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Two weeks ago I gave the ultra-slim Nikon Coolpix S5 a bit of a kicking, which is not something I’m accustomed to doing to Nikon cameras, so it’s with some relief that I turn now to another recent Nikon launch, the Coolpix P4, an altogether more serious camera. It is from the same range as the excellent Coolpix P1 that I reviewed here back in January, and shares the same high-quality 1/1.8” 8-megapixel CCD and 3.5x optical zoom lens. It lacks the P1’s Wireless connectivity, but instead adds Nikon’s VR optical vibration reduction, derived from the image stabilisation system from its SLR lenses. The other thing it has in common with the P1 is its relatively high price. The high street price is a hefty £329.99, although it is available for around £260 from a number of online retailers. The Coolpix P3, launched at the same time and is essentially the same camera but including the WiFi link, and costing around £20 more.
However you do get a lot of camera for your money. Nikon’s build quality is always of a very high standard, but the P4 is built like the proverbial brick outhouse. Seriously, you could knock nails in with this thing (Please don’t actually try this). It’s a nice looking camera too, with an attractive anodized finish on its all-metal body with chrome and brushed-steel details. It’s not exactly tiny though, and with its rounded, rather bulbous shape it looks kind of like a smaller camera that has been somehow inflated. At 31mm thick it’s still slim enough to slip into a pocket, although weighing in at over 200g including the battery it will probably pull your shirt a bit out of shape.
The standard selection of external controls are nicely laid out and accessible, although the power button is a bit small and fiddly. It is slightly recessed, so you have to push it in with the edge of your fingernail. Which is a little awkward, but at least it’s unlikely to get switched on by accident. The LCD monitor is also very good. It has a diagonal size of 2.5in with 150,000 pixels, and has a good non-reflective surface so it is usable in bright sunlight. Monitor response is a bit laggy, which might make capturing moving subjects tricky, but on the whole the screen is clear and bright.