Nikon Coolpix S2800 Review

August 5, 2014 | Matt Grayson |
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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.

Noise

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)

 
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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.

26mm

130mm

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Sharpening

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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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)
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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)

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Chromatic Aberrations 3 (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations 4 (100% Crop)

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Macro

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

Macro (100% Crop)

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Flash

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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Night

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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