Conclusion - Pros
- Excellent image quality, superb metering, good colour (better than 990)
- Relatively sharp with "expected" resolution
- Low image noise at ISO 100, relatively clean and usable ISO 200 (better than 990)
- Less red channel noise than the 990
- Large amount of control over internal processing algorithms (contrast, saturation, sharpness)
- Wide selection of manual control
- Largest "photographic" feature set of any other 3 megapixel
- Excellent white balance control
- Fast processing, good startup times and relatively good internal buffer
- Quick Review mode
- Closest macros of any other digital camera
- Solid build (despite "plastic")
- Easy to use and learn menu system
- Little need for "digital darkroom"
- Noise Reduction for long exposures
- Split / twist body, swivel lock
- Pop-up flash does seem to alleviate redeye
- Good range of accessories (lenses, flash, third party)
- Lighter (thanks to new battery)
- USB connectivity
Conclusion - Cons
- Lens distortion quite apparent (both barrel and pincushion distortion)
- Chromatic aberrations are still visible (same level as 990)
- Corners of frame can sometimes appear un-sharp (lens)
- Relatively "slow" lens (F2.6 - F5.1) compared to some of the competition
- Number of shutter speeds / apertures in manual mode is now looking dated
- CF Type II support but not Microdrive (slow and not officially supported)
- Low light AF is poor, still needs an AF assist lamp
- LCD screen needs an anti-reflective coating
- Worries over strength of CF compartment catch
- Histogram not implemented in review mode (though can be accessed by pressing the Quick Review button twice)
- No RAW format option
- Probably won't be seen as enough of an upgrade by existing 990 owners
Here's my rating of the Nikon Coolpix 995: (3 megapixel prosumer)
|Detail||Rating (out of 10)|
|Lens / CCD combination||8|
|Ease of use||8|
|Value for money||8|
As an evolution the 995 certainly addresses quite a few of our comments / criticisms and those of 990 owners. It also carries forward the "9 series" model to a more rounded and complete conclusion. I'm sure many people will be wondering what's next for the "9 series" of digital cameras.
The 995 also has several new features and improvements. No doubt the 4x zoom lens is a major "differentiator" which will be the deciding factor for some, but others shouldn't lose sight of the sheer sophistication of the 995. It is, without a doubt, the most flexible and feature rich digital camera currently available.
And yet it's easy enough for a novice to pick up and take great shots. The 995 is also the kind of camera which can take you through the development of your photographic skills, it allows you to start easy and work up to a huge variety of creative options. In this sense it is probably one of only two or three digital cameras which successfully pull-off the ease-of-use / professional features combination.
I'm not convinced this is a camera which existing 990 owners will buy (or need to), but for those looking for a prosumer digital who haven't yet committed themselves, the 995 must be on their consideration list (somewhere near the top).
So which one should I buy? A question I get asked several times a day, and I wouldn't like to say. In a new addition to my reviews (after the amount of feedback I normally get) I've added a link to a specific forum in which you can discuss the review or ask me specific questions which I've not answered in these pages.