Nikon Coolpix P3 Concise Review
The P3 has six white balance presets (direct sunlight, incandescent, fluorescent, cloudy, shade and flash) in addition to the default automatic setting and a manual (custom) white balance option. In our tests the auto white balance struggled with dim artificial light (like most cameras), producing a strong cast. We also found that the auto white balance system occasionally failed in daylight, with two almost identical shots taken within seconds of each other producing visibly different colors (something it's difficult to assess on-screen). I found myself using the preset white balance settings (particularly to warm up shots on hot days) more than I would normally when testing a compact camera, but to be fair the problems are fairly mild, and don't affect the majority of shots.
|Auto White Balance||Fluo (FL1) Preset||Auto White Balance||Incandescent preset|
|Fluorescent light - Auto white balance poor,
Preset white balance average
|Incandescent light - Auto white balance poor,
Preset white balance average
Ever since the earliest Coolpixes Nikon has offered excellent macro capabilities, a tradition continued by the P3. As is common the closest focus is only available at the wide end of the zoom, where you can down to a shooting distance of 4cm (capturing an area around 3.5cm across) - by no means class-leading, but more than adequate for most casual snap shooters. At the long end of the zoom you can't focus as close, but you can still capture a fairly small area (just over 11cm across). In both cases is some corner softness, but distortion is fairly low.
Resolution is on a par with the better cameras in this class, though the results are a lot cleaner (and somewhat softer) than many of the other 8MP compacts. As you move towards the very highest frequencies there is a very small amount of moiré visible, but overall there's little to complain about here.
|Click here for the full resolution test chart||
resolution 1650 LPH
resolution 1700 LPH
Distortion and other image quality issues
The P3 exhibits moderately high distortion at the wide end of the zoom - 1.4% barrel distortion (click here for test chart), but it's nothing to worry about . On a more positive note there is no measurable distortion at all at telephoto end (click here for test chart).
Taken as a whole my impression of the output of the Coolpix P3 - after close examination of the 600 or so shots taken for the gallery - was that of a slightly mixed bag. As noted in the studio tests the images are soft (getting close to being 'very soft'), but there is plenty of detail, which can be easily sharpened up in post-processing (or by simply turning up the in-camera sharpness setting). Colors are generally accurate (unless the white balance goes wrong - see above), subtle and a touch under saturated for the average point-and-shoot user (though perfect for those who like to do some image editing on the PC). In fact, as noted elsewhere, the default settings produce the kind of clean, slightly soft, slightly flat images that DLSR users will be very familiar with, and that are perfect for post-processing, but lack the immediate punchy appeal of the typical consumer compact camera. There is very little evidence of chromatic aberration or purple fringing.
Although I have no complaints about the P3's output (if you want punchier 'straight to print' results out of camera you can always tweak the in-camera settings, or buy a Sony, Canon or Fuji), I feel a little less forgiving when it comes to the 'photographic' side of things. The P3 is by no means a foolproof 'point and shoot' camera - it's metering and focus systems are far from infallible and in inexpert hands it will produce an unacceptable number of images that are too bright or too dark and / or focused on the wrong part of the scene.
Turning off the auto area focus helps a great deal with the focus issues (area focus tries to be clever, but as with most cameras - of any brand - it tends to go for the nearest thing in the frame, often leaving the main subject out of focus). The exposure problems can only be avoided by using focus lock or AE compensation - something experienced photographers will do without thinking, but the typical 'point and shoot' user may struggle to grasp.
Using the default settings we found the P3 to (maybe 10% of the time) overexpose outdoor scenes, though after a few weeks of using the camera I found it easy to anticipate and correct by careful use of pre focusing (which also locks the exposure). Still, it's not acceptable in a camera of this type. We also found occasional underexposure, though this was rarer.
|36mm equiv., F4.3||36mm equiv., F2.7|
At lower ISO settings (80-200) the P3 has similar measurable noise to the other cameras in this class, and like its competitors it's fairly low - mainly down to the combined effect of noise reduction and the inherent softness of the P3's default settings. At ISO 200 noise starts to become obvious if you sharpen the images enough to give them some 'pop'. ISO 400 is a little measurably noisier than most other 8MP cameras, but to be honest the difference in real terms - visually - is neither here nor there; it's simply that Nikon is applying slightly less powerful noise reduction at the same time as keeping sharpening low. I wasn't very impressed with ISO 400 at all - not only does it look noisy (especially so in low light), but there's not much detail either.
|ISO 80||ISO 100||ISO 200||ISO 400|
Indicated ISO sensitivity is on the horizontal axis of this graph, standard deviation of luminosity is on the vertical axis.
As the graph shows, noise is fairly low - and fairly consistent up to ISO 200, but jumps sharply at ISO 400. I'd like to see lower chroma noise, but this is about all we can expect from this sensor.
|Autumn by valenttin|
from Harvest Festivals
|Cardinal, Male by paul katinas|
from A Big Year - birds
|.. by Amar Vignesh|
from Unintentional Blur
|Freeze Time by WhistlerOne|
|Sir Mick Jagger by HetFotoAtelier|
from - Concerts : When The Lights Come On -
If you're set on investing in a seriously capable compact, no doubt these two cameras will be on your list. Here's how they square up.
Adobe's experimental Project 'Deep Fill' is an incredibly powerful and impressive, AI-powered version of Content Aware Fill. Watch the demo to see this amazing tool in action.
LEE has released a new series of Reverse ND filters that are most opaque in the middle and become progressively clearer towards the top. This makes them ideal for capturing scenes where the sun is close to the horizon.
A former New York Times photographer is suing both the newspaper and its photography director Michele McNally for over $500,000 for age discrimination and unfair classification as a freelancer for nearly a decade.
"CPS Platinum members will now enjoy next-day service, with equipment serviced and shipped the business day after an estimate is approved. For repairs that will take longer, Canon will offer next-day loaner equipment."
Irix is introducing a new filter system called the Irix Edge 100. The ultra-light, ultra-thin system is build specifically for wide angle lenses like Irix's own 15mm F2.4.
After conducting a series of safety tests, the FAA is recommending that all airlines ban cameras and other electronics with Lithium Ion batteries from checked baggage. The agency believe the risk of a catastrophic fire and explosion is too great.
The Pixentu jackets keep you and your gear warm and dry, offering useful features like lens and tripod pockets, in addition to some quirky ones like an extended hood to protect your camera from the rain.
Adobe gave the audience at MAX a sneak peek at some exciting new technology its developing. It's called Adobe Cloak: a highly capable Content Aware Fill-like feature for video editors.
Earlier today, Flickr moved its photo book printing service over to a third party services, and stopped offering any wall art options entirely.
The patent details a flipping rear LCD screen so large, Canon has had to hide the rear dial and several buttons underneath.
We've added a selection of extra images to our Nikon D850 gallery. As part of the process of rounding off the review we made sure a number of us had shot the camera in a variety of situations, we've added those shots to the gallery to give a broad cross section of how the camera performs.
Wiral LITE is an affordable, easy-to-use cable cam system that can do things a portable slider simply can't do, and go places no slider would dare go.
Not happy with the recent demise of Lightroom as a stand-alone, subscription free service? Macphun's got your back... or they will in 2018.
Once connected to a PC, Mac, tablet or smartphone, Pholio automatically searches through the device storage and backs up all images and videos—complete with auto-tagging and intelligent search capabilities.
The 360 Round uses eight horizontally positioned camera pairs and one upward-pointing single lens to capture and livestream panoramic 4K 3D content.
Introduced just three years ago, the Samsung NX1 was both a technological tour-de-force and a great camera to use, earning one of the highest scores we've ever awarded and winning our 2015 Innovation Award. But its short-lived run in the photo world leaves us wondering what could have been.
The Fujifilm X-E3 is styled like a classic rangefinder, but features a built-in touchscreen, AF joystick, and electronic viewfinder – truly an old school meets new type of camera. Lay some eyes on our sample gallery to see how it performs in the real world.
Like it or not, Adobe is embracing a cloud-centric, AI-rich future with the introduction of Lightroom CC. And that's a great thing, though you may not see it now, argues Rishi Sanyal.
The announcement of a more cloud-integrated Lightroom product sees the death of the company's standalone version. This need to make payments in perpetuity (whether you choose Lightroom Classic or CC), chips away at the idea that your Lightroom library is a long-term solution, argues Richard Butler.
The XPro-C 2.4GHz wireless flash trigger that Godox released for Canon users last month now has a Nikon equivalent—the aptly named XPro-N. Sony, Fujifilm and MFT versions are in the works.
In the aftermath of hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, camera and lens maker Sigma is extending its standard product warranty to cover damage caused by these three natural disasters.
The F4 Plus can can capture 360° stills, videos and broadcast livestream footage at 8K resolution... that's 7680 x 3840 pixels!
Lightroom is hogging the spotlight at Adobe MAX, but Photoshop CC got some substantial improvements as well. Find out what's new in the latest version of Photoshop CC.
The aptly-named 'Nude' app automatically detects NSFW images on your iPhone, moves them to a protected vault and deletes the original files in the camera roll and on iCloud.
The Zeiss Milvus family of manual-focus full-frame lenses just gained a new member. Meet the Zeiss Milvus 24mm F1.4: a fast, rugged new lens designed primarily for landscape and architecture photography.
Lightroom has built a brand new Lightroom CC from the ground up to be faster, easier to use, and cloud-based. The application formerly known as Lightroom CC will continue to exist, and will go by "Lightroom Classic CC."
Google Research did a deep dive on the Pixel 2 smartphone's background-blurring portrait mode that uses neural networking and dual-pixel technology instead of a dual-camera setup.
With the arrival of the PowerShot G1 X III, there are now seven Canon cameras built around the 24MP Dual Pixel sensor and Digic 7 processor. We take a look at the differences and what might prompt you to choose one over the others.
Meet the HP ZBook x2. The so-called 'world's most powerful and first detachable PC workstation,' it was built with creative professionals in mind, and is being debuted at Adobe MAX.