Conclusion - Pros

  • Overall excellent image quality (detail, balance and colour saturation)
  • Higher resolution (1600 x 1200)
  • Great optics (bright and sharp)
  • Little or no need for post-processing correction / sharpening of images
  • Solid construction (metal case, improved controls, improved swivel)
  • Swivelling lens barrel
  • Excellent matrix metering
  • The continual focusing (4700+ focus points) makes for fast focus and fast shots
  • Much improved built-in flash
  • External flash sync connector
  • Fast processing, short delays, short lag times
  • Well thought-out onboard software (logical menus, quick navigation)
  • Amazing feature set (manual white balance, BSS, user settings etc.)
  • Custom settings (plus "remembering" settings after power-off)
  • Clear, smooth, sharp and fast updating LCD
  • Best macro ability in its price range
  • Variable sensitivity with little addition of noise
  • Excellent manual controls (aperture & shutter priority, manual focus)
  • Quick and easy to use menus (thanks to the new command wheel)
  • More "portable" than some of its competitors (this is a BIG plus)
  • Great value for money (compared to similarily priced digital cameras)

Conclusion - Cons

  • Barrel distortion
  • Colour fringing on high contrast areas
  • Zooming from wide to tele could be faster (3.5s)
  • Sometimes poor low light focusing (really could have done with an assist light)
  • Inability to use Shutter Priority in anything but ISO 80
  • Poorly positioned tripod mount (cannot access CF or batteries without removing the camera from the tripod)
  • No support for CF type II cards
  • Serial port (what's wrong with USB, Nikon?)
  • Small bundled CF card (8MB on a 2 megapixel camera??)
  • Bad choice of uncompressed TIFF (CCD RAW would have produced much smaller files)

Overall Conclusion

I got an email from a reader of the site who was asking me how I would rate the camera, I've previously tried not to have a "stars" rating or "out of ten" as it's really very subjective but for this camera I feel confident enough to do just that.

Detail Rating (out of 10)
Construction 10
Features 10
Image quality 9
Lens / CCD combination 8 (shame about the colour fringing / barrel distortion)
Ease of use 9
Value for money 10 (got to be!)
Inspiration 9

Inspiration?? Yes well, let me explain. My belief is that digital photography is one of those inspiring pass times, it is far more immediately rewarding than traditional photography, simply because of instant gratification, the ability to take hundreds of shots with no overhead costs and the ability to quickly share your images with friends. The 950 with it's fast processing, great image quality and overall comfortable ease of use is one of those cameras which you just can't put down (unless ALL your rechargables are dead), I let a few of my friends use the 950, and my fiancee who is not comfortable with the other cameras / digital camera is quite at home using the 950. And that's one of the great things about it, it's a great camera for everyone.

I can imagine the Nikon Coolpix 950 being an important camera at an important time for digital photography, and if it's your first digital camera (whether you're making the move from 35mm SLR's or just point-and-shoots) then I'm sure you won't be disappointed entering the digital photography world in this way.

Highly Recommended

You may also wish to read the Nikon Coolpix 950 vs. Canon Powershot Pro 70 shoot-out article:

Nikon Coolpix 950 vs. Canon Powershot Pro 70

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.

Enter the Discussion Forum

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Nikon Coolpix 950