This is not what a x83 zoom looks like

Some time ago, Lothar Lenz published a short video on his youtube channel showing how the Nikon Coolpix P900 is able to zoom in on the moon with its unprecedented x83 zoom lens.

The short clip has since gone viral, gaining close to two million views at the time of writing. Every share notes the amazing capabilities of the x83 zoom lens of the P900, which maxes out at a 2000mm equivalent focal length.

Not arguing with the amazing output seen in the video, you shouldn’t go home with the idea that a 2000mm lens will actually give you such results. Clearly, digital zoom was applied starting at the 0:30 mark in the video.


Here’s a shot I took of the moon using a Lumix FZ70, which enjoyed the ‘largest zoom’ title for a short while, with its 20-1200mm x60 zoom:

Lumix FZ70 1200mm

Now here’s the same shot cropped by half, to simulate what a shot of the moon using a 2400mm equivalent lens would look like:

Lumix FZ70 1200mm x2 crop

Compare that to what we see at the beginning of the clip, and it makes sense:

p900 at 2000mm

(image taken from video by Lothar Lenz)
But look at what’s seen 30 seconds into the clip, and you get that something else is going on:

p900 digital zoom

(image taken from video by Lothar Lenz)

Now that we’ve established that digital zoom must have been used while taking that video, we can stare, jaws dropped, at the capabilities of this 900 gram camera that costs just $596. I’m not sure by this video how well its lens performs in all situations – it doesn’t look sharp at all in this demo, I’ll try and test it myself in the near future.

Here’s a specifications comparison between the Lumix FZ70 and the P900:

If you’re after a large zoom camera, the FZ70 has the best zoom for dollar ratio, selling for just over $200: B&H | Amazon | Adorama.

The P900 is a clearly a better camera than the FZ70, and not due to its larger zoom. Until I publish my review, you can help me out by using my links: B&H | Amazon | Adorama.

Also, take a look at this graph I made, showing cameras by zoom to the dollar:


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