Nikon Coolpix S8100

Offering a whole heap of shooting modes and generally good image quality, the S8100 is a tempting proposition for those looking for a 10x optical zoom compact.


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Design and features

The S8100 is a refined update to the earlier, equally zoomy S8000 camera. It's a slick-looking camera, with a soft-touch casing around the front and a 3-inch screen at the back. At the top is a mode dial with full automatic mode, plus a myriad of scene modes, backlighting mode and a continuous shooting mode. There's also two dedicated night modes on the dial, for portraits and landscapes taken under the cover of darkness. An instant-on video record button is provided around the back.

Improvements over the older model include a new backlit CMOS sensor and the inclusion of full HD video recording. The sensor allows the camera to take a quick succession of shots at 10 frames per second and like other backlit CMOS sensors, is designed to be better at taking clear night images. The sensor also allows the S8100 to take videos at different frame rates, including slow motion at 240fps or 120fps (there's also 60fps or 15fps options). An in-camera HDR mode is provided, too.

The other number to get excited about is the 10x optical zoom, packed on the front of a slim chassis that measures just 2.9cm deep. That said, the lens isn't particularly captivating, remaining the same as found on the S8000. Its widest is just 30mm, which isn't exactly great for landscapes and sweeping vistas, and its maximum aperture is an unexciting f/3.5-5.6. Still, it does better than the Canon IXUS 1000 HS's lens which tops 36mm at its widest.

Like all Nikon Coolpix cameras of late, the S8100 doesn't have a battery charger. Instead, the USB cable doubles as the charging cable, and all recharging is done with the battery still in the camera. Connectivity is provided via the proprietary USB AV out and mini-HDMI.

S8100

There are heaps of continuous shooting modes to choose from on the S8100. Also, acting like a pre-record button on a camcorder, the S8100 can take two images before the shutter button is fully released, meaning you are more likely to get your desired shot. (Credit: CBSi)

Compared to

Ricoh CX4 vs. Canon 1000 HS vs. Nikon S8100

Ricoh CX4 Canon IXUS 1000 HS Nikon Coolpix S8100
10 megapixels (backlit CMOS sensor) 10 megapixels (backlit CMOS sensor) 12.1 megapixels (backlit CMOS sensor)
3-inch, 920,000-dot LCD 3-inch, 230,000-dot LCD 3-inch, 920,000-dot LCD
10.7x optical zoom 10x optical zoom 10x optical zoom
No manual controls No manual controls No manual controls
HD video (720p, unknown frame rate) HD video (1080p, 24fps) HD video (1080p, 30fps)

Performance

General shooting metrics (in seconds)

  • Time to first shot
  • JPEG shot-to-shot time
  • Shutter lag
  • Nikon S81001.42.70.3
  • Ricoh CX42.92.10.2
  • Canon IXUS 1000 HS3.82.90.5

Continuous shooting speed (longer bars indicate better performance)

  • Nikon S810010
  • Ricoh CX45
  • Canon IXUS 1000 HS3.3

Note that the S8100 can only take five shots at its full 12-megapixel resolution at the 10fps speed. Nikon rates the battery for the S8100 at 210 shots, or one hour and 20 minutes of HD video.

Image quality

It's clear that Nikon has worked hard to improve the overall image quality from this camera over the previous version in the S8000, due to a new sensor. Images are cleanest at low ISO levels, but there's still a noticeable film of digital noise even at ISO 160 when viewing images at full magnification. That said, unless you are making large prints or tight crops with images from this camera, you probably won't notice this issue.

As the lens itself hasn't changed, the S8100 still exhibits the same issues found on the earlier camera, including chromatic aberrations on video and slight flaring during longer exposures. On the plus side, night photo modes worked reasonably well with best results obtained during twilight hours, or when there's still a small amount of ambient light from the sky. The S8100 had a reasonably good dynamic range, but like the IXUS 1000 HS, highlights sometimes blew out.

Comparing images from the S8100 with those from the IXUS 1000 HS, the Canon's appear a lot punchier than the Nikon's. Exposures are about equivalent and they are both equipped to handle night shots well. The S8100 performed better when taking images at the full 10x telephoto reach, with sharper images than those from the IXUS.

Also worth noting is the S8100 can use its optical zoom while filming.

Image samples

Click each image for full-sized samples from the S8100. No post-processing has been done to alter these photos.

Exposure: 1/98, f/3.5, ISO 160

Exposure: 1/10, f/3.5, ISO 400

Exposure: 1/470, f/3.5, ISO 160

Exposure: 1/288, f/5.6, ISO 160, 10x optical zoom

Exposure: 1/65, f/4.3, ISO 160

Exposure: 1/19, f/3.5, ISO 400

(Credit: CBSi)

Conclusion

Offering a whole heap of shooting modes and generally good image quality, the S8100 is a tempting proposition for those looking for a 10x optical zoom compact.

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Monokuro
8
Rating
 

Monokuro posted a review   

The Good:- good grip - great pictures and videos- big screen-

The Bad: - the pop-up flash can get in the way when you hold your camera. - the tripod area

Love it. I got mine from digital world international. Good service, got my camera in 48 hours. The images are great. Video quality is also worth its price. The only issue is the pop- up flash where you might rest your hand. i really like the 10x zoom as well.

 

MEMEME posted a comment   

WHEN IS THIS CAMERA RELEASED IN AUSTRALIA...IM DYING TO GET MY HANDS ON ONE HERE!!! CAN CAN SOMEONE PLEASE PLEASE REVIEW THIS CAMERA?

 

whitensquare posted a reply   

I have been using this camera and found it gives fantastic result. I am also selling it on E-bay, if intrested search with 'seller' name whitensquare.

 

AC posted a reply   

Now, just picked on up yesterday from Teds

 

KKW posted a reply   

it's already in Aussie
i bought it from Melb Airport Duty Free

 

Kathy posted a comment   

Tell us if the camera is in good condition or not yeah?

 

I found it on EBAY, delivery tomorrow posted a comment   

I found one on Ebay, good price, extra batteries.
It looks like it will burn through them pretty quickly.
I can't wait to get my grubby little paws on it!

 

Monokuroboo posted a comment   

WHEN is this camera released????I can't find it anywhere, im looking forward to this review though. I was going to buy the s8000 one but i heard the sound quality when video recording was bad and there is a high pitch sound. I hope Nikon was able to improve video quality in the s8100

 

marsbe posted a comment   

Cheers, what are your thoughts on it? Also, what price did you grab it for?

 

KLo posted a comment   

The only place I was able to locate and purchase was Target. Could not find anywhere in stock on line or locally elsewhere! Try your local Target Store.


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User Reviews / Comments  Nikon Coolpix S8100

  • Monokuro

    Monokuro

    Rating8

    "Love it. I got mine from digital world international. Good service, got my camera in 48 hours. The images are great. Video quality is also worth its price. The only issue is the pop- up flash where..."

  • MEMEME

    MEMEME

    "WHEN IS THIS CAMERA RELEASED IN AUSTRALIA...IM DYING TO GET MY HANDS ON ONE HERE!!! CAN CAN SOMEONE PLEASE PLEASE REVIEW THIS CAMERA?"

  • Kathy

    Kathy

    "Tell us if the camera is in good condition or not yeah?"

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