Nikon P1000 superzoom camera lets birders and astronomers go long

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.

Image: Nikon

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.

Image: Nikon

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.

Comments closed
    • albundy
    • 1 year ago

    ohhhh, the death star! now i get it. [url<]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1L6Pi17AwF8[/url<]

    • Captain Ned
    • 1 year ago

    This beastie has the same problem as any, every, and all non-full-frame digital cameras I’ve ever looked at. Horribly dark minimum f-stops.

    • Dposcorp
    • 1 year ago

    I am a superzoom (bridge camera) fan, but just wish they would have used a 1″ sensor.
    Also would be nice if they let you easily extract stills from the 4K video, like the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000.

      • Anonymous Coward
      • 1 year ago

      A larger sensor of course requires more glass to illuminate it, or some other compromise like a smaller aperture. There is no winning.

        • Dposcorp
        • 1 year ago

        Yeah, but it can still be done, and not a lot more money.

        Look at the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000, or even better, look at the PANASONIC LUMIX ZS200 .

        [url<]https://www.pcmag.com/review/359171/panasonic-lumix-dc-zs200[/url<] You pay more but then get more. I would take the ZS200 over the Nikon P1000

          • jensend
          • 1 year ago

          I’m sorry, a 15x zoom and a 125x zoom are not competitors. Not even remotely.

          If you start using larger sensors to reach equivalent focal lengths you end up getting a lens that looks like [url=https://blog.wolffmyren.com/2008/09/30/canon-5200mm-f14-lens/<]this[/url<]. Yes, this is a niche product and many people will be better served by getting a ~10x zoom (or even the bog-standard 3x zoom) and a larger sensor. But that doesn't serve the same use case at all. The ZS200's maximum equivalent focal length is less than 1/8 of this one.

    • chuckula
    • 1 year ago

    OK, so for those of us who like to look at expensive cameras until we see the price tag and end up just using our phones, when you say “bridge camera” do you mean that the big ol’ lens on that thing is built-in and not a threaded removable lens like I see all the pros using?

      • Usacomp2k3
      • 1 year ago

      Correct. I like to break it into 4 categories.
      1/ Cell phone camera’s – Great for most things consumers need, except zooming
      2/ Basic Point & Shoot (these are pretty much irrelevant due to #1)
      3/ Superzoom P&S (Like this one or the Canon SX-60 HS) Good for the prosumer/enthusiast who want more manual control or better optics than phones will ever to able to offer, but have the simplicity of non-interchangeable lenses
      4/ SLR/mirrorless – accept multiple lenses.

        • chuckula
        • 1 year ago

        Thanks! That helps us non-experts.

        • Kretschmer
        • 1 year ago

        2A/ Prosumer Point & Shoots – Examples include the Sony RX-100 line, Panasonic G7X, and Ricoh GR II – These are premium pocketable camera with near-mirrorless quality for enthusiasts who need a small form factor for travel and other pursuits.

        • Anonymous Coward
        • 1 year ago

        I say that its debatable that a superzoom gives better image quality than a good phone, the benefit begins and ends with the zoom.

          • psuedonymous
          • 1 year ago

          Don’t forget the massively larger diameter lens (huge amount more intake light to work with) and the massively larger image sensor (far more light gathered per subpixel). Plus all the additional optical elements to reduce aberrations before they reach the sensor rather than filtering them in software.
          Software filtering performance is not a plus in favour of the phones either, modern cameras are built on the same SoCs that phones are.

            • Anonymous Coward
            • 1 year ago

            There’s a lot more than can be seen by just looking at the lens diameter, the f-rating is what you want to look at, and phones destroy superzooms there. Also many of those lens elements are required precisely because of the absurd zoom range, a simple “prime” design can do without.

            The sensor is larger than most phones, granted. A tour to wikipedia shows me that the surface area of 1/2.3″ sensor is just under 30 sqmm, the wikipedia entry suggests some common phones are in the 15-17 sqmm range. But compare the apertures, and the f/2.8 on that Nikon leaves the higher quality phones gathering [i<]more total light per unit of time[/i<].

          • Usacomp2k3
          • 1 year ago

          In my experience (~4 years ago we had the top-of the line Canon superzoom) the focus was significantly faster, the tilting screen help with much better composition, the manual control allowed for much higher quality pictures of moving objects because one could control the shutter speed. Also they are much easier to control with multiple buttons versus a touch-screen.

      • Srsly_Bro
      • 1 year ago

      In terms of cameras, $1000 isn’t expensive. $1000 is just above budget ILC/DLSR.

        • mcnabney
        • 1 year ago

        Not really.
        The sensor on this camera is tiny compared to entry level APS-C sensors. The sensitivity of 6400 is quaint when DSLRs go 6-8 stops beyond. And what about shutter speed?
        Sorry, this is just a $150 p&s with a $200 zoom and a $650 markup.

          • Srsly_Bro
          • 1 year ago

          I think you responded to the wrong person. I shot with a d300 for years with many different lenses. If you were responding to me, $1000 isn’t a lot to spend on a body and I agree this camera is way over-priced.

          • JustAnEngineer
          • 1 year ago

          1/2.3″ is very bad. It has only 1/10th the area of a full-frame 35mm sensor. This tiny sensor will be okay for full sunlight and stationary subjects, but it’s going to struggle indoors, with moving subjects, at long distance or in low light.

          • jensend
          • 1 year ago

          Oh, so you know where I can buy a 125x zoom lens for $200?? Please let me know!

          good grief, a bunch of comments here are ridiculous.

        • Anonymous Coward
        • 1 year ago

        In terms of [i<]all cameras[/i<] then $1000 is no big deal, but for a fixed lens small sensor camera, $1000 is asking a lot.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 1 year ago

    Heh, that thing makes [url=https://imgur.com/gallery/qmvUExO<]my moon shots[/url<] look like child's play. Of course, with a 200-mm lens, that's exactly what they are.

      • Goty
      • 1 year ago

      [quote<]Nikon says that range is enough to fill the frame with the moon, for just one extreme example.[/quote<] Filling just one frame is all well and good, [url=https://i.imgur.com/EaEp6Kz.jpg<]but...[/url<] (created by strapping my $500 entry level DSLR to the back of a [url=http://planewave.com/products-page/telescopes/20-inch-cdk-optical-tube-assembly/<]$30,000 telescope[/url<].) *EDIT* The seeing was pretty bad that night, so don't be too hard on me!

      • emphy
      • 1 year ago

      For comparison, here’s a [url=https://imgur.com/a/jSYMh9B<]cropped shot[/url<] Not bad at all, especially since we can safely assume the nikon pic was shot in ideal conditions as opposed to your cloudy sky.

    • Usacomp2k3
    • 1 year ago

    My coworker had the P900; she waited forever for it to come available. It was great for lunar photography. With a tripod, it worked well for astrophotography in general.

      • Anonymous Coward
      • 1 year ago

      Isn’t it going to be a bit limited by available light? I admit I have not looked into that, but it seems like light would be a major challenge using such a thing for astronomy.

        • Goty
        • 1 year ago

        Longer or a greater number of exposures compensates for that quite nicely.

        • Usacomp2k3
        • 1 year ago

        Most celestial bodies don’t move fast, so just plop it on a trip and leave the shutter open for as long as is needed.

    • Kretschmer
    • 1 year ago

    That’s really, really cool tech. 3000mm translates to 125X optical zoom!

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