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Old Jul 9, 2009, 12:10 AM   #1
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Default Nikon P90 or Not?

I'm looking to replace my antiquated 2MP Fujifilm camera with a new one for an upcoming vacation.

One camera that caught my eye was the Nikon P90. It's on sale at Best Buy for $370 currently, which, while at the upper end of my budget, I thought was relatively reasonable. It seemed to have a nice feature set, high resolution, and excellent optical zoom. I went to the store to try it preliminarily; while I liked it for the most part, some of the more zoomed-in shots looked grainy, even on the 3" viewfinder. The Sony next to it, which cost $100 less, didn't seem to experience any quality degradation.

From reading a few posts on this site (http://forums.steves-digicams.com/ni...lity-help.html) I concluded that since the Sony only had a 10x optical zoom (vs. 24x on the Nikon), it simply couldn't zoom in far enough to cause as much noticeable noise and that any non-dSLR camera would likely experience this issue. Am I correct in assuming this?

While I really do like this camera, I do want to be able to take indoor pictures without their quality being poor (although not necessarily from 30ft away). While Steve's review seemed to have primarily positive remarks, I've read reviews from professional photographers and die-hard Nikon fans who've found the P90 to be an utter disappointment. While I'm not expecting to get a dSLR equivalent camera for $370, I don't want to end up regretting the decision based on other comparably-priced cameras available. Should I get the P90; why, or why not? If not, what should I buy instead?
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Old Jul 9, 2009, 6:52 AM   #2
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The Canon SX10is is probably a better ultrazoom than the Nikon P90, though it's quite a bit heavier.
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Old Jul 9, 2009, 9:08 AM   #3
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Check this thread. I bought a P90 a while back and have not looked back. It's just not your everyday point and shoot. It takes some practice butionce you see the results it's awesome. I to read all the reviews out there and this was after i bought the camera and then found the below thread which showed me that some of the bad reviews where from people who expected to pick up the camera and start shooting instead of finding all the features of the camera. I do not regret my purchase and love this camera. Whats neat is that i have learned so much about photography from this camera and I also have so much morre to learn.
http://forums.steves-digicams.com/ni...ions-here.html

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Old Jul 9, 2009, 10:28 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by .Cameron. View Post
From reading a few posts on this site (http://forums.steves-digicams.com/ni...lity-help.html) I concluded that since the Sony only had a 10x optical zoom (vs. 24x on the Nikon), it simply couldn't zoom in far enough to cause as much noticeable noise and that any non-dSLR camera would likely experience this issue. Am I correct in assuming this?
No. The focal length of the lens (how much you're zooming in) doesn't have anything to do with how much noise you see, other than most lenses tend to be a bit dimmer at the longest focal lengths and you might be filling the frame with a subject area that looks more noisy compared to a different portion of the frame (due to color or the amount of light it was getting).

You have to take each camera on a case by case basis when judging how much noise (or loss of detail from noise reduction) they have at higher ISO speeds.

Note that most non-dSLR models have very small sensors and do have more noise than desired at higher ISO speed settings (and each time you double the ISO speed, you can use shutter speeds twice as fast for the same aperture and lighting). So, it's a good idea to use a flash when shooting non stationary subjects indoors with most cameras (especially non dSLR cameras with very small sensors and dimmer zoom lenses). Otherwise, you'll probably get blur from subject movement and/or noise from using higher ISO speeds. For best results, use an external flash that you can bounce for a more diffused light source.
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Old Jul 13, 2009, 9:54 PM   #5
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Thanks for all of the replies.

I think I was thinking of a lack of light when zooming in further. Thanks for the detailed explanation, all of the interrelated settings can seem a bit confusing at times. Thankfully, I'd rarely be using the camera indoors outside of the range of the integrated flash.

I've also read some more reviews about the P90, specifically comparing it to the SX10 that Andy mentioned. It seems almost unanimous that the Canon is marginally better in almost all respects. Although looking at some sample pictures, the Canon seems to have a big issue with purple fringing, even in lower contrast environments. While the Canon does take negligibly higher quality (albeit lower resolution, which based on their nearly equivalent sensor size, might have something to do it), the Nikon looks superior with respect to its ergonomics and aesthetics. A preponderance of reviewers seem satisfied with their purchase, albeit their varying levels of experience.

Currently the P90 is on sale for $370 at Best Buy, and the Canon is on sale for $365 at Newegg. I've already ordered an 8GB Micro-SDHC card with adapter, as it would fit either camera. I'm going to Best Buy tomorrow to compare both cameras, and hopefully make a decision soon enough to become familiarized with the camera before my vacation next week.

Also, has anyone had any experience with the Gorillapod tripod-like mount? It looked like it could offer at least some functionality of a tripod without the hassle of carrying one around (although, ironically, I'd have to buy the SLR version because of he weight of either camera).
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Old Jul 13, 2009, 11:00 PM   #6
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cameron-

I am sorry to say that a gorilla pod will never take the place of a REAL tripod.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Jul 13, 2009, 11:29 PM   #7
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cameron-

I am sorry to say that a gorilla pod will never take the place of a REAL tripod.

Sarah Joyce
That's what I thought - a creative invention, but useful only if you have something to mount it on. Considering I'd have to get the SLR version because of the weight ($35) I could get an actual 5.6ft low-quality tripod. [http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16830997660] I know Newegg isn't a natural first choice for camera accessories, but I saw it in a package deal when looking at the Canon.
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Old Jul 14, 2009, 9:39 AM   #8
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Check out Walmart for a tripod, if keeping your expense low is the priority. Their upper level tripods are not too bad and you will also save on shipping costs as well. However, you must keep in mind that a low cost tripod is only a time limited solution, as they do no last more than a couple of years.

One of the tripods that I use frequently was purchased in 1952. Needless to say it was not a cheap tripod. However, here I am 57 years later still using that same tripod very effectively.

Sarah Joyce

Last edited by mtclimber; Jul 14, 2009 at 9:41 AM.
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