Nikon Coolpix 990 Review
The 990 now offers control over the internal sharpening algorithms in the camera, you can choose from Auto Sharpening (different sharpening automatically applied depending on image content - dodgy ground), three levels of sharpening (Normal being about the same as the 950) or no sharpening at all (for the purist photographer in you). The samples below are 100% crops of different sharpening levels for the same scene.
Camera settings: ISO 100, Aperture Priority, Metering: Matrix, F5.7, Focus Locked, White Balance: Cloudy, Measured light: 9 EV.
|Auto Sharpening||High Sharpening|
|Normal Sharpening||Low Sharpening|
For every day shooting I found myself sticking to Normal Sharpening, Auto Sharpening seemed to give very similar results, but again the manual didn't expand on exactly HOW the camera decides what sharpening to use for what scene circumstances.
Readers of my reviews will know I'm not a huge fan of digital zoom as it's often a badly implemented and seldom used (by owners) marketing "ploy" to sell cameras which don't have an optical zoom. The 990 does indeed have optical zoom, and has a range of digital zooms which can be used on top of the standard 3x optical zoom. These zooms range from 1.2x to 4.0x in 0.2x steps. They are however simply cropping (selecting the mid part of the image) and sampling-up, the only advantage in doing digital zoom inside the camera is (a) if you don't have any photo software to magnify (and interpolate) the image or (b) to digitally zoom without zooming the JPEG artifacts.
Camera settings: ISO 100, Aperture Priority, Metering: Matrix, F5.7, Focus Locked, Sharpening: Normal, White Balance: Cloudy, Measured light: 9 EV.
|Full Optical Zoom, No Digital Zoom||Full Optical Zoom, 2x Digital Zoom|
|Full Optical Zoom, 4x Digital Zoom||Full Optical Zoom, Photoshop 2x Bicubic|
Here I've included a Photoshop 2x Bicubic sampled image, simply cropped to 1024 x 768 then resampled up to 2048 x 1536, results are almost identical to the 2x Digital Zoomed 990 image, which is pretty good considering how little horsepower their is inside the 990 and how quickly it performs the digital zoom.
The manual focus on the 990 is much improved from the original 950, now with 50 steps from a Macro-happy 2cm up to Infinity. Add the new "Focus Confirmation" preview sharpen and it's easy to see where the manual focus is (makes detail stand out on the LCD display).
Camera settings: ISO 100, Aperture Priority, Metering: Matrix, F4.0, Sharpening: Normal, White Balance: Cloudy, Measured light: 8 EV.
|Manually focused on foreground||Manually focused on background|
Aperture Priority Mode (A)
Aperture priority is where you designate the aperture and the camera calculates the best shutter speed, if the exposure is outside of the cameras range (either over or under exposing) the aperture will flash on the LCD screen. Used properly Aperture Priority can be invaluable as it has a direct effect on depth of field (the distance in front and behind the focal point which will be in focus when taking the shot). Example of aperture priority (simple example F11.0 produces more depth of field than F4.0) - for more read my digital photography glossary:
Camera settings: ISO 100, Aperture Priority, Metering: Matrix, Focus Locked, Sharpening: Normal, White Balance: Cloudy, Measured light: 8 EV.
|F4.0, 1/11 sec (short depth of field)||F11.0 1/4 sec (more depth of field)|
Shutter Priority Mode (S)
Shutter priority is where you designate the shutter speed and the camera calculates the correct aperture, if the exposure is outside of the cameras range (either over or under exposing) the shutter speed will flash on the LCD screen. The two samples below show two examples of places you may use Shutter Priority. For the image on the left we use it to bring the shutter speed up to 1/1000s while using the flash to freeze these water droplets splashing on a plug. For more read my digital photography glossary:
|[another example to come]|
|ISO 100, Shutter
Priority, Metering: Matrix, AF, Sharpening: Normal, WB: Flash, Flash
On, Flash Comp: -0.3 EV
Exposure: 1/1000s, F5.6
Manual Mode (M)
The 990 now includes a full manual mode, in this mode you have complete control over the exposure system, you can define both the shutter speed and aperture setting (press MODE to switch between each). In Manual Mode you also have access to Bulb shutter speed (shutter stays open for as long as you hold the shutter release button).
When setting the exposure in Manual mode a meter like this is is displayed on the LCD viewfinder (value repeated on the top Control Panel as a value) indicating the amount of over or underexposure with the selected settings.
|Devil Rock (Stuttgart, Germany) by cornissimo|
from Neon Signs
|Carla... by lickity split|
from Beautiful caucasian female faces
|Lunar New Year Fireworks by Michael L NYC 99|
|Vatican Basilica by wam7|
from Street lights
Go behind the scenes with National Geographic photographer Renan Ozturk and see what it takes to capture a dangerous, harrowing, stunning Nat Geo photo essay.
Erez Marom tells the story behind this ominous photo of the sand 'reaching up' towards the mountains at Skagsanden beach in Norway. He calls this photo 'Torment.'
DPReview staffer Carey Rose has taken the Panasonic Leica DG 15mm F1.7 along for everything from a city-side boat ride to a bachelor party across the mountains. Find out how the little Leica fared.
Canon just unveiled the largest 12-ink printer on the market. The new imagePROGRAF PRO-6000 printer can make prints from 17 all the way up to 60 inches wide.
"Standing in one of the holiest places on earth, I felt uneasy," writes Wired's Jason Parham. "Most of my fellow visitors, I realized with a brief bloom of nausea, were taking selfies."
Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk has been receiving great reviews, but it's a challenge to see it in its full glory. This handy infographic reveals the aspect ratio chaos that is wrought as the industry retreats from film.
Anti-bullying organization Ditch the Label's Annual Bullying Survey 2017 reveals yet again that Instagram, more so than any other social network, has a the worst effect on youth mental health.
It's been a crazy day for innovative patent news. Apparently Sony is thinking of developing a medium format curved sensor camera.
An update to the Silkypix Raw converter fixes some bugs and adds support for several popular new cameras.
This crazy custom-built underwater camera shoots 8x10 large format film. It's supposedly "the first successful underwater 8x10 ever made," and it can be yours for $5,800... plus shipping.
Blackmagic just reveled a new accessory for their Cintel Film Scanner. The Cintel Audio and KeyKode Reader can capture KeyKode data and high-quality audio from film in real-time as it is being scanned.
A new Nikon patent shows a lens designed for a curved full-frame sensor. Could this be the high-end Nikon mirrorless camera people are hoping for?
The ability to shoot images at 1,000 fps first appeared in a Sony smartphone sensor. Now the Japanese manufacturer is using the same feature for industrial applications.
Astronomy expert and photographer Dr. Tyler Nordgren thinks you should "see your first eclipse, photograph your second." But if you do plan on taking photos this August, here are a few tips from someone who's been there.
How confident are you that you can spot a manipulated photo? A recent study at the University of Warwick shows that many people are pretty bad at it.
If you purchased a Leica TL2, do NOT attach Leica's Visoflex electronic viewfinder. Leica is working on a fix, but for now, it's possible the viewfinder will break your camera.
Google just released Motion Stills for Android. Unlike the iOS version, the Android app uses a redesigned video processing pipeline that processes each frame of a video as it is being recorded, creating instant results.
A huge copyright lawsuit between photography firm VHT and Zillow Group is heating up again, as both sides appeal a court ruling that granted VHT $4 million in damages.
European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet spent 6 months on board the International Space Station where he worked with Google capturing spheric panorama images that are now available in Street View.
It's official. PDN has confirmed with parent company Aurelius that 94-year-old lighting company Bowens is indeed going out of business.
The newly launched firmware version 1.06 fixes AF-issues that can occur with some lenses that are not officially compatible with the MC-11 converter.
Voyager is a waterproof smart light stick you can control entirely from your phone. The light has already blown past its $300K funding goal on Indiegogo.
2018 is the last year Photokina will take place during the traditional end-of-September dates. In 2019, Photokina will take place from the 8th to the 11th of May.
The Canon IXUS 50 (known as the SD400 Digital ELPH in North America) was one of a string of high-performing, pocketable PowerShots of the mid-2000s. In this week's throwback Thursday, Barney casts his mind back to 2005.
A close look at the EOS 6D II's Raw files suggest its dynamic range has taken a significant step backwards compared with the company's recent DSLRs. We look at how much difference this might make for your photos.
With a full-production review unit in our hands, we've got over 100 production samples from the new Canon EOS 6D Mark II to share.
Need a break from your day? Kick back and watch the making of a somewhat unconventional mojito filmed on Canon's new EOS 6D Mark II.
The Bonfoton Camera Obscura Room Lens can turn any room into a camera obscura, projecting the view from your window onto the walls of your room.
Adobe just released version 2015.12 of Lightroom CC, adding support for several new cameras and lenses, and baking in several important bug fixes while they were at it.
In this interview, Chiara Marinai, photo editor for VanityFair.com, explains exactly what she looks for in new photographers and photo submissions. Take notes.