Limited manual controls, but best in class zoom and HD movies
The Travel Zoom market is fairly new, referring to those compact cameras that include extensive optical zooms – usually a minimum of 10x.
Feeling solid thanks to its mostly metal build when gripped in the palm, and available in a choice of sleek black, silver or red bodies, the 12.1-megapixel Coolpix S9100 compact camera is most notable for shoehorning in a retracting 18x optical zoom.
This class leading and portable ‘travel zoom’ offers a 35mm equivalent focal range of a wide angle 25mm to 450mm, which means the camera is as useful for shooting landscapes as it is getting up close and personal for candid portraits from afar.
Nikon Coolpix S9100: Controls
Pictures and video are composed via an impressively high-res 920k-dot resolution back screen. Though it lacks much in the way of a grip, a thin strip and all-encompassing rubber layer to the front plate prevent fingers slipping. This is supported by sensor shift anti shake to counter balance any external hand wobble. Both help to avoid blurred pictures when shooting at maximum 450mm telephoto setting.
Such image stabilization also helps avoid soft shots in lower light, the Nikon Coolpix S9100’s capabilities further boosted by a back-lit CMOS sensor and light sensitivity range of up to ISO3200 at full resolution, even if its lens’ maximum aperture is a so-so f/3.5. Nevertheless it helped up avoid blurring shooting handheld at maximum zoom by day, and both noise and softness when used along with a tripod by night.
Nikon Coolpix S9100: Features
The camera powers up in just over a second and commits a full resolution JPEG to SD memory in around two. Eight shooting modes are located around what is one of the tiniest shooting mode dials we've witnessed, part recessed into the top plate and ridged so it can turned with the thumb. As well as the standard Program Auto option we get a ‘scene auto selector’ mode whereby the camera recognises your subjects and chooses the most appropriate setting.
It’s consistently reliable, so operation is a no brainer for those who really do just want to point and shoot. Also included are an array of digital effects – including fish eye, selective colour and miniature - some applicable in-camera at the point of capture, others afterwards.
Nikon Coolpix S9100: Image quality
Full HD 1080p video with the benefit of stereo sound and 30fps frame rate, or slow motion 240fps shooting, further lifts this one above the crowd, with easy-peasy instant record button on the backplate, 4:3 aspect LCD screen ratio cropped to 16:9. Also simple to use is a new Easy Panorama function allowing for both 180° or 360° views to be shot vertically or horizontally.
For those eyeing this up as a holiday companion, 270 shots from a full charged battery is average for this class of camera. Yes it omits GPS or toughened outer casing, but you get an 18x zoom, metal build and easy panorama mode. Ultiamately the Coolpix S9100 looks good, is fairly priced and delivers a consistently colourful performance.
Nikon Coolpix S9100 launch date: Out now, link Nikon
Nikon Coolpix S9100 price: £220-£300 onlin
Nikon Coolpix S9100 Specifications:
- Sensor: 12-megapixels CMOS
- Lens: 18x optical 25-450mm
- Screen: 3-inches, 921,000 resolution
- Viewfinder: Via screen only
- Stabilisation: Sensor shift+electronic
- Video: 1920x1080 at 30fps
- Storage: SD/SDHC/SDXC Memory Card
- Battery:270 shots
- Connections: USB, Pictbridge
- Dimensions/Weight:104.8 x 62.0 x 34.6 mm, 214g