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I hope I can make this answerable and not purely opinion-based...

Amongst the things I try to shoot, birds, squirrels and other small nervous wildlife crop up relatively frequently.

I'm very happy with my existing crop-frame interchangeable lens setup, but trying to grab a fast shot of something small, fast and relatively distant proves [obviously] quite elusive. My existing setup is a Nikon D5500, with various lenses from 18 to 300 mm in several steps, but including one that does all that in one go.

In the studio, under controlled conditions, I have my ever-expanding [though not yet premium] glass collection and choose the lens to suit the shot. That wouldn't change. I fully intend to grow that glass collection and eventually move up to a better body.

I tend to, for the occasional walk in the park etc., take my entire camera bag, so if I see something stationary and deserving of a more suitable lens, I can reach for it; but otherwise I have my 'guilty pleasure' Nikkor DX 18-300mm. It's not the sharpest knife in the box... but it's 18-300 - as fast as I can twist the zoom.

I have resisted so far, very long supertelephoto zooms; partly from budget concerns and partly because I find it difficult to place the intended subject in the frame on the first go unless I start wide. What I tend to do is set the zoom lens quite short, find the subject, then actively zoom in so I can keep it in frame. With birds etc., this gives up time, but gains eventual accuracy.

Now Nikon announces the ridiculous 24-3000mm Coolpix P1000 bridge camera.

I have a dilemma. Save for better [long] glass for my existing camera or spend less on this bridge system than even one of those lenses would cost. I'm not a pro, none of this cost will ever be recouped. I'm not rich, I can't throw money at my [passionate] hobby.

I'm not asking anyone to make the decision for me...but how do I decide? Is there a quick, "You don't want this new camera because..." ?

I'm not interested in any of the 'features' like scenes, wifi, bluetooth, etc. I'm only considering how much image quality I'll lose [which I know isn't an absolute] vs. how much further I can be from a fleeting subject and still have a reasonable chance of getting an acceptable shot.

Factors such as noticeable and uncorrectable colour aberration would be an immediate 'turn off'. I've had lenses that do that, I don't need an entire compact system that will do it too. I'm aware I'll 'lose pixels' going down from my existing 24mp to 16mp. I like 'sharp' so this is definitely a factor I'd need to consider.

I understand this question may not be completely answerable until the model has had some testing in the real world.

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The only real way to decide is to compare the results from each camera system and decide which set of results you find more acceptable.

Comparison can be between actual results you produce yourself with both systems, or comparing the results that are reflected in reviews and tests published by others.

What I'm hoping for... is 3000mm of 'useful' zoom. What I fear is ...2700 of those precious mm being really no better than getting up close with a phone or screwing in a cheap lens modifier.

The lens of a superzoom "compact" (please see the image below!) such as the Nikon CoolPix P1000 will be better for long distance shots than the lens in a phone. The sensor is 1/2.3" that is about 7.66x6.17 mm. There are a handful of the top smartphones with same sized or larger sensors, but most phone sensors are somewhere between a bit to a lot smaller.

My personal take on the CoolPix P1000:

The extra zoom over the previous CoolPix P900 (same sensor, 24-2000 mm 'equivalent' 83X ZOOM BABY!) is purely for marketing, won't be very usable by the target buyer, and might even actually reduce the quality of images it can take in the more usable 24-1000 mm 'equivalent' range due to the increased design compromises needed to extend the focal length range by 50% more. Not to mention the camera weighs about as much as my EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS II!

enter image description here

Anything over about 1,000mm 'equivalent' is extremely hard to manage in terms of technique. Even with a tripod, at such narrow angles of view wobble and vibration are noticeable. Atmospheric effects also begin to be quite noticeable when using such narrow angles of view over longer distances.

If you want to try a "Superzoom", pick up a used CoolPix P900 (going for as low as $450 used), Panasonic FZ300 (25-600mm 'equivalent', constant f/2.8 lens, and 1/2.3" sensor for less than half the cost of the P1000), Panasonic FZ2500 (24-480mm 'equivalent' with f/2.8-4.5 aperture and much larger 1" sensor, can be had new for the MSRP of the P1000), Sony CyberShot RX-10 III (1" sensor, 24-600mm 'equivalent' f/2.8-4 lens, but a bit more expensive), or some such other sensibly designed "Superzoom".

A 125X superzoom will likely only be useful for bragging rights. But hey, it's got serious ZOOM, BABY!

Here's a shot of the moon from the CoolPix P1000 released by Nikon (presumably the best possible IQ the P1000 can do of the moon):

enter image description here

While it isn't terrible by any stretch of the imagination...

Here's a shot from a Fuji XT-1 using a 100-400mm zoom that had the snot cropped out of it:

enter image description here

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    \$\begingroup\$ The P1000 photograph of the moon is a lot less impressive when you put it next to one taken with an X-T1. \$\endgroup\$
    – xiota
    Jul 12, 2018 at 7:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ @MichaelClark, Panasonic FZ2500 do not have constant F2.8. It is F2.8-4.5 \$\endgroup\$ Jul 12, 2018 at 17:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ Shame on you, Adorama! That's false advertising! \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Jul 12, 2018 at 17:24
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    \$\begingroup\$ @MichaelClark, the site you mention in comment point to FZ300, which is F2.8 (but with 1/2.3" sensor, which make possible to have F2.8 at 600mm in those dimensions) \$\endgroup\$ Jul 12, 2018 at 20:07
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    \$\begingroup\$ You're right. Shame on you, google! Giving a link to a used FZ300 when I searched for an FZ2500! \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Jul 12, 2018 at 21:21
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I know it is years after the original question, but hell...

I am using both P900 and P1000 for wild-life amateur photography and I can't imagine anything better what I could afford. Sure, no superior quality. Sure, evening is too dark. Sure, long distance makes atmosphere to produce blurry effects. But this is the only camera in that price range which allows me to observe birds like cranes from ~100m and make decent "memory" photo. This is a real fun to sit across the other side of 250m wide lake and still be able to recognize the bird far, far away hidden in a tree. A deer at 500m still looks like a deer. You don't need to hide - You are just far too far away for them to be afraid. And believe, there is no problem with aiming and vibration suppression does its work.

For any other kind of application - not good. Macro? Well... no, it is just too large. In house? There are faaaar better options. 4K video? Forget it, just a marketing crap, 640x480 is good. Party photos? No way, too heavy. Night or evening? No. High speed moving targets requiring tracking auto-focus? No way, it needs close to 1s to focus. Birds flying across Your nose? Possible if You set manual focus and just shut 1000 photos and select that one which has a bird on it. WiFi and others? Useless.

The only real application I can find for it is a wild life watching. And this is a damn good at it.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I find the first 2000mm fully usable and choose to carry my P1000 rather than my P950 because the last 1000mm is nice to have. Both are much better than the P900 because of usable manual focus. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 27, 2023 at 23:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ Yes, it boils down to sensor elements on target. A larger sensor with the snot cropped out of it will be inferior to a smaller denser sensor at some point. We can all argue where that point might be but for a given cost/use scenario a super-zoom may indeed be the preferred option. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 2, 2023 at 22:30
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I would like to mention one more point why P1000 is just marketing product

When we select shutter speed we use the rule shutter speed=1/focal length. Based on this (w/o getting in consideration image stabilization, Nikon do not mention it in sense of stops) on 3000mm we should shoot with 1/3000s.

Based on Sunny 16 rule and having F8 on 3000mm we should set camera to 1/3000, F8, ISO 1500. I have serious doubts with such ISO you will get reasonably good image w/o much noise (sensor is 1/2.3" ...)

And all this in sunny day...

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If I were you, I'd take my existing Nikon/Lens kit to a camera shop and do a comparison with the P1000. Compare uncroped P1000 images to cropped images taken with your DSLR. Then you'll know for certain which option is best for you.

As another option, have you considered using a spotting scope?

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