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Cameras Reviews
15,670 Reviews PC Advisor Gold Award

Nikon Coolpix P100 review

£333.68 inc VAT

Manufacturer: Nikon

Our Rating: We rate this 4.5 out of 5

Smaller and cheaper than a digital SLR but with performance that dwarfs a compact, the Nikon Coolpix P100 is bridge camera with 1080p HD video capability.

Smaller and cheaper than a digital SLR but with performance that dwarfs a compact, the Nikon Coolpix P100 is bridge camera with 1080p HD video capability

The Nikon Coolpix P100 is a likeable superzoom camera that weighs a scant 419g (with battery) and has an incredible 26x optical zoom. It's also a 24mm wide-angle camera that can capture vast vistas - we got it to take a very broad shot of the sweep of the Thames and were impressed with the breadth of detail it could encompass.

We were also pleased to discover a superior build quality on the Nikon Coolpix P100 than on its predecessor, the P90. It looks and feels good in the hand, with a rubber grip on its front right. The Nikon Coolpix P100 is compact enough to slip in a backpack or hang comfortably round your neck but not so small that the buttons are teeny or the frame too small to use.

Menu items can largely be selected using the navipad, with grouped menus to adjust for setup, shooting modes for stills, movie settings and playback. Standard adjustments to image size, white balance, modes and camera-assist tools such as the vibration and motion reduction tools can be selected without having to switch from modes on the camera's top dial.

Scene modes on the Nikon Coolpix P100 are either user-selectable or automatic. There's a ‘smart portrait' mode and an object tracker denoted by a (scary) crosshair target, and a continuous sports mode that can capture up to 10 frames per second. Aperture priority, shutter priority, multi-point autofocus and user-defined manual settings are all accessible from the dial menu.

The 3in tilt-adjustable LCD on the back of the Nikon Coolpix P100 and the huge extending lens are the only aspects that seem out of place on this otherwise well-proportioned camera - and these are hardly complaints.

The 460K-pixel LCD panel is a little stiff, but it's definitely useful to be able to angle it and capture awkward shots when shooting video. You can toggle between using either the electronic viewfinder or LCD, while a prominent red button on the back of the camera is used to start and stop video recording.

We preferred this to the typical arrangement of video mode selected from the dial. We've wasted valuable card storage by accidentally videoing when we wanted to take stills. You can start videoing regardless of the camera settings currently selected, which is a welcome change.

Read our review of the 12x zoom Nikon Coolpix L110

There's an HD/HS selection switch too, with HD footage sharper, while HS (high-speed) ramps up the capture rate to 240fps so you can later play it back smoothly in slow mode.

The Nikon Coolpix P100 supports ‘proper' high-definition video capture at 1080p, and has twin microphones on its top for true stereo audio.

Another ‘safety' feature is the Nikon Coolpix P100's refusal to take shots or allow you to adjust settings when the lens cap is on. The solution, though - switch off the camera, remove the lens cap, and try again - is frankly annoying.

We got mixed results when using the zoom while videoing scenes. It seems to need very distinct objects on which to focus and is less adept at this in video mode than when tasked with taking still photos. Given bright conditions and plenty of contrast, however, it produced sharp, colour-accurate footage.

SD cards are used for storage, while an HDMI port and an AV connector allow your video to be shown straight from the camera.

We were largely happy with the photos we took on the Nikon Coolpix P100. Without a tripod but with the in-built image stabiliser switched on we were able to take sharp shots, while the amount of zoom it offers is breathtaking. We felt like snoopers using it. The long zoom definitely benefits from some form of stabilisation, but focuses quickly and accurately.

Colour tends to desaturate over distance, but Nikon supplies in-camera software to brighten and soften images as required.

We were less impressed with how the Nikon Coolpix P100 handled some indoor shots. Here, you definitely want to turn off the auto settings and specify the white balance and aperture priority.

The Nikon Coolpix P100 took noticeably longer to focus than in bright, outdoor settings too. On occasion, we were given an onscreen hint to use the flip-up flash - a helpful reminder that the tools available aren't all digital.

People shots get their own smart-portrait mode. One or more subjects are first identified and the camera settings adjusted to make them look their best. We managed to fool the anti-blink feature too easily, though.

NEXT PAGE: Our expert verdict >>

See also: Nikon Coolpix S640 review and Nikon Coolpix L110 review

Nikon Coolpix P100 Expert Verdict »

Nikon Coolpix P100 Scores 9.0 out of 10 based on 54 reviews
10.3Mp camera
1/2.3in CMOS sensor
26x optical zoom (4.6-120mm
26-678mm equivalent)
pop-up flash
1080p @30fps video capture
240fps high-speed video capture
slow-mo playback
ISO 160–1600
stereo microphone
3in tilt-adjustable LCD
vibration reduction
motion reduction
43MB internal memory
SD/SDHC Card storage
827x1144x99mm
419g
  • Build Quality: We give this item 8 of 10 for build quality
  • Features: We give this item 9 of 10 for features
  • Value for Money: We give this item 9 of 10 for value for money
  • Overall: We give this item 9 of 10 overall

With a lightweight but well-built frame, amazing zoom and the ability to capture broad vistas, the Nikon Coolpix P100’s capabilities are admirable. The video mode is far more flexible than the perfunctory nod to video capture on most cameras and we liked being able to directly select it in any mode. As for the camera’s value for money, it’s close to incredible.

  • Nikon Coolpix L110 review

    Nikon Coolpix L110

    The Nikon CoolPix L110 is a 12.1-megapixel compact digital camera with a 15x super-zoom lens that covers 28-420mm (35mm-equivalent focal range). It runs on four AA batteries, has a bright 3in LCD screen and can record movies at up to 720p.

  • Nikon Coolpix P7000 review

    Nikon Coolpix P7000

    The Nikon Coolpix P7000 is a camera that combines great image quality, extensive manual controls, and a 7.1X optical zoom lens.

  • Nikon Coolpix P300 review

    Nikon Coolpix P300

    The Nikon Coolpix P300 rivals higher-priced cameras without sacrificing many features.

  • Nikon Coolpix P310 review

    Nikon Coolpix P310

    With an F1.8 lens, manual exposure controls, and a much lower price than its rivals, the Nikon Coolpix P310 offers excellent value for money. Here's our Nikon Coolpix P310 review.

  • Nikon Coolpix S210 review

    Nikon Coolpix S210

    An inexpensive, superslim pocket camera in the entry-level point-and-shoot class, the 8Mp Nikon Coolpix S210 isn't short on good looks.


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