A Jessops exclusive compact, the Nikon COOLPIX S8100 has plenty of advantages over it's predecessor
The Jessops exclusive Nikon COOLPIX S8100 has some impressive specs on paper, from the 12MP sensor through to the 10x optical zoom lens with five kinds of anti-shake technology.
Nikon COOLPIX S8100 review – Features
There are, of course, plenty of similarities with the S8000 released a few months ago, although fewer than the model names would dictate. Although the resolution is lower, from 14MP, the HD movie mode is up to the full 1080p quality as opposed to 720p and there are only four types of stabilization to be had. The rest of the camera certainly makes for pleasurable reading, with a 3inch LCD screen and up to ISO 3200 sensitivity at full resolution. The burst mode is an impressive 10fps at full quality, and there are a number of scene modes that offer low light variations of the likes of Landscape and Portrait options.
Nikon COOLPIX S8100 review – Design
With a large amount of magnification on offer the weight of the camera has been affected, although the Nikon COOLPIX S8100 sits at 208g, which is around 10g less than the similarly specced Panasonic TZ10. The weight is a little front heavy though, even with the lens retracted, making it feel a touch bulkier than it is. The body is neither thin nor small, which isn’t exactly unexpected from a camera of this type, but the general build is strong and robust-feeling. The flash pops up from the top left corner, which may force some redistribution of fingers for handling purposes, sitting next to the small, illuminating on/off button.
Nikon COOLPIX S8100 review – Performance
The mode dial may carry the appearance of a DSLR-style offering, but doesn’t contain any manual modes. Instead there’s access to the burst mode, tracking and scene modes as well as the auto mode. Even within the limited menu system there’s very few options, and no opportunities to alter shutter speed or aperture. Manual controls are restricted to the likes of ISO and white balance, making it impossible to make major alterations when shooting. The movie record button at the top right corner of the rear panel is useful, although having both a scroll wheel and d-pad seems a little frivolous for a camera without manual controls.
Nikon COOLPIX S8100 review- Image Quality
In terms of image quality the Nikon COOLPIX S8100 performs impressively well on most fronts, even if the lengthy zoom isn’t taken into account. The sharpness produced by the images is, at times, stunning and captured at both the wide and telephoto end of the 10x magnification. Camera motion didn’t seem to through up many issues, although at times the absence of shutter speed control became an annoyance when the subject was moving. There was a slight tendency to overexpose in sunlight, losing definition in the clouds especially, but for the most part exposure was balanced across a variety of lighting conditions. Tonally there were a few issues with blues, offering a greener tint at the expense of contrast. This was most apparent again on bright, clear days although there were few issues with the other tones. Up to ISO 800 the post-processing holds off, but beyond that the results are clearly privy to input from the camera after-shot. This isn’t to say that the images are unusable, and in fact at ISO 3200 there’s plenty of detail to be had.
Nikon COOLPIX S8100 review – Video
The video mode has a few issues with focusing, as it struggles to change depth when on constant AF, but otherwise colour and exposure are up to standard. Even the odd white balance change, mid-shot is treated well, offering a graduated change as opposed to a sudden shift.
Image quality is highly impressive, although there are a few issues with the lack of manual controls