The 995 allows the photographer good control over the internal image processing algorithms which are applied to the image before it is "finalised" and written away to the Compact Flash card. The first such "variable" you can set is Image Adjustment which controls what contrast correction curve the camera applies to the image. In Auto mode the camera will analyse the image and decide for itself.
|Less Contrast||Lighten Image||Darken Image|
Everything is pretty much as we'd expect apart from "Less Contrast" which not seems to not only reduce the image contrast but also its brightness. Overall though the camera does a good job of maintaining colour saturation despite differing brightness levels. In our tests leaving the camera in Auto mode normally produced the best results.
The ability to control colour saturation is something new to the 995, the 990 didn't provide this setting. Saturation control allows you to set the "intensity" of colour (its vividness) to suit your personal tastes or final image destination. The 995 manual notes that the +1 value is "Suitable for direct printing where a photo-print effect is required".
|Maximum (+1)||Normal (0)||Moderate (-1)|
After shooting several hundred test shots I settled on leaving the saturation control set to +1 at all times (I can hear the boo's of the purists already), colours were nice and vivid without being over saturated or blown out, this certainly goes a long way to addressing the "pale colours" complaint we had about the 990.
Sharpening is the final variable which effects the outcome of the image. Generally speaking, if you intend to post-process the image, you would probably be looking at using a low level of sharpening. If you wish to shoot for direct printing or don't intend on doing any post-processing, then a normal or high level of sharpening should be used. The 995 also features Auto sharpening where the camera will decide based on the scene content which sharpening mode to use.
The higher the sharpening the more visible sharpening artifacts such as white halo's around dark detail and the more other artifacts are amplified by the sharpening algorithm.
My personal preference was to use Low sharpening most of the time, I either reduce down or post-process most of my images and prefer the cleaner "unprocessed" look of the Low sharpening images.
Best Shot Selection
Nikon's Best Shot Selection was an innovation introduced with the Coolpix 950, put simply it allows you to shoot a burst of up to ten images from which the camera selects the best (sharpest) image. It's designed to be used in low light situations where it would otherwise be difficult to take a slow shutter shot. Our theory on how this works is simply that the camera analyses how well each image would compress and chooses the largest file (sharper images make for larger JPEG's).
|Handheld, No BSS, 1/4 s, F6.6|
|Handheld, BSS, best of 10 frames, 1/4 s, F6.6|
Ok, so the shot selected by BSS still wasn't perfect but of the ten frames I shot it was probably the sharpest, and definetly a huge improvement over the standard handheld shot directly above.
Nikon Coolpix 990 3.34MP Digital Camera
w/ 3x Optical Zoom