Nikon cameras are high quality cameras, and it does not need to be questioned. It all comes down to what you need and which model suits you best. Now, we are going to talk about two great Nikon cameras that are available in a similar price range: Nikon Coolpix P900 and Nikon D3400. Between the two options, Nikon Coolpix P900 is actually the older product. Since introduced in 2015, Nikon Coolpix P900 has become quite popular especially for macro photography. On the other hand, the entry-level DSLR Nikon D3400 was introduced in 2016.
Many people have been confused by these two options. However, these two cameras actually excel in different fields. Let’s see the differences and comparisons between Nikon Coolpix P900 and Nikon D3400 to help you decide.
Nikon Coolpix P900 vs. D3400: Camera Type and Sensor Size
Of course, if you have some knowledge about photography cameras, by looking at their bodies alone, you can already tell that Nikon Coolpix P900 and Nikon D3400 are of different types. Nikon Coolpix P900 is actually a superzoom camera that is equipped with a 16 MP 1/2.3” CMOS sensor, whereas Nikon D3400 is a DSLR camera coming with a 24MP APS-C CMOS sensor.
Nikon Coolpix P900 has been geared more towards providing outstanding zoom levels. The super telephoto lens is able to give you up to 83X optical zoom and 166X Dynamic Fine Zoom. However, the sensor size is rather small. The small sensor size can actually make it great for some particular photography work. For example, due to the small sensor size, it also has a large depth of field, which is beneficial for improving the quality of macro shots. However, it is not exactly versatile, and macro photography is one of just few things that Nikon Coolpix P900 can do better than Nikon D3400. If you look very closely, you can notice that the photos taken by Nikon Coolpix P900 often suffer from oversharpening, lack of detail, and watercolor effect.
On the other hand, Nikon D3400 can already give you some qualities that are exclusive to a DSLR camera although it is actually ‘just’ an entry-level model. The larger sensor size allows it to capture better, healthier images. It does not suffer oversharpening or watercolor issues like Nikon Coolpix P900, although its depth of field is not as large and thus it can be more difficult to use for macro photography. The 24 MP resolution is also high, allowing you to produce large-sized images with fine details and sharpness.
Nikon Coolpix P900 vs. D3400: Design
Although DSLR cameras are notorious for being bulky, interestingly, Nikon D3400 is not as bulky as Nikon Coolpix P900. To give you some perspective, let us see the numbers first. Nikon Coolpix P900 measures 140 mm x 103 mm x 137 mm. Of course, this is because the camera is equipped with a big and heavy 24-2000mm F2.8-F6.5 zoom lens. Nevertheless, the lens is a very good one. It is not interchangeable, as it is a connected part of the camera, but it is a very powerful lens indeed. It even has a built-in image stabilization system. Such lens, if sold separately, can cost thousands of bucks.
On the other hand, Nikon D3400 measures 124 mm x 98 mm x 76 mm. It comes with the Nikon F mount. The total size and weight will depend on the lens that you choose, but it probably will not be as large as Nikon Coolpix P900. Nevertheless, you are given the freedom to pair it with a variety of lenses. But this also means that you will need to spend more money to buy the lenses that you need.
Unfortunately, neither of these two models is environmentally sealed. You should keep them away from rain and snow when using them outside.
Nikon Coolpix P900 comes with a 3” fully articulating display screen and a 921k dot electronic viewfinder. The articulating screen is very nice and handy; you can benefit from it when having to shoot from a difficult angle. The controls on the rear panel are placed on the right side. However, as a DSLR camera, Nikon D3400 boasts a very nice optical pentamirror viewfinder. But the 3” display screen is fixed. The controls are put on the left and right sides of the display screen.
Nikon Coolpix P900 vs. D3400: Performance and Additional Features
Nikon Coolpix P900 comes with a decent continuous shooting speed of 7.0 fps. At first, this may seem like a very good feature for sports photography. Then again, Nikon Coolpix P900 already has built-in image stabilization. However, the lens is rather slow at tele, and the camera does not support RAW. Thus, the camera is not very great for sports photography. Nevertheless, many people will find the built-in Wi-Fi and NFC as very handy, as these features allow you transfer photos and videos quickly.
On the other hand, Nikon D3400 only has a continuous shooting speed of 5.0 fps. However, it has a much higher maximum ISO of 25600. Combined with the 1/4000s shutter speed can be quite versatile to face different lighting conditions. It also has 11 focus points, making it a decent choice for sports photography. Finally, although Nikon D3400 does not come with built-in Wi-Fi, it already comes with built-in Bluetooth that also allows remote control via a mobile device. And there is also an external flash shoe if you want to pair the camera with a better flash than the one that is built-in.
In general, Nikon D3400 is the best way to go. It has a much better sensor that is able to capture images with better overall quality. Of course, Nikon Coolpix P900 is known for the nice depth of field, but the image quality of Nikon D3400 is just better. It also has nice features, with a good number of focus points and a nice pentamirror viewfinder. Still, Nikon Coolpix P900 is a very nice value for the money, and can be your choice if you need the ultra-high zoom levels.