Nikon Coolpix S8100 Review

4.0
February 2, 2011 | Mark Goldstein |

Image Quality


All of the sample images in this Review were taken using the 12 megapixel Fine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 4.5Mb.

The Nikon Coolpix S8100 produced images of above average quality during the review period. The 1/2.3 inch, 12 megapixel sensor used in the S8100 produces noise-free images at ISO 160 and 200, with ISO 400 also looking good, although there's some grain at 100% magnification and slight loss of saturation. ISO 800 shows some quite obvious noise, softening of fine detail and further loss of saturation, and ISO 16000 is even noisier, although still OK for small prints and web images. The fastest setting of ISO 3200 seems to have been included just to look good on the list of specifications.

The S8100 handled chromatic aberrations quite well, with some purple fringing effects appearing in high contrast situations. The built-in flash worked well indoors, with no red-eye and good exposure. The night photograph was OK, with the maximum shutter speed of 4 seconds limiting what you can achieve after dark. The Vibration Reduction system works very well when hand-holding the camera in low-light conditions or when using the telephoto end of the zoom range. Macro performance is excellent, allowing you to focus as close as 1cm away from the subject. The images were soft straight out of the S8100 and ideally require some further sharpening in an application like Adobe Photoshop, as you can't change the in-camera setting.

Noise

There are 6 ISO settings available on the Nikon Coolpix S8100. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting.

ISO 160 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

Focal Range

The Nikon Coolpix S8100's 10x zoom lens offers a very versatile focal range, as demonstrated by the examples below.

30mm

300mm

File Quality

The Nikon Coolpix S8100 has 2 different image quality settings available, with Fine being the highest quality option. Here are some 100% crops which show the quality of the various options, with the file size shown in brackets.

14M Fine (4.5Mb) (100% Crop) 14M Normal (2.6Mb) (100% Crop)

Sharpening

Here are two 100% crops which have been Saved as Web - Quality 50 in Photoshop. The right-hand image has had some sharpening applied in Photoshop. The out-of-the camera images are soft at the default sharpening setting and benefit from some further sharpening in a program like Adobe Photoshop. Unfortunately you can't change the in-camera sharpening level.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

   

Chromatic Aberrations

The Nikon Coolpix S8100 handled chromatic aberrations fairly well during the review, with some purple fringing present around the edges of objects in certain high-contrast situations, as shown in the examples below.

Example 1 (100% Crop)

Example 2 (100% Crop)

Macro

The Nikon Coolpix S8100 offers a Macro setting that allows you to focus on a subject that is 1cm away from the camera when the lens is set to wide-angle. The first image shows how close you can get to the subject (in this case a compact flash card). The second image is a 100% crop.

Macro Shot

100% Crop

Flash

The flash settings on the Nikon Coolpix S8100 are Auto, Auto/Red-eye Reduction, Off, On and Slow Sync./Red-eye Reduction. These shots of a white coloured wall were taken at a distance of 1.5m.

Forced Off - Wide Angle (30mm)

Forced On - Wide Angle (30mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64
   

Forced Off - Telephoto (300mm)

Forced On - Telephoto (300mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

And here are some portrait shots. As you can see, neither the On or the Auto/Red-eye Reduction settings caused any red-eye.

On

On (100% Crop)
   

Auto/Red-eye Reduction

Auto/Red-eye Reduction (100% Crop)

Night

The Nikon Coolpix S8100's maximum shutter speed is 4 seconds in the Fireworks scene mode, which is not great news if you're seriously interested in night photography. The shot below was taken using a shutter speed of 2 seconds at ISO 160. I've included a 100% crop of the image to show what the quality is like.

Night Shot

Night Shot (100% Crop)

Night Landscape

The Nikon S8100's Night Landscape mode combines a series of five consecutive shots taken at a fast shutter speed into a single image with reduced noise, useful when taking handheld shots.

Night Landscape

Night Landscape (100% Crop)

Vibration Reduction

The Nikon Coolpix S8100 has an anti-shake mechanism, which allows you to take sharp photos at slower shutter speeds than other digital cameras. To test this, I took 2 handheld shots of the same subject with the same settings. The first shot was taken with anti shake turned off, the second with it turned on. Here are some 100% crops of the images to show the results. As you can see, with anti shake turned on, the images are much sharper than with anti shake turned off. This feature really does seem to make a difference and could mean capturing a successful, sharp shot or missing the opportunity altogether.

Shutter Speed / Focal Length

Anti Shake Off (100% Crop)

Anti Shake On (100% Crop)

1/13th sec / 30mm
     
1/8th sec / 300mm

Entry Tags

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

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