Nikon Coolpix 990 Review
The actual flash system in the 990 seems identical to that found in the 950, the major updates are a larger anti-redeye lamp and the ability to adjust the flash output from the M-REC menu. The internal flash in the 990 is rated at 9m/30ft @ ISO 100. The default shutter speed @ ISO 100 using the internal flash seems to be 1/120s.
There's no obvious colour cast from the 990's flash. If anything the images are very slightly yellow (blue knocked out by about 1% but it's not visible to the naked eye). One thing that annoyed me was the lack of any indication on the LCD viewfinder that you had set the variable flash output, this can (and does) lead to accidents.
Note also that the 990 has a Multi-flash sync terminal for use with Nikon Speedlight SB-28/ 28DX/ 26/ 25/ 24/ 22s through the Multi-Flash Bracket Unit SK-E900 and that the internal flash can be canceled when using external Speedlight(s).
Internal Flash Compared to Nikon Coolpix 950
A few readers have asked me to post a simple side-by-side comparison of skin tones and anti red-eye with the 950. The 990 features much better colour (and white balance) control and it shows
|Nikon Coolpix 950||Nikon Coolpix 990|
|1/60s, F4.0||1/120s, F4.0|
Not the best comparison of anti red-eye but not too bad, as you can see it's not very different which suggests to me that you'll still have red-eye problems with the 990 in the same situations you'd have red-eye problems with the 950. No change there. Biggest changes are the increased sync speed of the flash (1/120s vs. 1/60s) which will produce sharper images less prone to shake and most prominently the correct white balance! The 950 image is definitely green (yuck!), the 990 white balance is pretty much perfect, a little over red but that's kinder to skin tones than green... (The wall behind Jo is the correct colour).
The 950 ruled the waves for 12 months as far as macro and super-macro shots. The 990 isn't any different producing amazing macro shots down to just 2 cm's from the lens. The 990 features the same yellow macro symbol, the symbol for macro mode turns yellow when you're at the optimum zoom for the closest macros (about half way through the zoom range). That produces images like the ones below, a full frame covering just 19mm (0.75") which means if you're as close as you can possibly get you're shooting at 2730 dpi... Add to this Nikon's final fix to the self timer, you can now use the self timer (10 or 3 seconds) in combination with Macro mode to reduce the possibility of camera shake.
|A British one pound coin, the coin is 22 mm in diameter (9/10 ").||The De-Facto (cough) ruler shot, 19mm (0.75") full frame.|
Continuous / Movie Modes
The 990 features five continuous shooting modes. Under test conditions they equate to:
|Continuous Mode||Frame Size||File Format||Approx. frames per sec (LCD review on)||Approx. frames per sec (LCD review off)||Max no. of frames|
|Continuous*||2048 x 1536||JPEG||1.6||1.6||9|
|Continuous*||1024 x 768||JPEG||1.8||1.8||40|
|Multi-shot 16||512 x 192||JPEG||2.2||2.3||16**|
|VGA Seq.||640 x 480||JPEG||1.6||1.8||44|
|Ultra HS||320 x 240||JPEG||30||30||80|
|Movie||320 x 240||MOV||15||15||40 secs|
* Shot with BASIC compression
** 16 frames on 1 JPEG image (2048 x 1536)
As far as using the flash in conjunction with continuous mode this is what the manual has to say: "The built-in flash will not fire at settings of Continuous, Multi-shot 16, and VGA Sequence. Unless you are using an external flash, it is recommended that you set the flash to (flash cancel) at these settings to ensure that photographs are not underexposed."
The move below was shot hand-held in Movie mode, it's a QuickTime MOV file (M-JPEG) and it's 2.91 MB so download it only if you're REALLY interested in what a London Underground train pulling into the station looks like.
The way most digicams record video is by buffering the video internally and then writing it out to the CF card. Video encoding and writing to the CF card wouldn't be fast enough to stream, therefore the 40 second limit is an "at a time" limit (as much video as can be stored in the internal buffer), you have to wait for the video to be flushed to the CF card (this alone takes 34 seconds) then you can shoot another 40 seconds. A 40 second QuickTime from the 990 is about 10 MB, therefore you'd get 234 seconds on a 64 MB CF.
Best-Shot Selection was a feature first introduced on the 950, put simply the camera shoots continuously as long as the shutter release button is held down (for a maximum of 10 images - internal buffer allowing), once you release the shutter the camera then selects the sharpest image and saves this to the CF card. It can be useful for shooting in low light circumstances where you are hand-holding the camera.
Camera settings: ISO 100, Programmed Auto, Metering: Matrix, EV Comp +0.3, Focus Locked, Sharpening: Normal, White Balance: Cloudy, Measured light: 9 EV.
|No BSS, 1/19s, F3.2||BSS, 1/18s, F3.2|
As you can see the results can be dramatic. The theory is simple, out of ten images the chances are that one of them will be sharp, or at least sharper than the rest. I'm quite a fan of BSS.
AE lock is used to freeze the same aperture, shutter speed, sensitivity and white balance for a sequence of shots. It's generally used for panoramas or product shots (where you wouldn't want the image exposure to change through a sequence). Through the menu system you enable AE lock, the first shot will be used for the settings for subsequent shots. You can reset AE lock through the menu.
The panorama below was created using AE Lock, exposure was calculated and frozen by the camera at the first shot then five subsequent overlapping shots were taken. I used Enroute Quickstitch to stitch the five images together.
|5 x ISO 100, Programmed Auto, AE Lock, Metering: Matrix, AF, Sharpening: Normal, WB: Auto, Measured Light: 13 EV. Exposure for all images: 1/243 s, F6.2.|
Exposure Information Text File
With the 990 each folder created on the CF card now contains an information text file "info.txt" which contains exposure information for each image in that folder.
|Description of each field||Example "info.txt" entry|
|Image file name and type
Camera type / Firmware version
Focal length / Digital Zoom
Image adjustment setting
Sensitivity (ISO equivalency)
Date / Time
Size / Quality
CAMERA : E990V1.0
METERING : MATRIX
MODE : S
SHUTTER : 1/30sec
APERTURE : F9.2
EXP +/- : 0.0
FOCAL LENGTH : f20.3mm(X1.0)
IMG ADJUST : STANDARD
SENSITIVITY : AUTO
WHITEBAL : AUTO
SHARPNESS : NORMAL
DATE : 14.04.2000 11:14
QUALITY : FULL NORMAL
|Global Reach by cjf2|
|Maligne Lake by Pete of Oz|
from - Mountain Lake - (Full Colours only + A Border)
Photographer Rick Wenner recently captured an odd event called the Race of the Gentlemen with a rather odd camera: The Phase One XF IQ3 Achromatic, the world's only 101MP black-and-white digital back.
Buying used is a good way to save some dough, and with the right precautions you can protect yourself from falling victim to a scam.
This two-part video series takes a deep dive into the world of dynamic symmetry and geometric composition, using iconic photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson's brilliant photographs as a guide.
Award-winning photographer Jeremy Cowart tells the moving story behind this drone photograph, captured in the aftermath of the devastating wildfire in Gatlinburg, TN in 2016.
Happy 2017 World Photo Day! We asked everyone on staff at DPReview to share one photo that they took within the last year that makes them jazzed on photography. Here's what we chose.
French President Emmanuel Macron has lodged a legal complaint against a paparazzo who snuck onto the president's private vacation property to take pictures.
Ever wonder what the difference is between compressed, uncompressed and lossless compressed Raw files? Photography Life's Nasim Mansurov breaks it down for you in this informative article.
The oldest known portrait of a US president was just discovered after over a century in storage. It's going up for auction in October, where it's expected to fetch between $150,000 and $250,000.
If you're using the popular Sigma 24-70mm F2.8 Art lens with Sigma's MC-11 converter, listen up: you'll want to update your lens and converter firmware ASAP.
If you've heard it once, you've probably heard it a thousand times: never check in your camera gear when flying. This shattered $11,000 lens is what can happen when you do.
Lensrentals just did its first Cine lens comparison, pitting five top-notch 35mm primes against each other: the Zeiss CP.2 35mm T2.1, Canon CN-E 35mm T1.5, Sigma 35mm T1.5 FF, Rokinon Xeen 35mm T1.5 and Schneider Xenon 35mm T2.1.
A team of Google researchers have found that slightly warping watermarks when embedding them into images can help prevent automatic removal.
You don't have to empty your savings account to take your photography to the next level. These cheap buys cost about $50 or less, and come with outsized benefits for your photography.
Joey L, Dani Diamond, Brandon Woelfel and Jessica Kobeissi go head-to-head in an episode of "4 photographers shoot the same model."
The latest flagship phone from Asus combines a 12MP 1/2.55" Sony IMX362 main sensor with a smaller Sony IMX351 chip for 2x zoom and a background-blurring portrait mode.
The company behind popular photo editor Picktorial 3 just released the X-Pack: a preset package that allows you to add Fuji's in-camera film simulation profiles to your RAF files in post.
Photoshop. GoPro. Every once in a while a product emerges that defines a category. And sometimes, it vanishes just as quickly as it arrived on the scene. This week's Throwback Thursday remembers the Flip, the pocket camcorder everyone had – until they didn't.
The Nokia 8's dual-cam combines the image data from a 13MP RGB sensor and a 13 monochrome chip for better detail, improved dynamic range and lower noise levels.
The company behind retail giant B&H Photo has agreed to pay out $3.2 million in monetary relief and back wages to settle a discrimination and harassment case from 2016.
After a popular Facebook teaser and some studio portrait samples, Godox has finally officially released the Godox A1 smartphone flash and flash trigger. Cheap, versatile and innovative, color us intrigued.
Canon’s EOS 5D Mk IV has won the European Imaging and Sound Association’s Professional DSLR of the Year award, making this the third year in a row that the brand has beaten Nikon to the top spot in the professional camera category.
A photograph and quote tweeted out by former president Barack Obama has officially become the most popular tweet of all time, receiving over 1.3 million retweets and 3.4 million likes.
Edward Weston was one of the most influential photographers of the 20th century, and in this episode of Advancing Your Photography we learn the extreme technique he used to capture one of his most famous still life photos.
Instagram just released a small update that will make a huge difference if you're active on the photo sharing app: threaded comment replies.
Venus Optics has announced the price and delivery date of the second lens to join its Zero-D line up: the 15mm F2 for Sony’s E mount. A lens they've dubbed, "the world's fastest 15mm rectilinear lens for full-frame."
Cinnac is a new social network for photographers that will help you separate your good photos from your great ones through a Tinder-like community-based rating system.
The Canon EF 35mm F2 IS USM is an understated jewel of a lens, and one that we've enjoyed on a variety of cameras since its release almost five years ago. Its relatively small size and image stabilization make it a versatile tool for a variety of photography - check out our sample gallery.
You don't need a fancy studio or tons of gear to capture the kind of classic product photography you see in magazines. In this video, Dustin Dolby shows you how to do it with just a couple of speedlights and some know-how.
The life-logging camera is trying to make a comeback. Say hello to FrontRow, a live-streaming enabled life-logging camera from Ubiquiti that hangs on a necklace like a pendant.
When a prospective client approaches you, don't just say "yes" right away. Here's a useful list of questions you should be asking before you decide to take the job and name your price.