Nikon Coolpix S9100
The Nikon Coolpix S9100 is like a compact point and shoot camera on steroids.
Packed in a small easy to carry size is an amazing 18X optical zoom lens with a 35mm equivalent focal range of 25mm to 450mm. This type of “traveler camera” that combines the size of a small point and shoot camera and a longer zoom lens are becoming popular with people who travel and like the light weight and easy portability of the small size yet still has the ability to zoom in much closer than your typical point and shoot camera.
The Nikon S9100 features a 12.1 megapixel CMOS image sensor that is able to take good quality photos and videos even in low light. With its EXPEED C2 image processor the S9100 can capture up to five photos per second at the full 12.1 megapixel resolution.
While the impressive 18x optical zoom is what really makes this camera stand out from others of this size format the 3 inch high resolution LCD is equally as impressive. With a resolution of 921,000 pixels the large LCD display is more like one you would expect on the back of a high end DSLR rather than a smaller point and shoot camera which often have lower resolution displays.
The Nikon S9100 is built in the typical “candy bar” rectangular format of most point and shoot cameras but does feature a thicker grip area on the right hand side that serves to help hold the camera steadier. At only 1.4 inches thick and weighing 7.6 ounces even with its 18x optical zoom the Nikon is a perfect easy to carry travel camera. While slightly larger than the typical point and shoot camera the additional zoom capabilities of the S9100 are worth a little extra bulk.
Features of the Nikon Coolpix S9100
Shooting modes on the Nikon include the normal full automatic mode, 19 different scene modes and a panoramic mode.
Like most point and shoot cameras the camera lacks any type of aperture or shutter priority modes which many super-zoom cameras have.
Manual controls allow you to set the ISO speed (from 160-3,200), white balance and focus area, but as is typical of the point and shoot genre the S9100 is really intended to be used in automatic mode with limited ability for the photographer to control the camera manually when desired.
The Nikon S9100 also features two automatic HDR Modes. In both the “Night Landscape Mode” and the “Night Portrait Mode” the camera will take a series of shots at different exposures and automatically combine them in a single HDR type photo.
To help reduce motion blur when using the 18X zoom lens, Nikon has included a five-way, Hybrid VR Image Stabilization system in the Nikon Coolpix S9100. This hybrid system uses both sensor shift image stabilization as well as electronic lens stabilization to minimize the effects of camera shake.
The high quality Nikor lens has a variable aperture range of f/3.5 at the wide angle setting to f/5.9 when fully zoomed in.In Macro Mode the S9100 can focus as close as 1.6 inches or 4 cm from the subject.
In addition to 12 megapixel still images the Nikon Coolpix S9100 can capture up to 1080 resolution video at 30 frames per second or 720 resolution video at 60 frames per second. It also features a “slow motion” video mode that captures 320x480 low resolution video at 240 frames per second which can be easily uploaded to YouTube or Facebook. Both the cameras auto focus system and the 18X zoom are functional during video recording, making the S9100 even more versatile.
The Coolpix S9100 features a built-in flash that has to be manually raised in order to fire. The flash is nicely located on the top of the camera where it is less likely to get covered by a finger when taking a photo.
It uses industry standard SC memory cards and also has 74mb of internal memory.
The rechargeable info-lithium battery is rated at 270 photos per charge which is kind of low so serious shooters will probably want to carry an extra battery or two with them for a full day of shooting.
The bottom line…
The Nikon Coolpix S9100 would be a good traveler camera to take on vacations or trips to the park, etc. It has a powerful zoom lens packaged in a small easy to carry body.
While the S9100 lacks some of the bells and whistles (like built in GPS) of other similarly priced cameras but still is a good camera for someone looking for the longer zoom and smaller size combination this camera offers.
The Nikon S9100 performs well in most image quality tests. Considering the small image sensor size the camera offers good low light performance with acceptable digital noise levels all the way up to ISO 3200, a pretty good feat for a small point and shoot camera.
Drawbacks include less than stellar battery life of only 270 images and on occasion the camera’s auto focus system tends to have trouble locking in on some subjects.
Like many of today’s cameras the S9100 is available in different colors including red, silver and black.
If you are looking for a small digital camera that is able to really zoom in on a subject then the Nikon Coolpix S9100 would be a good camera to consider. The 18X optical zoom and large high resolution LCD display help the Nikon S9100 stand out above other point and shoot cameras.
Nikon Coolpix S9100 Videos