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Nikon Coolpix P90

Apologies for the lower-than-usual quality of the product shots in this review, but my flash gun appears to have passed away. Normal service will be resulmed as soon as possible.

Super-zoom bridge cameras have been getting a lot bigger recently. We've already taken a look at the Canon PowerShot SX10 IS (£300) and SX1 IS (£450), with their 20x zoom lenses, and the Olympus SP-590UZ (£275) with its massive but slightly impractical 26x zoom. I'll be reviewing the 20x zoom Casio EX-FS20 later this week, but today it's the turn of Nikon's variation on the theme, the 24x zoom, 12.1-megapixel Coolpix P90. It's Nikon's first full-size super-zoom since last year's Coolpix P80, and although it bears a superficial resemblance to that model, the P90 has a new body and a much better specification. It doesn't come cheap though; the P90 is currently selling for around £330.

At least you get a great-looking camera for your money. The P90 is the classic super-zoom shape, with a large rubber-coated handgrip, a large aluminium lens barrel and a prominent viewfinder turret with a pop-up flash. The lines of the body are clean and elegant, and the camera is very nicely proportioned. The build quality is up to Nikon's customary high standard, and although the body is made of plastic it feels strong and well made. It is, of course, only available in black.

The P90 is a large camera even by super-zoom standards, measuring 114 x 83 x 99 mm (W x H x D), although at only 490g including its 1100mAh Li-ion battery it's a lot lighter than the 4xAA-powered rivals from Olympus, Casio and Canon. The size and lightness make the camera very pleasant to handle, and the large handgrip and rubberised thumbgrip make it comfortable and secure to hold. The camera has a wide range of external controls, but they are well positioned to fall under the thumb and forefinger and are clearly labelled in white on black.

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