27/Jan/2000, 8AM Tokyo Time: Today Nikon announce the Nikon Coolpix 990. They've built on the strength of the 950, fixed some of the problems with the 950 and added a new 3.34 megapixel CCD, some new features, case is the same design but button layout is different with the addition of the new command dial and some professional features taken from their SLR range such as focus area selectors. Expected availability? April.

Apologies for the poor quality of these images, my scanner is dead so I had to build
a make-shift medium format slide scanner out of a coolpix 950 & lighting rig

Significant improvements / new features (IMHO)

  • 3.34 megapixel CCD
  • Positioning of CF Card slot on side of camera (keep it on the tripod!)
  • New buttons ergonomics
  • USB connectivity
  • AF Area selection (5 point - very F100)
  • Command Wheel for easy settings adjustment
  • QuickTime movie mode
  • Fine-tunable white balance
  • Sharpening control
  • Improved buffering of images, no wait between shooting
  • Sensitivity control in Shutter-Priority mode
  • Addition of a Full Manual mode
  • Addition of a 3 second self-timer (hopefully it'll work in macro mode)
  • Addition of Histogram and highlight point display in playback mode
  • Brightness and Hue adjustment of LCD
  • New Slide Copy Adapter accessory ES-E28
  • Improved now FLAT tripod mount

Things people had been waiting for but appear to be missing (IMHO)

  • Support for CompactFlash Type II (boo, hiss)
  • Supplied NiMH batteries & charger
  • Magnified image "loupe" during manual focus (ala Oly C2020Z) or any other time
  • Bigger zoom (3x is starting to feel limited)
  • Anti-reflective coating on LCD
  • Almost lossless JPEG mode (1.2+ MB JPEG image)
  • Histogram / highlight point display in image review (as with D1) - not confirmed

Details below are from the official Nikon Coolpix 990 press pack - apologies for the sales-y talk.

Nikon Coolpix 990 Features

Images

  • 3.34 megapixel 1/1.8" CCD ultra-high definition 2048 x 1536
  • Newly designed 3x Zoom Nikkor lens (38-115mm 35mm equiv)
  • Nikon new image processing algorithm
  • Advanced image control: 256 segment Matrix Metering, Matrix Auto White Balance, 5-area Multi-AF
  • High-precision AF with 4,896 steps including macro range with shortest working distance of 2cm (0.8")

Speed

  • Quick startup and approx. 0.1 sec shutter release lag (fast)
  • Short exposure interval and fast data processing enable continuous shooting
  • Overall high-speed operation from zooming and autofocus to data processing and transfer
  • USB interface for high speed transfers back to your computer
  • Movie mode, QVGA (320x240) QuickTime for 40 secs @ 15fps
  • Ultra High Speed Continuous mode captures 80 QVGA (320x240) images @ 30fps

Easy Operation and new Versatility

  • Slim compact swivel design with tough molded magnesium exterior
  • Superb operability with ergonomic button layout, directional focus area selector and command dial
  • Easy-to-see 110,000 pixel TFT LCD
  • Exposure control: four exposure modes including full Manual, Exposure compensation and Auto Bracketing
  • 7-blade Iris Diaphragm
  • Advanced 5-mode built-in Speedlight (flash)
  • Extended battery life
  • Compatible with Telephoto, Wide-angle and Fisheye Converters

Nikon Coolpix 990 Specifications

CCD 1/1.8" 3.34 megapixels
Image sizes 2048 x 1536, XGA 1024 x 768, VGA 640 x 480. Optionally 3:2 ratio selectable produces 2048 x 1360
Lens 3x Zoom-Nikkor (38-115mm 35mm equiv.) / F2.5 - F4.0, 9 elements in 8 groups, all elements glass, Nikon Super Integrated Coating applied; glass-molded aspherical lens element included
Autofocus Contrast-detect TTL AF; 4896-step autofocus
Focus modes 1) Continuous AF mode (when using LCD monitor)
2) Single AF mode (selectable)
3) Manual (50 steps from 2cm to infinity with peaking indication)
Shooting distance Normal: 30cm - infinity
Macro: 2cm - infinity
Optical viewfinder Real-image zoom, frame coverage: 85%, diopter -2 ~ +1 DP
LCD monitor 1.8", 110,000 pixel low temperature TFT with brightness and hue adjustment
Auto OFF mode Selectable: 30s, 1min, 5min, 30mins
Storage CompactFlash (Type I only) either JPEG or TIFF
Shooting modes Fully Automatic (A-REC), Custom (M-REC)
Shooting menu 1) White Balance
2) Exposure Metering
3) Continuous
4) Best-Shot Selector (BSS)
5) Lens Converters
6) Tone Compensation
7) Image Sharpening
8) Digital Zoom
Capture modes 1) Single
2) Continuous
3) Multi-Shot 16 (16 frames in one image)
4) VGA Sequence
5) Ultra High Speed Continuous - 80 QVGA @ 30fps
6) Quicktime Movie - 40sec QVGA @ 15fps
Exposure metering 4 mode TTL:
1) 256-segment Matrix
2) Center-Weighted
3) Spot
4) Spot AF Area
Shutter Mechanical and CCD electronic shutter
Shutter speed range 8 seconds - 1/1000 second
Aperture 7 blade Iris diaphragm
Exposure compensation +/-2EV in 1/3EV steps
Exposure control 1) Programmed Auto with Flexible program
2) Shutter Priority Auto (with Sensitivity control)
3) Aperture Priority Auto
4) Full Manual mode
Bracketing Auto Bracketing (5 steps within +/-2/3EV)
Exposure range Wide: EV -2 ~ +15.5
Tele: EV -0.8 ~ +16.7
(ISO 100 equiv.)
White balance 1) Matrix Auto White Balance with TTL control
2) 5 mode Manual with 7-step fine tuning
3) Preset (using a white card)
Self-timer 10 secs or 3 secs
Flash Nikon "Speedlight"
Guide number: 9/30 (at ISO 100, m/ft)
Flash modes 1) Auto Flash
2) Flash Cancel
3) Forced Flash
4) Slow Sync
5) Anti-Red-Eye
External Flash Multi-flash sync terminal connector for external Nikon Speedlight SB-28/28DX/26/25/24/22s using Multi-Flash Bracket Unit SK-E900; built-in flash can be cancelled when using external flash
Playback menu 1) 1 frame
2) Thumbnails (4 or 9 segments)
3) Slideshow
4) Zoom playback (stepless up to 3x)
Histogram indication & highlight point display
Peaking indication
Hide and protect attributes can be set to each image
Delete mode Delete all frames or selected frames
Interface USB
Serial RS232C/RS432 (Windows 115kbps; Mac: 230kbps)
Video output NTSC or PAL (switchable)
I/O terminals Power input
Video output
Digital output (USB / Serial)
Sync terminal for external flash
Power requirements 4 x 1.5V LR6 ("AA" Size) batteries -or-
4 x 1.2V Ni-MH "AA" -or-
4 x 1.2V Ni-CD "AA"
AC adapter optional
Battery life Approx 1.5 hrs with LCD, 4 hrs without on standard alkaline "AA" batteries
Dimensions 149 x 79 x 38mm (5.9" x 3.1" x 1.5")
Weight (no batteries) 370g (13.1 oz)
Included accessories Lens cap
Neck strap
Video cable
8MB CompactFlash card
USB Cable
Four 1.5V "AA" Alkaline batteries
NikonView version 3 CD-ROM
Optional accessories Soft Case CS-E990
AC Adapter EH-31
CompactFlash Cards
PC Card Adapter EC-AD1
Serial Cables (SC-EW3 for Windows, SC-EM3 for Mac)
Telephoto Converter
Wideangle Converter
Fisheye Converter
Slide Copy adapter ES-E28
Multi-Flash Bracket Unit SK-E900