Thu, 07 Jul 2011 Nikon Coolpix S9100 review
The S9100 resembles an enthusiast’s compact, but handles like a point and shoot, leading the pack with an 18x optical zoom
- Manufacturer: Nikon
- Pros: Huge optical zoom range; Full HD video with stereo sound and HDMI; good build quality; easy to use; fun effects filters; sharp results at max zoom
- Cons: Visible pixel fringing between areas of high contrast and corner softening at maximum wide angle; no mains charger; lacks manual features
- Min specs: Digital camera compact; 105x35x62mm; 214g; 12.1 Megapixel CMOS; Optical Sensor Size: 1/2.3in; ISO 800, ISO 400, ISO 200, ISO 160, ISO 1600, ISO 3200, ISO auto (160-800), ISO auto (160-400), ISO auto (160-3200); 4x Digital Zoom; AVCHD, JPEG; Pop-up flash; Focal Length: 4.5-81mm; TTL contrast detection; Min Focus Range: 50cm; Macro Focus Range: 4cm; Lens Aperture: F/3.5-5.9; Optical Zoom: 18x; Audio recording, USB 2.0 compatibility, DPOF support, digital image stabilization, cropping an image, digital image stabilization (video mode), D-Lighting technology, Exif Print support, Motion Detection Technology; Built-in 3in LCD display; Microphone; Hi-Speed USB, composite video/audio output, HDMI output, SD Memory Card; USB cable A/V cable; Nikon EN-EL12 Li-ion rechargeable battery
- Price: £250.4 inc VAT
- Star rating:
The sleek S9100 packs in a best-on-test 18x optical zoom, equivalent to 25-450mm in 35mm terms. Like the Casio, it’s supported by sensor shift anti-shake to avoid blur when shooting towards maximum zoom and in lower light, and it largely works well. In lieu of a handgrip, the rubberised surface of the faceplate helps prevent slippage. As with the Canon, the Nikon’s imaging sensor is a backlit CMOS chip, here offering 12.1 megapixels.
An instant record button is provided for shooting video. Matching the Canon, the S9100 offers Full HD clips with stereo sound, at a marginally smoother 30fps, and as with the Olympus and Samsung the battery is charged in-camera. Once again there’s the fun extra of being able to create slow-motion video clips, via a fast capture speed of 240fps. HDMI connectivity lies beneath a side flap. Photos and video are composed via the 3in screen, which betters all others with its huge 920k resolution. If we have a gripe it’s that video can wander out of focus when zooming in, the camera taking a second or two to catch up.
As on the Casio, shooting modes are located around one of the tiniest dials we’ve seen, part recessed into the right-hand corner of the top plate and ridged for thumb operation. Alongside dedicated scene and subject mode buttons there’s a digital special effects option – a Nikon first. It’s maker has eschewed wackiness and the options are distinctly sensible: a ‘soft’ effect, nostalgic sepia, distinctive high-contrast monochrome, high key, low key and selective colour. Post-capture, fisheye and miniature effect filters can further be applied. Among the scene options an Easy Panorama automatically composites together a single elongated image as the user pans either through 180° or the full 360°. Operation is completely silent.