Nikon Coolpix P3 Review

By Movable Type Admin

Nikon Coolpix P3


First Look posted 2/21/2006
Full review posted 4/14/2006

Introduction & Physical Views


Click to take a QuickTime VR tour of the Nikon Coolpix P3
Click on the Coolpix P3 to take a QuickTime VR tour


The COOLPIX P3 features 8.1 effective megapixels of image resolution and delivers professional-quality imaging power to the average consumer. The high-quality 3.5x Zoom- Nikkor lens has a focal range equivalent to that of a 36-126mm lens in 35mm format and the large and bright 2.5-inch LCD makes for easy viewing in all conditions. The camera is compact and lightweight, measuring just 3.6 x 2.4 x 1.2 inches and weighing less than six ounces. It's also equipped with built-in WiFi support for wireless image transfer, printing and operation.

The P3 is loaded with Nikon's innovative and exclusive in-camera technology to make it easy to capture great pictures. A fully automatic mode allows anyone to easily capture great photos and Aperture-Priority Auto and 16 Scene Modes will please the more advanced users. Face-Priority AF makes certain that faces remain in focus when shooting portraits by automatically sensing the presence of a human face within the frame and setting accurate focus accordingly. The In-Camera Red-Eye Fix™ technology automatically detects and corrects red eyes in an image while the D-Lighting function automatically compensates for insufficient flash or excessive backlighting. To ensure a crisp, clear image before leaving the scene, Blur Warning will alert the user that a shot has been compromised.

In addition to high quality still images you can also shoot movies with sound, with a choice of three modes offering up to VGA (640x480 @ 30fps) size resolution. There's also a Time-lapse movie mode without sound that uses pictures shot with the Interval timer shooting function to create a movie in which the action appears speeded up.

Incorporating the VR (Vibration Reduction) system originally developed for Nikon SLR cameras, the P3 operates in two modes; VR Normal mode compensates for the minor camera movement commonly encountered when taking handheld shots, and VR Active mode compensates for more pronounced movements, such as when shooting from a moving vehicle. Providing a shooting experience akin to shooting at shutter speeds three stops faster, it enables photographers to shoot without blurring in lower light, keeps subjects clear when panning, and also helps support faster framing on the LCD. What's more, the benefits of VR (Normal mode) assurance also extend to movie shooting so users can capture action with welcome stability.

The built-in Wi-Fi capability makes it easy to set up and effortless to operate with a wireless network or just a single computer. The IEEE 802.11b/g support means users can send individual images from the camera to a computer the moment they are shot. Or you can also send a whole batch of images to a computer simultaneously and even carry out cable-free printing with PictBridge-compatible printers that are equipped with the optional Wireless Printer Adapter PD-10.

The included Nikon PictureProject software work together with the camera seamlessly to make wireless photo transfer as easy as 1-2-3. The Wireless Camera Setup Utility, which uses a simple seven-step Wizard that will configure the cameras for wireless operation. The latest version of PictureProject offers convenient options allowing users, for example, to import wireless images automatically into a slideshow as well as tools to edit, organize, design and share images. The software is designed to extend the enjoyment of taking pictures: transferring images from camera to computer, organizing images so they are easy to find, editing them to add an extra sparkle, designing ways to show off the pictures and sharing them with friends and family.


Coolpix P3 Features:

  • 8-megapixel effective CCD for prints up to 13x19 inches
  • Nikkor 3.5x optical zoom lens (36-126mm in 35mm equivalent)
  • Compact, durable and lightweight body
  • WiFi 802.11b/g wireless connectivity
  • Vibration Reduction (VR) for sharp, blur-free images and movies
  • Macro focus with AF as close as 1.6 inches
  • Selectable 99-point AF: Auto-multi (11 points) or Center-focus area selection available
  • Exclusive Face Priority AF makes taking incredible portraits easy
  • 256-segment Matrix Metering with Center-weighted, Spot, or Spot AF metering
  • Large 2.5-inch glare-resistant color monitor
  • Program AE, Aperture priority and 16 pre-programmed Scene modes
  • Single, Continuous, 5-shot burst, Multi-Shot 16 modes
  • 640x480 @ 30fps movie mode with sound, length limited only by memory card capacity
  • Attach voice memos up to 20 seconds to still images
  • Built-in flash with auto, fill, slow sync, and red-eye reduction
  • Nikon's D-Lighting automatically brightens dark images in playback mode
  • In-Camera Red-Eye Fix™ automatically fixes most instances of red-eye in the camera
  • TTL Auto White Balance, 6 presets, custom set and bracketing
  • 23MB internal memory and SD memory card slot
  • USB connectivity, PictBridge direct-print compliant
  • Rechargeable Li-ion battery and charger included




Physical Views

Nikon Coolpix P3

Nikon Coolpix P3

Nikon Coolpix P3 Nikon Coolpix P3

Nikon Coolpix P3

Nikon Coolpix P3



Nikon Coolpix P3

The Coolpix P3 compared to a standard CD disc.




Nikon Coolpix P3

Nikon Coolpix P3

The Coolpix P3 and the Coolpix P4 which is identical but lacks WiFi capability.




Continue to the
Features & Controls Page


Coolpix P3 Specifications

Effective pixels: 8.1 million
CCD: 1/1.8-inch high-density CCD (8.3 million total pixels)
Image modes: 8M (3264), 5M (2592), 3M (2048), PC (1024), TV (640), 3:2 (3264)
Lens: 3.5x Zoom-Nikkor; 7.5-26.3mm (35mm format equivalent to approx. 36-126mm); f/2.7-5.3; 7 elements in 6 groups; Digital zoom: up to 4x
Focus system: Contrast gradient TTL, 11-point wide area, center point or 99 manually selectable points
Focus range (approx.): Normal: 30cm (1 ft.) to infinity
Macro: 4cm (1.6 in.) to infinity
LCD monitor: 2.5-inch type, 150,000-dot TFT LCD monitor with brightness adjustment
Storage media: Internal memory (approx. 23MB), SD memory card
Shooting modes: Auto, Programmed Auto, Aperture-priority Auto mode

9 Advanced Scene modes (Portrait [Face AF], Portrait, Night Portrait, Landscape, Night Landscape, Sunset, Dusk/Dawn, Fireworks Show, Close Up)

7 Scene modes (Party/Indoor, Panorama Assist, Beach/Snow, Back light, Museum, Copy, Sports)

BSS (Best Shot Selector), Date Imprint, Self-timer (3, 10 sec.)

Movie: With sound: TV movie (640) at 30fps, Small size (320) at 30fps, Smaller size (160) at 30fps

Without sound: Time-lapse movie at 30fps

Lens shift VR (Vibration Reduction) Normal available

Vibration Reduction (VR): Lens shift VR (Normal/Active/Off)
Capture modes: 1) Single
2) Continuous (approx. 1.8fps)
3) Multi-shot 16 (approx. 1.7fps, only available at image size 8M)
4) Ultra HS (approx. 30fps up to 100 shots)
5) 5 shot buffer (approx. 1.8fps)
6) Interval timer shooting
Number of frames (w/internal memory): 8M: FINE approx. 6, NORMAL approx. 12, BASIC approx. 23
Built-in flash: Range: Approx. 0.4-4.0m/16 in. - 13 ft. 1 in. (W), 0.4-2.0m/16 in. - 6 ft. 7 in. (T)
Flash modes: Auto, Auto with Red-eye Reduction (In-Camera Red-Eye Fix), Flash Cancel, Anytime Flash and Slow sync.
Interface: IEEE 802.11b/g, USB, Audio Video output
Wireless capability: IEEE 802.11b/g, wireless range up to 30m (depending on environment)
Supported languages: German, English, Spanish, French, Italian, Dutch, Russian, Swedish, Japanese, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Korean, Thai, Portuguese, Polish, Indonesian, Finnish, Danish, Norwegian, Czech selectable in menu display
Power requirements: Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL5 (supplied), AC Adapter EH-62A (optional)
Battery life (approx.): 200 shots with EN-EL5 (based on CIPA standard)
Dimensions (WxHxD): Approx. 92 x 61 x 31mm (3.6 x 2.4 x 1.2 in.) excluding projections
Weight (approx.): 170g (5.6 oz.) without battery and SD memory card
Supplied accessories*: Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL5, Battery Charger MH-61, USB Cable UC-E6, Audio Video Cable EG-CP14, Strap, PictureProject CD-ROM
Optional accessories: AC Adapter EH-62A, Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL5, Wireless Printer Adapter PD-10 (P3 only) * Supplied accessories may differ by country or area.
PictureProject System Requirements OS Macintosh: Mac® OS X version 10.1.5 or later (version 10.2.8 or later required for Burn Disc option) / Windows: Windows® XP Home Edition/Professional, Windows® 2000 Professional, Windows® Me, Windows® 98SE pre-installed models RAM Macintosh: 64MB or more recommended/ Windows: 64MB or more recommended (128MB with Pictmotion option) Hard disk 60MB required for installation Display 800 x 600 or more with 16-bit color (full color recommended) Others CD-ROM drive required for installation Only built-in USB ports are supported
Specifications are as represented by the manufacturer


Continue to the
Features & Controls Page





Return To Our
Reviews Menu











Visitors of Steves can visit the stores below for real-time pricing and availability. You can also find hot, soon to expire online offers on a variety of cameras and accessories at our very own Camera Deals page.