CoolPix 990 Comments
The 990 seems like a great camera. Perhaps the only (and maybe significant) omission is the ability to use Type II CF cards. How much more useful would the 990 be if it could take an IBM Microdrive?David..

Comments (10)

"Shot to shot cycle time is very good though, at only 1.7 seconds for the first two shots in highest-quality JPEG mode, at which point the buffer memory is full and you have to wait something on the order of 7 seconds or so for it to empty."Wait a minute. With a buffer memory of 32 MB, the camera still only has enough memory to store two pictures before it has to flush to the CompactFlash card?Even if the camera has to use 10 MB to hold the RGB data of the picture it has just taken, that still leaves 22 MB of fast SDRAM memory which could easily be used to hold JPEG compressed images. With 22 MB, the camera should have enough space to hold between 15 and 40 images before it would have to flush a single image to the CompactFlash.Instead, apparently it saves the pictures as uncompressed, 9 MB RGB pictures. That's so stupid with a camera that as a JPEG compressed chip built-in! What a waste of space.And what, I wonder, is the reason for the "1.7 second" delay between shots? I don't know the speed of the e990 SDRAM buffer, but at 66 MHz it should have the bandwidth to store at least 50 full size JPEG pictures per second...

Comment #1

The thing STILL has no cable release. The inability to easily trip the Nikon's shutter (without touching and jiggling the camera) continues to be so bizarre...I suspect that Nikon has, for years, been protecting sales of it's much more expensive professional digital cameras by keeping cable releases away from the cheaper ones. I'm a professional photographer who has taken over a thousand images with last years Coolpix 950. I still shake my head with disbelief that Nikon can put an exposure histogram into picture playback but they'll still force me to spend an extra $4000 if I want a camera that doesn't jiggle when you press the shutter while it's on a tripod...

Comment #2

The Coolpix 950 had 48MB of buffer RAM and was able to hold 8 full resolution images before the buffer was full. This is 6MB/photo, which IMHO is a bit much, since the CCD only produces about 2M pixels at 10 bits/pixel. 4MB ought to have been enough to hold the raw data for processing. Obviously they are buffering RGB data.At 3 MPixels, a single photo will need 9MB of storage space, if stored as 3x8 bit RGB data. 32/9 is just over 3. So, you can have two buffered images plus one and the camera is then full.I'm still hoping that Nikon will be able to do something about this.

Storing RGB data instead of CCD data (even they "wasted" 16 bits per pixel) is a bad idea at full resolution.The sequence length even in XGA mode has been reduced.I think benefits still outweigh this problem, but it is something I had to think about. I guess it was a question of keeping the cost of the camera down. If I could get an additional 32MB or 64MB of buffer memory for the 990, I think I would be willing to pay at least $100 more for it.P.S. The main use for full resolution sequence shooting mode on the 950 was with an external flash. The best way to get good portraits with an external flash is to shoot longer sequences and then later on choose the best photos...

Comment #3

Query: The write-up lists the 990's lens speed as 3.5-9.8 It does so twice. The lens in the photo is labeled 2.5-4.0. Clearly this could be incorrect as it's a proto using "available" parts prior to mfg line start-up. BUT Which is correct? Any idea?Second, the ISO400 speed is no longer listed for this camera; 200 is the max speed listed today.Be happy to buy one today, but am Not going to buy (what is essentially) an f/4 point & shoot. (The Casio f/2.0 would appear to be a better choice if the lens is not 2.5 or 2.8.Thanks, Mike G..

Comment #4

BTW, the Nikon website lists the lens as f2.5 to 4.0 So hopefully the hypographical terror beast made it 3.5??Mike G..

Comment #5

The review states that the 990 suffers from a "purple'ing of blues" that is common to alot of digicams. However, the others that I looked at (Kodak DC290, FujiFilm, and Casio QV3000) don't do this to the degree that the Nikon does. Kodak and Casio did the best job with th blues although reds looked washed out on Casio and yellows are way oversaturated on the Kodak.Is this purple'ing of blues effect noticable in real life or is it limited to those flowers on this site's test shots? I might wait and see what Kokdak has in store for it's next gen camera. Lack of CFII support on the 990 is a shame...

Comment #6

After downloading the test images, and comparing them with 950's using Adobe's software, it is very clear that Nikon has used image enhancements on a generous basis on 990. The distance shot appear to be more enhanced (sharpened) than close ups. The additional resolution has offered some benefits as well. The enhancements appear to include level enhancements and more green bias in the low level tone.I personally prefer the overall color balance, much better lens performance in aberration area of 950.I wonder when Nikon will introduce the Coolpix 1000?..

Comment #7

Hi all -Sorry for the slow/non-response, lots of other cameras in-house at the moment. You're right, the "typo beast" was responsible for the f/3.5 error. The lens is in fact a f/2.5-f/4.0, as you zoom from wide to tele. Dunno about the buffer memory issue, but I gather that digicams require a fair bit of space to do all their color conversions. It's not a matter of just JPEGing on the fly: The camera has to convert from the RGBG "striped" data to RGB first, thence to JPEG. This process apparently takes a fair bit of memory, hence the smaller-than-.

You'd-expect number of shots before the buffer fills. I'll check on the ISO, would be very surprised if the 400 was in fact gone, although it could be a matter of terminology. Nikon doesn't actually list the ISO as 400 on the camera, but rather has "+1" and "+2" sensitivity settings. These correspond to 200 and 400 ISO, but Nikon doesn't call them "ISO", since the ISO rating properly involves a recognition of "acceptable" noise levels. Thus, Nikon is conservative in not claiming the "+2" as 400 ISO, but merely "boosted sensitivity." On the purpling of the blues, you're right, Kodak does the best on this. It is in fact a fairly common phenomena.

For instance, the Oly D400 had it pretty bad. Not to pick on Oly, there have been a lot of them, I just happen to remember discussion around the D400 in that regard.) I'm not sure whether it's a generic problem with one part of color space, or something with the specific dyes used in the model's pants and in the cloth flowers. The problem is much less evident in the MacBeth chart on the Davebox target, but then those blues happen to be a different hue, so it's inconclusive.....

Comment #8

I've ordered mine. But I lament the lack of a type II CF slot. A microdrive would be very useful on a camera that produces 10MB TIFFs. I seriously considered the Casio for this reason...

Comment #9

I've just bought the Casio QV-3000EX because it supports the Microdrive, although I could find no other way that it beats the 990. If anyone at Nikon is listening, Microdrive support is a deal-breaker for at least this custo..

Comment #10

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