Nikon Coolpix S2800 Review

August 5, 2014 | Matt Grayson | Rating star Rating star Rating star Rating star


The Nikon Coolpix S2800 is a slim point and shoot digital compact camera. It sports a 20 megapixel CCD sensor, 5x optical zoom, Creative filters and a face retouching system to improve portraits. It's a camera designed for day to day use, but will it keep up in our full test? Priced at around £80 and exclusively for Argos, the S2800 is available in purple, red, silver, black and pink.

Ease of Use

Sliding effortlessly into the Style range of cameras like an Alligator sliding into a river (though arguably not as dangerous) is the Nikon Coolpix S2800. It's a slim point and shoot camera with a range of features designed to get the best possible results from as many photographic situations as possible. On the front is a modest 5x optical zoom which starts at a wide-angle setting of 26mm in 35mm terms. That should get a decent vista in shot, but should you require a wider scene, the S2800 has a Panoramic mode in the Scene menu. Sitting just to the side of the lens is a small flash unit which has a distance of 13ft (4m) in ISO auto.

Nikon have tried to shrink buttons and switches in order to preserve space and get the camera as small and slim as possible. It's only 19.8mm deep which is great for portability as it simply slides into a pocket or bag. The camera is powered on using the small button on top of the camera that has a small green ring around it. This lights up when the camera is on so you know it's powered up. The shutter release sits to the right and by comparison is considerably larger, though is still considered small. The zoom switch wraps around the shutter release for operating the aforementioned zoom.

Nikon Coolpix S2800 Nikon Coolpix S2800
Front Rear

On the back, the screen occupies the left side of the camera and at 2.7 inches is on the smaller side by today's standards. Still, this is a sub £100 camera and that has to be remembered when looking at specifications. The operation buttons are to the right of the camera as per almost any other digital camera in existence. It's a case of if it isn't broken, then don't fix it because the layout of the S2800 is typical of digital compact cameras. The green camera button gives access to the modes available on the S2800. There are five sub-menus available which is one extra to what you'd find if you went for a similarly priced model in the L (Lifestyle) range of Nikon Coolpix.

You can choose the Auto Scene mode which will automatically select the mode for the camera to be in depending on what the camera sees in the frame. Below that is the manual Scene menu with 18 options. A couple of those options also house variations of those scenes, such as Night landscape which offers Hand-held or Tripod based shooting. Below this is the Digital effects menu, which is the additional feature we mentioned. You can add interesting and currently trending filters to the pictures you take such as Painting, Pop art, Toy camera and several Cross process modes. Should you take the picture and then decide you want to add a filter after, you can do this in the revision stage of taking the picture. Just press ok when it says on the screen or when you're in Playback, it's the same process.

The Main menu is accessed via the Menu button at the bottom of the camera. It's split into three sections for Shooting options, Video and Set up. The Shooting section is designated with a camera icon and allows you to change the resolution, white-balance, ISO or focus options. The video menu allows you to adjust the film quality, focus modes and wind noise reduction. The Set up menu is the intensive menu that changes core features of the camera such as the time & date, monitor settings, sound settings, power down timer and card format options.

Nikon Coolpix S2800 Nikon Coolpix S2800
Front Top

Starting the camera up from the off position takes a little under three seconds to power up, focus and take a picture. That's slow by today's standards. Cameras recently decreased their times from around the 2.5 sec mark to just under 2 sec. For a modern camera to take nearly 3 sec to do the same job isn't very inspiring. The Nikon S2800 does have a continuous shooting mode. In the first second it takes two pictures but then slows down to one every 1.5 sec or so. That's not a precise figure, but we got 9 frames in a ten second period, which averages out at around 0.9fps (frames per second).

Playback can be operated on the S2800 regardless of whether the camera is switched on or not. If it's not, you simply have to hold down the playback button (designated by a blue arrow) for a few seconds. The image will be brought up full size on the screen with some basic shooting information that will disappear after a few seconds. If you took a photo and decided after that you wanted to add the digital filters, you still can by pressing the Ok button. It will transport you into the Digital Filter menu system. There are 32 to choose from although the bulk of the options available are duplicates of the same options. You can also press the Playback button once you're already in Playback and bring up a kind of Mode menu. It allows you to select how to view the photographs. There are four options: Play (default), Favourites, Auto Sort and List by Date.

Nikon Coolpix S2800 Nikon Coolpix S2800
Memory Card Slot Battery Compartment

In the Main menu, the Shooting and Video tabs that are present when in Recording mode have been replaced with one Playback tab. The Set-up tab remains and retains all the same features. The Playback tab allows you to modify and edit the picture you're currently looking at in a variety of different ways, such as a Quick retouch, adding D-Lighting, Red-eye correction and Glamour retouch as well as other features such as determining the print order, creating a slide-show and protecting precious images.

Upon opening the box, you'll find a Quick Start Guide which is looks big, but is in several languages. The full Manual is on the enclosed CD which also features ViewNX 2, a simple editing system from Nikon. Below this is the camera and lithium ion battery. Because the battery is rechargeable, the camera comes with a charging unit which is capable of being used in multiple countries by attaching or removing the UK three pin adapter. A USB cable plugs into the charging unit and then to the camera. There's also a wrist strap to prevent dropping the camera.

Image Quality

All of the sample images in this review were taken using the 20 megapixel Fine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 7Mb.


The sensitivity range of the Nikon Coolpix S2800 is ISO 80 – 3200. Looking at the pictures from a normal viewing distance, they look good through until the end with a reasonable amount of detail in each picture to see what's going on. There is a little too much blue noise at ISO 1600 in the darker areas, but that gets dealt with at later stages. The trick is to look at the pictures at full magnification to see exactly where and when the noise starts to interfere with the picture quality.

At ISO 80, image quality is great with sharp edges, but colour rendition and while there's a little noise in the darker areas, it's not enough to gripe about even though it's at ISO 80. The noise that we see at ISO 80 stays at that level until ISO 400 when other colours start to form in dark areas and edge detail takes a significant nosedive. The latter exacerbates at ISO 800 as salt and pepper noise begins to be a problem. In a bizarre twist of fate, the black and white noise masks the colour noise slightly although it's short lived because it comes back with a vengeance at ISO 1600. Noise reduction has dropped the saturation of the sensor to try and suppress the colour noise, but it does little to help. ISO 3200 uses an old trick of reducing the resolution (in this case to around 3.8 megapixels) to reduce certain types of noise which are created by heat generated from neighbouring pixels. If they're spaced further apart, they won't affect the picture as much. This does indeed work with colour noise being brought back under control. Of course, the downside is that image size is a lot smaller, so you can't print and enlarge it as much.

ISO 80 (100% Crop)

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

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ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

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ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

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ISO 3200 (100% Crop)


Focal Range

In 35mm terms, the focal length of the Nikon Coolpix S2800 is 26-130mm. There's some fish eye at 26mm, but that's to be expected from such a wide setting.



focal_range1.jpg focal_range2.jpg


As the pictures are saved onto the memory card, the Nikon Coolpix S2800's processor will automatically perform some image improvements such as colour boosting and sharpening. We did find that even though this happens the pictures still benefit from some additional sharpening in post production.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

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sharpen2.jpg sharpen2a.jpg

File Quality

In the right conditions, we managed to get some super sharp pictures from the Nikon Coolpix S2800 which show off that 20 megapixel count brilliantly. But these are typically very bright lighting with a low ISO and a tripod to keep the camera still. They're not everyday conditions.

The resolution can be altered on the S2800 and the top resolution can also be changed to use a higher or lower compression. If you choose the 20M setting with the star, you get the highest quality. This isn't the default setting, so be careful, but you do get pictures around 7.5 - 8Mb in size. Drop down to the 20M without the star and you can get pictures at 4.2Mb. This lower file size will use less space on your card meaning more pictures, but there's also less detail. The camera uses 20 megapixels on both settings, but JPEG are lossy files, which means as they save, information is discarded. The setting you choose determines just how much.

High (100% Crop) Normal (100% Crop)
quality_high.jpg quality_normal.jpg

Chromatic Aberrations

We did find evidence of chromatic aberration and in the weirdest of situations. The conditions were always the same – a light foreground with an edge over a dark background. But we found it in shadows and in various points of the frame with no real consistency.

Chromatic Aberrations 1 (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations 2 (100% Crop)

chromatic1.jpg chromatic2.jpg

Chromatic Aberrations 3 (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations 4 (100% Crop)

chromatic3.jpg chromatic4.jpg


The close focusing of the Nikon Coolpix S2800 is 10cm and by today's standards, that's quite poor. The typical minimum distance should be around 5cm with some cameras around the same price even getting to 3cm these days. It makes taking close-ups very difficult to do. Still, the centre is sharp and the good thing about a more distant focusing, is that there's less fish eye distortion.


Macro (100% Crop)

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The Nikon Coolpix S2800 suffers from some vignetting at wide-angle and this is regardless of whether the flash is on or off. Using flash simply stabilises the available light and makes it more consistent. Without flash, the vignette does disappear as you use the zoom function but while using flash it tends to remain.

Flash Off - Wide Angle (26mm)

Flash On - Wide Angle (26mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

Flash Off - Telephoto (130mm)

Flash On - Telephoto (130mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

We didn't get any red-eye on our test images, which is a good sign, but should you get it and decide that you don't simply want it reducing, the Playback menu has a red-eye removal option which will digitally remove any red-eye. Nikon have made a good system with this too, it's surprisingly accurate.

Flash On

Flash On (100% Crop)
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Red Eye Reduction

Red Eye Reduction (100% Crop)

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The night shoot has resulted in us getting very similar images from the Nikon Coolpix S2800. In fact, the only difference in the settings is that the Night scene mode used a longer shutter speed of 2sec compared to 1sec in Auto mode. Of course, this is using the Night scene mode in Tripod setting. There is a hand-held version which ramps up the ISO in order to get a faster shutter speed.

Night Auto

Night Auto (100% Crop)

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Night Scene

Night Scene (100% Crop)

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Sample Images

This is a selection of sample images from the Nikon Coolpix S2800 camera, which were all taken using the 20 megapixel Fine JPEG setting. The thumbnails below link to the full-sized versions, which have not been altered in any way.

Sample Movie & Video

This is a sample movie at the highest quality setting of 1280x720 pixels at 30 frames per second. Please note that this 35 second movie is 114Mb in size.

Product Images

Nikon Coolpix S2800

Front of the Nikon Coolpix S2800

Nikon Coolpix S2800

Front of the Nikon Coolpix S2800 / Turned On

Nikon Coolpix S2800

Side of the Nikon Coolpix S2800

Nikon Coolpix S2800

Side of the Nikon Coolpix S2800

Nikon Coolpix S2800

Rear of the Nikon Coolpix S2800

Nikon Coolpix S2800

Rear of the Nikon Coolpix S2800 / Image Displayed

Nikon Coolpix S2800

Rear of the Nikon Coolpix S2800 / Turned On

Nikon Coolpix S2800

Rear of the Nikon Coolpix S2800 / Quick Effects

Nikon Coolpix S2800

Rear of the Nikon Coolpix S2800 / Main Menu


Nikon Coolpix S2800

Rear of the Nikon Coolpix S2800 / Main Menu

Nikon Coolpix S2800

Rear of the Nikon Coolpix S2800 / Main Menu

Nikon Coolpix S2800

Rear of the Nikon Coolpix S2800 / Main Menu

Nikon Coolpix S2800

Top of the Nikon Coolpix S2800

Nikon Coolpix S2800

Bottom of the Nikon Coolpix S2800

Nikon Coolpix S2800

Side of the Nikon Coolpix S2800

Nikon Coolpix S2800

Side of the Nikon Coolpix S2800

Nikon Coolpix S2800

Front of the Nikon Coolpix S2800

Nikon Coolpix S2800

Memory Card Slot

Nikon Coolpix S2800

Battery Compartment


Using the Nikon Coolpix S2800 is a straightforward affair. The S series is one step up from the L series in that it offers slightly more manual control to the user. Some would argue that makes it more user friendly as it offers budding photographers the chance to expand their knowledge. The L series of cameras remove that possibility.

Should you be a happy snapper that only wants to point and shoot, that's perfectly acceptable and you can even use the same Auto Scene mode that the L series cameras use. The controls are easy enough to use throughout although they suffer with the typical lag found on budget Nikon compact cameras. Downloading a high resolution image onto the memory card also seem to take an age which doesn't seem befitting of the EXPEED name.

Image quality is pretty good with decent colouration and sharp edges. The big surprise is in the noise performance testing. Noise seems to be present throughout and the NR does appear to work hard to keep it under control. At the highest setting, colour noise just seems to disappear as though it was never there. We've seen this trick of reducing the resolution before and it's never produced results like these.

For the price, you're getting a good enough camera. There are features that will appeal to many members of the family and the fact that the Nikon Coolpix S2800 is available in many different colours means you should be able to strike a happy medium. The 5x optical zoom should deal with almost any situation and the digital filters will appeal to the younger members of the family and the Instagram crowd.

Because of the low price of the S2800, it makes it all that more expendable. What we mean by that is accidents happen and if you drop an £80 camera, it's slightly more easier to cope with than if a £300 camera is dropped. If you're a family looking to get a picture taking machine for everyone to use, then you won't go far wrong using the Nikon Coolpix S2800.

4 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Design 3.5
Features 3.5
Ease-of-use 4.5
Image quality 4
Value for money 4.5

Main Rivals

Listed below are some of the rivals of the Nikon Coolpix S2800.

Canon PowerShot A3100 IS

Recent additions to Canon's popular Powershot range of A-series compact cameras have been firmly aimed at beginners, and the new A3100 model continues that approach. Thanks to the Easy, Smart Auto and Program modes, everyone in the family can use the A3100 to their full potential, regardless of their ability level. Add a 12 megapixel sensor, 4x zoom lens, 2.7 inch LCD screen and an attractive price tag of less than £200 / $200, and the A3100 IS starts to look like the perfect introduction to digital photography. Mark Goldstein discovers if the Canon PowerShot A3100 IS lives up to its full potential...

Fujifilm FinePix T400

The Fujifilm FinePix T400 compact camera offers a 10x zoom, 16 megapixel sensor, 3 inch LCD screen and 720p movies, all for a street price of just £70 / $90. Read our Fujifilm FinePix T400 review to find out if it's a genuine bargain or one to avoid...

Kodak Easyshare M580

The Kodak Easyshare M580 is a new entry-level camera with some advanced features, including a wide-angle 8x zoom lens, 14 megapixel sensor, HD video and a large 3 inch LCD screen. Officially retailing for £179.99 / $199.95, read our expert Kodak Easyshare M580 Review.

Olympus VH-410

The Olympus VH-410 is an affordable compact camera with a lot of premium features. You get a very capable camera for just £120 - 16 megapixels, 5x wide-angle zoom, 3 inch LCD touchscreen, 720p movies, all housed in a metal body. Read our Olympus VH-410 review to find out if it's a bargain or not...

Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ7

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ7 is a new mid-range travel-zoom compact camera. The stylish Panasonic SZ7 offers 14 megapixels, a 10x zoom lens, 3 inch LCD screen, 10fps burst shooting and 1080p HD movies. Read our expert Panasonic DMC-SZ7 review now...

Pentax Optio S1

The Optio S1 is the first model in a stylish new range of compact cameras from Pentax. In addition to its dashing good looks, the Pentax S1 also offers 14 megapixels, a 5x zoom lens, 2.7 inch screen and 720p movies. Available for just £119.99 / $199.95, check out our Pentax Optio S1 review to find out if it's all style and no substance...

Samsung PL210

The Samsung PL210 is an affordable travel-zoom compact camera, offering a 10x zoom lens, 14 megapixel sensor, 3 inch LCD and 720p movie recording, all for less than £150 / $175. Read our in-depth Samsung PL210 review to find out if this is the right pocket camera for you...

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX60

Entry level cameras don't have to be big and ugly, and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX60 is a case in point. This stylish compact packs an 8x zoom lens, 16 megapixel sensor, 2.7 inch screen and a wealth of beginner-friendly features into its svelte frame. Priced at around £150, read our Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX60 review to find out if its performance matches its good looks...

Review Roundup

Reviews of the Nikon Coolpix S2800 from around the web. »

Available in purple, pink, red, silver and black, the Nikon Coolpix S2800 is a compact camera with a decent set of specs. With its 20 million pixel sensor, 5x optical zoom lens (26-130mm equivalent) and 12 creative filters, it's a budget compact camera, but still offers a number of ways to transform your photos.
Read the full review » »

The Nikon Coolpix S2800 was announced in January 2014. It is a slim compact with a 20.1 megapixel CCD sensor and 5x optical zoom lens. Other features include a range of filter effects which can be applied to pictures in playback. The S2800 is available exclusively from Argos in purple lineart, pink, red, silver, black and purple for £69.99.
Read the full review »


Effective pixels 20.1 million
Image sensor 1/2.3-in. type CCD; total pixels: approx. 20.48 million
Lens NIKKOR lens with 5x optical zoom
Focal length 4.6-23.0 mm (angle of view equivalent to that of 26-130 mm lens in 35mm [135] format)
F-number f/3.2-6.5
Lens construction 6 elements in 5 groups
Magnification Up to 4x (angle of view equivalent to that of approx. 520 mm lens in 35mm [135] format)
Vibration reduction Electronic VR (movies)
Motion blur reduction Electronic VR (still pictures), motion detection (still pictures)
Autofocus Contrast-detect AF
Focus range [W]: Approx. 50 cm (1 ft 8 in.) to infinity, [T]: Approx. 80 cm (2 ft 8 in.) to infinity. Macro mode: Approx. 10 cm (4 in.) to infinity (wide-angle position). (All distances measured from center of front surface of lens)
AF-area mode Face priority, center, manual with 99 focus areas, subject tracking, target finding AF
Monitor 6.7 cm (2.7-in.), approx. 230k-dot, TFT LCD, and 5-level brightness adjustment
Frame coverage Approx. 98% horizontal and 98% vertical (compared to actual image)
Frame coverage (playback mode) Approx. 98% horizontal and 98% vertical (compared to actual image)
Media Internal memory (approx. 25 MB), SD/SDHC/SDXC memory card
File system DCF, Exif 2.3, and DPOF compliant
Storage file formats Still pictures: JPEG. Sound files (Voice Memo): WAV. Movies: AVI (Motion-JPEG compliant)
Image size (pixels) 20M (High) [5152 x 3864(fine)]; 20M [5152 x 3864]; 10M [3648 x 2736]; 4M [2272 x 1704]; 2M [1600 x 1200]; VGA [640 x 480]; 16:9 (14M) [5120 x 2880]; 1:1 [3864 x 3864]
Shooting modes Scene auto selector, Scene (Portrait, Landscape, Sports, Night portrait, Party/indoor, Beach, Snow, Sunset, Dusk/dawn, Night landscape, Close-up, Food, Museum, Fireworks show, Black and white copy, Backlighting, Panorama assist, Pet portrait), Special effects, Smart portrait, Auto
Release mode Single (default setting), Continuous (the frame rate for continuous shooting is about 1.1 fps and the maximum number of continuous shots is about 6), BSS (Best Shot Selector), Multi-shot 16
Movie - file format 720/30p: 1280 x 720/16:9, 720/25p: 1280 x 720/16:9, 480/30p: 640 x 480/4:3, 480/25p: 640 x 480/4:3, 240/30p: 320 x 240/4:3, 240/25p: 320 x 240/4:3
ISO sensitivity ISO 80-1600. ISO 3200 (available when using Auto mode)
Exposure metering Matrix, center-weighted (digital zoom less than 2x), spot (digital zoom 2x or more)
Exposure control Programmed auto exposure and exposure compensation (-2.0 - +2.0 EV in steps of 1/3 EV)
Shutter type Mechanical and CCD electronic shutter
Shutter speed 1/2000-1 s. 4 s (when scene mode is set to Fireworks show)
Aperture Electronically-controlled ND filter (-2.6 AV) selection
Aperture range 2 steps (f/3.2 and f/8 [W])
Self-timer Can be selected from 10 s and 2 s
Flash range (approx.) (ISO sensitivity Auto) [W]: 0.5-4.0 m (1 ft 8 in.-13 ft). [T]: 0.8-2.0 m (2 ft 8 in.-6 ft 6 in.)
Flash control TTL auto flash with monitor preflashes
USB Hi-Speed USB
Data transfer protocol MTP, PTP
Video output Can be selected from NTSC and PAL
I/O terminal Audio/video (A/V) output; digital I/O (USB)
Supported languages Arabic, Bengali, Bulgarian, Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hindi, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Marathi, Norwegian, Persian, Polish, Portuguese (European and Brazilian), Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Spanish, Swedish, Tamil, Telugu, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, Vietnamese
Power sources One Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL19 (included). AC Adapter EH-62G (available separately)
Charging time Approx. 3 h (when using Charging AC Adapter EH-70P and when no charge remains)
Battery life1 Approx. 250 shots when using EN-EL19
Movie recording (actual battery life for recording)2 Approx. 1 h 5 min when using EN-EL19
Tripod socket 1/4 in. (ISO 1222)
Dimensions (W x H x D) Approx. 93.8 x 58.4 x 19.8 mm (3.7 x 2.3 x 0.8 in.) (excluding projections)
Weight Approx. 120 g (4.3 oz) (with battery and SD memory card)
Operating environment - temperature 0°C-40°C (32°F-104°F)
Operating environment - humidity 85% or less (no condensation)
Supplied accessories Camera Strap, Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL19, Charging AC Adapter EH-70P, USB Cable UC-E6, ViewNX 2 CD
Optional accessories Battery Charger MH-66, AC Adapter EH-62G, Audio Video Cable EG-CP14

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