Nikon Coolpix A900 Review

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Is the Nikon Coolpix A900 a DSLR Killer?

I know what your thinking: “DSLR Killer? Gimme a break!” Well, hold on to your caps lock keyboard warriors, because it’s story time.  Then, after reading my hands-on Nikon Coolpix A900 review, you may just be as surprised as I am…

Before we get started, think about this: What do we really want in a “good” camera?
Here’s my simple list: ease of use, sharp photos, light-weight body, ergonomic form, and hopefully a good travel companion. Also, reach — like real optical zoom. Can we find all of that in a compact digital camera? A Nikon Coolpix? Well, I think it’s t
ime to start thinking outside of the box for photography! hand-purple-blue-peace

Author’s Note: Keep in mind when reading this article, I’m quite critical of the Nikon A900, often comparing it to expensive DSLRs that cost 10X as much. This camera performed so well, I often forgot it was just a compact point and shoot. 

Nikon Coolpix A900 Specs

Let’s talk a little bit about the specs of the Nikon A900 camera. First of all, 20 Megapixel Backside Illuminated Sensor (5184 x 3888 pixels) isn’t too shabby for a Coolpix! I picked up my A900 used for about $200, which I think is a fair price. 

  • Sensor Size: 20.1 Megapixels (1/2.3” BSI-CMOS)
  • ISO Range: 80-3200
    • Fixed ISO Modes: 80-400 & 80-800
  • Nikkor f/3.4-6.9 24-840mm (35mm equivalent)
  • Weight: 289g
  • Storage: SD Card
  • LCD: 921K dot, 3” Tilting Monitor
  • 4K video at 25 & 30 FPS
  • Full HD Video: 60 FPS!
  • Battery Life: 270 Photos or 50min 1080p Video (EN-EL12 Battery)
  • Wifi & Bluetooth Connect (SnapBridge App)
  • Released in 2016 (MSRP $399)
  • Available in Black and Silver.
  • 2024 Price New: $350 USD

The lens is a 4.3-151mm Nikkor with a variable aperture of f/3.5-6.9. Since the A900 has a crop sensor (just under 1/2″) it has a 35mm-equivalent of a 24-840mm lens, which is insane! The lens also has 5-axis Vibration Reduction, allowing you to get sharper shots when zoomed all the way in to 840mm. Talk about some reach in a tiny point and shoot body that fits in your pocket.

Shooting Photos with the Nikon CoolPix A900 outdoors
Shooting with the Nikon Coolpix A900 point and shoot camera. (Run N Gun Photography)

Coolpix A900 Photo Quality

Let’s really dig into the photo quality of the A900. Yes, as mentioned, the Coolpix A900 does have a 20.1 MP BSI sensor. However, it’s a smaller crop sensor. This means it needs more light than a full frame sensor. 

I recently decided to take only my Coolpix A900 on a weekend get-away. I was going to be doing lots of hiking, so I opted for something that was light-weight, but takes some decent quality snaps. Yup, the A900! While hiking, I did some long exposure shots of waterfalls, and I was pleasantly surprised by how well they turned out! Especially for using rocks and tree branches for tripods…

When shooting on the Nikon A900, I like to lock in my ISO to 80, or utilize the fixed [80-400] ISO setting for a little wiggle room. This allows me to focus on just adjusting my shutter and aperture.

Also, for like the third time now, the reach of a 800mm+ lens is just insane … It’s a sniper! Talk about some power in your pocket! I would have been trekking around with 10+ lbs. of gear if I had opted for a DSLR.

Lastly, I do need to mention the camera has a built in flash, which can be super useful in low light. Some people also love that retro on-camera flash vibe in their photos as well. And, do keep in mind, all of the photo examples in this post (and video) from the A900 are “raw” unedited JPEGs.

4K Video in the Coolpix A900?

In short, yes! The Nikon Coolpix A900 shoots 4K video (3840 x 2160) at 25 and 30 fps. Additionally, it can also do Full-HD 1080P up to 60 fps! But, you should know the quality isn’t anything to brag about. As a filmmaker and video-guy, the .MP4 files feel compressed and a little noisy, especially in lower light situations. However, if you’re a blogger or vlogger on a budget, who isn’t looking to drop thousands of dollars on camera gear alone, it’s definitely a good enough setup for YouTube uploads. The 4K video from the Coolpix A900 is definitely on-par with iPhone video quality. Remember, to give the Nikon A900 plenty of light and you’ll be fine!

**Correction to the Video Review**

You can enable auto focus during video recording if you enable AF-F (Full-time AF) in the Movie Menu.

The Downsides of the A900

This Coolpix performed so well , sometimes I forgot that the A900 was a point and shoot, not a DSLR.  So, anything negative I have to say about this camera is honestly me trying really hard to find something wrong with it. A lot of the features I think might be missing, aren’t really offered on any camera at this price point, OR one that’s 8 years old (in 2024) for that matter.

But I digress. It’s important to remember that point and shoot cameras have pretty small sensors, meaning low-light performance won’t be on par with DSLRs. My best quality shots were during daylight hours with plenty of available light.

I do wish there was a shoe mount for an external mic or a 3.5mm jack to plug a mic in for that matter. Additionally, focusing in on dark objects or in low light takes a couple of tries, it’s not always perfect.

Final Coolpix A900 Thoughts

It took a few months of learning as much as I could, before I felt confident in making my review of the Nikon Coolpix A900. I typically review more expensive DSLRs and Mirrorless camera bodies. I had to be fair, but also honest, and push this little point and shoot to its limits.

The A900 is currently $348 new on Amazon, but you can probably find a used one for about $200-300. These compact digital cameras are really making a comeback, so these prices are going up.

Now, you may say for that price I could get a used DSLR! Yes, you could. Maybe it comes with a lens, maybe you have to drop a few hundred more for 1 or 2 lenses. Also, you’ll have to carry around a chunky camera and bulky lenses. Especially if you want that 840mm reach.

The Nikon A900 is great for when I don’t feel like carrying my DSLRs or Mirrorless cameras, BUT I still need something a little better than a phone. Hiking is a great example of when I’m conscious about the weight. It’s a great EDC, or every-day-carry, camera body. Again, the zoom range puts phone cameras to shame.

Lastly, if you have a Coolpix A900 or want to read more, here’s a link to the Nikon Coolpix A900’s Camera Manual in PDF.

If you enjoyed this post, be sure to subscribe to my Photography Insider Newsletter, (Below) and Subscribe to my YouTube Photography Channel. And, until next time, get out and go shoot. 

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