Nikon digital camera packs more picture for the money

Nikon's CoolPix 990 offers highresolution images and excellent control over the photographic process, as well as a good value

Less than a year ago, you could get a good 1 megapixel digital camera for

just under $1,000. Nikon Corp.'s new CoolPix 990, however, makes that deal

look pretty sad. The 990 delivers 3.34 megapixels for a list price of $999.

The 990 offers the same ease of use as its predecessor, the CoolPix

950, but delivers significantly higher resolution and more controls over

focus and exposures. The 990's maximum image size of 2,048 by 1,536 pixels

is nearly a third larger than the 950's top size of 1,600 by 1,200 pixels.

Taking photos with the CoolPix 990 in automatic mode is very simple,

thanks to the unit's smooth and fast automatic focus, autoflash and easy-to-reach

zoom controls. Handy toggle buttons on the back of the CoolPix make it easy

to zoom in and out without having to take your eye away from the viewfinder.

The unit, by the way, offers a stepless, motor-driven 3X optical zoom.

What's more, once you've gone to the maximum optical zoom level, you can

kick in the digital zoom, which will achieve a zoom factor of 4X. The only

awkwardness we encountered is that you have to hold down the zoom button

for two seconds in order to get the digital zoom to kick in. By then, a

photo opportunity could have vanished.

We also like the fact that the CoolPix saves images on its memory card

in JPEG format. That means you don't need any special software to download

files from the CoolPix to a computer. We simply connected the camera to

a computer using a Universal Serial Bus cable and then accessed the memory

card on the camera just as if it were a hard drive. (You can also connect

to the computer via serial port, though this will, of course, be a slower

option.)

The 990 generally takes great pictures in automatic mode, but if you've

got special challenges — such as varied lighting or complex depth-of-field

requirements — you can kick the device into manual mode. In addition to

manual focus — which can be controlled in 50 steps from 0.8 inches to infinity — manual mode gives you control over setting the focus area and "film" sensitivity.

You can also control shutter speed, aperture priority and white balance,

as well as a half-dozen other controls that you may never need but that

can make a big difference if you're facing especially challenging conditions.

One unfortunate consideration with the CoolPix — as with other digital

cameras — is the tradeoff between image resolution and memory storage. At

"fine" resolution, under which images are stored in JPEG at a ratio of 1

to 4, only 10 images can be stored on the 16M card that was delivered with

our test unit. At standard resolution, which saves images in JPEG at a ratio

of 1 to 8, 20 images can be stored on the same card. You can, of course,

review and delete images using the LCD monitor on the back of the camera,

thus freeing up space for more images without having to download them to

your computer. Also, you can spring for a 94M memory card. That will allow

you to store 61 fine images or 121 normal images.

There's also a Hi resolution mode that saves the image in an uncompressed

TIFF format instead of the usual JPEG. That means there's no image detail

lost through compression into JPEG. On the other hand, you can only store

a single Hi resolution shot on a 16M memory card.

The 990's monitor is easy to view and controls allow you to view saved

images either one-by-one or in a palette of thumbnails. The system works

well, though the controls for scrolling through and deleting images are

a bit nonintuitive.

In fact, we found that in general the CoolPix wasn't as easy to learn

to use as some other digital cameras. In part that's because the device

offers so many adjustable settings. But we also feel that Nikon could have

designed a more intuitive interface. This is especially true for the configuration

menus accessed on the unit's LCD monitor.

Once you've gotten familiar with all the nooks and crannies of the CoolPix

990, however, you'll find it easy enough to use. And we haven't seen a camera

for under $1,000 that delivers a better image or as much control over the

photographic process.

AT A GLANCE

Nikon CoolPix 990

Grade: B+

Nikon Corp.

(631) 547-4200

www.nikon.com

Price and Availability: $999 list price

Remarks: Nikon's CoolPix 990 offers a full 3.34 million pixels and excellentcontrols over the photographic process. The excellent images deliveredby the 990 combined with an under-$1,000 price tag make the unit a strongvalue.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.