Nikon Coolpix A900

Nikon Coolpix A900

In this review, we took a closer look at the Nikon Coolpix A900. We have determined how Nikon has the combination of a large focal length range of 24-840 mm (36x24mm sensor equivalent), high sensor resolution (20.3 megapixels), and small sensor dimensions (1/2.3″) in image quality under control. We also took a look at the camera’s functions and haptics and look at the camera’s equipment.

Pros And Cons Of The Nikon Coolpix A900

Pros

  • Foldable Monitor
  • Easy to use
  • 4K video recording
  • Slight color deviations

Cons

  • Slow shutter release without pre-focusing
  • No touch screen
  • Low signal-to-noise ratio with significant loss of detail from ISO 400
  • No manual focus

 

Ergonomics and Workmanship

Like the Panasonic Lumix ZS70 (In Europe TZ90 and in Germany TZ91) and the Canon PowerShot SX730 HS, the Nikon Coolpix A900 is a travel zoom camera. The main feature of this type of camera is a comparatively small body, which accommodates a large zoom lens. In the case of the Nikon Coolpix A900, it is an optically image-stabilized 4.3 to 151 mm lens with a 35x zoom factor.

The focal length is adjusted with a ring rocker that encloses the shutter release and provides the photographer with two zoom speeds analogous to the operating intensity. The large zoom range is achieved thanks to a small 1/ 2.3″ image sensor on CMOS technology and corresponds to the image section of a 24 to 840 mm 35mm zoom.

The speed of the lens is F3.4 to F6.9 and is therefore not very fast due to the design. The sensor effectively delivers 20.3 megapixels, combining high resolution with a small footprint. Whether Nikon has the problems that such a combination brings with it under control with the Nikon Coolpix A900, we will clarify a little later in the test.

The movable 3″ monitor of the Nikon Coolpix A900 is fine but without touch function.

nikon coolpix a900

With a minimum focal length, the Nikon Coolpix A900 is just under four centimeters deep.

The camera’s controls are conveniently located on the back, next to the 180 degrees up and 85 degrees down 7.5 cm screen. If the monitor is folded upwards by 180 degrees, the display is reduced so that the photographer has a full overview without the camera body covering any part of the image.

Unfortunately, Nikon didn’t give the Nikon Coolpix A900 a touchscreen, so the photographer has to navigate through the different menus with the omnisector and the rotating wheels.

Particularly important functions have their own buttons on the back of the camera. As with the Canon SX730 HS, the Nikon Coolpix A900 has a mechanically unlockable “pop-up” flash, which can hardly be covered by accident with a finger.

On the top of the camera, there is a mode dial, shutter release button and a relatively smooth-running dial.

The shutter release has an easy to detect pressure point that activates pre-focusing. Pre-focusing also allows the camera to quickly take the shutter release. It takes much longer if the shutter release button is “pulled through”. Also, the focal length has a strong influence on the release speed. Thus a shot without pre-focusing takes a very long time in contrast to pre-focusing. It is recommended to activate the “pre-focus” function in the camera.

The autofocus also has different modes of operation such as face detection, subject tracking, and manual target selection. However, the photographer does not have the option to focus manually.

The illuminated on/off switch is also located on the upper side. The Nikon Coolpix A900 also has a dedicated shutter release for video recording. However, this is attached to the back.

A rubberized handpiece is attached to the front of the camera to give the photographer more security when grabbing the camera. The camera can be connected to a smart device via WLAN or Bluetooth.

In addition, a micro HDMI and USB cable can be used for image or data transfer. These two connectors are located under a soft plastic cover on the right side of the camera. The USB port is also used to charge the Nikon Coolpix A900’s lithium-ion battery. It doesn’t matter if the original Nikon power supply is used by other manufacturers or not. During charging, a small lamp on the back of the camera blinks to inform the photographer that charging is not complete. When the lamp stops blinking and does not light, the battery is charged and the photographer can start with a full battery.

nikon coolpix a900The memory card and battery compartment of the Nikon Coolpix A900 is located on the underside. The battery can remain in the camera because it is charged via USB.

 

nikon coolpix a900The appearance of the Nikon Coolpix A900 is more reminiscent of a “luxury compact” than of a travel zoom camera.

 

nikon coolpix a900On the underside of the Nikon Coolpix A900, you can see the tripod thread, which is not in the optical axis.

On the underside of the camera there is a “¼” tripod thread, which is clearly outside the optical axis of the lens.

The combined battery/memory card compartment can also be found on the underside. Practically, the manufacturer provided the Nikon Coolpix A900 the possibility to connect a power supply. This is connected to the camera via a battery compartment adapter and then provides continuous current. The USB plug charger, on the other hand, cannot be used as a power supply unit because the camera cannot be switched on when connected to a USB power supply unit or switches off as soon as it is plugged into the socket. The memory cards used are cards with the SD form factor and SDHC and SDXC technology.

Equipment And Features

As usual with cameras with a mode dial, the Nikon Coolpix A900 also uses this to select the most important operating modes. On the mode dial you will find the two semi-automatic operating modes as well as the manual mode.

All three modes allow the photographer to gain more control over his shot. In addition, there is an automatic mode on the mode dial in which the camera takes over all settings, as well as the scene programs. This is also the automatic scene mode, in which the camera recognizes a scene situation and automatically adjusts all shooting parameters to match the recognized subject.

By pressing the “Menu” button, the photographer can also directly select individual scene modes instead of this automatic mode. Among other things, the selection includes a panorama and a time-lapse film function.

The “Creative” mode is hidden behind a camera icon on the mode dial. But there is not much to adjust in this mode. This mode offers “only” the possibility to select different categories of color effects. If a photo is then taken, the camera saves different variants of a motif in the different color effects. Only one of these effects can be assigned to the video recording and the video will be recorded with this effect.

nikon coolpix a900

Nikon Coolpix A900, here again with opened flap for HDMI and USB ports.

 

nikon coolpix a900

There are no connectors on the left side of the camera.

 

nikon coolpix a900

On the right side is the cover for the HDMI and USB interface.

The last function on the mode dial is the “short film demonstration”. This allows the photographer to create a sequence of film clips of different lengths with special effects and background music. However, the Nikon Coolpix A900 does not have a dedicated video mode; the camera can record videos at 30 frames per second in any operating mode with a maximum 4K resolution (3,840 x 2,160). The only exception is the “short film screening” mode. Here the resolution is limited to Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) with 30 frames per second.

The stereo microphone responsible for the sound recording was placed on the right side of the lens, whereby the right of the two microphones is located very close to the rubber grip and is already slightly covered with normal-sized hands.

In addition, the left microphone is close to the lens and clearly records the zoom noise, although the speed of the zoom is reduced during video recording. The sudden release of the zoom ring can also be heard very clearly. In addition, the lens should “shadow” some of the noise from the left side.

The distance between the two microphones is relatively small but should be sufficient to produce a solid stereo effect. The camera automatically adjusts the sound and provides an automatic filter to reduce wind noise.

The special effects, of which the camera has a total of seven, can only be applied to the images during playback, i.e. afterwards. The existing image is not replaced, but a new photo with the special effect is saved. Special effects can also be applied multiple times to an image, allowing different effects to be combined.

nikon coolpix a900

When the Nikon Coolpix A900 is switched off, a small cow remains visible from the lens. On the upper side, you can see the joint of the flash unit and the controls.

 

The aforementioned option to connect the camera to a smart device via Bluetooth only works if the SnapBridge app is installed on the device. Unfortunately, the functionality of the app is very limited.

Thanks to Bluetooth, it can transfer GPS data directly to the camera and share images in social media and cloud memories as well as a live view and trigger function (for which WLAN is activated), but no recording settings can be changed. This turns the app for the actual camera function into a simple remote trigger.

Picture Quality Of The Nikon Coolpix A900

As usual with travel zoom cameras, the Nikon Coolpix A900 also has a very large focal length range.

While the loss of sharpness in the 24 mm and 150 mm corresponding focal lengths is small and decreases only slightly at higher apertures to the edge, the loss of sharpness in the maximum 840 mm focal length is clearly recognizable on a 20 x 30 cm printout.

The edge darkening is low in all focal length ranges. The highest darkening is 0.3 EV and occurs at wide-angle when the aperture is open.

The infamous color fringes or transverse chromatic aberrations are clearly more visible. In the wide-angle these are clearly visible with open aperture, then decrease with closing aperture and are only easily visible with middle aperture. In the medium or long focal length, these errors are represented by the slight visibility in the center of the image up to the strong visibility at the edge.

As expected, the results of the resolution measurement show values resulting from a long focal length, a small sensor, a low light intensity, and a high sensor resolution. While the resolution in the wide-angle range only decreases visibly with the maximum aperture closed, in the maximum telephoto range the camera shows a slightly visible blur in the center of the image and a clear blur in the edge area, which is less than half the resolution in the center of the image (referred to a 20 x 30 cm print).

nikon coolpix a900

Switched on in a wide-angle position, the lens then moves out, so that about twice the housing depth results.

 

The internal image processing of the camera sharpens the images visibly. This is particularly important when the aperture is open and in the wide-angle range. With increasing aperture these artifacts disappear, which is to be led back to the diffraction-blur. This behavior is common for shoot-to-print cameras.

The signal-to-noise ratio, i.e. the difference between the picture signal and the noise of the signal, is acceptable in low ISO settings and then decreases continuously. In the case of texture sharpness, the camera shows a clear over-sharpening in the lower ISO range, while the texture sharpness decreases linearly from ISO 200 to increase sensitivity and becomes visibly blurred from ISO 400.

The luminance noise is only slightly visible up to high ISO settings, as is the color noise, which is most clearly visible at ISO 800.

The input dynamic of the Nikon Coolpix A900 is normal over the sensitivity range, but it decreases continuously as the ISO sensitivity increases. The tonal value transmission is divided into parts that match the shoot-to-print character of the camera. The tonal range, i.e. the number of brightness levels that can be displayed in the image, is good with the camera Up to ISO 200, after which it decreases continuously, but only falls below the 96 gray levels that can be displayed at the end of the sensitivity adjustment.

The color rendering of the Nikon Coolpix A900 “defuses” cyan tones a little, which benefits landscape shots with a blue sky. The camera also slightly reduces saturation in the green tones. For this it is increased in the magenta tones and a little in the red tones. The color deviation of the camera is small.

nikon coolpix a900

In telescopic position, the Nikon Coolpix A900’s zoom lens moves extremely far out of the housing. In total, the construction measures almost eleven centimeters up to the monitor on the back of the camera.

 

Bottom line: Is The Nikon Coolpix A900 Worth It?

The most important criteria of a travel zoom camera include a small housing, a large zoom and a high-resolution sensor. The Nikon Coolpix A900 fulfils these criteria superbly.

Unfortunately, the disadvantages resulting from the combination are also confirmed. These are reflected in the image resolution and the image noise, thus the image quality. The Nikon Coolpix A900 is convincing on the equipment and features side.

In addition to the various functions for individualizing images and the different scene mode programs, we liked the 4K video function.

The fact that the camera does not have a touch screen monitor is compensated by the mobility of the monitor and the successful user guidance.

Despite the “always with you” character of the camera, the shutter release delay with autofocus could be a bit faster than it is. The camera is easily lined up is the camera models of the competitors, which should facilitate the camera choice alone about the different equipment features.

Coolpix A900 vs A300: Lots of zoom in a compact housing

With the Coolpix A300 and the Nikon Coolpix A900 Nikon expands its new A-Segment with two more cameras. The A300 is the successor of the S3700 and offers SnapBridge as an innovation for permanent connection to the smartphone via Bluetooth.

With the S9900, the Nikon Coolpix A900 also has a predecessor model in the old S-Class. In addition to Snapbridge, there is also an extended 35x zoom, with 20 instead of 16 megapixels, a higher resolution, and 4K video as major innovations. Instead, the screen is only foldable and can no longer be rotated.

The innovations of the A300 are really limited because there are none besides SnapBridge. Thanks to SnapBridge, the camera remains permanently connected to a smartphone via Bluetooth in an energy-saving manner and transfers its photos in the background in low resolution, so that they are immediately available for sharing, for example via Facebook.

In the same way, the smartphone also transfers useful data to the camera, namely the current location, which is noted in the EXIF data of the photos. Otherwise, the eightfold optical zoom of the equivalent of 25 to 200 millimeters, including optical image stabilizer and the BSI CMOS sensor with a resolution of 20 megapixels, is a good feature for the money.

The A300 records videos in full HD resolution and stores them as MP4 files on the SD, SDHC, or SDXC memory card.

The Coolpix makes the shooting settings automatically, but the photographer can also select one of the scene modes himself. The 230,000 pixel 6.7-centimeter screen serves as a viewfinder and for image control of the 20-millimeter flat camera. The replaceable lithium-ion battery is charged via USB.

As the successor to the S9900, the Nikon Coolpix A900 accommodates an optical 35x zoom of the equivalent of 24 to 840 millimeters including image stabilizer in the 40-millimeter flat housing. The BSI CMOS sensor now resolves 20 instead of 16 megapixels and even offers a 4K video function with 30 frames per second.

Thanks to SnapBridge, the camera and smartphone remain permanently energy-efficient in connection with the exchange of images in two megapixels resolution (from the camera to the smartphone) and location information (from the smartphone to the camera).

The rear 7.5-centimeter screen resolves fine 921,000 pixels and can now only be folded up and down, Nikon has saved the pan-rotate mechanism.

Selfies are still possible thanks to the 180-degree folding mechanism. In addition to automatic and scene modes, the Nikon Coolpix A900 also offers semi-automatic and manual exposure modes.

The rear screen is a 7.7-centimeter touch screen that can be tilted to the side and rotated up, forward and down, allowing shots to be taken from unusual perspectives up to selfies. The screen has a resolution of 1.04 million pixels and an aspect ratio of 3:2. Thanks to active NFC (works even with the camera switched off), Bluetooth and WLAN, the Canon EOS 800D and EOS 77D have modern connectivity functions.

Bluetooth enables remote triggering, for which Canon offers an extra Bluetooth remote control (BR-E1) with a range of five meters (also without visual contact) as an accessory. WLAN can be used not only to transmit images and place them on social networks, for example, but also to remote control the camera via a smartphone app with a live image display on the smartphone. Canon also offers the GP-E2, a plug-in GPS.

Canon has developed the EF-S 18-55mm F4-5.6 IS STM, a new, particularly compact set lens to match the EOS 800D and EOS 77D.

It is the smallest of its kind (without retractable tube). It has an iris diaphragm with seven slats and an image stabilizer with four exposure levels effectiveness. In addition, the stepper motor (STM) should not only be particularly quiet, which is important for video recordings, but also work precisely and quickly.

 

nikon coolpix a900

The new wireless remote control Canon BR-E1 works with Bluetooth and can trigger Canon cameras from up to five meters away. [Photo: Canon]

 

nikon coolpix a900The new set lens Canon EF-S 18-55 mm 4-5.6 IS STM is supposed to be the most compact in its class (i.e. without tube for retraction).

 

nikon coolpix a900The 180 dollars Nikon Coolpix A300 combines an optical 8x zoom with 20 megapixels resolution in a 20 mm flat housing. [Photo: Nikon]

 

nikon coolpix a900The successor to the Coolpix S9900, the Nikon Coolpix A900 now has a 20 megapixel CMOS sensor with 4K video function

 

Specifications For The Nikon Coolpix A900

Fact sheet
Manufacturer Nikon
Model Nikon Coolpix A900
Sensor CMOS 1/2.3″ 6.2 x 4.6 mm (crop factor 5.6) 21.1 megapixels (physical) –  20.3 megapixels (effective)
Pixel pitch 1.2 µm
Resolution (max.) 5.184 x 3.888 (4:3)
Video (max.) 3.840 x 2.160 30p
Lens F3,4-6,9/24-840mm
Filter threads No filter thread installed
Monitor 3.0″ (7.5 cm)
Disbandment 921.000 pixels
tiltable yes
rotatable
swiveling
Touchscreen
AV connector HDMI Output Micro (Type D)
Fully automatic yes
Automatic objective control yes
Scene mode programs 14
Program automation yes
Program shift
Aperture priority yes
Aperture priority yes
Manual yes
Bulb long time exposure
HDR function yes
Panorama function yes, Sweep panorama
Exposure metering Multi-field, center-weighted Integral
fastest shutter speed 1/2.000 s
Flash built-in
Synchronous time 1/2.000 s
Flash connection
WLAN yes
NFC yes
GPS external, permanent smartphone connection
Remote release yes, remote control via Smartphone/Tablet
Interval shooting
Storage medium
SD (SDHC, SDXC)
Sensitivity
automatic ISO 80-3.200
manually ISO 80-3.200
White balance
automatic yes
manual measurement yes
Kelvin input
Fine correction
Autofocus yes
Number of measuring fields 99 contrast sensors
Speed 0.51 to 1.22 s
AF auxiliary light LED
Dimensions (WxHxD) 113 x 67 x 40 mm
Weight (ready for operation) 298 g
Tripod socket outside the optical axis
Zoom
Zoom adjustment Ring rocker (motorized)
Battery life 270 images according to CIPA standard
– = “not applicable” or “not available”

 

Short evaluation

Pros

  • Foldable Monitor
  • Easy to use
  • 4K video recording
  • Slight color deviations

Cons

  • Slow shutter release without pre-focusing
  • No touch screen
  • Low signal-to-noise ratio with significant loss of detail from ISO 400
  • No manual focus

Nikon Coolpix A900 Datasheet

Electronics

Sensor CMOS sensor 1/2.3″ 6.2 x 4.6 mm (crop factor 5.6) 21.1 megapixels (physical), 20.3 megapixels (effective)
Pixel pitch 1.2 µm
Photo resolution
5.184 x 3.888 pixels (4:3)
5.184 x 2.920 pixels (16:9)
3.888 x 3.888 pixels (1:1)
3.648 x 2.736 pixels (4:3)
2.272 x 1.704 pixels (4:3)
1.600 x 1.200 pixels (4:3)
640 x 480 pixels (4:3)
Picture formats JPG
Color depth 24 bits (8 bits per color channel)
Metadata Exif (version 2.3), DCF standard
Video resolution
3.840 x 2.160 (16:9) 30 p
3.840 x 2.160 (16:9) 25 p
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 30 p
1.280 x 720 (16:9) 30 p
640 x 480 (4:3) 30 p
Video format
MP4 (Codec H.264)

Lens

Focal length 24 to 840 mm (35mm equivalent) 35x zoom 4.3 to 151 mm (physical)
4x digital zoom
Focus range 50 cm to infinity (wide-angle) 200 cm to infinity (telephoto)
Macro sector 1 cm (wide-angle) 200 cm (telephoto)
Apertures F3.4 to F8 (wide-angle) F6.9 to F8 (telephoto)
ND filter ND filter
Autofocus yes
Autofocus mode Contrast autofocus with 99 measuring fields
Autofocus Functions Single autofocus, continuous autofocus, tracking autofocus, AFL function
Filter threads No filter thread

Viewfinder and Monitor

Monitor 3.0″ (7.5 cm) OLED monitor with 921,000 pixels, anti-glare, brightness adjustable, tiltable by 180° upwards to 85° downwards

Exposure

Exposure metering Center-weighted integral measurement, matrix/multi-field measurement
, special features: Spot measurement from digital zoom 2x, center-weighted measurement up to digital zoom 2x
Exposure times 1/2,000 to 8 s (Manual)
Exposure control Fully automatic, Program automatic, Aperture automatic, Aperture automatic, Manual, Scene mode automatic
Bracketing function HDR function
Exposure compensation -2.0 to +2.0 EV with step size of 1/3 EV
Sensitivity to light ISO 80 to ISO 3.200 (automatic) ISO 80 to ISO 3.200 (manual)
Remote access Remote control via Smartphone/Tablet
Motives Auto, Twilight, Fireworks, Indoor, Landscape, Food, Macro, Night Scene, Night Portrait, Portrait, Sunset, Sports, Beach/Snow, Animals, 0 more Picture Programs
Picture effects Fisheye, miniature effect, portrait, star grid, cyanotype, high key, high contrast monochrome, vivid colors, low key, star grid, drawing, 3 more image effects
White balance Automatic, Clouds, Sun, Shadow, Fluorescent lamp, Incandescent light, Manual
Color space sRGB
Continuous shooting Continuous shooting function max. 6.9 fps at the highest resolution and max. 5 stored photos, L-Continuous 2.2 fps max. 36 images; Pre-Shot Cache up to 25 images at approx. 20 fps
Self-timer Self-timer with a distance of 2 s, special features: .5 or 10 s (optional)
Shooting functions AEL function, AFL function, live histogram

Flashgun Of The Nikon Coolpix A900

Flash built-in flash (hinged)
Flash range 0.5 to 6.0 m at wide angle1
.5 to 3.5 m at telephoto flash sync
1/2,000 s
Flash functions Auto, Fill-in flash, Flash on, Flash off, Slow sync, Red-eye reduction with pre-flash

Equipment and Features

Image stabilizer electronic image stabilizer, lens shift (optical)
Memory
SD (SDHC, SDXC)
Internal memory yes (19 MByte)
Panorama Swivel panorama
GPS function GPS external (permanent smartphone connection)
Microphone Stereo
Power supply Power supply connection USB charging function
(only with manufacturer-specific charger)
Power supply 1 x Nikon EN-EL12 (lithium-ion (Li-Ion), 3.7 V, 1,050 mAh) 270 images Nikon EH-71P power supply unit
Playback Functions Red-eye retouching, crop images, image rotation, protect image, highlight/shadow warning, playback histogram, image index, shrink
Face recognition Face recognition
Grid can be faded in during the recording no
Special functions Orientation sensor, Live View
Ports Data interfaces: Bluetooth, USB – USB type: USB 2.0 High SpeedWLAN
: available (type: B, G, N) – NFC: available Audio output: no – Audio input : no – Video output: yes (HDMI output Micro (type D))
Supported direct printing methods PictBridge
Tripod socket 1/4″ not in the optical axis
Features and Miscellaneous Active-D-LightingTime-lapse function short clip function

with music selectionMulti-exposure function Various

retrofittable color effects (retro, color filter, color key, and others)

Size and weight

Weight 298 g (operational)
Dimensions W x H x D 113 x 67 x 40 mm

Other

included accessories Nikon AN-CP19 Storage AccessoriesNikon
EH-71P Power SupplyNikon
EN-EL12 Special BatteryNikon
UC-E21 USB CablePower Adapter
with Charging Function EH-71PTransport LoopCamera SoftwareViewNX 2
optional accessory Nikon EH-62F Power supply unitNikon
EN-EL12 Special battery – Nikon
MH-65 Charger for special batteries – Battery charger Removable memory card Camera bag
USB
USB 2.0 High Speed (Micro-USB)

Firmware Updates for the Nikon Coolpix A900

Nikon provides new firmware for the three compact cameras Coolpix W100, B700, and Nikon Coolpix A900. Version 1.3 for the W100 not only improves reliability when transferring photos and videos with the SnapBridge app but also fixes an issue that caused unreliable connections between the camera and the iOS 10.2 version of the SnapBridge app. The latter is also fixed with firmware 1.2 for the Coolpix B700. Version 1.1 for the Nikon Coolpix A900 also improves reliability when transferring photos and videos with the SnapBridge app.

In addition, a rare problem has been fixed that in rare cases prevented the camera from restoring normal operation when the camera was restarted after the “Turn camera off and on again” message appeared.

The firmware update also fixes the problem that sometimes caused position data added using the SnapBridge app to be displayed incorrectly, as well as the phenomenon that photos were rarely taken in black and white.

The firmware updates can be downloaded from the Nikon support website and installed according to the instructions there. If you don’t have the confidence to do this yourself, you should ask your dealer or the Nikon Service for support.

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Peter Dench
I am Peter Dench. Digital Photographer, born in London 1972, currently living in Deerfield, near Chicago. I have numerous photography expositions and also working in model photography. In this website, PhotoPoint, I usually review cameras provided by local dealers in Illinois and by the manufacturers. Sometimes I, Peter Dench, review lenses too, but only when I have a suitable camera for them. Please let me know in the comments if I can improve any of these articles.