In terms of dimension, the Nikon Coolpix P90 has an average size, at least for a mega zoom camera. Its size is slightly more compact than that of its nearest competitor, but still somewhat wider than others. The 490 grams of weight mean the Nikon P90 isn’t exactly a light-weight, especially when compared to the small entry-level DSLR cameras and their light kit lenses. However, the weight does provide a nice and firm hand-fit, which is something we are often disappointed in when it comes to the very light mega zoom cameras. The grip of the Coolpix P90 features a rubber coating which adds to the hand-fit.
Nikon Coolpix P90 camera body
In terms of design, there is only little surprise to the P90, as the camera has the familiar design of a mega zoom and clearly looks like a Nikon camera. The optical zoom lens is obvious and features one of the largest focal lengths with a 24x zoom. Converted to a 35mm camera, it provides a zoom range of 26-264 mm. It is pleasant that the 28mm provides just a tad wider angle than the average. This type of range provides the photographer taking the Nikon Coolpix P90 along, with a great sense of freedom. The disadvantage however, is that you no longer go through the effort of really becoming involved with the subject. After all, you can now just capture your favorite moment from a terrace. Fortunately, the zoom lens is supported by an image stabilization system, otherwise a tripod would have been required.
Built-in flash on the Nikon P90
A built-in flash is positioned on top of the camera, which has to be manually folded out. In my opinion, a flash should pop up automatically. Even in full auto mode, the flash does not pop up automatically. An external Speedlight flash unit is unfortunately not supported, and a hot shoe has not been added to the design of the Nikon P90. Competitor Canon does acknowledge the use of an external flash unit, for example with the SX1 IS, and has equipped its Mega zoom camera with a hot shoe.
Nikon Coolpix P90 offers a 3" monitor
There is a large-sized 3 inch monitor on the back of the camera. Unfortunately, the display features an average resolution of 230,000 pixels, which means the impact of the size is not fully used. We would like to see the high resolution screens of the DSLR included in the mega zoom segment. The monitor can be folded out, but does not rotate sideways from the camera. This clearly takes away part of the potency offered by a screen like this. Nikon has its own philosophy about the use of a vari-angle screen. Nikon wants a photographer to remain exactly behind the camera, and the camera to remain exactly in line with the photographer and the subject. This is not the case when a swivel (left / right) display is available. Personally, I'd like to see a monitor that is able to tilt and swivel enabling shooting from any angle.
Nikon Coolpix P90 camera operation
The number of buttons on the Nikon Coolpix P90 is rather limited, especially for an advanced camera like the P90. The large command dial on top of the camera is extremely clear and will be considered as handy and well-structured by both the beginning and the experienced photographer. The back is also fairly empty with a multi-controller, as found on most cameras. The Nikon P90 is powered by a Lithium Ion battery which has to be placed in the handgrip at the bottom of the camera. Furthermore, we find familiar things on the P90, such as a USB 2.0 Hi-Speed interface and A/C connector. It is unfortunate that the Nikon Coolpix P90 lacks an HD- connection/HDMI, something the competition generally includes in its design.