COOLPIX P3 / P4

Nikon has expanded its range of compact digital cameras with the introduction of the new COOLPIX P3 and COOLPIX P4 models. Both combine an exceptional 8.1 megapixel resolution and a vast array of advanced features for photographic enjoyment. The COOLPIX P3 and P4 feature a 1/1.8-inch CCD and an impressive 8.1 effective megapixels which allow for high quality images even when significantly enlarged.

The COOLPIX P3 and P4 incorporate a high-quality 3.5x Zoom-Nikkor lens with a focal range equivalent to that of a 36-126mm lens in 35mm format. This provides ample opportunity to zoom in for close compositions, zoom right out to capture breathtaking scenery and even enjoy macro shooting from as close as 4cm.

Both the COOLPIX P3 and P4 contain Nikon’s innovative VR (Vibration Reduction) capability. Originally developed for Nikon SLRs, lens shift VR capability is available in two modes that compensate for camera movement to realize a shooting experience akin to shooting at shutter speeds three stops faster. “VR Normal” compensates for the minor movements that can happen all too easily during handheld shooting, while “VR Active” compensates for more pronounced movements. This allows photographers to shoot without blurring in lower light or when taking handheld macro shots, VR also extends to movie shooting and helps support faster framing on the large 2.5-inch 150,000-dot LCD.

The COOLPIX P3 offers built-in Wi-Fi capability and IEEE 802.11b/g LAN support which is easy to set up and use and lets users send images instantly to a selected computer as soon as they’re taken, or alternately send all images stored on memory to a computer in one go. Wireless freedom also extends to printing too, so users can carry out cable-free printing to PictBridge-compatible printers*.

A range of advanced imaging features make the COOLPIX P3 and P4 stand out from other compact digital cameras, giving photographers greater control to produce shots that match their personal tastes. The 11 wide-area AF delivers more accurate autofocus by analysing a larger area of the frame so photographers can experiment with more imaginative compositions. For example, with main subjects positioned away from the centre or with multiple subjects, they can still be assured of crisp, sharp results.

Both cameras offer “Aperture-priority Auto” mode to let the photographer benefit from aperture control in 1/3EV steps, so they can select large apertures for attractive background blurring. For all kinds of shooting, an on-screen histogram provides analytical assistance for exposure. The display demonstrates shadow levels on the left and highlight levels on the right of the large LCD, so users can avoid under and overexposure before they even press the shutter.

There’s also a range of “Advanced Scene” modes (9 Advanced Scene modes; 7 Scene modes) that help photographers capture a single scene with entirely different moods through the use of three effects that vary brightness, colour intensity, sharpness, noise reduction and more.

The COOLPIX P3 and P4 also feature continuous shooting at up to 1.8 frames per second. This capability is also complemented by 5-shot buffer shooting that allows users to keep shooting in a continuous burst and have the camera record the last five images taken.

Both cameras make it easy to shoot movies with sound, with a choice of three modes offering up to 30fps performance. There’s also a “Time-lapse” movie mode that uses pictures shot with the “Interval timer” shooting function to create a movie in which the action appears speeded up.

Images can even be improved in-camera through the use of three innovative Nikon functions. Face-priority AF** cleverly detects people’s faces to achieve sharp focus on them, no matter where they happen to be located in the frame. In-Camera Red-Eye Fix helps users make red-eye a thing of the past by detecting the annoying red-eye effect that can sometimes occur in flash photography and providing automatic compensation for more flattering, natural-looking portraits in low light. There’s also Nikon’s unique D-Lighting function, available in playback mode, which can improve underexposed images or shots taken with too much back light by creating a copy of an image with added light and detail wherever necessary, leaving well-exposed areas exactly as they were.

Operation of the COOLPIX P3 and P4 is exceptionally smooth and user-friendly. Icons are clearer and have optimal proportions, users can opt to select functions by either name or icon, and all menus and icons have been created with a new colour scheme that’s easier on the eye.

The COOLPIX P3 and P4 have been made even more desirable with exterior lines that convey a distinct air of simplicity and quality, yet which feel comfortable in the hand. The use of aluminium throughout the exterior builds on this sense of quality, while the lens and grip sections have been given a flatter, space-efficient form.

Like all COOLPIX cameras, the P3 and P4 come bundled with Nikon’s complimentary and exclusive PictureProject software. Now featuring easy-to-use “Wireless Camera Set-up Utility”, which uses a simple wizard that will configure the cameras for wireless operation for use with the COOLPIX P3, PictureProject adds even more possibilities to digital photography. Complete with an interface that is as elegant as it is simple, it makes for simple image editing and supports easy image organization and sharing, while compatibility with a range of plug-ins lets users add exciting new capabilities on demand.

* Requires optionally available Wireless Printer Adapter PD-10. ** Face recognition capability may be limited in some shooting conditions.

COOLPIX P3

  • Available: End of February 2006.
  • Price: £349.99 / €459

COOLPIX P4

  • Available: Mid March 2006
  • Price: £329.99 / €399

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