handgrip is very comfortable to use
- Can use live view or viewfinder to frame photos
- Very easy to use - contains few buttons
- Close-up focus should be better
- Overall image quality should be better
- LCD can be tough to see in sunlight
- No possibility of using interchangeable lenses
- Resolution: 12.1 megapixels
- Optical zoom: 24X (26-624mm)
- LCD: 3.0-inch, 230,000 pixels (tiltable)
- Maximum image size: 4000 x 3000 pixels
- Battery: Li-ion (rechargable)
- Dimensions: 3.3 x 4.53 x 3.9 inches
- Weight: 16.2 ounces (body only, no battery, no memory card)
- Image sensor: CCD 1/2.33 in.
Guide Review - Nikon Coolpix P90 Review
One of the biggest drawbacks for the Coolpix P90 is its overall image quality. The photos certainly aren't terrible, and most of them are at least average quality. However, low-light photos tend to have stray pixels and purple fringing. It also seemed to have trouble focusing properly on close-up images.
The P90 offers 12.1 megapixels of resolution. When shooting at the maximum resolution, you can crop the photo down which can prevent some image-quality problems. The 24X optical zoom lens (26mm-624mm equivalent) can overcome some of the image-quality issues, too. However, if you don't need a extra-large zoom lens, there are better cameras out there in this price range in terms of image quality.
The overall speed of the P90 is very good, especially compared to similarly designed and priced cameras. You can shoot your first photo about 2 seconds after pressing the power button, and its shot to shot delays are reasonable.
The LCD can be tilted for odd-angle photos, which is handy. Measuring 3 inches diagonally, the LCD is large and sharp. However, it could be a little easier to see in bright sunlight.
The P90's design is interesting. I found it easy to use the P90 one-handed, and its large lens helps balance the camera nicely. The lens also dominates the front panel of this model, giving it a look similar to a DSLR, even though you cannot use interchangeable lenses with it.
For a camera of its size, it's lightweight. It is very easy to use, too, with few buttons. However, it just doesn't seem like the P90 has a good segment in the market. Its large zoom lens is nice, but I'd almost rather spend a little more for a true DSLR with more flexible lens options and better image quality.
If you don't shoot many close-up photos, and you need the large zoom lens, the Nikon P90 can be a good choice, though.