Nikon Coolpix p1000
The Finalists: Canon PowerShot G1X Mark III, Nikon Coolpix P1000, Panasonic Lumix DC-FT7, Panasonic Lumix DC-LX100 Mark II
it’s bonkers, but it’s also brilliant. And regardless of what you shoot with regularly, you’re going to find the Coolpix P1000 very hard to resist. It does stuff that there’s no other way of doing without spending a fortune (and probably doing your back in from carrying a tonne of gear around).
The superzoom camera segment is a little ecosystem of its own, built almost entirely around the proposition that mine-is-longerthan-yours. The P1000 current tops everybody with a zoom lens that spans the equivalent of 243000mm – a zooming range of 125x – with a maximum aperture of f2.8-8.0 and macro focusing down to just one centimetre. If 3000mm isn’t long enough for you, 6000mm is available via a ‘Dynamic Fine Zoom’ function, although this is essentially a digital zoom so there’s some loss of image quality. Still… 6000mm! The fudge, of course, is the size of the sensor, which is a 1/2.3-inch BSI-type CMOS, but it still packs 16.79 megapixels of resolution (16 MP effective) and delivers pretty impressive image quality… particularly over the 24-3000mm focal range. And 3000mm will still get you up close and personal with a lot of interesting subjects, including The Moon. If you only bought the Nikon P1000 for astrophotography – there’s actually a dedicated Moon mode – you’d still get great value for money, but obviously it’s actually a whole lot more versatile. To this end, there’s optical image stabilisation (giving up to five stops of correction for camera shake), a full set of ‘PASM’ exposure control modes, RAW capture, an OLED-type EVF, a tilt/swing monitor screen, WiFi and Bluetooth LE connectivity, 4K UHD video recording with stereo sound, a stereo audio input, and a built-in flash (although, obviously, its range is a bit more limited than the zoom).
Product illustrations don’t quite convey the size of the P1000 which is, perhaps not all that surprisingly, actually quite a big camera, but it’s still very manageable… and nothing like what you’d have to lug around if you wanted the same capabilities with a bigger sensor. Yet Nikon’s processing wizardry means the image quality is as good as we’d expect from either Micro Four Thirds or ‘APS-C’, even at ISO 6400. Consequently, if just about anybody else had come up with this, we’d have been tempted to write it off as a gimmick, but in Nikon’s capable hands, it’s a serious camera… and seriously good fun.