The Coolpix P1000 is certainly an achievement, and the ability to capture reasonably good images at the 3000mm end marks it as unique. Its key positive attributes include very good handling, effective Vibration Reduction and a clear menu system, but in order to be able to deliver a camera with such an ambitious optic under the four-figure price point, compromises have had to be made elsewhere.
The LCD screen isn't the best, and much of the body feels cheap for a camera with such a lofty price tag. The autofocus system can work well at times, but it's unreliable at the focal lengths at which it's most likely to be used, while the locking up after capturing just a handful of images – even with a fast memory card – is frustrating. Despite the effectiveness of the VR system, the fact that it remains difficult to compose images with precision at the telephoto end shouldn’t be surprising too, and image quality at wide-angle isn't very impressive either.
It’s great to see cameras of the Coolpix P1000's kind evolving and venturing into new territory, but anyone serious about telephotography would be far better served with an interchangeable-lens camera and a more modest telephoto lens, perhaps with a teleconverter and a little additional cropping to get that extra reach. Overall, it’s hard to shake the feeling that Nikon has simply overstretched itself here.
With such a humdinger of a lens, the Coolpix P1000 doesn’t exactly have any direct rivals that can claim to offer something similar. That said, it’s not the only long-zoom compact camera around, and if you don’t desperately need the P1000’s reach there are much cheaper options to consider.