We just started testing cameras, and our test bench v0.7 is rather simplistic, so we decided to launch without text in the test boxes. If you have any suggestions on what to improve, let us know here. As we gather your suggestions, we plan on making more frequent changes to our methodology and we'll be able to add text to the reviews in the near future.

Nikon COOLPIX P950 Camera Review

Tested using Methodology v0.7
Reviewed Jul 01, 2021 at 10:12 am
Nikon COOLPIX P950 Picture
5.4
Travel Photography
6.5
Landscape Photography
6.3
Sport & Wildlife Photography
6.3
Vlogging
6.5
Studio Video
3.3
Action Video
Body Type
Bridge
Mirrorless
Yes
Sensor Size
1/2.3-inch
Tested Lens
Built-In Lens

The Nikon COOLPIX P950 is a superzoom bridge camera. It performs similarly overall to the Nikon COOLPIX P1000, except it has a slightly shorter maximum focal length. Still, its 83x zoom lens gives you the versatility to shoot wider angle shots or zoom in on faraway subjects. Image quality is good overall, with great dynamic range and minimal noise at higher ISO levels, but like most bridge cameras, you lose a lot of sharpness as you raise ISO due to the smaller sensor size. Unfortunately, its autofocus system is quite bad, as it struggles to keep moving subjects in focus. It's also a hefty camera that may be difficult to carry around for long periods. It's okay for video, but its video quality and autofocus performance leave a lot to be desired.

Our Verdict

5.4 Travel Photography

The Nikon COOLPIX P950 is a poor choice for travel photography. Its large size and weight make it cumbersome to take with you on the go. It also has a bad autofocus system that struggles to maintain focus on moving subjects. On the upside, its image quality is good overall, and it has very good battery life, although this can vary with settings and usage.

Pros
  • Extremely long zoom lens.
  • Good overall image quality.
  • Good battery life.
Cons
  • Awful autofocus performance.
  • Very bulky.
  • May get uncomfortable after long periods.
6.5 Landscape Photography

The Nikon COOLPIX P950 is okay for landscape photography. It has good overall image quality, with great dynamic range to capture details in high-contrast landscape shots. It also has a fully articulated screen that gets quite bright to overcome glare. It feels fairly comfortable to use overall, but its large size and weight may make it too cumbersome to take to remote shooting locations.

Pros
  • Extremely long zoom lens.
  • Good overall image quality.
Cons
  • Awful autofocus performance.
  • Very bulky.
6.3 Sport & Wildlife Photography

The Nikon COOLPIX P950 isn't bad for sport and wildlife photography. Its extremely long max focal length lets you capture very far-off subjects. However, its autofocus system performs badly, so it struggles to keep moving subjects in focus. Its continuous shooting speed is passable, but it has a very small buffer size that may slow you down when trying to capture fleeting moments, as it can only shoot in bursts of 10 photos.

Pros
  • Extremely long zoom lens.
  • Good overall image quality.
  • Great shutter speed range.
Cons
  • Awful autofocus performance.
  • Very bulky.
  • Small buffer size for continuous shooting.
6.3 Vlogging

The Nikon COOLPIX P950 isn't bad for vlogging. It has a fully articulated screen, which is great for monitoring yourself as you record. However, its large size and weight make it awkward to hold for self-recording or longer periods of use. Video quality is decent in 4k, but there's noticeable grain and visual noise in FHD. Its autofocus performance is also disappointing, but on the upside, its video stabilization feature does a great job of reducing camera shake in FHD.

Pros
  • Decent 4k video quality.
  • Fully articulated screen.
Cons
  • Disappointing FHD video quality.
  • Very bulky.
6.5 Studio Video

The Nikon COOLPIX P950 is okay for studio video. Video quality is decent in 4k, but it degrades significantly in FHD, with noticeable grain and noise. Its menu system is satisfactory, but some settings may be a bit confusing or difficult to configure. On the upside, it supports clean HDMI output to connect an external recorder without any overlays, and it has a microphone jack as well as a hot shoe on which to mount a mic. However, it doesn't have a headphone jack, which may be disappointing if you want to monitor your audio levels in greater detail.

Pros
  • Decent 4k video quality.
  • Supports clean HDMI output.
Cons
  • Disappointing FHD video quality.
  • No headphone jack.
3.3 Action Video

The Nikon COOLPIX P950 isn't for action video. It's far too big and heavy to mount on an action cam mount, and it's not waterproof, although this isn't something we currently test. It also doesn't support higher frame rates to capture high-speed video for generating smooth slow-motion footage.

Pros
  • Decent 4k video quality.
Cons
  • Disappointing FHD video quality.
  • Very bulky.
  • Not designed for action cam mounts.
  • Not waterproof.
  • Frame rates are too limited for high-speed video.
  • 5.4 Travel Photography
  • 6.5 Landscape Photography
  • 6.3 Sport & Wildlife Photography
  • 6.3 Vlogging
  • 6.5 Studio Video
  • 3.3 Action Video
  1. Updated Jul 01, 2021: Review published.
  2. Updated Jun 25, 2021: Early access published.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
1.1
Design
Portability
Height 4.3" (11.0 cm)
Width 5.5" (14.0 cm)
Depth 6.2" (15.7 cm)
Volume
147.6 in³ (2,418.0 cm³)
Weight
2.65 lbs (1.20 kg)
Weight With Lens
2.65 lbs (1.20 kg)
7.0
Design
Build Quality

  • Body is made of plastic
  • Screen sticks out from the body slightly and sits loosely in place, so it may get in the way when using the back dial
  • Plastic on the backside of the screen has a lot of flex to it, but the hinge feels sturdy
  • Flash mechanism is sturdy
  • Buttons are large and provide good tactile feedback
  • There are three different input doors on the sides and top of the camera, covered by simple rubber flaps. Due to their placement, having many accessories connected at once might be unwieldy
  • Battery/SD card compartment is covered with a hinged plastic door that locks into place
  • Tripod socket is slightly shallower than the tripod mount on most other cameras we've tested. Our regular tripod fit without issue, but we couldn't fully secure the mounting plate when using our video tripod

Design
Body
Water Resistance
No
Rugged
No
Hot Shoe
Yes
Customizable Button
Yes
Command Dial
3
Tripod Mount
Yes
Lens Mount
No Lens Mount
Built-In Flash
Yes
Design
In The Box

  • Nikon COOLPIX P950
  • Shoulder strap
  • Lens cap
  • Lens hood
  • USB-A to Micro-USB cable
  • AC adapter
  • 1x Nikon EN-EL20a battery
  • Quick Start guide

6.5
Design
Ergonomics & Comfort
Hand Grip: Small Hand
Yes
Hand Grip: Medium Hand
Yes
Hand Grip: Large Hand
Yes
Hand Grip: Extra-Large Hand
Yes

  • The camera is big and heavy, although not quite as big as the Nikon COOLPIX P1000; its size and weight make it difficult to hold in one hand
  • Rubberized grips on the back and side of the body are non-slippery and secure
  • Rubber around viewfinder is stiff and uncomfortable, and it doesn't stick out too far, so you may feel squished when looking through
  • Not all buttons and dials are within reach, so you may lose some stability when changing settings
  • Space between grip and lens is a bit tight, so fingers may feel a bit pinched if you have larger hands
  • Dedicated dials make it easy to adjust aperture and shutter speed, but adjusting ISO is more difficult, whether you're using the Fn menu or if you've remapped the lens dial to adjust ISO
  • Fully articulated screen helps when shooting from unconventional angles
  • SD card is accessible while the camera is mounted on a tripod

7.0
Design
Menu System
Guide Mode
No
App Name
Nikon SnapBridge

  • Menu system is basic and easy to navigate using the camera's controls
  • No touchscreen
  • Some settings are a bit confusing to find. For example, the 'Vibration Reduction' setting is in both the 'Settings' tab and the 'Photo' and 'Video' tabs.
  • Fn menu acts as a quick settings menu, but it can be a bit difficult to navigate
  • Fn menu isn't available in 'Movie' mode
  • In 'Movie' mode, there is only one 'Movie' tab, unlike on the Nikon COOLPIX P1000, so it's a little simpler and easy to navigate
  • Menu can't be customized

Note: The camera's display has a 4:3 aspect ratio, but when connected to an external monitor over HDMI, it stretches the menu to a 16:9 aspect ratio. As such, the screenshot above may not be fully representative of the menu system as seen on the actual camera.

Design
Viewfinder
Type
Electronic
Advertised Coverage
99%
Advertised Resolution
2.36 million dots
Advertised Magnification
N/A
8.1
Design
Screen
Screen Articulation Type
Fully Articulated
Screen Max Brightness
635 cd/m²
Advertised Resolution
0.92 million dots
Size
3.2" (8.2 cm)
Touchscreen
No
Design
Sensor
Sensor Type
CMOS
Advertised Effective Pixels
16 MP
Processor
Unspecified
Extended ISO Minimum
N/A
ISO Minimum
100
ISO Maximum
6,400
Tested Firmware
Ver.1.1
7.9
Design
Battery
Battery Type
Nikon EN-EL20a
USB Charging
Yes
Use When Charging
Yes
Advertised Battery Life In Photo
290 photos
Tested Battery Life In Video
125 min
6.6
Design
Lens
Lens Type
Built-in
Maximum Aperture
2.8 - 6.5
Max Aperture (Full Frame Equivalent)
f/15.7
Minimum Focal Length
4.3 mm
Maximum Focal Length
357 mm
Max Focal Length (Full Frame Equivalent)
2,000 mm
Luminance
82.3%
Light Falloff
60.7%
Photo
Photo
Photo Features
JPEG File Format
Yes
RAW File Format
NRW
Shutter
Electronic and Mechanical
Minimum Shutter Speed
60 s
Maximum Shutter Speed
1/4,000 s
Silent Shooting
Yes
HDR
Yes
Focus Peaking
Yes
Zebra Pattern
No
Histogram
Yes
Time Lapse
Yes

Note: The 60s shutter speed is only attainable in 'Bulb' or 'Time' mode. In 'Bulb' mode, you have to hold the shutter button for the duration of your shot, while in 'Time' mode, you press the button once to open the shutter and press it again to close the shutter. Outside of these modes, which are primarily used for time-lapse or long exposure photography, the shutter speed ranges from 1/4000s to 1s, except in 'Manual' mode, where you can achieve a speed of up to 30s as long as ISO is set to 100.

6.3
Photo
Shooting Speed
Low Speed Continuous
1 fps
High Speed Continuous
7 fps
Silent Shooting Continuous
7 fps
Raw Buffer Size
10 RAW Photos
JPEG Buffer Size
10 JPG Photos
Buffer Empty Time
8 s

Note: This camera only allows continuous shooting in 'High Speed' and 'Silent' modes in bursts of 10 frames at a speed of 7 fps before having to wait for the buffer to empty to shoot another ten frames. However, it does allow for 120 fps and 60 fps shooting in 'High Speed' with the image quality locked to VGA, although this feature is for time-lapse photography rather than a true continuous shooting mode. It's also advertised to capture approximately 200 frames in its 'Low Speed' continuous mode, but we don't currently test this.

1.5
Photo
Autofocus
Advertised Coverage
N/A
Advertised Focus Points
N/A
Manual Focus Assistance
Yes
Face Detection Distance
87" (220 cm)
Eye Detection
No
Face Tracking Success Rate
0%
Object Tracking Success Rate
0%

Note: We had to deviate from our usual object tracking methodology by placing the camera 50 cm away from the mug instead of the usual 23 cm to achieve the proper depth of field required for this test.

8.0
Photo
Image Stabilization
In Body Image Stabilization
No
Minimum Shutter Speed Achieved
1/10 s
7.6
Photo
Image Quality
Dynamic Range At ISO 100
8.87 f-stops
Color Accuracy (dE2000)
13.72
JPEG SNR 18% At ISO 800
36.76 dB
JPEG Sharpness At ISO 800
4.411 pixels
JPEG SNR 18% At ISO 1600
36.99 dB
JPEG Sharpness At ISO 1600
4.984 pixels
JPEG SNR 18% At ISO 3200
34.87 dB
JPEG Sharpness At ISO 3200
4.512 pixels

ISO Setting Sample Photo
ISO 100 Photo
ISO 200 Photo
ISO 400 Photo
ISO 800 Photo
ISO 1600 Photo
ISO 3200 Photo
ISO 6400 Photo

5.7
Photo
Luminance Noise
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 100 38.67 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 200 36.21 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 400 33.64 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 800 30.66 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 1600 28.28 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 3200 25.42 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 6400 21.95 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 12800 N/A
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 25600 N/A
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 51200 N/A
Sample Gallery
Sample Gallery
The Skate Park

Format Link
JPEG Photo
RAW Photo

Note: This camera only shoots images with a 4:3 aspect ratio, rather than our standard test setting of 16:9. We've cropped them to maintain consistency with other cameras we've tested. You can see the original aspect ratio here.

Sample Gallery
The Polish Church

Format Link
JPEG Photo
RAW Photo

Note: This camera only shoots images with a 4:3 aspect ratio, rather than our standard test setting of 16:9. We've cropped them to maintain consistency with other cameras we've tested. You can see the original aspect ratio here.

Sample Gallery
The Studio

Format Link
JPEG Photo
RAW Photo

Note: This camera only shoots images with a 4:3 aspect ratio, rather than our standard test setting of 16:9. We've cropped them to maintain consistency with other cameras we've tested. You can see the original aspect ratio here.

Sample Gallery
The Stairway

Format Link
JPEG Photo
RAW Photo

Note: This camera only shoots images with a 4:3 aspect ratio, rather than our standard test setting of 16:9. We've cropped them to maintain consistency with other cameras we've tested. You can see the original aspect ratio here.

General Video
General Video
Video Feature
Full HD Video
Yes
4k Video
Yes
6k Video
No
Clean HDMI Output
Yes
Advertised Max Chroma Sampling Over HDMI
Not Advertised
Advertised Max Bit Depth Over HDMI
N/A
Log Picture Profile
No
Recording Light
No

Note: Clean HDMI output is only available when the camera is in 'Movie' mode. Once connected, the 'HDMI' settings menu is grayed out, meaning you have to select the resolution and enable clean HDMI output before connecting the HDMI cable to the camera.

General Video
Audio
Audio Test Sample
Audio Recording
Stereo
Microphone Level Display
No
General Video
Video Exposure Assistant
Zebra Line
No
Histogram
Yes
Waveform
No

Note: The camera's display has a 4:3 aspect ratio, but when connected to an external monitor over HDMI, it stretches the screen overlays to fit a 16:9 aspect ratio. The screenshot above may not fully represent the visual assistant overlays as seen on the actual camera. Note that this behavior doesn't occur in playback mode, so the image isn't stretched out and is instead framed by black bars. Also, the histogram feature only appears when setting exposure compensation, which isn't available in 'Manual' mode.

General Video
Recording Format And Compression
MP4 H.264 / MPEG-4 AVC
Yes
MP4 H.265 / HEVC
No
MOV H.264 / MPEG-4 AVC
No
MOV H.265 / HEVC
No
AVCHD H.264 / MPEG-4 AVC
No
All-I Compression
No
4k Video
4.5
4k Video
4k Frame Rate
240 fps In 4k
No
120 fps In 4k
No
60 fps In 4k
No
30 fps In 4k
Yes
24 fps In 4k
No
Crop At Max Available fps
1 x
4.4
4k Video
4k Video Autofocus Performance
Eye Detection In 4k
No
Face Detection In 4k
No
Face Tracking In 4k
4.4
Object Tracking In 4k
6.0

Note: We had to deviate from our usual object tracking methodology by placing the camera 50 cm away from the mug instead of the usual 23 cm to achieve the proper depth of field required for this test.

5.5
4k Video
4k Video Stabilization
In Body Video Image Stabilization In 4k
No
Walking Test In 4k
15.96 pixels/frames
Running Test In 4k
33.24 pixels/frames
Crop
N/A
7.2
4k Video
4k Internal Recording
Bitrate Maximum In 4k
76 Mbps
Bitrate Minimum In 4k
76 Mbps
Chroma Sampling In 4k
4:2:0
Bit Depth In 4k
8 bits
Record Time Limit 29 min
Overheat Recording Interruption
No
7.1
4k Video
4k Video Quality
Low Light Capability In 4k
7.5
Test Scene Extract In 4k
6.9
4k Rolling Shutter
4.00°
Full HD Video
5.5
Full HD Video
FHD Frame Rate
240 fps In FHD
No
120 fps In FHD
No
60 fps In FHD
Yes
30 fps In FHD
Yes
24 fps In FHD
No
Crop At Max Available fps
1 x
4.2
Full HD Video
FHD Video Autofocus Performance
Eye Detection In FHD
No
Face Detection In FHD
No
Face Tracking In FHD
5.0
Object Tracking In FHD
5.0

Note: We had to deviate from our usual object tracking methodology by placing the camera 50 cm away from the mug instead of the usual 23 cm to achieve the proper depth of field required for this test.

8.1
Full HD Video
FHD Video Stabilization
In Body Video Image Stabilization In FHD
No
Walking Test In FHD
4.73 pixels/frames
Running Test In FHD
9.68 pixels/frames
Crop
1.25

Note: This camera has four different stabilization settings, including 'Normal' and 'Active' settings with regular priority, or 'Framing First'. The results using 'Framing First' are:

  • Walking Test FHD: 4.72 pixels/frame
  • Running Test FHD: 9.67 pixels/frame

7.5
Full HD Video
FHD Internal Recording
Bitrate Maximum In FHD
41 Mbps
Bitrate Minimum In FHD
20 Mbps
Chroma Sampling In FHD
4:2:0
Bit Depth In FHD
8
Record Time Limit 29 min
5.8
Full HD Video
FHD Video Quality
Low Light Capability In FHD
7.0
Test Scene Extract In FHD
5.4
FHD Rolling Shutter
4.76°
Storage And Connectivity
Storage And Connectivity
Storage
Card 1 Slot
SD Card UHS-I
Card 2 Slot
No 2nd Card Slot
7.8
Storage And Connectivity
Input / Outputs
USB
Micro USB
HDMI
Micro (Type D)
Headphones
No
Microphone
Stereo
Wi-Fi
Yes
Bluetooth
Yes

Note: There are three different input doors on this camera, so not all inputs and outputs are pictured above. You can the other inputs here. This camera also has an extra port to connect a remote control, which may be useful to some, especially if you want to adjust settings without disturbing the camera and introducing camera shake on a very zoomed-in shot.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The Nikon COOLPIX P950 only comes in one color variant: 'Black'. You can see our unit's label here

If you come across another variant or your Nikon COOLPIX P950 doesn't correspond to our review, let us know, and we'll update it. 

Discussions