Nikon Coolpix 950

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The Nikon Coolpix 950 and Nikon Coolpix 990 are part of the Coolpix series of digital cameras whose bodies are in two parts so that the LCD viewing screen may swivel with respect to the lens and conventional viewfinder. They were introduced by the Nikon Corporation in 1999/2000. They can be used for point-and-shoot, but have manual overrides for most settings. One part of the body houses the controls, batteries, viewing screen, a small secondary LCD screen on top for settings display, the memory card and the tripod bush. The other part carries the lens, image sensor, focus sensor, flash and optical viewfinder. The body shell is alloy castings.

The shutter-release button is surrounded by the off/Auto/M/play switch; in front of this on the 950 is a finger-wheel for manual adjustments; this wheel moves to the top back edge on the 990. On the back, behind the shutter-release are two buttons for zooming in and out, falling under the thumb. Above the screen are buttons for turning the monitor screen on/off, and a menu button; below the screen are buttons labelled delete/+/-, Mode and Qual.

The 950 has a rubbery cover on the top-front, underneath which are the video and power connectors. The 990 has the power connector on the front - again under a rubbery cover, and the video & USB connectors on the end.

Technically these are excellent cameras. Both have internal-focus, internal-zoom lenses, and close-focus to less than 1 inch. Nikon lens quality was very closely watched at this stage of their digital evolution, as they stated that they would not allow their reputation to fall by outsourcing or producing inferior-quality optics. One of the really advanced features for the time was shutter speeds and aperture values which were virtually continuously-variable. It would be normal for the camera to expose an image at a value such as f/3.1 for 1/643 of a second. Here you can again see the Nikon devotion to the quality of the image.

I believe that the CCD in these cameras were four-colour CMYK. The rear LCD was of the glossy (rather than anti-glare) type and were much better for accurately viewing images. Filter ring is 28mm, polarizers were available. Accessory lenses mount on the filter threads, and not only are of very high optical quality, do not reduce the amount of light entering the camera. Of particular note, the Nikon 3x add-on lens is of ED glass quality.

One really unique quality of this body style, as opposed to the flip-out screen style, is stability when you use the camera at waist level like a 2-1/4" twin lens reflex. The lens faces outwards, the LCD upwards, press the camera to your body and shoot longer exposures. The logic --- with other cameras shooting from eye-level means that your slightest body movement is accentuated by the distance from your feet to your eyes. If you are using the LCD as your viewfinder, even more so.

Unlike the successor 995, these two bodies do not have a pop-up flash, instead employing the compact style of locating it right beside the lens. Power is supplied by 4 AA batteries. Tripod socket is on the body, not centered on the lens or the CCD plane. Nikon has a flash bracket specifically designed for this body style. Note that the finger-grip rubber insert on the front panel was distinctly coloured for the market that the camera was intended for.


990 950
Announced: 27th January 2000 1999
Lens: Zoom-Nikkor, 8-24mm, f2.5-4
38-115mm equivalent
Zoom-Nikkor, 38-115mm equivalent
Storage: CompactFlash cards CompactFlash cards
Resolution: 3.1 megapixels (2048 x 1536) 2 megapixels (1600 x 1200)
ISO settings 80, 100, 160, 320 80, 100, 200, 400

External links

Japan Camera Grand Prix
Camera of the year

1984: Nikon FA | 1985: Minolta α-7000 | 1986: Canon T90 | 1987: Canon EOS 650 | 1988: Kyocera Samurai | 1989: Nikon F4 | 1990: Canon EOS 10 | 1991: Contax RTS III | 1992: Pentax Z-1 | 1993: Canon EOS 5 | 1994: Minolta α-707si | 1995: Contax G1 | 1996: Minolta TC-1 | 1997: Nikon F5 | 1998: Pentax 645N | 1999: Minolta α-9 | 2000: Canon EOS-1V | 2001: Minolta α-7 | 2002: Canon EOS-1D | 2003: Canon EOS-1Ds | 2004: Nikon D70 | 2005: Konica Minolta α-7 Digital | 2006: Nikon D200 | 2007: Pentax K10D | 2008: Nikon D3 | 2009: Canon EOS 5D Mark II | 2010: Olympus Pen E-P1 | 2011: Pentax 645D | 2012: Nikon D800 | 2013: Sony DSC-RX1 | 2014: Nikon Df | 2015: Canon EOS 7D Mark II | 2016: Sony α7R II | 2017: Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II | 2018: Sony α9 | 2019: Lumix S1R | 2020: Sony α7R IV | 2021: Sony α1 | 2022: Nikon Z9 | 2023: Sony α7R V

Special Prize
1990: Konica Kanpai | 1991: Fuji Cardia Travel Mini Dual-P | 1992: Konica Hexar | 1993: Nikonos RS | Sigma SA300 | 1994: Olympus µ[mju:] Zoom Panorama | 1995: Ricoh R1 | 1996: Fujifilm GA645 | 1997: Canon IXY | Contax AX | 1998: Olympus C1400L | 1999: Nikon Coolpix 950 | Tamron AF28-300mm F3.5-6.3 LD Aspherical IF MACRO lens | 2000: Nikon D1 | Konica Hexar RF | 2001: Bronica RF645 | Fujichrome 100F/400F film | 2002: Minolta DiMAGE X | Nikon FM3A | 2003: Fujifilm GX645AF | Hasselblad H1 | 2004: Canon EOS Kiss Digital | Sigma 12-24mm F4.5-5.6 EX DG Aspherical HSM lens | 2005: Nikon F6 | Epson R-D1 | 2006: Ricoh GR Digital | Zeiss Ikon | 2007: Sony α100 | Adobe Lightroom software | 2008: Sigma DP1 | Fujichrome Velvia 50 film | 2009: Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 | Casio EXILIM EX-FC100 | 2010: Sony Exmor R sensor | Canon EF 100mm F2.8L Macro IS USM lens | 2011: Fujifilm X100 | Epson MAXART PX-5V (R3000) printer |

2012: Sony NEX 7 | 2013: Canon EOS 6D | Sigma DP1 / DP2 / DP3 Merrill 2014: Olympus OM-D EM-1 | Canon EOS 70D | Ricoh Theta