Nikon COOLPIX P950 with an 83x optical zoom

The new Nikon COOLPIX P950 uses a 16MP 1/2.3″ CMOS sensor and it comes with an 83x optical zoom.

The P950 is being touted as a versatile compact camera that offers a unique mixture of still and video capabilities.

Huge Reach

Sales of compact cameras have plummeted over recent years due to the increased video and still capabilities of smartphones. To stay relevant, they need to offer something you can’t do on a smartphone. Having a huge zoom reach is probably one way of doing that. The 83x optical zoom lens, which covers a 24-2000mm equivalent focal length range gives this camera the ability to capture photographs and videos that usually aren’t possible.

This range can be effectively doubled to 166x when using Dynamic Fine Zoom for even greater reach to truly isolate those distant subjects. At the wide-angle end, the lens has a bright f/2.8 design to suit working in available light and Dual Detect VR also helps to minimize the appearance of camera shake to suit handheld shooting. Just how well this works at 2000mm would be interesting to see.

Despite having a F2.8 aperture at the wide end the lens drops down to F6.5 at the long end. It is unclear at what focal lengths what the various f stop settings are.

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What is interesting is there seems to be a W/T lever on the lens, this suggests that you can use the lens as a servo zoom.

Additionally, the lens’s optical design incorporates Super ED glass to suppress a variety of aberrations throughout the zoom range for improved sharpness and clarity.

The lens design consists of 16 Elements in 12 Groups. The front filter diameter is 67mm.

Despite having such a massive reach, the lens has a macro ability and can focus as close as 1cm.

For people shooting in war zones, covering news, or even shooting events and documentaries, this might be a good camera to keep in your kit. If you need to capture an image that is a long way away, this will certainly get the job done. While I doubt it is good enough to be your main camera, for getting those shots you wouldn’t be able to normally obtain it makes a lot of sense.

This is not the first fixed lens camera with a long zoom reach, and it won’t be the last. The Nikon P1000 has a 125x zoom.

16MP BSI CMOS Sensor & EXPEED Image Processor

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The camera features a 16MP 1/2.3″ BSI CMOS sensor. The BSI design of the sensor yields reduced noise levels and greater image clarity when working within the expandable ISO 100-6400 sensitivity range. The sensor and EXPEED processor also enables quick continuous stills shooting up to 7 fps at full resolution to suit working with moving subjects.


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In addition to stills, the P950 is also capable of UHD 4K video recording at up to 30 fps and Full HD recording at 60 fps. Time-lapse recording is supported, too, with in-camera processing to produce time-lapse movies at 25 or 30 fps playback.

  • Recording Modes MP4/H.264
  • UHD 4K (3840 x 2160) at 25p/29.97p
  • Full HD (1920 x 1080) at 12.5p/15p/25p/29.97p/50p/59.94p
  • HD (1280 x 720) at 25p/29.97p/50p/59.94p
  • SD (640 x 480) at 25p/29.97p/100p/119.88p
  • Recording Limit Up to 29 Minutes, 59 Seconds
  • Video Encoding NTSC/PAL

Unfortunately, the camera doesn’t look like it has any 23.98p shooting modes.

You can output over HDMI a 4:2:2 8-bit signal. You can internally and externally record when shooting HD, but not in UHD.

Body Design & Other Features

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The P950 weighs in at just 2.21 lb / 1005 g. It has a bright 2.36m-dot OLED electronic viewfinder.

The camera uses SD/SDHC/SDXCcards. There is just one slot. As far as outputs go there is HDMI D (Micro) and USB 2.0 Micro-B. There is a built-in microphone, but no headphone jacks.

There is a new external microphone terminal that is equipped with the separately sold stereo microphone ME-1. The optional wireless microphone ME-W1 can also be used.

For image review and menu navigation, there is a large 3.2″ 921k-dot LCD touchscreen. The screen clap flip and fold which makes it good for anyone doing Vlogging.

Built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth work in conjunction with Nikon’s SnapBridge app for wireless file transferring and remote camera control from a linked mobile device.

Price & Availability

The camera will retail for $796.95 USD and it should start shipping soon.

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