Nikon Coolpix A900
Ergonomics and workmanship
Like the Panasonic Lumix DC-TZ91 and the Canon PowerShot SX730 HS, the Nikon Coolpix A900 is a travel zoom camera. The main feature of this type of camera is a comparatively small body, which accommodates a large zoom lens. In the case of the A900, it is an optically image-stabilized 4.3 to 151 mm lens with a 35x zoom factor. The focal length is adjusted with a ring rocker that encloses the shutter release and provides the photographer with two zoom speeds analogous to the operating intensity. The large zoom range is achieved thanks to a small 1/ 2.3″ image sensor on CMOS technology and corresponds to the image section of a 24 to 840 mm 35mm zoom. The speed of the lens is F3.4 to F6.9 and is therefore not very fast due to the design. The sensor effectively delivers 20.3 megapixels, combining high resolution with a small footprint. Whether Nikon has the problems that such a combination brings with it under control with the A900, we will clarify a little later in the test.
The camera’s controls are conveniently located on the back, next to the 180 degree up and 85 degree down 7.5 cm screen. If the monitor is folded upwards by 180 degrees, the display is reduced so that the photographer has a full overview without the camera body covering any part of the image. Unfortunately Nikon didn’t give the A900 a touchscreen, so the photographer has to navigate through the different menus with the omnisector and the rotating wheels. Particularly important functions have their own buttons on the back of the camera. As with the Canon SX730 HS, the Coolpix A900 has a mechanically unlockable “pop-up” flash, which can hardly be covered by accident with a finger. On the top of the camera there is a mode dial, shutter release button and a relatively smooth-running dial. The shutter release has an easy to detect pressure point that activates pre-focusing. Pre-focusing also allows the camera to quickly take the shutter release. It takes much longer if the shutter release button is “pulled through”. Also the focal length has strong influence on the release speed. Thus a shot without pre-focusing takes a very long time in contrast to pre-focusing. It is recommended to activate the “pre-focus” function in the camera. The autofocus also has different modes of operation such as face detection, subject tracking and manual target selection. However, the photographer does not have the option to focus manually.
The illuminated on/off switch is also located on the upper side. The A900 also has a dedicated shutter release for video recording. However, this is attached to the back. A rubberized handpiece is attached to the front of the camera to give the photographer more security when grabbing the camera. The camera can be connected to a smart device via WLAN or Bluetooth. In addition, a micro HDMI and USB cable can be used for image or data transfer. These two connectors are located under a soft plastic cover on the right side of the camera. The USB port is also used to charge the A900’s lithium-ion battery. It doesn’t matter if the original Nikon power supply is used by other manufacturers or not. During charging, a small lamp on the back of the camera blinks to inform the photographer that charging is not complete. When the lamp stops blinking and does not light, the battery is charged and the photographer can start with a full battery.
On the underside of the camera there is a “¼” tripod thread, which is clearly outside the optical axis of the lens. The combined battery/memory card compartment can also be found on the underside. Practically, Nikon gave the A900 the possibility to connect a power supply. This is connected to the camera via a battery compartment adapter and then provides continuous current. The USB plug charger, on the other hand, cannot be used as a power supply unit because the camera cannot be switched on when connected to a USB power supply unit or switches off as soon as the STecker is plugged into the socket. The memory cards used are cards with the SD form factor and SDHC and SDXC technology.
As usual with cameras with a mode dial, the A900 also uses this to select the most important operating modes. On the mode dial you will find the two semi-automatic operating modes as well as the manual mode. All three modes allow the photographer to gain more control over his shot. In addition, there is an automatic mode on the mode dial in which the camera takes over all settings, as well as the scene programs. This is also the automatic scene mode, in which the camera recognizes a scene situation and automatically adjusts all shooting parameters to match the recognized subject. By pressing the “Menu” button, the photographer can also directly select individual scene modes instead of this automatic mode. Among other things, the selection includes a panorama and a time-lapse film function. The “Creative” mode is hidden behind a camera icon on the mode dial. But there is not much to adjust in this mode. This mode offers “only” the possibility to select different categories of color effects. If a photo is then taken, the camera saves different variants of a motif in the different color effects. Only one of these effects can be assigned to the video recording and the video will be recorded with this effect.
The last function on the mode dial is the “short film demonstration”. This allows the photographer to create a sequence of film clips of different lengths with special effects and background music. However, the A900 does not have a dedicated video mode; the camera can record videos at 30 frames per second in any operating mode with a maximum 4K resolution (3,840 x 2,160). The only exception is the “short film screening” mode. Here the resolution is limited to Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) with 30 frames per second.
The stereo microphone responsible for the sound recording was placed on the right side of the lens, whereby the right of the two microphones is located very close to the rubber grip and is already slightly covered with normal sized hands. In addition, the left microphone is close to the lens and clearly records the zoom noise, although the speed of the zoom is reduced during video recording. The sudden release of the zoom ring can also be heard very clearly. In addition, the lens should “shadow” some of the noise from the left side. The distance between the two microphones is relatively small, but should be sufficient to produce a solid stereo effect. The camera automatically adjusts the sound and provides an automatic filter to reduce wind noise.
The special effects, of which the camera has a total of seven, can only be applied to the images during playback, i.e. afterwards. The existing image is not replaced, but a new photo with the special effect is saved. Special effects can also be applied multiple times to an image, allowing different effects to be combined.
The aforementioned option to connect the camera to a smart device via Bluetooth only works if the SnapBridge app is installed on the device. Unfortunately the functionality of the app is very limited. Thanks to Bluetooth, it can transfer GPS data directly to the camera and share images in social media and cloud memories as well as a live view and trigger function (for which WLAN is activated), but no recording settings can be changed. This turns the app for the actual camera function into a simple remote trigger.
As usual with travel zoom cameras, the Nikon Coolpix A900 also has a very large focal length range. While the loss of sharpness in the 24 mm and 150 mm corresponding focal lengths is small and decreases only slightly at higher apertures to the edge, the loss of sharpness in the maximum 840 mm focal length is clearly recognizable on a 20 x 30 cm printout. The edge darkening is low in all focal length ranges. The highest darkening is 0.3 EV and occurs at wide angle when the aperture is open. The infamous colour fringes or transverse chromatic aberrations are clearly more visible. In the wide angle these are clearly visible with open aperture, then decrease with closing aperture and are only easily visible with middle aperture. In the medium or long focal length, these errors are represented by the slight visibility in the center of the image up to the strong visibility at the edge.
As expected, the results of the resolution measurement show values resulting from a long focal length, a small sensor, a low light intensity and a high sensor resolution. While the resolution in the wide-angle range only decreases visibly with the maximum aperture closed, in the maximum telephoto range the camera shows a slightly visible blur in the center of the image and a clear blur in the edge area, which is less than half the resolution in the center of the image (referred to a 20 x 30 cm print).
The internal image processing of the camera sharpens the images visibly. This is particularly important when the aperture is open and in the wide-angle range. With increasing aperture these artefacts disappear, which is to be led back to the diffraction-blur. This behavior is common for shoot-to-print cameras. The signal-to-noise ratio, i.e. the difference between the picture signal and the noise of the signal, is acceptable in low ISO settings and then decreases continuously. In the case of texture sharpness, the camera shows a clear over-sharpening in the lower ISO range, while the texture sharpness decreases linearly from ISO 200 to increase sensitivity and becomes visibly blurred from ISO 400. The luminance noise is only slightly visible up to high ISO settings, as is the color noise, which is most clearly visible at ISO 800.
The input dynamic of the A900 is normal over the sensitivity range, but it decreases continuously as the ISO sensitivity increases. The tonal value transmission is divided into parts that match the shoot-to-print character of the camera. The tonal range, i.e. the number of brightness levels that can be displayed in the image, is good with the camera Up to ISO 200, after which it decreases continuously, but only falls below the 96 gray levels that can be displayed at the end of the sensitivity adjustment.
The colour rendering of the Coolpix A900 “defuses” cyan tones a little, which benefits landscape shots with a blue sky. The camera also slightly reduces saturation in the green tones. For this it is increased in the magenta tones and a little in the red tones. The color deviation of the camera is small.
The most important criteria of a travel zoom camera include a small housing, a large zoom and a high-resolution sensor. The Nikon Coolpix A900 fulfils these criteria with flying colours. Unfortunately, the disadvantages resulting from the combination are also confirmed. These are reflected in the image resolution and the image noise, thus the image quality. The A900 is convincing on the equipment side. In addition to the various functions for individualizing images and the different motif programs, we liked the 4K video function. The fact that the camera does not have a touch screen monitor is compensated by the mobility of the monitor and the successful user guidance. Despite the “always with you” character of the camera, the shutter release delay with autofocus could be a bit faster than it is. The camera is easily lined up is the camera models of the competitors, which should facilitate the camera choice alone about the different equipment features.
Two new stylish compact cameras Coolpix A300 and A900 from Nikon: Lots of zoom in a compact housing
The innovations of the A300 are really limited, because there are none besides SnapBridge. Thanks to SnapBridge, the camera remains permanently connected to a smartphone via Bluetooth in an energy-saving manner and transfers its photos in the background in low resolution, so that they are immediately available for sharing, for example via Facebook. In the same way, the smartphone also transfers useful data to the camera, namely the current location, which is noted in the EXIF data of the photos. Otherwise, the eightfold optical zoom of the equivalent of 25 to 200 millimeters, including optical image stabilizer and the BSI CMOS sensor with a resolution of 20 megapixels, is a good feature for the money. The A300 records videos in full HD resolution and stores them as MP4 files on the SD, SDHC or SDXC memory card. The Coolpix makes the shooting settings automatically, but the photographer can also select one of the scene modes himself. The 230,000 pixel 6.7 centimeter screen serves as a viewfinder and for image control of the 20 millimeter flat camera. The replaceable lithium-ion battery is charged via USB.
As the successor to the S9900, the Coolpix A900 accommodates an optical 35x zoom of the equivalent of 24 to 840 millimetres including image stabiliser in the 40 millimetre flat housing. The BSI CMOS sensor now resolves 20 instead of 16 megapixels and even offers a 4K video function with 30 frames per second. Thanks to SnapBridge, the camera and smartphone remain permanently energy-efficient in connection with the exchange of images in two megapixels resolution (from the camera to the smartphone) and location information (from the smartphone to the camera). The rear 7.5-centimeter screen resolves fine 921,000 pixels and can now only be folded up and down, Nikon has saved the pan-rotate mechanism. Selfies are still possible thanks to the 180-degree folding mechanism. In addition to automatic and scene modes, the A900 also offers semi-automatic and manual exposure modes.
The rear screen is a 7.7 centimetre touch screen that can be tilted to the side and rotated up, forward and down, allowing shots to be taken from unusual perspectives up to Selfies. The screen has a resolution of 1.04 million pixels and an aspect ratio of 3:2. Thanks to active NFC (works even with the camera switched off), Bluetooth and WLAN, the Canon EOS 800D and EOS 77D have modern connectivity functions. Bluetooth enables remote triggering, for which Canon offers an extra Bluetooth remote control (BR-E1) with a range of five metres (also without visual contact) as an accessory. WLAN can be used not only to transmit images and place them on social networks, for example, but also to remote control the camera via a smartphone app with live image display on the smartphone. Canon also offers the GP-E2, a plug-in GPS.
Canon has developed the EF-S 18-55mm F4-5.6 IS STM, a new, particularly compact set lens to match the EOS 800D and EOS 77D. According to Canon it is the smallest of its kind (without retractable tube). It has an iris diaphragm with seven slats and an image stabilizer with four exposure levels effectiveness. In addition, the stepper motor (STM) should not only be particularly quiet, which is important for video recordings, but also work precisely and quickly.
|Sensor||CMOS 1/2.3″ 6.2 x 4.6 mm (crop factor 5.6
)21.1 megapixels (physical)
20.3 megapixels (effective)
|Pixel pitch||1.2 µm|
|Resolution (max.)||5.184 x 3.888 (4:3)|
|Video (max.)||3.840 x 2.160 30p|
|Filter threads||No filter thread installed|
|Monitor||3.0″ (7.5 cm)|
|AV connector||HDMI Output Micro (Type D)|
|Automatic motif control||yes|
|Bulb long time exposure||–|
|Panorama function||yes, Sweep panorama|
|Exposure metering||Multi-field, center-weighted Integral|
|fastest shutter speed||1/2.000 s|
|Synchronous time||1/2.000 s|
|GPS||external, permanent smartphone connection|
|Remote release||yes, remote control via Smartphone/Tablet|
SD (SDHC, SDXC)
|Number of measuring fields||99 contrast sensors|
|Speed||0.51 to 1.22 s|
|AF auxiliary light||LED|
|Dimensions (WxHxD)||113 x 67 x 40 mm|
|Weight (ready for operation)||298 g|
|Tripod socket||outside the optical axis|
|Zoom adjustment||Ring rocker (motorised)|
|Battery life||270 images according to CIPA standard|
|– = “not applicable” or “not available”|
This test of the Nikon Coolpix A900 was created with DxO Analyzer from DxO Labs.
- Foldable Monitor
- Easy to use
- 4K video recording
- Slight colour deviations
- Slow shutter release without pre-focusing
- No touch screen
- Low signal-to-noise ratio with significant loss of detail from ISO 400
- No manual focus
Nikon Coolpix A900 Datasheet
|Sensor||CMOS sensor 1/2.3″ 6.2 x 4.6 mm (crop factor 5.6
)21.1 megapixels (physical), 20.3 megapixels (effective)
|Pixel pitch||1.2 µm|
|Colour depth||24 bits (8 bits per color channel)|
|Metadata||Exif (version 2.3), DCF standard|
|Focal length||24 to 840 mm (35mm equivalent
.3 to 151 mm (physical)
4x digital zoom
|Focus range||50 cm to infinity (wide-angle
)200 cm to infinity (telephoto)
|Macro sector||1 cm (wide-angle
)200 cm (telephoto)
|Apertures||F3.4 to F8 (wide-angle
)F6.9 to F8 (telephoto)
|ND filter||ND filter|
|Autofocus mode||Contrast autofocus with 99 measuring fields|
|Autofocus Functions||Single autofocus, continuous autofocus, tracking autofocus, AFL function|
|Filter threads||No filter thread|
Viewfinder and Monitor
|Monitor||3.0″ (7.5 cm) OLED monitor with 921,000 pixels, anti-glare, brightness adjustable, tiltable by 180° upwards to 85° downwards|
|Exposure metering||Center-weighted integral measurement, matrix/multi-field measurement
, special features: Spot measurement from digital zoom 2x, center-weighted measurement up to digital zoom 2x
|Exposure times||1/2,000 to 8 s (Manual)|
|Exposure control||Fully automatic, Program automatic, Aperture automatic, Aperture automatic, Manual, Motif automatic|
|Bracketing function||HDR function|
|Exposure compensation||-2.0 to +2.0 EV with step size of 1/3 EV|
|Sensitivity to light||ISO 80 to ISO 3.200 (automatic
)ISO 80 to ISO 3.200 (manual)
|Remote access||Remote control via Smartphone/Tablet|
|Motives||Auto, Twilight, Fireworks, Indoor, Landscape, Food, Macro, Night Scene, Night Portrait, Portrait, Sunset, Sports, Beach/Snow, Animals, 0 more Picture Programs|
|Picture effects||Fisheye, miniature effect, portrait, star grid, cyanotype, high key, high contrast monochrome, vivid colors, low key, star grid, drawing, 3 more image effects|
|White balance||Automatic, Clouds, Sun, Shadow, Fluorescent lamp, Incandescent light, Manual|
|Continuous shooting||Continuous shooting function max. 6.9 fps at highest resolution and max. 5 stored photos, L-Continuous 2.2 fps max. 36 images; Pre-Shot Cache up to 25 images at approx. 20 fps|
|Self-timer||Self-timer with a distance of 2 s, special features: .5 or 10 s (optional)|
|Shooting functions||AEL function, AFL function, live histogram|
|Lightning bolt||built-in flash (hinged)|
|Flash range||0.5 to 6.0 m at wide angle1
.5 to 3.5 m at telephoto flash sync
|Flash functions||Auto, Fill-in flash, Flash on, Flash off, Slow sync, Red-eye reduction with pre-flash|
Equipment and equipment
|Image stabilizer||electronic image stabilizer, lens shift (optical)|
SD (SDHC, SDXC)
|Internal memory||yes (19 MByte)|
|GPS function||GPS external (permanent smartphone connection)|
|Power supply||Power supply connectionUSB charging function
(only with manufacturer-specific charger)
|Power supply||1 x Nikon EN-EL12 (lithium ion (Li-Ion), 3.7 V, 1,050 mAh
EH-71P power supply unit
|Playback Functions||Red eye retouching, crop images, image rotation, protect image, highlight / shadow warning, playback histogram, image index, shrink|
|Face recognition||Face recognition|
|Grid can be faded in during recording||no|
|Special functions||Orientation sensor, Live View|
|Ports||Data interfaces: Bluetooth, USBUSB type
: USB 2.0 High SpeedWLAN
: available (type: B, G, N)
NFC: availableAudio output
: noAudio input
: noVideo output
: yes (HDMI output Micro (type D))
|Supported direct printing methods||PictBridge|
|Tripod socket||1/4″ not in optical axis|
|Features and Miscellaneous||Active-D-LightingTime-lapse functionShort clip function
with music selectionMulti-exposure function Various
retrofittable color effects (retro, color filter, colorkey and others)
Size and weight
|Weight||298 g (operational)|
|Dimensions W x H x D||113 x 67 x 40 mm|
|included accessories||Nikon AN-CP19 Storage AccessoriesNikon
EH-71P Power SupplyNikon
EN-EL12 Special BatteryNikon
UC-E21 USB CablePower Adapter
with Charging Function EH-71PTransport LoopCamera SoftwareViewNX 2
|optional accessory||Nikon EH-62F Power supply unitNikon
EN-EL12 Special batteryNikon
MH-65 Charger for special batteriesBattery chargerRemovable memory cardCamera bag
Firmware Updates for the Nikon Coolpix W100, B700 and A900
In addition, a rare problem has been fixed that in rare cases prevented the camera from restoring normal operation when the camera was restarted after the “Turn camera off and on again” message appeared. The firmware update also fixes the problem that sometimes caused position data added using the SnapBridge app to be displayed incorrectly, as well as the phenomenon that photos were rarely taken in black and white. The firmware updates can be downloaded from the Nikon support website and installed according to the instructions there. If you don’t have the confidence to do this yourself, you should ask your dealer or the Nikon Service for support.