Nikon Coolpix S8100 Review

February 2, 2011 | Mark Goldstein | |

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#1 Josef Salon

Average Image Quality? Keep it! I “fired” Nikon long time ago…

10:55 am - Thursday, February 3, 2011

#2 Guido Steenkamp

Looks nice but i would prefer to see a fix focal length on this camera.

8:42 pm - Friday, February 4, 2011

#3 EffStop

Another company that took manufacturing to Indonesia compromising quality. I won’t buy another not made in Japan Nikon product.

12:51 am - Saturday, February 5, 2011

#4 Fabio

I was just comparing similar pictures taken with my Nikon S8100 and my Canon S90 and the Nikon is better, even in low light, I took a picture inside a very dark church handheld and it was very good,I couldn’t believe that the speed was 1/1,5 sec. that’s how good the VR is . I can’t understand why the review gives 3,5 to image quality, maybe I’m lucky. It does not have MASP modes but I simply don’t miss them because the pictures are always good and you can adjust vividness from monochrome to hyper ultra vivid in a slide bar, the same can be done with white balance and of course EV. The lens are very sharp, the HDR is very good, and there’s a mode that takes several pictures and mix them to create a single picture with less noise in a night picture, all that while keeping colors good. LCD is outstanding, it’s a pleasure to see. Filming is very good but not in very dark situations, that’s the only drawback. I’ve had 8 cameras in the last 6 months, wich included Nikon D5000 ,Sony A 290, Canon SX30 , Canon S90, Sony HX1, Casio FH100, Canon SX130 and Fuji HS10. My favorite ? Nikon D5000 with 2 lenses , but it won’t fit in my pocket, the Nikon S8100 will and the results are very close. Highly recomended.

3:50 am - Sunday, April 3, 2011

#5 Dharmik Kothari

Thanks Fabio for review also I m confused between S9100 n S8100 as which u prefer for me to considering higher permium on S9100 .. Here in india i m getting S8100 for 12300 and S9100 for 17500 so which cam u choose, Thanks

10:24 pm - Monday, May 9, 2011

#6 Fabio

Hi Dharmik , I will receive the S9100 next month when my daughter returns from USA, but I’m not sure if it will be better, in many reviews previous S8100 owners that upgraded do the new model prefer the 8100, they say the VR system has changed, and it is simply outstanding in the 8100, but lens range are much better. 
  My daughter ha one S8100 (my recomendation) too and no knowledge of photography, she went recently to Paris and her pictures were amazing, even at night, and it wasn’t in a small computer screen , we saw them in a LED 42 in TV. Perfect color, focus, white balance, and she has no idea of what HDR,ISO or macro modes are. Finally she has good pictures to show.
  I buy many cameras and keep what I like, my bag now has three, the amazing Casio EXZ330 ( very tiny), the Nikon S8100 ( I even ordered a LCD loupe to use in it to help composition) and a surprise for me the Fuji HS20, excelent lens , fantastic macro with zoom ! thanks

5:33 pm - Wednesday, May 11, 2011

#7 Dharmik

Hi Fabio,
    Are u from india.. Can anyone ship Nikon S9100 to india as there is lot price difference.. Difference of $70

8:41 pm - Wednesday, May 11, 2011

#8 Fabio

I have been thinking about replacing my S8100 and I bought the Canon SX230 after reading many good reviews. I think it uses the same 12 MP sensor and really the quality of the pictures is very close, but macro was awfull and the LCD is not good. 3 days ago I received the Nikon S9100 and as I found out in some forums, it is not as good as the S8100 . The sweep panorama and the effects are cool but focusing precision and macro mode are much better in the previous model, so it’s much easier to get good pictures. Nikon S8100 is still the winner.

7:10 am - Wednesday, June 8, 2011

#9 KW

I’ve had the Nikon S8100 since December and I’ve noticed a terrible lag time between pictures and the camera says, “please wait while the camera finishes recording.” This is not good and very frustrating—especially while trying to take pictures of kids. I got the camera because of how fast it bragged about being. Is my camera defective? Any suggestions about what to do to fix it?

3:46 am - Monday, June 27, 2011

#10 Kerstin

I bought the S8100 3 months ago and am very, very happy. Pic quality and sharpness is fantastic, the camera is very easy to use and just small enough to be with me all the time. Macro shots , even with flash, are well lit.
It is a fantastic camera with pic quality much better than the reviews suggest. I agree with Fabio in all parts, also that S8100 is better than S9100.

1:02 pm - Sunday, July 31, 2011

#11 Dr. Ajay Sarkar

Ilike to buy one digita camera with good still and HD movie capture feature.

  nikon s 8100 or sony cyber shot DSC HX9V or   canon SX 230 which one is the better option?

Waiting for a justified decision.

11:26 pm - Saturday, August 6, 2011

#12 Fabio

To Dr. Ajay
  I have the Nikon S8100 and the Sony HX9, and as a former owner of the SX230 and the S9100 I feel very confortable to recommend you the new Sony HX9.
  I love the S8100 but videos in low light are very dark, Sony’s videos are absolutely the best and stills are great even in low light, due to multi burst technology, you can leave the camera in auto or auto plus and it will do a very good job, the only drawback is the lack of flash output control, wich for me is important in some macro shooting, the bigger HX100 has this control, and they are exactly the same camera with different lenses.
  I didn’t like the Canon SX230 due to it’s wide LCD, it’s awfull if you shoot in 4:3 or 3:2 , images are very similar to the S8100 and videos are better, but I didn’t like it at all.
  Sony did an outstanding job in the new small sensor cameras and for now they have the best compact (HX9V) and bridge (HX100) cameras in the market, and I say that taking into account the famous Canon S95.

3:28 pm - Monday, August 8, 2011

#13 Sandeep

Hi Fabio

I just brought Nikon S8100, Its very good but The HD Videos get stuck and goes frame by frame and skip’s some frame when i play it in my PC ( in Other Good High Processor PC’s too - played in Qicktime), but if i play the videos in my LCD (connecting the camera) or in the Camera itself its perfectly fine. plus while playing the video i hear a light hsssing sound too , please advice how can i fix this

5:33 am - Wednesday, August 24, 2011

#14 Sandeep

Hi Fabio,

I just bought a Nikon S8100, The Pic are very good, but in the HD Videos played in PC gets stuck frame by frame and then skips few frames (did try in other PC’s too with good processor - Played in Quicktime & am using a Class 4 Scandisk 4 GB Memory card ) when i play the same in the LCD (connected with the camera) or in the Camera itself its plays fine and i also hear a light hissing sound when i play in the camera, Did you find the same problem ?.. can you advise for a Fix

5:50 am - Wednesday, August 24, 2011

#15 Fabio

Hi Sandeep
  As I mentioned in all my comments here video is not the strong point in this great camera. The sound in video may be the focus motor working, never use continuous focus during video. The playback problem can be solved if you first copy the video file to the computer and/or use a different video player, you can find many for free in the internet. I´ve never had this kind of problem with videos from this camera, but I have the same problem with my Sony HX9 and the HX100 .

6:23 am - Wednesday, August 24, 2011

#16 sadanand

sr. I bought a Nikon S8100,  but in the HD Videos played in PC gets stuck frame by frame.wich is proper HD MOVIE PLAYER load in my pc? pl.give me send on email.
Thank you.

7:13 am - Monday, August 29, 2011

#17 Sandeep

Hi Fabio,

Thanks for quick response.. Now I am able to play HD Videos in my PC

Hi Sadanand,

There are Two Things you can do to play the video in ur PC.

1) Convert ur .mov file to MP4 file..and it should play fine (As suggested by fabio) I will post the link of the good free video Converter later (as many Converter dint help)

2) Go to video settings ( In Camera) and select the Lowest video Resolution (but the video quality in this will not be as good as HD)

but i guess you will still hear the Hiss sound in the video (Does it happen in ur camera?) even Nikon S9100 has the same problem

7:16 am - Thursday, September 1, 2011

#18 Jim

I have been using the s8100 for a few months now and I can’t get consistent sharp focused pictures at the slow 1/30, 1/60 shutter speeds the camera seems to always use. It bumps up the ISO with less overall light (only a cloudy day!) but with a slow shutter speed why bother! I always thought anything at or below 1/60 sec needs flash or a tripod…What gives with the cameras ridiculously slow shutter speeds?

1:10 am - Wednesday, September 21, 2011

#19 Dano

After considering many models and brands I had it narrowed down between the Cannon G12 and the Nikon S8100.
I decided to go with the Nikon because the G12 and my DSLR had a lot of common feature. Which is okay but I wanted a simple Point and Shoot camera.
And the Nikon takes really great pictures and videos!

11:32 pm - Monday, October 3, 2011

#20 Biba

Hi, I’m with KW, I have had the S8100 camera now for over a year and have been really disappointed with it given the Nikon brand. I find I get the same Wait for camera to finish recording message and inconsistent quality of pictures….. some are so blurred. Also the shutter has now broken .... andI really do not use this camera frequently or abuse it.

Such a shame as I ws a big nikon fan until now.

12:39 pm - Monday, October 10, 2011

#21 June

Thanks for your comments and the info shared, Fabio.
I am looking to buy a new camera and Nikon has always been my preference. Although I am yet to make up my mind whether to go with Coolpix S6200 or S8100. What would you suggest?

10:28 am - Wednesday, November 23, 2011

#22 HV

I own Canon sd940, Canon sd1400is, Kodak V1253, Sanyo Xacti two in one Mpeg-4 and the newest is Nikon s8100 I will say Nikon S8100 is above those including quality pictures and colors however, I could not find sound when I used timer plus time is only one shot a each time set but I will use Nikon S8100 more in not important events because of the picture quality. For the most important event I will use my SLR D60 and D90.

10:47 pm - Thursday, November 24, 2011

#23 Bob

Does anyone know if soften skin tones is used with Auto on using Face Priority?

4:28 pm - Friday, November 25, 2011

#24 Marianna

My P300 also says “please wait while camera finishes recording”. The first time it did it I waited for 5 minutes and then finally decided to pop out the battery and it was fine again. The second time I did it, I again popped out the battery and it deleted ALL my pictures. This is a serious defect and I would urge caution before buying this camera.

4:53 pm - Thursday, February 16, 2012

#25 Panter

I’ve been using this thing for a year now. It surely can give some really good pictures, although sometimes it does bring you down. The main problems could be software solved.

-The flash is always set to full, and it’s really powerful. My kid is in a risk of a serious radiation sickness. If I shoot him a bit more, I’ll have to dress him in a lead suit.

-Red eye reduction does not work. If you switch the preflash on, you’ll get your guests all blinking. If you switch it off, not just retina, but the whole front part of the brain will be visible through their lenses.

-Due to this, eyes will form strange effects even if shot from an angle. The eye lens will just flash back like diamonds, or you’ll get some strange gray-orange color that after red eye correction do give some strange zombie like effects. It is really annoying.

-Even my old cheap camera did have a simple kids & pets setting for things that just wont sit still. It did take me a while to learn this “scene” menu, and I don’t use it much.

-It does have a fantastic direct video record button just under the thumb, always ready, but… When you shoot stills, shake and movement reductions are on (of course) but it does not switch them off while recording, you have to do it manually, or you’ll be rewarded with a neverending series of clicks in your sound.

You might think I don’t like this camera. Just the opposite. It can do really good. Even sometimes, on dim light parties, when no one’s idiot camera could do anything this one did.

It just sometimes annoys me, that these things could relatively easy be rectified and Nikon just wouldn’t bother with an update…

2:29 am - Thursday, February 23, 2012

#26 davil

the Nikon S8100 ( I even ordered a LCD loupe to use in it to help composition) and a surprise for me the Fuji HS20, excelent lens , fantastic macro with zoom ! thanks

11:19 am - Friday, March 30, 2012

#27 Joe

I have a question.  I can not tell from any write-ups or comments about this camera whether or not you can take video and still shots simultaneously.  I thought you couldn’t since it is never clearly stated that you can, but one reviewers comment (Panter) left me thinking maybe you could, although I did not understand his comment! 
I would really appreciate some clarification on that.  Thanks so much.

4:13 pm - Sunday, October 28, 2012

#28 Panter

@Joe, Hi, me again,

I must admit being a little bit too harsh to this camera. It’s actually been good to me so far.

First, YES IT CAN TAKE STILLS WHILE FILMING, and do it so without disturbing the movie being taken. It will not be shown on the screen because it is already busy. The only sign of still being taken is a brief blink of the power led, which, at least for me, is enough. Drawback, well, stills will be taken at the same filming resolution.

Again, it is not that i don’t like it.

Actually what I like about this little thing is it’s build, and design (from a functionality side, although it is also a good looking one). When you tweak what you can, it will reward you properly. Not once I have shot things no one else would not dream of without a proper DSLR. I did not want S9100 just because it was 5mm bulkier in spite that it offered a (ridiculous) 18x zoom.

What I do not like about it is that you can not just buy it and go to a party. It does need some getting used to, and it is just because someone decided to get smart in Nikon.
What were they thinking, I have no idea.
It has about a million settings and most of those I do not use. Everything is named differently and at least for me not really intuitively.

What I miss there mostly would be an actually useful dim-light/indoor/kids&pets; mode, just for dancing parties when everything is moving and you do not want your friends/kids/pets burnt with a flash. This camera CAN ACTUALLY DO IT (Yap! It does!), but, boy does it take time to tweak.

Now the blasphemy, ... I took some photo’s that Panasonic TZ10 could not, at a price more than 50% more than this. So it can do!

I think Nikon could really benefit from opening this software to public and just see what a bunch of enthusiasts could make of this hardware. It could launch it skyhigh.
As a Linux user myself, I surely vote for that.

11:22 pm - Sunday, October 28, 2012

#29 Joe

Oh, man, 2 hours ago I bought a Sony DSC-WX150.  I pretty much got burnt out comparing everything and ordered it, even though I hate the tiny size and fragile tiny buttons. 
As soon as I ordered it, I saw a youtube review saying it (the Sony I’d just ordered) isn’t that good in low light, which was my primary goal.
I really wanted something like you say the Nikon is working for- not ruining the scene with flash indoors with moving people.  That is the primary reason I am making this purchase at all since I have a working trusty Canon currently.  That and the ol workhorse is just too slow.
But, maybe the Sony will allow me to fiddle around less and get acceptable images.  It seems fast enough for me to catch the kids, except for that 4 second flash recharge.
Anyway, I do appreciate your updated opinion and the info about video simultaneous with stills.  I will keep it in mind in case the Sony does not work out.  Who knows, maybe I will end up with the S8100 afterall.

12:22 am - Monday, October 29, 2012

#30 KW

@Panter—could you please describe your setting “tweak” for shooting in low light with moving subjects? How about a setting for a gymnasium or auditorium with horrible lighting/fluorescent lighting?

I’ve had this camera for two years and it is not as great as Ashton Kutcher made it out to be on the commercial, lol, but it gets the job done. I had a Panasonic Lumix with an awesome optical zoom before this one and I miss it. I’m hoping my next camera will be a DSLR.

12:32 am - Monday, October 29, 2012

#31 Panter

OK guys, so you’ve bought your cameras for pretty much the same thing as I did. I got a son, and he moves about, even in the dark or dim conditions.

@Joe, Now that I’ve seen the review, I do not think, you’ll be much unhappier with your compact than I am with mine. These are compact cameras, you can not expect really a lot. Those can surprise you occasionally and that’s it.

For dim and quick situations, nothing really can beat large diameter lens and a big sensor. Making it a camera that could not ever fit in your pocket.

Now, with this wisdom, for parties, I’d say goodbye to 10x zoom and go for 3-5x, but with lower f/stop. These zooms are on the edge of ridiculous, and even with all the stabilizations it has (and which do work well) for 10x you need to rest your hand against something. And I have pretty steady hands. (with interpolation it goes far more) On the other hand, I would always need more light…

Would you really EVER carry a tripod, for a compact?

I think they all do make the same types of cameras, only with shorter barrels.

@KW, Tweak
It’s simple, actually.
If at a party, shooting at a close range, and no, or little flash use, here’s what I do:
-I’ve found scene/party/indoors mode close to useless, instead, i rarely shoot in night-portrait mode, but, best I do with full-auto mode with ISO set to 400, even up to 1600. If you have to go to ISO 1600-3200, do reduce resolution, it does help with the noise. Use as wide angle as you can, you need every photon to reach a sensor.
-When I use a flash, it is usually set to either full flash (anyway you set it it is on full power) or background flash to compensate for spot lighting. Eye reduction, as I’ve noticed, just annoys everyone so they blink or make faces. This way you’ll just blind them.
Permanently, or close to it! :)
-If you’re in a large room, as you’ve said, with people moving about, there’s not much to say, turn on both stabilizations, flash to full blow, and tweak ISO setting. Also, use widest zoom possible.

The worst thing about this auto ISO setting is that, knowing what they did fit in as a sensor, their program reeealy avoids raising sensitivity, so you end up with blurry pictures.
Hence you have to spend all that time inside menu/ISO setting bar.
My thinking is, If in a hairy situation, go for speed, screw the noise.

Here’s what I do not use:
subject tracking (not ever), scene (just a few times), scene/auto.
And I would instantly change all these modes for a single exposure priority mode, or as my previous (dumb) Canon 520 had kids&pets; or sports mode.

As to what this camera can do, well if you still have the nerve to fiddle with it, it can shoot your kid playing in a 30m2 room, walls, floor and ceiling covered with dark wood (low reflectivity), lit with a single incadescent 100W , heavily shaded floorlamp at the far end, and mostly bounced light. Through an open door, some fluorescent light coming through.
No flash.
And you’ll even get your colors right.

-Outside, it will work on incident light, whatever comes through the lens. Just any light you give it.

It’s just the dumb software…

And I’ll probably never again have a SLR, during 20+ years that I’ve had it, I rarely used it and when I would raise the monster, everybody would get nervous, like it was a grenade launcher.

2:21 am - Monday, October 29, 2012

#32 KW

@Panter—I appreciate your tips and honesty. With my previous Lumix and current Nikon, I was going for the “in between”—higher quality than an average compact/point-and-shoot, but not as much bulk as a DSLR. I learned photography on my dad’s manual SLR film camera and it burns my biscuits when these rich folks can drop money on a DSRL like it is nothing and then they say to me, “I don’t have a clue how this thing works.” My husband keeps reminding me that he wanted to buy me a “big camera” (DSLR) before we were married, but I opted for the Lumix instead. However, I want both—a compact to keep in my purse and for most shooting situations, but a DSLR to capture seasonal/milestone pics of my kids.

3:47 am - Monday, October 29, 2012

#33 Joe

Ok, this is getting really instructive.  But could you go one more round for us slow folks and tell us what settings you would use for the situation you describe: 
As to what this camera can do, well if you still have the nerve to fiddle with it, it can shoot your kid playing in a 30m2 room, walls, floor and ceiling covered with dark wood (low reflectivity), lit with a single incadescent 100W , heavily shaded floorlamp at the far end, and mostly bounced light. Through an open door, some fluorescent light coming through.
No flash.
And you’ll even get your colors right.

Not to pester you, but I am almost learning here.

I hear you about the grenade launcher effect. I thought it was just me.

It makes me nervous that the camera I ordered is so tiny- I was more into picture quality than size, and actually prefer something big enough that I realize I am holding it.  Looking at reviews, it is tough to know what they mean.  I could get cameras that dwarf this pixie for the same price, but reviews questioned image quality, which was supposed to be decent for the one I bought.  I am afraid I missed some good deals if they meant the cameras with larger lenses and more bulk (I don’t know what they are hiding in there!) didn’t have great image quality for a beast at 3x my discount prices, but they would still be better than this Barbie doll sized camera with “good image quality.”  Is it understood that they meant “for a tiny midget”?
But, I suspect you are right, that I will not hate it anymore than you do, b/c it at least should be faster than my old slow friend, and maybe a little less flash dependent, at least when the babies are sleeping (not moving so much).

Thanks for the instruction.  It makes me almost hopeful!

4:58 am - Monday, October 29, 2012

#34 AndyF

Did you encounter this disturbing inconsistence in image quality as well?
Shooting in a sunny environment at base ISO in AUTO Mode (which is actually the most ‘manual’ mode this camera has to offer) does result sometimes in images where one side (sometimes right, sometimes left) is very blurry.
There are ‘sharp’ (since all images are rather soft) parts in the picture, e.g. a small wall, so this isn’t an issue with camera shaking. Also the focal plane on both sides are comaparable.
When I took 2 images of the same scene, one was OK, one was partially blurry.
Did you also have this experience? Thank you for sharing from your operating experience.

2:55 pm - Monday, October 29, 2012

#35 Panter

This is starting to be fun.

Don’t mistake me for a photographer, I’m nothing of a sort. In fact, I, myself am one of the slow folks too. Otherwise, I probably wouldn’t go for this camera, but for something japanese tourists wear around their necks.

Nope, so far it does focus properly throughout the whole focal plane. My kid is blonde and lacks contrasty details, so sometimes I see that camera actually focused onto his stripey trousers or even something in the background. Usually I cure it by choosing center focusing.
Or I just didn’t give it enough time to do at all…

I posted something long here, but it didn’t show. Might be there is a limit.

Think about bying a big, proper photo set of everything that can take fantastic pictures of your husband, kids and friends. And then imagine any of them kissing your lens, burying your camera in the sand…
Probably murder on the beach?

I’ve actually had S8000 but it just slipped out of my pocket once.

You’re most welcome folks. It was a pleasure.

6:14 pm - Monday, October 29, 2012

#36 Ashutosh Pradhan

No doubt the still photos are good. But the video quality is very poor while zooming. After zooming the video goes out of focus. To normalise the focus i have to stop the video recording and after zooming again star recording. I am using the free sdhc memory card of class 4/4GB. Can i get better video quality by using memory card of class 10/16 GB? Pl advise me.

3:26 pm - Tuesday, August 6, 2013

#37 Laurie

Help. I love this camera s 900 but recently it broke on me. It keeps saying please wait while camera is finished recording. I was taking stills and NOT recording. It won’t close or do anything until you remove the battery. tried 2 different batteries. Please someone tell me what to do. Thank You

12:32 am - Sunday, October 12, 2014

Entry Tags

hd video, review, hd, 3 inch LCD, compact, 1080p, wide-angle, nikon, hdmi, 12 megapixel, full hd, coolpix, 10x zoom, s8100, Nikon Coolpix S8100 Review

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