Nikon P900 Packs 18-2000mm Range and Takes You On Moon.
Nikon and Canon are on a literal zoom war with their bridge cameras taking on each other with ridiculous zoom ranges. Although they are well short on quality when compared to the DSLR cameras but you should not be arguinng as these bridge cameras cost a fraction of a DSLR combined with lens. Also if you go zoom hunting for a telephoto lens on a DSLR then it will certainly cost you a small fortune and still it will not be as zoomy as the bridge cameras.
There is one obvious question that comes to mind, why DSLR lenses can not achieve so much zoom?
The answer is in optical physics. The sensor is much smaller at about a 5.6x crop factor from 135 if you want to put it in those terms. The actual lens is 4.3-357mm f/2.8-6.5 and when you multiply out the crop factor you get an equivalent of about: 24-2000mm f/15.7-36.4 .
To make this lens for a full frame or even an APS-C you’d have to have a ton of glass to make the larger focal length to fill the larger sensor. And even at that you’d still be at f/15.7-36.4 on 135 or f/10.5-24.3 on APS-C. Those max apertures are lower than the diffraction limit on most cameras, meaning using such a lens means it would be about as sharp as it is on this camera (which is soft because it’s diffraction limited at f/2.8). Those max apertures also mean you’d need to you’d need to crank up the ISO ridiculously high, which means your image quality would not be much better than this point and shoot. The lens would be a little bit and heavy (on par with a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens) and would cost around that ball park for the amount of glass needed but the quality would be about that of a point-and-shoot camera.
So why can’t they make a 24-2000mm lens that is an actual f/2.8 aperture so we could get decent image quality out of it?
Well go take a look at the Sigma 200-500mm f/2.8 which weighs 35lbs and costs $26,000 and requires it’s own battery to drive the zoom and autofocus motors. Then try to imagine how much bigger that would be if they tried to make it 24-2000mm.
It is important to note keep in mind that the focal length of refracting optics is also the minimum distance that the front element can be from the focal plane. So basically at 2000mm, the hypothetical lens would be at a minimum sticking out 2 meters from your DSLR! Incidentally, this is why most larger telescopes end up being of some sort of reflex design.
Bridge cameras are versatile as they can shoot wide angle shots at 18mm as well as super zoom at 2000mm with a fixed lens. There is lot of optical physics involved and a smaller sensor on the bridge camera certainly helps to achieve this incredible feat.
These are great for bird spotting as well as crater watching along with general day to day shooting. Here is a sample where you can see how incredibly powerful their zoom range is. In this video you can see craters on the moon.
With cameras evolving so fast and new technology coming in everyday, we can only imagine watching Mars on a digital camera few years from now. It would be wise to invest in a Camera like this than in an amateur telescope which may cost you almost the same while providing similar resolution.
- 83x optical zoom/166x Dynamic Fine Zoom super telephoto NIKKOR lens.
- Built-in Wi-Fi and NFC (Near Field Communication technology) for wirelessly sharing photos to a compatible smartphone or tablet.
- Dual viewing systems: a swiveling Vari-angle LCD display and a high resolution Electronic Viewfinder
Built-in GPS, full manual control, creative effects and more.
- Stereo sound recording.
Here are a few samples of Nikon P900 showing it’s capability in diverse shooting conditions.
It may best work as a secondary camera especially while travelling or shooting wildlife. Quick, easy to use and almost no maintenance needed. It also records full HD videos with stereo sound.
You can pin point the location of all the photographs using the GPS feature and can transfer images using wireless feature.
Nikon P900 have few competitors like the Canon SX60 HS, Sony HX400V. They cost almost the same with few differences in features. These bridge cameras are incredibly popular for anyone who do not want to carry a DSLR everywhere or just want to invest in a all-in-one camera. While it can never match the quality of a DSLR but it certainly competes and outdoes a DSLR in terms of features and ease of use.
Want to understand the difference between Bridge Camera, Crop Sensor DSLR and Full Frame Sensor, then read this post.
References: NikonUSA, Reddit/r/photography, Youtube