DigitalCameraReview.com
Nikon Coolpix P3 Digital Camera Preview
by Ben Stafford -  3/21/2006

The Nikon Coolpix P3 was introduced at PMA at the end of February.  A member of Nikon's "Performance" Coolpix line, the P3 is targeted at the folks who like a nice compact size with some advanced shooting features, like aperture priority modes and easier control over ISO and white balance settings.

nikon coolpix p3
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We'll have a full review forthcoming, but wanted to give you some first impressions.  The Coolpix P3 can capture images at 8.1 megapixels with a 3.5x optical zoom lens.  The 2.5" LCD is your only option for framing your shots.  Fortunately, the LCD is very impressive, with good resolution (150K pixels), good color, and it's very fluid.  Nikon has also included Vibration Reduction with the Coolpix P3 (and the Coolpix P4) that has two modes (active and passive) to provide some excellent image stabilization that lets you shoot at shutter speeds 3 stops slower than without stabilization.  The Coolpix P3 also includes 801.11b/g WiFi capabilities.

nikon coolpix p3
(view large image)

The camera is very compact - a lot smaller than you would expect an "advanced" point and shoot camera to be.  I like to compare it to a bar of soap with rounded corners.  For me, the ergonomics would take some getting used to, since I typically like cameras with more of a "grip".  This is a totally subjective observation, however, so take it with a grain of salt and try it out for yourself.

So far, I've been impressed with the operation of the camera.  It's easy to access menus, the camera operates fairly quickly, and what I've seen on the images so far put the image quality as top notch.  Some things that I need to test a bit more is the flash "power", noise levels, and battery life.  Stay tuned for the full review in a week or two!