Photography / Hands-on Review

The Nikon P900: The New King of the Superzooms


Make no mistake: the Nikon COOLPIX P900 is a photo-taking telescope that you hold in your hand. The superzoom point-and-shoot camera has been around for years, albeit under the radar, as the point-and-shoot market has been waged in a war against two competing genres of cameras. On one end: the smartphone camera. On the other: the entry-level DSLR camera with its lower and lower price point. If the point-and-shoot is going to survive this war, it is the superzoom camera that will save it. Put simply, there is no smartphone or DSLR on the planet that can reasonably be as versatile as the superzoom point-and-shoot camera, and the COOLPIX P900 has just raised that game.

For the past few years, the superzoom standard bearers have been outfitted with impressive lenses that bring a 50-65x optical zoom to the digital sensor, giving them a 35mm equivalent focal length ranging from 20mm on the wide end to an eye-watering 1400mm-ish telephoto range.

"THE" Zoom

Are you sitting down? The new Nikon COOLPIX P900 features an 83x optical zoom lens that ranges from a 35mm-equivalent 24mm to 2000mm zoom range. No, that is not a typographical error. It is a 2000mm lens. Two with three zeroes following it.

35mm equivalent: 2000mm; 1/800, f/6.5; ISO 100

Let us put 2000mm in perspective.

Sports photographers with the huge lenses on the sidelines are usually outfitted with lenses ranging from 200mm to 600mm. Yes, that photo of your favorite gridiron player's helmet from across the field was likely shot with a lens that has less than 25% of the zoom power of the P900.

I have a Leica 77 Televid APO spotting scope—basically a telescope. When I attach a full-frame camera to the Leica, it is the 35mm equivalent of a 1,000mm lens. With an APS-C camera attached, I enjoy a 1,500mm equivalent view. With that field of view, the orbiting moon nearly fills the frame.

Do a search on the Internet for a 2000mm lens for a DSLR camera and you might find the famous Nikon Reflex-NIKKOR 2000mm mirror lens. Got a Nikon DSLR or SLR? 2000mm is possible—if you want to carry around a lens that weighs almost 40 pounds and costs, on the used market, upwards of $35,000.

The traditional downside of many point-and-shoot lenses is that the maximum apertures were relatively small and, especially as you zoomed in, the amount of light entering the lens was insufficient for photography in all but the brightest environments. The P900 has a pro-level aperture of f/2.8 at the wide end and an incredibly respectable f/6.5 at the extreme telephoto range. That Leica spotting scope I mentioned—f/11. The Reflex-NIKKOR—f/11, as well.


35mm equivalent focal length (left to right): 24mm, 70mm, 350mm, 2000mm

The farther you zoom in with a camera, the more that any movement imparted by your shaking hands is magnified. Camera shake is difficult to counteract at mortal focal lengths. When it comes to superzooms, a tiny bit of shake not only leaves you with a blurry image, it might mean you miss your target all together! To counter this shake on the COOLPIX P900, Nikon has strengthened its Vibration Reduction system to give shooters five-stop compensation with its Dual Detect Optical VR system.

Oh, before we move on to the controls, if 2000mm with the 83x zoom is insufficient for you, Nikon gives you a Dynamic Fine Zoom that digitally brings you to 4,000mm (166x zoom). Still need to zoom further? You may want to become an astronomer and book time at an observatory, or shop for a large telescope at B&H Photo.

The P900 features a 166x digital zoom for a 35mm equivalent focal length of 4000mm.


In the land of point-and-shoot cameras, the superzooms are certainly the largest of the bunch. If you are looking for a camera to slip into a pocket or pocketbook, the superzoom is likely not what you seek. The COOLPIX P900, blaming its massive zoom range, is the largest of this genre, as it nears DSLR proportions. Frown if you must, but remember your other option for 2000mm with Nikon weighs about 40 pounds. The P900 weighs 2 pounds.

The Statue of Liberty, from Battery Park, at the 35mm equivalent of 24mm and 2000mm.

The P900 feels lighter than it looks. In the world of point-and-shoots, this is a good thing. It does not have the metallic heft that many love to find when they pick up a camera, but this thing is designed to travel with you without weighing you down.

The design is sharp and, to an outsider, you can tell that this camera is all about the lens. With a 67mm diameter objective lens, the glass dominates the design. The P900 is a big lens with an ergonomic handgrip on one side and a pop-up flash affixed to the top. From every angle aside from the rear, this camera is 80% lens. Zoom in and it looks like the P900 more than doubles in length.

The rear LCD screen measures 3.0" diagonally and features 921k-dot resolution. It is fully articulated and can flip out, rotate, and face forward. Articulated screens are something that, if you have been shooting SLR and DSLR cameras for years, you probably never missed. Once you use one on a point-and-shoot, mirrorless, or new DSLR camera, you will wonder how you ever got along without it.

A hand appears inside the crown of the Statue.

35mm equivalent: 2000mm; 1/1000, f/6.5; ISO 100

The COOLPIX P900 also has a 921k-dot electronic viewfinder with diopter adjustment for eye-level shooting and composing. For a DSLR user, this EVF features a pretty tiny screen, but it is more than sufficient for taking photos with the P900. The EVF is activated by a sensor when you bring your eye to the camera.


The P900 is outfitted with controls familiar to both Nikon COOLPIX and DSLR shooters. Very familiar to the consumer DSLR crowd, the camera features the same "PSAM mode control dial" that rides atop most of Nikon's DSLR cameras. This dial means that the P900 shooter quickly has access to shutter and aperture-priority shooting modes, as well as full manual exposure control. Many point-and-shoot cameras offer the same level of control to shooters, but the PSAM dial interface makes these options readily available; not always the case on other point-and-shoot cameras.

Because this camera is all about zoom, there are two separate zoom controls to keep shooters happy. The first is the common spring-loaded zoom ring surrounding the shutter release. The second is on the left side of the lens barrel where your thumb naturally falls when holding the camera in the shooting position. Alongside the lens-mounted zoom controls is the fashionable, and very useful, "snap-back zoom" button that zooms out quickly to help you regain your subject, if you lost it at the extreme zoom. Re-target and release the button to zoom back in. At 2000mm, it is not difficult to lose your subject.

Electronic Extras

Like many of today's cameras, the COOLPIX P900 features Wi-Fi and NFC capabilities to share your photos on the go with a compatible smartphone or tablet. The Nikon snapbridge mobile app will also control your camera from a remote position.

35mm equivalent: 2000mm; 1/1000, f/6.5; ISO 100

Embedded GPS geo-tags your images and allows you to access Nikon's Points of Interest system to find popular shooting sites.

For action shooters, the 16MP camera features 7-frame-per-second shooting. If that is not fast enough, the P900 will gladly shoot you a full-HD 1920 x 1080 movie at 60 frames per second.

I won't bore you with all the other details, but the COOLPIX P900 is packed with all the shooting, exposure, and scene modes that ship standard with many of today's point-and-shoot and DSLR cameras.

Shooting and Image Quality

To test the COOLPIX P900, I headed to the Statue of Liberty, in New York Harbor, to see what kind of images I could get.


35mm equivalent focal length (left to right): 24mm, 115mm, 450mm, 2000mm

Will a lens that covers everything from wide angle to telescope-telephoto feature the world's best optical performance? No. If someone could crack that code, we would all be shooting superzoom cameras but, with the versatility that extreme zoom lenses offer, come optical compromises.

But let me follow up by saying, "Wow!"

I walked around the Statue of Liberty and started taking photos. I zoomed in, and in, and in, and in. Have you seen those wonderful close-up photos of Lady Liberty in the glossy New York photo books or tourist guides, the ones taken from aerial platforms or with giant lenses (or giant crops) from the ground? With the Nikon COOLPIX P900, you no longer have to be envious of those vantage points. I was standing on the ground and getting even closer to the face of the statue than probably anyone has since there was scaffolding around her head.

The EVF is good but, as I mentioned, the screen does not really fill the viewfinder. This was not distracting and the EVF resolution is great. However, when pointed toward the sun, I found myself wishing I had a third hand to shade my shooting eye as the rubber eyecup wasn't sufficiently deep to allow me to see the viewfinder clearly in the bright sun. Had I been wearing a ball cap, I may not have noticed this.

Also, at 2000mm (and beyond with the digital zoom), the image stabilization sometimes trumps your compositional eye, as the exact image you were looking to grab might have shifted because you moved the camera when depressing the shutter release. At those zoom ranges, even a small bit of movement might move you completely off target. Luckily, digital is "free," so if VR made me miss, I would just recompose and shoot again until I got what I wanted. You can definitely tell how hard the VR is working while shooting at extreme telephoto; and working it is.

35mm equivalent: 555mm; 1/1600, f/5.0; ISO 100

As I was shooting, I was getting excited with the images I was seeing in the EVF. The Lady was looking great through the eyes of the P900. I was really enjoying the creative freedom of the extreme zoom. However, I was tempering my enthusiasm by constantly reminding myself that the quality cannot be all that good, right? I mean, this is not only a superzoom camera, it’s the new class leader with respectable-wide to insanity-telephoto. How can it be the master of anything?

Well, I got home, popped the SD card out and uploaded the images onto my computer for viewing.

Again, “Wow.” Seriously. I am very impressed with the optical quality of the images at all focal lengths. When I did 100% zooms into the 2000mm shots, I was looking at the rivets on the Lady's crown. Were they tack sharp? No, but they were pretty darn close. Consider that I was shooting at telescope-like focal lengths, handheld, on a windy day in freezing temperatures and you cannot help but be impressed by how the images came out. I doubt I could have gotten a sharper image with a DSLR in those conditions. And, with a DSLR, forget about zooming anywhere near that range.

You can see the images for yourself, illustrating this review. These photos are straight out of the camera. No post-processing at all. Great color. Great resolution. Impressive sharpness. What more could you ask from a two-pound point-and-shoot camera with big lens?

Final Thoughts

As you can see from these photos, the P900 really shines at extreme telephoto lengths. However, for family snapshots and portraits, I found the camera’s image quality was also superb. This camera really is an all-around workhorse that can meet a lot of demands.

The COOLPIX P900 was obviously designed to zoom boldly where no camera had zoomed before. It did its job flawlessly. It is designed as a travel companion that gets you shots that no other camera can get you. However, I found something even better inside the P900 that Nikon's marketing teams will likely overlook: the P900, because of its zoom prowess, allowed me to use that lens to take some really creative abstracts of the Statue of Liberty and later, on a walk through Manhattan, of the new World Trade Center and other buildings in the Financial District. With seemingly unlimited zooming, I was able to tightly frame areas in a way that no one else walking around New York Harbor today was able to do. In my opinion, this abstract and artistic exploration really elevated the COOLPIX P900 from a super-versatile travel zoom with amazing range to something that promotes creativity and art.

In the point-and-shoot's battle for survival against the camera phone and the DSLR, the point-and-shoot forces may have just received the weapon it needed to win the war and preserve the survival of the point-and-shoot camera genre.

Obligatory superzoom moon shot

35mm equivalent: 2000mm; 1/500, f/8.0; ISO 400

Items discussed in article


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Wow Todd, that is a super interesting lens...thanks...

what we typically shoot are balls of light in the night sky, so which camera could you recommend for that?    We will get the tripod you recommended, and we always shoot from the same spot, so which cameras would produce the best image in this situation?

Thanks very much for your learned opinion...

Paul and Juliana

PS They are here...

Thanks Paul and Juliana,

Just so you know, that bipod is very expensive and you have to cover his travel!

Do you have a P900? If you want long reach in a portable form factor, there really is no other option—you are getting longer reach in the palm of your hand then you will with that Canon 1200mm behemoth.

Someday, there will likely be a successor to the P900, but right now, that camera is the superzoom to beat in some respects. The advantage to the Canons is that you can shoot raw files and, perhaps, get slightly better image quality at less of a zoom.

Standing by for more follow-ups..

PS. I know. How do you think I got here?

Hi Todd,  do you have any idea when we can expect the p900 upgrade to 100x optical zoom, or the Sx70 100x optical zoom?  We are interested in shooting the UFO's Which regularly appear in our night sky.  We have some incredible shots and video footage with our Canon sx30  at present.


Paul and Juliana

Hello Paul and Juliana,

Great question, but, unfortunately, only Nikon and Canon know the answers to those questions.

For awesome UFO photography, keep an eye out for the next used Canon 1200mm []. It doesn't have the same magnification as the P900, but at f/5.6 you can get some really great shallow depth-of-field effects and great bokeh behind the flying saucers.

Good luck and keep avoiding abduction! Thanks for reading!

hi tod i have a p900 during play with an extenshens of it program i found a (bug)

when you peaked  on to focus on (1x give you grate pic from 4x)

Hi akbar,

I would suggest you email Nikon about the bug you have found.

Thanks for reading!

I'm an amateur who loves my P900.  Learning more about it with every use and reading various forums, etc. as well as taking some photography classes.  The focus of my next class is potrait and commecial photography.  At a somewhat disadvantage as the camera does not have a hotshoe.  Looking for recommendations on an external flash (currently considering teh LumoPro LP180 and Yongnuo YN560-IV).  Appreciate any help!  Thanks.

Hi Anthony,

I could be wrong, but I do not think there is a way to fire an off-camera flash with the P900. I did look through the manual and found nothing. There is a built-in flash.

One thing you could do is buy a bracket that attaches to the bottom of the camera and then mount a continuous lighting solution to the camera like the Luxli Viola LED light.

I hope this helps! Thanks for reading!

The Yongnuo YN560 III works amazing with the built in flash as the master, together with the nikon SG-31R IR Panel panel (needs some diy solution to fixate it in front of the built in flash) you get almost the same functionality as when using a hot shoe flash. 

You could buy an optical trigger.  Then the flash on the camera is used to trigger other flashes.  It is probably not perfect for every situation but works very well in some.

I've had p900 for a year now, LOVE it! Decided to get into photography since I've been ejoying it so much . I asked a photographer I know for some tips she suggested getting a camera that can change lens and shoot raw a dslr. Isnt The one lens that comes with the p900 equal to like 3 different lens I would have to buy uf I purchase a body dslr? P900 compared to Dslr camera's is just as good. Meaning I can do photography with my p900 correct?

Hi merylu,

The P900 is a great camera and I am glad you are enjoying it! A DSLR or mirrorless interchangable camera will give you better image quality due to their larger sensors and powerful processors, but there is no practical way to replicate the zoom range of the P900, so you will be shooting with zoom lenses with much much narrower focal length ranges and/or prime lenses that do not zoom.

If you are happy with the images from your P900, then keep on shooting it and enjoying it! There is no reason to change unless you are unhappy with the results!

Thanks for reading! Let me know if this answers your question!

How is the digital zoom used on the P900, meaning, how do you access it on the camera?

The 2000mm focus with the telephoto zoom is impressive but how do you use the digital part?

Hey Dan,

Digital zoom is virtually cropping into the digital image. Basically, the optical zoom reaches its limit, and then you zoom in further by "looking closer" at the center of that image. If you have a smartphone and use the zoom, it is the same thing. You aren't really getting closer optically, you are just forcing the camera to look at a smaller section of the image. Digital zoom is not a really good thing as you are basically discarding image to pretend you are zooming in further.

In reality, you can take a photograph at the 2000mm optical zoom range, and then just crop the image after capture...same thing as digital zoom and even advantageous as you won't be fighting crazy camera shake at a is bad enough at 2000mm!

On the P900, and other zooms with digital zoom, you basically can just keep zooming in on a target. The camera will pause at the end of the optical zoom range (and there is usually a digital indicator associated with this) and then it allows you to press on into the digital zoom range.

Let me know if that clears up your query! Thanks for reading!

It has a 357mm focal length. Thus article is lying to you.

Peter, your comment is incorrect and offensive. You should know what your talking about before you talk. Your statement makes you look dumb as a box of rocks. 357 mm X 5.6 crop factor = 2000 mm +/-. 

Hey Frank,

Technically, Mr. mcquillan is correct as the lens has a 357mm focal length lens. The 35mm-equivalent focal length of 2000mm. This is why I use the term "equivalent" throughout the article. Apparently, Mr. mcquillan didn't pick up on this.

Thanks for stopping by!

Great article! The P900 sounds awesome compared to my P510. I purchased the P610 when it came out but found that my zoomed images had a grainy, "painted" appearance to them despite different settings. I didn't keep that camera. Is the P900 mirrorless? Also, does it shoot in RAW? Thank you, Shannon

Hey Shannon,

Yep, the P900 is all point-and-shoot cameras. Do not confuse it with an interchangable lense mirrorless cannot change lenses on the P900.

Nope, it does not shoot raw files, unfortunately.

Thanks for stopping by, Shannon!

is this removable lence?

can i attach other lence to it ?

Hi akhil,

No, I am sorry the lens is not removable. The P900 is not an interchangeable lens camera.

It does have a 67mm filter thread if you want to add filters or other lens accessories.

Thanks for your question!

Well, its podsible to mount on a telescope with some work?😁 that would be insane....

I'm not sure how that would work, Kristian! But, feel free to give it a try!

I have the P900 and am looking for the best full size tripod to support its weight, especially when zooming. Any recommendations?

Hey Lisa,

The good news is the P900 is very light, so you do not need a super-heavy tripod to hold it securely.

The bad news is that at 2000mm, you will want a very stable tripod when shooting distant objects.

I'd also recommend a panning head for the extreme telephoto of the P900. Check out this Vortex Pro tripod.

Let me know if you have follow-up questions!

Todd Vorenkamp, I own a Nikon P900 and really love it. But I am stuck on one thing. Does the camera have a bulb setting? If so, how do I find it. It's driving me nuts and the manual is of no use on this. Thanks, Ben

Hey Ben,

No, unfortunately the P900 does not have a bulb mode. Kind of a bummer, I know!

Thanks for reading and thanks for helping fellow B&H Explora readers below!

I have the panasonic DMC-FZ70 and I have not been satisfied with the EVF--its difficult to see and focus thru.  How does the P900 EVF compare? anyone?

Hi Alan,

I am unfamiliar with the Panasonic's viewfinder, but I found the P900's adequate. The image in the viewfinder is smaller than I am used to from DSLR and Mirrorless cameras, but it was fine for the P900 even with room for improvement.

Thanks for reading!

I am trying to choose between the P900 and the Canon sx60 (or any other ultrazoom with 50x or more). I would mainly use it to take zoom shots of subjects in movement (sport dogs, swimmers, etc). I've read that the P900 is a tad slower in lock in the focus, compared to the sx60. Is that correct? the not so huge difference in zoom would not be a problem, but the speed in focus the subject yes!

I had my hesitation to choose between those two flagship superzoom, then i realize the SX60 HS would probably had some trouble focusing in the full zoom, if it equipped with 2000mm zoom lens as well. So i choose to bought my self  the P900. And so far, it's never dissapoint me.

Glad you are enjoying it, six!

Hey Matteo,

Looks like six is a fan! But, I have never tested the two head-to-head. I have only played with the SX60 in the store. Some customers claim that the SX50 is superior, but a friend bought the SX60 for a trip to Africa and loved it!

You probably cant go wrong either way.

Thank you Six and Todd!

I am also more inclined to choose the P900, although I am still not fully into it. I'll probably play around with it in the store, once they are available again. Reviews are not helping because they are not really choose a "winner" for the focus thing. I mainly shoot subjects in movement so I need to have a quick focus otherwise it would not be of any use. Currently I am still using my old and reliable DSLR (an Olympus E-510) with a 70-300mm lens. So any of the two would be great I guess, and spare me to go around with 4/5 spare lenses all the times.

Hey Matteo,

Even if out of stock, we likely have one at the Nikon kiosk to test and play with, so stop by anytime!


I have never used the Canon so I cannot advise on that. But I have owned a P900 for many months and just took a 41 day, 28 state, 37 State and Federal Parks and Monumonts. 10,434 miles. I took over 4,000 pictures from wide angle to super zoom. I shoot moons, sunsets, sunrises. motor races, birds and dogs. I wouldn't trade this camera for anything. You just cannot beat it.

Can we change the existing lens easily like all other cameras.. as I am planning to buy my first camera and I am interested in P900

Hi Sudhakar,

Nope. The P900 does not have an interchangeable lens.

Thanks for reading!

It's true you cannot change the lense. But the other reply to you didn't mention you don't have to. I take wide angle, panoramic, telephoto to super telephoto closeups of the moon. You need no other zoom ever.

So being very much an amatuer was wondering if a camera with a larger sensor and a 600mm lens would work better after cropping . I feel I am expecting too much out of the ability to crop . :) 

Hey Scott,

I understand your question, but that would be a bit akin to comparing apples and oranges in this case. A bigger sensor camera and a 600mm lens is a completely different beast when you look at size, weight, and cost than a point-and-shoot camera like the P900.

Also, the crop would be pretty severe. The moon is a good way to analyze your question. If you look at this article [] check out the relative sizes of the moon in the images with different focal lengths and visualize how much you would have to crop to get it to look like the P900 shot above (and in the moon article).

I hope this answer helps! Let me know if you have any follow-ups!


I was reading through this article about the Nikon P900 and was wondering about the extra zoom the one that extends it up to 4000mm. As you knowof my order history I am into Astronmy I have two telescopes with a DLSR to hook up with my telescopes. but when I am out an about I would lile to use a camera like this though the 2000mm ok but as you mentioned in the article the extra zoom to 4000mm would win me over! so how much is this extra zoom added with the camera? Nice easy pirce on the camera too!



Hi Clayton,

The 4000mm zoom is not an optical add-on for the P900. It is a "digital zoom"...the equivalent of cropping an image to show the angle of view of a 4000mm lens.

In general, you will want to avoid using digital zoom on any camera (especially smartphones). It is better to just zoom in all the way and crop later, if needed.

In the photos above of Liberty's tablet, I show a 2000mm shot and a digital zoom 4000mm shot.

I hope this clears up things. If not, let me know! Thanks for reading!

How are the night shots for the Nikon P900?
Is the build-in flash powerful enough for dark environments?
Need your advise and sample images if anyone do have them.

Hi Mohamed,

The flash is certainly suitable for day-to-day snapshots and portraits. The flash power lets it cover almost 40' of distance, so do not plan on using flash when zoomed to 2000mm!

Unfortunately, I don't have sample images with a flash. Interestingly, Nikon does not show any flash images on their P900 page. You might want to search Instagram or Flickr for example images from P900 users to see if you can find some examples.

Thanks for reading!

 Wonderful article , I followed your link on youtube in comments section ,Nikon P900 is a super camera with ability to super zoom great for wildlife and bird photography however i wonder if i should go for  Nikon P900 instead of buying Canon lense 70-200 f2.8 II USM ? how well does this camera shoot when it comes to landscape and potrait shots is it good enough ?

Hi Yash,

I found the P900 to be perfectly suitable for landscape and portrait work when not shooting at the crazy telephoto extremes. The Canon 70-200 lens for a DSLR is a completely different animal than the P900.

If you want the top optical quality, the Canon lens and a high-performance DSLR would be best. But, for unbeatable versatility and a crazy-fun zoom, the P900 would be the way to go.

Thanks for your questions!


I'm not techie so could you tell me does this camera have a better sensor than the Canon SX50/60? 



Hi Paul -

The sensors and processors are very comparable.

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