The Nikon Coolpix S8100 is a speedy ultra-zoom that performs well even in dim settings, reviews say. Packed with a 12-megapixel CMOS sensor for less image noise, the S8100 displays better low-light versatility than most shooters, but "textures and edges lose sharpness" at low ISO levels, says Liam McCabe at DigitalCamera-HQ.com. This is an issue if you like to crop or enlarge photos. Otherwise, the S8100 boasts a vibrant, 3-inch, LCD screen whose 921,000-dot resolution "puts standard LCD screens to shame," says Mark Goldstein at PhotographyBlog.com. Reviews also tout the S8100's ability to quickly focus on subjects with a 10x optical-zoom lens that extends 30 mm to 300 mm, though the Canon PowerShot SX30 (Discontinued) offers more lens versatility with 24 mm wide-angle coverage.
Unlike its S8000 predecessor, the S8100 shoots movie clips in full 1080p HD with optical zoom, but the S8100's built-in microphone picks up zoom motor noise while recording. Still, most critics are pleased with the S8100's video and sound quality as well as its high-speed burst mode, which fires at 10 frames per second. Other helpful modes include Night Landscape, Night Portrait and High-Dynamic Range, which are all designed to improve low-light shots. But overall image quality is mixed. CNET's Joshua Goldman finds it very good, while Goldstein rates it average due to softness. Additional drawbacks include lack of manual control and the camera's pop-up flash, which experts and users say is inconveniently placed.
We located thorough reviews of the Nikon Coolpix S8100 on professional photography sites such as DigitalCamera-HQ.com and PhotographyBlog.com. CNET and InfoSyncWorld.com also pair hands-on testing with sample images. Users at Amazon.com weigh in with mostly positive impressions of the S8100.
Mark Goldstein considers the Nikon Coolpix S8100 a notable upgrade to the original S8000. Yet, despite fast performance, an excellent LCD screen, full HD video mode and the ability to zoom during recording, the S8100 misses the mark with a narrow lens and "average image quality."
Review: Nikon Coolpix S8100 Review, Mark Goldstein, Feb. 2, 2011
Mike Perlman compares the Nikon Coolpix S8100 to its direct competitor, the Canon PowerShot SD4500 IS, and finds that while the S8100 has a better focal length and LCD screen, both cameras "have very similarly impressive still image quality." Perlman says the competitive edge for Nikon's S8100 merely comes down to its price, which is $50 less than the PowerShot.
Review: Nikon Coolpix S8100 Review, Mike Perlman, Nov. 11, 2010
The Nikon Coolpix S8100 is a great compromise for casual shooters willing to sacrifice good daylight images for decent shots in bad lighting, says Liam McCabe. Nevertheless, he concedes that the versatile S8100 is "probably the best low-light and indoor" ultra-zoom at its price. But, the camera's irritating pop-up flash, lack of manual control and average daylight shots are downsides.
Review: Nikon Coolpix S8100 Hands-On Review, Liam McCabe, Jan. 21, 2011
Joshua Goldman notes that the S8100's integrated CMOS sensor helps it excel at burst shooting and low-light performance, making it "one of the better compact megazooms I've tested." He adds that despite good photo quality, images soften at low ISO settings and need to be tweaked with photo-editing software. He also finds the pop-up flash a "big problem" with the camera's design.
Review: Nikon Coolpix S8100, Joshua Goldman, Jan. 12, 2011
More than 160 Nikon Coolpix S8100 users have posted reviews at Amazon.com and most give it high ratings for great low-light images, long zoom range and ease of use. They also like the S8100's compact design and 1080p HD video, despite its loud zoom motor. The greatest number of complaints are reserved for the camera's awkwardly placed pop-up flash.
Review: Nikon Coolpix S8100, Contributors to Amazon.com