The Nikon p1000 is a fairly new beast of a camera with a lot of unique features. It can be a bit of a pain to get used to the weight and size, so many people seek advice in how to generally use the camera. Luckily, we’ve collected some tips and tricks to help you get those perfect shots with your p1000!
1 – Stabilize Your Camera
The p1000 is very unique in terms of size and weight. Many standard tripods don’t work very well to accommodate it, particularly when it’s set up for really crazy zoom shots. The camera is very heavy at the top, so you need to make sure to get a tripod that can actually hold up the camera without risk of tipping.
In addition to getting a decent tripod, you can also pick up a telephoto lens support. These attach to the bottom of the camera and redistribute the weight so that long lenses or hefty cameras don’t cause the tripod to tip when the camera is attached to the head. Most of these can be easily attached and adjusted to your liking.
There are a lot of options out there for telephoto lens supports, so shop around and see if you can find a decent one for a good price. Even many of the more basic options are quite effective for stabilizing the p1000. It’s definitely worth it to avoid your tripod tipping over!
2 – Do Some Reading
Nikon has a bit of a reputation for leaving crucial information out of their product manuals. In general, you will want to supplement your understanding of your camera, since a lot of the more subtle stuff just isn’t in the manual. Luckily, there is a very handy guide written by a guy named Alexander White, The Photographer's Guide To The Nikon Coolpix p1000.
Mr. White has actually written a number of guides for different cameras, and they are all well-reviewed by customers who were taught new things about their cameras. In our opinion, his guide to the Nikon p1000 is top-notch, and contains a lot of essential information that your manual will not tell you.
If you have a minute, go ahead and read some of the reviews for the book, and see if it doesn’t look like something you would be interested in. The book will definitely have way more information than any internet guide you could possibly read.
3 – Pay Attention To The Lengths
This sounds like an obvious one, but it can be less obvious than you would think. Many people forget to check their lengths, or they don’t get used to using the camera in all of its available lengths. If you spend some time playing around with shorter zoom lengths, you will start to get more of an idea for how the camera handles in general, without focusing too much on some more specialized set-up.
Too many photographers go out with their brand new p1000, set it to the absolute maximum zoom length, and end up with underwhelming pictures. Even people that have been using the camera for months can miss some of the subtleties of the camera when they don’t play around with their zoom lengths.
In general, you will want to play around with your camera as much as possible. Nothing is going to tell you more about your camera than your camera itself. It only takes a little bit of attention to detail, and a bit of perseverance.
4 – Practice Shooting Free-Hand
Although it can be a bit of a chore with cameras of this size, it is always a good idea to get used to using your camera without the tripod. Technique when shooting is more important than you may think, and shooting free-hand will teach you a lot of things that you miss when you spend all day tripod-shooting. The worst way to go about shooting is to develop bad habits from only shooting one way.
This is obviously a lot more important if you will be doing a lot of handheld photography with your camera. It’s a good idea to practice, because it can be very difficult to aim and shoot properly with such a large and heavy camera. Patience is key, because it will probably take a few tries to get your technique on-point.
This also lets you see more of the subtleties from playing around with the zoom length and such. It’s one thing to play around with the camera on a tripod, but playing around with it in your hands will give you a much clearer idea of how the different settings affect the look and feel of your shooting.
5 – Get Some Lens Protection
The p1000 is heavy. Very heavy. It’s more than likely at some point that you might drop it, let it slip, or have a tripod tip over during shooting. This can be a horrifying and very expensive event, so it’s always good to be prepared for the worst.
Even if you’ve never broken a lens, the possibility is always on the horizon. There are a few different ways to protect the lens on your p1000, but the easiest is to invest in a decent, cheap UV filter. The p1000 has a lens filter thread on the lens, which is great for fitting things like UV filters. This allows you to add some decent lens protection to your p1000 fairly cheaply and easily.
Although any lens filter will be somewhat effective for protecting the lens of your p1000, it is essential to make sure you are using the highest quality available for the best price. Cheaping out on your lens protection can end you up with a damaged lens, which can be very expensive to repair.
6 – Set The Vibration Reduction
Nikon has some great vibration reduction technology at work in their cameras. That being said, sometimes it can be a bit of a pain when you want really sharp images with the p1000. This sounds rather basic in terms of manual settings, but a lot of photographers end up leaving the vibration reduction on all the time. It’s the photographs themselves that suffer in the end.
If you’re using your p1000 freehand, then fine, use the vibration reduction. It will help you get your images looking clearer considering your hands are probably shaking just a tiny bit. That being said, as soon as you fix the camera to a tripod, you should be turning the vibration reduction off.
The tripod or whatever other device you’re mounting the camera on should have enough stability that the vibration reduction is not necessary. Leaving it on can make your images look less sharp and crisp, which you obviously don’t want. Don’t forget to set the vibration reduction if you are switching between handheld and mounted photography frequently, either.
7 – Get Used To Using The Auto Focus
Much like the vibration reduction, the auto focus on most Nikon cameras is top-notch, and the p1000 is no exception. It’s fairly underrated, considering how effective it can be for bird watching or other animal photography. If you’re planning on doing shooting that requires effective focus at the drop of a hat, then you will need to get used to using the auto focus.
Many well-known bird watchers and photographers have talked about how they love the Nikon target finding auto focus for what they do. Some of them even mention that they use it all the time, with a fairly high rate of success. Manual focus in situations like this can actually have a lower success rate.
Especially in any type of photography where you will need to target your subject and achieve focus in a matter of seconds, the auto focus can be your best friend. Nikon took the time to make it as effective as it is, so you might as well get a feel for it.
8 – Set Your F Stops
This one is more specialized to the actual type of photography you will be doing. There is no singular universal set of F stops for all photography. Tweaking your F stops properly has a huge effect on how your camera handles, and how your photographs turn out.
Some people who shoot with the Nikon p1000 have noticed that the camera behaves a little differently in terms of f stops than other DSLR cameras. This is especially true at the higher-end zoom ranges. This is probably due to the smaller image sensor on the p1000 compared to other cameras.
That being said, it can be compensated for a little bit by finding the right F stops. There are a few listings out there for optimal general settings, but it’s really something you should test out and set for yourself. Nobody will be able to tell you exactly how to shoot the images you want.
9 – Get Used To Your Shutter Speeds
Another tip that can come in handy particularly for bird watching or animal photography. Obviously, your shutter speed will have to be in just the right spot if you want to grab that perfect picture of your subject. Generally, the faster shutter speeds take much better pictures of fast-moving subjects such as wildlife.
On the other hand, if you’re doing something like photographing the stars (astrophotography), then a slower speed will be what you want. But, then again, this depends on the atmospheric conditions where and when you’re taking your photos. In short, just like anything else when it comes to photography, there is no “best” setting for shutter speed.
The key here is to play around with different speeds and see what kind of pictures it gives you. Playing around your camera and evaluating the results is one of the best ways to become acquainted with your camera. There are many things that are too subtle for an internet article to help you with.
10 – Don’t Be Afraid To Use The Remote
The worst feeling in the world is setting up your tripod and camera just right after hours of painstaking adjustments, and then messing it all up by touching the camera wrong as you actually take your photo. This can be avoided by using a remote control for your camera. Luckily, a few cheap and effective wireless remotes are available for the p1000.
This will especially be useful for things like landscape photography where you can spend literally hours setting up the perfect shot, only to lose all that time and effort right when you actually snap your picture. Typically, these remotes are fairly affordable and easy to set up. Considering how affordable these remotes typically are, it’s worth it to save yourself all that trouble.
11 – Play With Both Single Shot And Burst Mode
Again, different types of photography demand different settings no matter which camera you are using. Single shot may be optimal for one situation, while burst shot might give you better results in another area. Even in niches where burst shot is generally regarded as better, playing around with single shot mode can give you some interesting results.
The only real way to know is to play around with both settings in a myriad of situations. Single shot can be great for capturing a subject that just sits there, and burst shot is great for getting that perfect moment during intense motion, but there’s no way of knowing before you try it out.
12 – Get Out And Play With Your Camera!
There’s nothing that will teach you more about your camera than actually going out and shooting with it! In general, you can do as much reading about it as you want, but only firsthand experience will really teach you what you need to know.
This is especially true if you work in a less common photography niche, or if you change niches frequently. You might find something that works for you that nobody else has ever thought of before. You will literally never know until you try.
Besides, playing with cameras is fun! If you have any questions or comments, feel free to fire away in the comments section!