Retro Evaluation: 23 years later, Nikon’s swivel-design Coolpix 950 stays enjoyable and spectacular: Digital Pictures Evaluation

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Retro digicam lovers can be happy to see that Gordon Laing of Cameralabs is again with a brand new Retro Review, this time centered on the Nikon Coolpix 950. It has been time for retro Nikon followers recently, as Laing’s final Retro Review was for the flagship Nikon D1 DSLR. The Coolpix 950 launched the identical yr because the D1, 1999, though the 2 cameras are, unsurprisingly, very completely different from one another.

Whereas the Nikon D1 sported industry-leading know-how, the way more inexpensive Coolpix 950 was nonetheless extraordinarily standard. In our Coolpix 950 review, Phil Askey wrote, ‘Because the story broke again in mid–February, the Nikon Coolpix 950 (known as the 950 from now onwards) has generated a fever which has gripped the digital pictures world on the Web, firstly with its announcement and the frenzy from the key web sites to publish as a lot info as potential. To the newsgroups buzzing with rumors and specs to resellers pre-selling a whole bunch of models.’ What made the digicam such a sizzling commodity? The sooner Coolpix 900S (E910 in Japan) had been profitable and showcased what digital cameras had been able to. The 950’s eye-catching swivel-body design did not damage, both.

Nikon Coolpix 950

Of the split-body idea, Laing writes, ‘One yr earlier, the unique silver-colored COOLPIX 900 launched the split-body idea with the lens, sensor, viewfinder and flash within the left half, leaving the display, controls, batteries and grip in the correct. You’d maintain the correct half, whereas twisting the imaging portion by simply over 270 levels, permitting you to shoot comfortably at excessive or low angles and even face backwards for selfies.’ The design wasn’t distinctive, particularly on the time, with cameras from Minolta, Ricoh, Casio, JVC and Sony promoting related split-body cameras. Nevertheless, the efficiency of earlier Coolpix fashions, the 950’s new options, and the purposeful design helped the Coolpix 950 make a splash in ’99.

The Coolpix 950 was constructed on the inspiration laid by the 900, however the design idea was improved by a extra professional-looking black physique with crimson accents, very like Nikon’s high-end movie cameras. The magnesium physique delivered rounder corners and a extra ergonomic grip. ‘They’re delicate changes, however add as much as a digicam that appears and feels much less like an digital toy and extra like a extra severe digicam for skilled use,’ Laing writes. Even 23 years later, the 950’s design holds up, and the twisting mechanism ‘stays an ergonomic triumph.’ It is a degree of bodily interplay trendy digital cameras do not provide, even with their fancy tilting touchscreens.

Not each facet of the design is ideal. Whereas the 4 AA batteries for energy is okay, the truth that a tripod mount blocks the battery and card (Sort-I Compact Flash) slots is irritating. This was remedied within the later Coolpix 990. Menu navigation is okay, though once more, the Coolpix 990 and 995 provided enhancements by a tactile wheel for higher management.

Picture credit score: Gordon Laing / Cameralabs

If the design and value holds up greater than twenty years later, what of the picture high quality? The Coolpix 950 sports activities a half-inch kind 2.1MP CCD picture sensor. The ensuing pictures are 1600×1200 pixels. You could possibly shoot JPEG pictures at varied qualities, plus uncompressed full-res TIFF information, however these are 8MB per file and can fill a typical card in 1999 in a photograph or two. The ISO ranges from 80 to 400 and you may shoot at 1.5 frames per second.

The Coolpix 950 might focus as shut as 2cm, delivering spectacular macro capabilities. Picture credit score: Gordon Laing / Cameralabs

Paired with the two.1MP sensor is a 3x optical zoom with an equal focal size vary of 38-115mm. The max aperture ranges from F2.6 to 4. Laing notes that the lens’s most spectacular characteristic is its shut focusing distance of simply 2cm, which is feasible about halfway by the zoom vary. This allowed for spectacular macro taking pictures. You could possibly additionally use the digicam to scan movie with an elective ES-E28 adapter. Sadly, the macro mode and self-timer are in the identical menu place, so you possibly can’t use each concurrently. Non-obligatory lens adapters present extra flexibility, permitting customers to extend or lower the sector of view. You may even use a fisheye adapter to extend the sector of view to 183 levels.

Picture credit score: Gordon Laing / Cameralabs

Whereas the Coolpix 950 was rapidly supplanted by the Coolpix 990 and 995 fashions, it stays the digicam that helped remodel inexpensive digital cameras from toys to instruments. Whereas extra buttoned-up than prior digital cameras, the 950 appears to nonetheless be mighty enjoyable to make use of, even at this time. To learn Laing’s full impressions of the Coolpix 950, visit Cameralabs. There you may additionally discover many extra pattern pictures to get pleasure from. If you would like to see extra movies, go to Dino Bytes by Gordon Laing on YouTube. Lastly, to learn protection of extra of Laing’s Retro Evaluations, click here.

All pictures courtesy of Gordon Laing and used with permission

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