Nikon Coolpix S9100 review
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.
Styled like a high-end enthusiasts’ compact complete with natty pop-up flash and stereo microphones the S9100 is nevertheless an accessible point and shoot and results were better that expected. We could shoot at extreme telephoto setting and get pin-sharp results; subtle corner softening at maximum wide angle is forgivable. Add a best-in-class focal range, and the Nikon’s a winner in our book.