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


Retro digicam fanatics will probably be happy to see that Gordon Laing of Cameralabs is again with a brand new Retro Overview, this time centered on the Nikon Coolpix 950. It has been time for retro Nikon followers these days, as Laing’s final Retro Overview was for the flagship Nikon D1 DSLR. The Coolpix 950 launched the identical 12 months because the D1, 1999, though the 2 cameras are, unsurprisingly, very totally different from one another.

Whereas the Nikon D1 sported industry-leading expertise, the far more reasonably priced Coolpix 950 was nonetheless extraordinarily common. In our Coolpix 950 evaluate, Phil Askey wrote, ‘For the reason that 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 data as doable.

Learn our Coolpix 950 evaluate from 1999

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 12 months 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 appropriate. You’d maintain the appropriate half, whereas twisting the imaging portion by means of 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 comparable 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 muse laid by the 900, however the design idea was improved by a extra professional-looking black physique with pink 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 supply, even with their fancy tilting touchscreens.

Not each side 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 (Kind-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 supplied enhancements by means of a tactile wheel for higher management.

Picture credit score: Gordon Laing / Cameralabs

If the design and usefulness holds up greater than 20 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 might shoot JPEG pictures at varied qualities, plus uncompressed full-res TIFF recordsdata, 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’ll shoot at 1.5 frames per second.

The Coolpix 950 may 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 means of the zoom vary. This allowed for spectacular macro capturing. You might additionally use the digicam to scan movie with an non-obligatory ES-E28 adapter. Sadly, the macro mode and self-timer are in the identical menu place, so you possibly can’t use each concurrently. Optionally available lens adapters present extra flexibility, permitting customers to extend or lower the sphere of view. You may even use a fisheye adapter to extend the sphere of view to 183 levels.

Picture credit score: Gordon Laing / Cameralabs

Whereas the Coolpix 950 was shortly supplanted by the Coolpix 990 and 995 fashions, it stays the digicam that helped rework reasonably priced 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 immediately. To learn Laing’s full impressions of the Coolpix 950, go to Cameralabs. There you will additionally discover many extra pattern pictures to take pleasure in. 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 Opinions, click on right here.

All pictures courtesy of Gordon Laing and used with permission