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Nikon Coolpix 950 Review

April 1999 | By Phil Askey
Nikon Coolpix 950 (click for larger image)
Nikon Coolpix 950

Since the story broke back in mid--February, the Nikon Coolpix 950 (referred to as the 950 from now onwards) has generated a fever which has gripped the digital photography world on the Internet, firstly with its announcement and the rush from the major websites to publish as much information as possible. To the newsgroups buzzing with rumours and specifications to resellers pre-selling hundreds of units.

Why would this be so? For people new to the digital camera market this behaviour probably seems a little extreme. The excitement around the 950 grew up from the reputation of the Nikon Coolpix 900s (also known as the E910 in Japan), this very fine camera opened peoples eyes to the abilities of digital cameras to capture the moment in a high quality, detailed and well balanced manner, some people found it's swivel body design (now inherited by the 950) a little quirky but once you get used to it it is actually quite comfortable and useful, and offers a slim easy to carry package when not being used.

Nikkor Glass (click for larger image)

The 900s wasn't without it's faults however, with stories of cameras breaking at the "weak spot" swivel joint to out of focus viewfinders, failing zoom buttons, lockups and hanging units. However, the general concesus of opinion on the 900s was that it was (arguably) at the time the best digital camera (in that price band) on the market.

Without doubt the inspiration for this website grew out of my ownership of a 900s last August (1998), slowly building up from a place of photo galleries (some of which are still here) to daily news, reviews and forums.

Then, suddenly 900s's were in short supply, with rumours that Nikon were having production problems they finally announced that they were no longer producing the 900s... What did they have up their sleeves?

And here my task is to review the 950, the first review of a production model 950. Coming from such a strong stable the 950 has an important job to do for Nikon and there are high expectations in the market for this camera (not least represented by the frantic messaging on rec.photo.digital of estimated delivery dates for the camera - almost as bad as when Sony released the D700).

Since inception of this site I have built up a reputation for writing reviews "as it is" and not sugar-coating cameras to be something they're not. You can be sure that the 950 will get a thorough and severe review. Sometime after the review I will be posting a separate article which will directly compare the Canon Powershot Pro 70 with the Nikon Coolpix 950 side-by-side, both on features and image quality. For most consumers "in the know" these two cameras will probably be at the top of their shortlist.

If you're new to digital photography you may want to read my Digital Photography Glossary before diving into this review (it MAY help you understand some of the terms I use).

This review is pretty huge actually, in fact it's the biggest and most detailed review I've ever carried out (and in the shortest time too... I'm knackered!).

(Please take time to read the WHOLE review to understand my comments in context, the contents page here is design to be used if you come back to the review at a later date) You can skip the contents if you like: Introduction: Page Two

Photographs of the camera were taken with Canon PowerShot Pro70, most images can be "clicked on" which will display a larger (normally 768 x 512) image in a new window. To navigate the review simply click on the section headings in the frame above.

(This review is longer than previous reviews and therefore some sections have been broken into multiple pages, use the Introduction: Page Two button on the bottom of the page to move to the next page)

This review is copyright 1999 Phil Askey and the review in part or in whole may NOT be reproduced in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from the author: Phil Askey. For information on reproducing any part of this review (or any images) please contact: Phil Askey.

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