Friday, 7 September 2018

The Nikon has landed...initial thoughts.

I couldn’t resist pre-ordering Nikon’s new Superzoom camera the COOLPIX P1000 when it was announced back in July this year, and today it arrived!  I’ve been using the older P900 for the last couple of years and various ‘superzoom’ models before it. They suit my needs perfectly allowing me to photograph insects, plants and giving me the required reach to get decent bird photos and video too, all in one compact unit.

So what do you get for your money? Well here are my initial thoughts having only received it about a hour ago. The P1000 knocks it’s more modestly priced older sibling off the top spot as having the largest optical zoom currently available - 125 x compared to the P900’s 83 x offering. That's a 35mm equivalent of  having a 3000 mm lens at the top end of its magnification! This comes with a caveat’s heavier - 3.12 lbs compared to the P900 at 1.98 lbs. Now that will almost certainly put some people off but when you look at what you're getting for that weight, I don't think it's a huge price to pay. Your average 400 mm DSLR lens is going to weigh-in between 3 - 5 lbs on its own and you're getting a lot more reach with this camera. Besides, I often mount the P900 on a tripod as I often use it for filming, so for me the extra weight is no big deal. But how do the P900 and P1000 compare in the real world? Let’s take a look.

P900 at the top of the pic, P1000 below.
It's a monster! But feels surprisingly light and easy to handle.

It has a larger 77mm lens barrel compared to the 67mm P900

Don't be put off by it's size.

Despite being noticeably larger than the P900 it feels very comfortable in the hand. It also feels well built and solid. Anyone familiar with the control layout of the P900 will find a similar layout on the new camera making it easy to pick up and use straight out of the box.

Side by side comparison.

And from the rear...

The following images were all taken using the P900 and P1000 side-by-side with tripod support, auto ISO and auto white balance (I’ve always found the P900 auto white balance to have a slightly yellowish warm tone so keen to compare with the newer camera).

Greenfinch sitting on a tree top about 30 m away, taken on max optical zoom.
P900 left, P1000 on the right

P1000 racked up into digital zoom still gives a reasonable image.
When you think how far away the bird was, that's pretty good.

Another comparison of a wood pigeon on max optical zoom
P900 on the left, P1000 on the right

The P1000, like its predecessor, is clearly being marketed towards wildlife enthusiasts among others but instead of being buried in the main menu (as on the P900) the Birdwatching setting is now conveniently situated on the dial select knob, which is much quicker to access when required.

Fuschia flower on macro setting.
The P1000 reproduces pleasant, accurate colours,
which can of course be tweaked to your own
preferences in the menu.

What I particularly like is the fact that the P1000 shoots in RAW as well as JPEG, allowing you to export uncompressed image files to Photoshop or Lightroom and have more control to tweak and adjust the final photo.  The addition of a ring on the lens barrel also allows you manual control over things like ISO, white balance, EV stops and even manual focus.

Video comparison:



 I think you'll agree the quality, contrast and colour on the P1000 are far superior.

Add to this it's exceptional Dual Detect Optical Vibration Reduction and 4K video capabilities and you have one very special,  portable (though noticeably heavier) camera for birders and nature enthusiasts . I'll certainly be putting mine to the test in the coming months and look forward to sharing the results on this blog.

In short, if you liked the P900, you’re going to LOVE the P1000! Now I just need to find a case to fit it!

Monday, 3 September 2018


A couple of months back I finally decided that attracting the odd moth or two by leaving a light on in the bathroom, wasn't really cost effective (or worth the effort). Having borrowed a trap from Nigel Marven (with excellent results), I decided to purchase a compact twin actinic Skinner trap from Anglian Lepidoptera supplies. It's not as good as the MV trap my brother, mate Rich Heddington and myself used back in the early 80's but it's still pretty good.

I've only used the trap a few times in the last 6 weeks (mainly to avoid repeatedly catching the same individual moths time and time again), but the results have been good so far. My garden list at Whitestaunton is now on 75 species and that will certainly go a lot higher over the coming year or so.

Here are a few of my favourites from recent weeks.

Centre-barred Sallow

Lesser Swallow Prominent

White Ermine

Purple Bar

Sharp-angled Peacock

August Thorn

Dusky Thorn

Canary-shouldered Thorn

Iron Prominent
Chinese Character

Frosted Orange

Orange Swift

Small Blood-vein

Light Emerald


Setaceous Hebrew Character

Straw Dot

Black Sexton Beetle Nicrophorus humator 

At this time of the year the trap also attracts other things too. I've had quite a few European Hornets recently, including this one that was found sat close by one morning on a fence post.

Hornet, Whitestaunton
Vespula vulgaris

Vespula vulgaris

Yellow Dung Fly

With the warmer weather set to stay with us a little longer, I should be able to set the trap a few more times over the coming weeks.