13 Nikon P900 Tips And Tricks For Optimal Image Quality!

So the Nikon p900 is a pretty unique camera and depending on what you are planning to do with it, it can handle unlike the majority of other popular camera bodies on the market right now. Due to this, we have noticed a number of people reaching out with various questions about the p900 recently so we have decided to publish this article full of tips and tricks for the p900 to help our readers.

It is essentially a list of some of the most commonly asked questions that we see from the community and our hope is that our article will be able to help any of our readers who other the p900 and are looking for some tips and tricks on how to use it. As many people have discovered, depending on the niche you are planning to use your p900 in and your level of experience in that niche, it can have a pretty steep learning curve so some of these Nikon P900 tips and tricks may be able to help make your time easier.

Now, please keep in mind that our article is designed to help as many of our readers as possible. Due to this, we have included as much information as possible to try and help everyone from a brand new p900 user all the way up to an advanced user. Due to this, some of these tips may not apply to you or seem pretty basic but just stick with us as you work your way through the list.

Get Some Suitable Image Stabilization

Manfrotto 293 Telephoto Lens Support - Replaces 3420
The Nikon p900 is a unique camera set up and many regular tripods are simply not designed to work with a camera of its weight and dimensions, especially when you are using the camera at its higher zoom capabilities. The heavier weight and top-heavy nature of the camera, especially when zoomed in can present a tilting risk for many tripods that are ideal for smaller camera setups but can struggle with the p900.

We have seen countless p900 owners purchasing more suitable tripods and trying their luck with a more suitable head but these can be expensive and may not even fix the risk of your tripod tilting. Thankfully though, you can pick up a decent Telephoto Lens Support quite cheaply these days and we feel that they are an almost essential camera accessory for cameras like the p900.

Essentially, it allows you to offset the center of gravity for your p900 when mounting it to your current tripod. You can quickly and easily adjust the support within seconds too so if you need to zoom in or zoom out while doing some astrophotography you can quickly tweak the support to always offset the camera payload correctly. It tends to be much cheaper than forking out for a new tripod or head and can provide you with the excellent image stabilization you need for such a powerful camera.

The Manfrotto 293 support has an excellent reputation within the community and performs very well when used with both the Nikon p900 and p1000. Although the video below shows the Manfrotto 293 being used with the p1000, the process is exactly the same for your p900 and the video offers a good example of how easy the system is to set up as well as how effective it can be during use too.

Get Your Hands On Some Solid Reading Material

Photographer's Guide to the Nikon Coolpix P900: Getting the Most from Nikon's Superzoom Digital Camera
Although Nikon has undoubtedly produced an excellent camera in the p900, it is a pretty well-known fact within the community that they have done a poor job of covering the potential and capabilities of the p900 in the included user manual. Thankfully though, Alexander White ha taken the time to publish The Photographer's Guide to the Nikon Coolpix P900 that has essentially become the unofficial bible for Nikon p900 users since its release.

In our opinion, the book is essential reading for anyone who owns a p900 and it goes into so much detail on everything that the camera can do and how best to achieve your goals with it. In addition to this, the book has managed to quickly earn itself an excellent reputation amongst p900 users and earn a ton of glowing independent reviews from third-party P900 owners over the years.

If you do have a few minutes spare then we would strongly recommend that you skim over those reviews to see how highly the community regards the book and read how it has managed to help so many people. Additionally, the book is presented in a way where is can be extremely helpful for Nikon p900 owners of all levels of experience too making it a valuable asset for around $20 depending on the retailer you purchase it from.

Check Your Lengths

Although this may seem like more of an entry-level tip, we would highly recommend that all Nikon 900 owners spend some time playing with the shorter zoom lengths available with the camera. Ideally, something between the 800mm to 1400mm mark just to get the hang of how the camera performs and get a solid feel for how it can perform.

We see so many photographers purchase the p900, set it to maximum zoom levels without realizing the various little nuances of using a camera with such a powerful zoom. Even if you have been using your p900 for months it may still be worth playing around at its lower zoom lengths to build up some solid habits before stretching out its zoom capabilities to take advantage of everything the p900 has to offer.

Practice Your Free Hand Technique

Good technique is essential for a photographer with a regular telephoto zoom lens never mind for a camera like the p900. So many people develop poor technique by rushing into using the p900 at its higher zoom ranges and these habits and techniques can be difficult to shift once the set in. One of our easiest ways to help you improve your image quality is to practice using good aiming technique with your p900, especially if you are planning to be using it in a niche where you will be doing a whole bunch of handheld photography.

Patients is going to be essential as every photographer has their own way to build up the ideal position for their body type and height. Some key factors to take into account are trying to tuck your elbows in when in the aim, experiment with the amount of camera contact on your eyebrow for stability, work on your breathing control, experiment with capturing the photograph after inhaling and after exhaling, and finally, work on slowly activating the shutter release with a roll technique rather than a pressing motion.

Spending some time trying out variations of the suggestions above can really help you improve the quality of the photographs that you are able to capture with your p900 within a relatively short period of time.

Invest In Lens Protection

Although not on a p900, the image above shows the importance of having some decent lens protection when using a camera like the p900. As you can see in the image, the UV filter mounted to the lens is destroyed but thankfully, the actual front element of the lens below the UV filter has been protected and is fully serviceable.

With a camera like the Nikon p900, any damage to the lens can result in a costly repair bill depending on the level of damage sustained. Thankfully, Nikon has put a 67mm lens filter thread on the lens of the p900 allowing you to quickly, easily, and cheaply add some additional protection to your p900 lens in the form of a decent UV filter.

Although any 67mm UV lens filter will be able to mount to your p900 and offer some protection, we would always recommend that you try to ensure that you are using a filter that uses Germany Schott glass that is ideally layered for the best possible protection for your lens element. We always recommend the  Gobe 3 peak UV filter range as it uses sixteen layer German Schott glass offering some of the best protection available at around half of the price of the more established filter brands such as Hoya and Tiffin. Depending on the retailer, you should be able to pick up a Gobe 67mm 3 peak UV filter for around $30-$40 but it can end up saving you hundreds of dollars in potential repair bills.

Manually Set Your Vibration Reduction

Although Nikon’s vibration reduction technology is great, it can have its drawbacks when wanting to capture crisp, sharp images with your p900. Although this may sound like a basic setting to tweak depending on your situation, we see so many people leave their vibration reduction on at all times and we feel that this is a mistake.

If you are using your Nikon p900 in freehand then have your vibration reduction technology turned on but ensure that you turn it off as soon as you mount it to a tripod, monopod, or gimbal. You should be getting all the image stabilization your require from your tripod preventing vibration but Nikon’s vibration reduction technology can try to correct for vibrations that are not there and potentially ruin your image quality for a few seconds.

The vibration reduction setting is easy to navigate to in your p900 camera settings so you can turn it off or on within seconds as required and it can potentially help improve the image quality that you can capture during use.

Trust Your Auto Focus

Just like their vibration reduction technology, the Nikon autofocus technology on the p900 is excellent and does a great job. In our opinion, it is massively underrated, especially their target finding autofocus that is perfect if you are planning to use your p900 for birding or wildlife photography.

A number of prominent bird photographers have backed this up and said that the Nikon target finding autofocus has been able to set optimal focus for birds against the sky within seconds very accurately. Some estimations put it as high as a 75% success rate for birds in flight whereas the various other modes and manual focus can be much lower.

As you may only have a few seconds to capture that photo of a rare bird we would highly recommend that you test out the Nikon target finding autofocus technology in your local area with some common birds in flight to see how it performs for you. We feel that you may be pleasantly surprised at how good it actually is and hope that it can help you capture more photographs of those rare birds in your area due to the time it can save you.

Adjust Your F Stops

Now, this next one is definatley going to depend on the niches that you are working in as well as the zoom ranges that you are using but tweaking your F stops can make a massive difference in your image quality with the Nikon p900. As many p900 owners have discovered, the camera does not behave in the same way as a regular DSLR when it comes to its F stops, especially at its higher zoom ranges.

Although some photographers have put this down to the smaller image sensor on the camera, a number of people have done a little bit of testing to discover the optimal F stops. Now, keep in mind, the recommendations below are just general recommendations, tweak them as needed for your situation but they are a solid starting point.

  • 24mm – f2.8 / f8
  • 105mm – f4 / f8
  • 200mm – f4.5 / f8
  • 2000mm – f6.5 / f8

Even just experimenting with your F stops in your normal zoom ranges can help you discover the settings that you should be using for optimal image quality in your niche and is well worth doing. The task really doesn’t take too much of your time to do but can really make a difference in the image quality that you are able to capture.

Play With Shutter Speeds

This one is usually relevant for those using their Nikon p900 for bird photography or fast-moving wildlife but adjust your shutter speeds for your subject. In our experience, a faster shutter speed produces much better photographs of birds and wildlife with superior image quality than a slower shutter speed. If you are involved in astrophotography then a slower shutter speed can be ideal depending on the lighting and atmospherics in your location.

We see so many entry-level photographers sticking to the same shutter speed no matter what they are photographing and it is a nice easy thing that you can adjust quickly to improve your image quality with minimal effort required on your part.

Check Your Settings

This one is going to be similar to our F stop recommendations. Optimal camera settings is going to depend on a number of different factors as well as the photography niche that you are working in as well as the lighting that you have available for your session. That said though, the following can serve as a solid starting point for you to tweak to meet your needs.

  • Image Quality – Fine
  • Image Size – 16M (4608 x 3456)
  • Picture Control – SD (Standard)
  • White Balance – Auto1 (Auto normal)
  • Continuous – Continuous H (high speed burst)
  • ISO Sensitivity – ISO Fixed Range Auto (100-400 outdoors) or (100-800 indoors)
  • Autofocus Mode – AF-F (full time)
  • Noise Reduction Filter – Low
  • Active D-Lighting – Normal
  • Zoom Memory – ON
  • Startup Zoom Position – 50mm
  • Vibration Reduction – Normal
  • AF Assist – Auto

We would highly recommend that you take note of your current camera settings before trying out recommendations out so you are able to quickly and easily switch back to your current set up if you prefer it.

Go Remote

This one is mainly for anyone using the Nikon p900 for astrophotography but a decent, cheap, wireless remote control compatible with the p900 is a great investment for your image quality. It allows you to remotely trigger your camera to capture your photographs without having to actually touch your camera rig.

Say you are working at the upper zoom capabilities of your p900, set everything up, have the subject that you want to photograph in focus and the slightest movement of pressing your shutter release on your camera body ruins your photograph. The wireless remote control prevents this as there is no risk of movement to your camera rig at all when capturing your photograph. Considering that you can pick up a decent remote control for around $10, we feel that it is a solid camera accessory to pick up if you are in the astrophotography niche.

Test Single Shot And Burst

Different photography niches seem to accept that using a single-shot or burst shot is optimal for the situation but you should really test this out. We have seen a number of people in niches where burst shot is regarded as the better option be able to improve their image quality by switching over to single shot. The best part is that you can quickly switch between single-shot and burst shot within seconds to see what is optimal for you and the image quality that you prefer.

Get Out And Play With The Camera

This final point on our list of Nikon P900 tips and tricks is probably common sense to many but so many people like to read and watch YouTube videos that drastically limit the time they have available to actually get out and play. In our opinion, doing is the best way to learn so take note of our recommendations and get out and about and try things out and actually put your p900 through its paces to see what you prefer.