Above: The Nikon P1000. Credit: Nikon USA.

A Voyeur's Tool

The Nikon P1000 has a 3000mm zoom lens, "imagine being able to zoom far beyond the reach of standard telephoto lenses, to capture not just the moon, but the craters, peaks and valleys of its surface. Imagine being able to view the International Space Station in flight, even the rings of Saturn--not with a telescope, but with a one-of-a-kind Nikon camera. Introducing the P1000, the most extreme zoom Nikon ever, and a game-changer for birders, sports and wildlife enthusiasts, travel photographers and even those aspiring to venture to the moon and beyond without leaving their backyard."

As the narrator of the Nikon promo-clip for the new camera notes: "When you see something that's beyond the reach of the eye suddenly brought very close, suddenly made real, you can't help be filled with a certain delight and wonder." The same promo vid shows members of the public being surprised by the extent of the 125x zoom: " ... that's amazing .. that's insane ... that's crazy ... oh my gosh, oh my ... God."

Nikon's new 125x zoom camera is really a niche camera--particularly the birdwatching niche. But there is something perverse about the P1000. It may not be mentioned in the marketing pitch, but this camera is the ultimate voyeur's tool: "Pick a window, and just start zooming. What do you see inside? Anything ... interesting?" That should be the sales copy for this camera. Of course, Nikon will tell you that any such usage is gross, appalling, and actually illegal. But do they seriously expect us to believe that they researched-and-developed this camera so that users can spend £1000 in order to take a few novelty shots of moon craters? A P1000 purchase will be driven by one definite desire within the realm of the visual: a pronounced urge to see with intense clarity all that is ordinarily indistinct, inexplicit, hidden. As one of the vox-pop users featured on the P1000 video-clip comments: "You can see everything, literally."

(17 February 2019)