New Nikon Coolpix 990
Great rez, nifty features
by Stephen Jones (June 26, 2000)
Nikon has reason to show off its new Coolpix digital camera this week. Besides its respectable pedigree, the Coolpix 990 boasts multiple megapixel resolution, some semi-pro features, and a killer software bundle.
While you shouldn't blindly follow the "more pixels is better" trend, the fact that this camera grabs 3 and 1/3 times as many pixels as many of last year's cameras, should make it worth a look.
Also, while many manufacturers think gobs of resolution makes up for a whimpy zoom, Nikon has wisely kept the 3x optical zoom (with additional Coolpix lenses available). In addition, you get a unique, step-less 4x digital zoom that smooths the sudden jumps between digital zoom levels.
Nikon has made sure that all that extra resolution isn't wasted by adding the option to save uncompressed images in the camera. Once uploaded to your PC, however, you can use software (Altimira's Genuine Fractals LE) that Nikon has thoughtfully bundled with the camera to compress these multi-megabyte images down to a manageable size with little visible loss of detail.
More professional features include the ability to sync up to four external flashes to the camera. Yet, when a picture requires natural light, the Coolpix 990 can be set to soak up the same low-light detail as ISO 400 film.
Even with all the lighting and exposure controls, capturing a hand-held snapshot at exactly the right moment usually requires a fair bit of luck. But, the 990 offers a mode that will squeeze off 10 shots in 5 seconds and automatically choose the most detailed, jitter-free image.
Details like these suggest that Nikon understands the process of photography and cares about the end result: A quality captured image. If they've applied that philosophy as well to this camera as its predecessors, the Coolpix 990 should deliver the goods.
- 3.34 megapixel (2048 x 1536)
- 3x optical, 4x digital zoom (step-less)
- Storage: 16 MB CompactFlash
- Video Capture: 1.5 fps full-res, 30 fps 160x100
- Interface: USB and serial
- Accepts Coolpix lenses (wide-angle, fisheye, telephoto)
- Flash: Red-eye reduction (and up to 4 slave Speedlights)
- Macro: .8" to infinity
- Viewfinder: 1.8" LCD, optical
- Uncompressed TIFF or JPEG
- NTSC/PAL video out
- Power: 4 AA
- Dimensions: 5.9" x 3.1" x 1.5"
- Weight: 13.8 oz. (approx)
- Genuine Fractals 2.0 LE (Altamira Group)
- iPIX immersive imaging
© 2006 Stephen Jones All rights reserved.