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Nikon CoolPix 900 Test Images

 In our normal fashion, we're posting a partial set of test images for the CoolPix as soon as they are available. We'll update with the rest of the pictures and the full review as they become available, so check back often.

In the case of the CoolPix 900, we feel compelled to point out that, as excellent as the images themselves are, the camera's many "photographer-friendly" features will be an important part of the purchase decision for many users. We'll therefore try to get the review itself posted in a timely fashion: We think you'll like what you see!

NOTE: Special images! - See the bottom of this page for five image samples shot by professional photographers!

Outdoor portrait: (362k) Sharp, sharp, sharp! Shooting outside in bright sun, we had no choice but to use the optical viewfinder, which crops-out quite a bit of the image area. As a result, after the shoot, we found this shot to be more loosely framed than most versions of this image. Even with the resulting smaller relative size of the model and flowers, the CoolPix' exceptional sharpness was very evident. This sharpness doesn't come altogether free though, as we observed some pixel artifacts on sharp edges, particularly around the edges of the blue flowers. The color balance was very neutral, tending slightly to the cool side, although very acceptable overall.
 
Closer portrait: (251k) This is a new test shot, as of 6/98, designed to show the camera's handling of finer detail in "portrait" situations. The CP-900 is extremely sharp, showing every last hair, even the tiny bead of sweat on the face long-suffering model. Like the preceding outdoor image, the overall color cast is slightly cool, but well within an acceptable range.  
Indoor portrait, flash: (522k) The CoolPix 900 is one of the few cameras we've tested that gives an explicit white balance setting for "flash." These shots were taken with that setting, although the brightness of the ambient incandescent lighting tended to produce a somewhat warm tone overall. We found we could reduce the effect of the incandescent background illumination by setting the EV compensation down a notch. The main shot (522k) here was taken with that setting, while this one (526k) used the default exposure. Leaving the white balance to incandescent produced this shot (525k), taking away the yellow cast, but replaced it with a bluish one more typical of digital cameras we've tested in the past. Sharpness was excellent, but we noticed the same pixel artifacts along the edges of the blue flower petals that we saw in the outdoor portrait shot.  
Indoor portrait, no flash: (553k) The CoolPix 900's available-light performance totally belied its conservative ISO rating of 64. (In our usage, the '900 actually behaved more like a camera with an ISO rating of 400 than one rated at 64!) The main shot (553k) here was taken with the white balance set to "incandescent", and the EV boosted by 1 unit. The result is excellent detail, no noise, and (interestingly), the pixel artifacts in the blue flowers appear to be completely gone. Here's another shot, taken with no EV compensation (574k), but still with the "incandescent" white balance selected. This one used auto white balance (526k), which resulted in a somewhat magenta color cast.  
House shot: (290k) Excellent, finely-rendered detail, excellent color (only the slightest warm cast), few or no compression artifacts. Here are versions saved at"fine" (588k) and "basic" (151k) resolution.  
"Musicians" poster: (281k) Good tonal range, natural color (neither over- nor under-saturated), excellent detail. Skin tones are natural with good "shape". Main image stored using "normal" compression: Here are versions of the same image, stored with "fine" (609k!) and "basic" (158k) compression.  
Macro shot: (271k) Wow! Now that's close! Excellent close-up capability. This shot taken at telephoto end of the lens' focal length range, producing a comfortable 8 inch (20cm) working distance. (At wide-angle end, minimum distance decreases to 3 inches, but overall magnification is less.) This shot taken with studio lighting, but on-board flash works very well at this distance. Image stored at "normal" compression.  
"Davebox" test target: (298k) Good color, excellent tonal range. Strong primary colors in MacBeth chart are slightly under-saturated, most noticeable in the yellow swatch. On the other hand, the overall appearance is very balanced and natural. Handling of delicate pastels in row "B" of the Q60 target is excellent. Highlight and shadow detail are also very good. Shadow detail isn't evident in unaltered screen display, but manipulation in Photoshop reveals great hidden detail. (Try playing with the Photoshop "levels" control with the charcoal blocks in the black box.) Main image stored in "normal" compression mode. Here are versions stored in "fine"(541k!) and "basic"(146k).  
"WG-18" resolution target: (634k!) (Technoids only) - Visual resolution of ~700-750 line pairs/picture height both vertically and horizontally, essentially NO color aliasing. Main shot stored in "fine" mode, with lens in middle of focal range. The following shots were taken at the telephoto end of the lens' range: Slight pincushion is apparent in telephoto "normal"(298k) mode image. "Fine"(633k!) mode slightly decreases JPEG artifacts, at cost of larger files. "basic"(154k) mode begins to show (slightly) visible JPEG artifacts. Here are same shots taken at wide-angle end of lens' range, showing slight barrel distortion: fine(651k!), normal(280k), basic(147k). (Shots taken at VGA resolution and with "digital tele" coming.)  
Viewfinder accuracy/flash uniformity target: (Viewfinder accuracy test being re-shot due to ambient interference in flash accuracy...) Optical viewfinder captures smaller area than does CCD sensor (about 85% of sensor field of view both vertically and horizontally). In our sample, the borders of the viewfinder were offset downward relative to CCD field of view. Autofocus marking in center of viewfinder was accurately placed however. LCD viewfinder was quite accurate, showing only about 7 percent less than total image area, with that portion exactly centered. Here are the viewfinder accuracy samples shot with optical/wide angle (127k), LCD/wide angle (127k), optical/tele (131k), LCD/tele (135k).  
 

Third-Party Samples from the CoolPix 900

Nikon commissioned two well-known photographers (B. Moose Peterson and Jon Ortner) to shoot some creative images showing the CoolPix 900's capabilites. We present the results here for your convenience, with Nikon's permission.

(These images are copyright their respective owners. The Imaging Resource makes no representation of their capture conditions or post-capture treatment. They are presented to our readers only as interesting examples of the camera's capabilities, as claimed by third parties.)

 
 
Big image warning! - 535K download!
Copyright(c) 1998, B. Moose Peterson, licensed to Nikon Inc., used by permission of Nikon Inc.
 
 
Big image warning! - 604K download!
Image shot for display rotated 90 degrees counter-clockwise. Per Nikon's request, presented here in unrotated form exactly as it came from the camera, to avoid any secondary JPEG artifacts.
Copyright(c) 1998, B. Moose Peterson, licensed to Nikon Inc., used by permission of Nikon Inc.
 
 
Big image warning! - 613K download!
Copyright(c) 1998, B. Moose Peterson, licensed to Nikon Inc., used by permission of Nikon Inc.
 
 
Big image warning! - 555K download!
Copyright(c) 1998, Jon Ortner, licensed to Nikon Inc., used by permission of Nikon Inc.
 
 
Big image warning! - 561K download!
Image shot for display rotated 90 degrees clockwise. Per Nikon's request, presented here in unrotated form exactly as it came from the camera, to avoid any secondary JPEG artifacts.
Copyright(c) 1998, Jon Ortner, licensed to Nikon Inc., used by permission of Nikon Inc.
 

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