For camera nerds, bigger is better when it comes to sensor sizes. Sometimes, though, small sensors can be used to great effect, as Nikon's Coolpix P1000 proves. This massive bridge camera boasts an astonishing zoom range of 24 mm to 3000 mm in 35-mm lens equivalent terms. Nikon says that range is enough to fill the frame with the moon, for just one extreme example.
The P1000 has a 1/2.3" sensor behind its lens that provides roughly a 5.6x crop factor compared to the full 35-mm frame. This 16-MP imaging chip is back-side-illuminated for better transference of light to the sensor circuitry, although the maximum ISO of 6400 and resolution are both the same as in the older P900 superzoom. The P1000 does add raw shooting support for those who want to try and tweak its files manually, something its predecessor lacked.
With the P1000's incredible magnification and a relatively dim aperture of f/8 on the lens' long end, vibration reduction (VR in Nikon parlance) is going to be critical to sharp shots while hand-holding this camera. Nikon claims that the camera's shake-stopping guts are good for a five-stop improvement over unstabilized shooting. To help combat color fringing across the P1000's enormous zoom range, Nikon uses some ED and Super ED lens elements, too.
Even as a bridge camera with a non-interchangeable lens, the P1000 is hardly compact. The lens takes 77-mm filters more typical of pro lenses on full-frame cameras, and the whole camera weighs in at 3.1 lb (1.4 kg) with a battery and memory card installed. In-use shots from DPReview show that the P1000 gets quite long at full zoom, though it'll still be much smaller and lighter than a DSLR with even a relatively-pedestrian-by-comparison 600-mm lens and teleconverter—and the DSLR still won't even come close to the P1000's maximum magnification.
If the prospect of the P1000's zoom range sounds enticing, Nikon says the camera will be available in September for a list price of just under $1000.