Nikon Coolpix S5100 review

Full review: High quality, budget snapper, with 5x optical zoom

Image 1 of 4 Nikon Coolpix S5100 blue
Nikon Coolpix S5100 blue
Image 2 of 4 Nikon S5100 back
Nikon S5100 back
Image 3 of 4 Nikon Coolpix S5100 front
Nikon Coolpix S5100 front
Image 4 of 4 Nikon Coolpix S5100 top
Nikon Coolpix S5100 top

Affordable, attractive, easy-to-use and a great snapper

New from Nikon, following up from last year's S570, is the Coolpix S5100, a neat looking 12.2MP megapixel camera which promises high-image quality all situations, even at night, using lens-shift Vibration Reduction, enhanced Motion Detection, and a new flash control system. All for less than £150? Let's see...

The Nikon Coolpix S5100 is a nice looking compact camera – its design is classic and quite understated but the choice of black or bright blue keeps it looking fairly funky. On the whole it feels well made, for its sub £150 price point, but the plastic buttons on the back feel slightly cheap and the battery door is flimsy, which is a disappointment.

In the hand Nikon Coolpix S5100 is small, but is not too dinky – it still feels substantial enough in the hands and the buttons and D-pad on the pad aren't squashed together, so remain easy to use. The camera is aimed at those looking for an easy-to-use model, rather than creative control, consequently it's easy to use: navigating the menu system is a doddle.

Nikon Coolpix S5100: Features

Essentially a point and shoot compact, the Nikon Coolpix S5100 isn't bursting with features. As well as the usual scene modes (18), a face-priority face-detection mode, self-timer feature and Smart Portrait mode (which waits until the subject smiles before it shoots) and that's about it. But importantly they all work well.

You can soften skin in-camera too and fix red-eye. There are no manual modes, white balance and two stops of exposure compensation is it, however Nikon Coolpix S5100 does shoot 720p HD video. The Nikkor lens is a 5x optical zoom which starts at wide-angle 28mm, not a long zoom, but fine for everyday scenarios.

Nikon Coolpix S5100: Performance

Does it produces high image quality like Nikon promises? Yes and it performs well in low-light too. ISO runs from 100 to 3200. ISO 3200 is not usable at all (hence why it's not on the vast majority of compact cameras), although images taken at 1600 are usable which is good. From 100 up to 400 there's virtually no noise – impressive stuff. The lens-shift Vibration Reduction works well too and our images were all sharp and shake free. Colours are punchy but realistic, although in pictures which contain a lot of contrast, images show some chromatic aberrations. Otherwise the camera would get very top marks. Video quality is better than we expect at this price point too, as is sound.

Overall the Nikon Coolpix S5100 is a great compact, either for photographic novices or anyone who just wants to take great pictures with minimum fuss.

The Coolpix Nikon S5100 is out now

Link: Nikon


Sensor: 12.2MP
Lens: 5x optical zoom NIKKOR lens. 28-140mm
Screen: 2.7-inches, 230k-dots
Viewfinder: LCD
Stabilsation: Lens-shift
Video: HD 1280 × 720, 30 fps movies
Storage: 32MB Internal memory, SD/SDHC memory cards
Connections: Hi-Speed USB
Battery life: Approx. 200 shots or 1 h 40 min of HD video (720p)
Weight/size: 132g (including battery and SD memory card), Approx. 97x 57x22 mm