Nikon Coolpix S6800 Review

May 31, 2014 | Jack Baker | Rating star Rating star Rating star Rating star


If you’re in the market for a sleek, stylish and high-performing compact camera, then Nikon’s S-series – aka ‘Style’ – may be a good place to start. The S6800 sits near the top of the range at £199.99 / €239 / $219.95 and packs a 12x zoom lens into a svelte body just 96.8 x 57.5 x 22.9mm in size. The lens boasts a focal length equivalent to 25-300mm in 35mm camera terms and includes lens shift Vibration Reduction to tame the effects of camera shake. Inside is a 16-megapixel CMOS sensor with a sensitivity range of ISO 125-6400. You also get Full HD video recording, HDR capture, an Easy Panorama mode and on-board Wi-Fi. The camera’s Smart Portrait mode and Glamour Retouch effects ensure great shots of friends and family, and you’ll look the part too as the S6800 comes in red, white and pink finishes, as well as the usual black.

Ease of Use

The trusty compact camera has been facing tough times in recent years thanks to the popularity of smartphone cameras, but the Coolpix S6800 has a lot going for it. For starters it’s small. To put the raw measurements into perspective, its length and width are comfortably less than an iPhone 4s, and the S6800 is only around twice the phone’s thickness. Yet despite these pocketable proportions, you still get a very handy 12x optical zoom reach with a respectable 25mm-equivalent wide angle capability. Only the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom can offer close to this level of optical flexibility in the smartphone world.

Although the S6800 comes from the Coolpix Style series, Nikon has shaped it to be sleek rather than stand-out. The predominantly metal skin is nicely rounded so the camera easily slips into a pocket or clutch bag. However, being this sleek does make it tricky to hold securely, especially as there’s no front finger grip and only the raised video record button on the back to keep your thumb in place.

Given the camera’s compactness and sizable 3-inch screen, it’s a good job there are so few buttons on the S6800. Those you do get are reasonably large and easy to press and include a dedicated video record button. Below this are the usual mode, menu, playback and delete buttons which flank a directional dial that also controls the flash, exposure compensation, macro focus and the self-timer. Move round to the side and a small flap hides an HDMI output and a USB port-cum-mains charging input. Underneath is a small door covering the battery and SD card compartment, though the positioning of the latter does make it quite tricky to insert and eject. We were also a little miffed that the sexy pink paint on our test camera quickly showed signs of wear on this compartment door.

Nikon Coolpix S6800 Nikon Coolpix S6800
Front Rear

For a camera aimed at the style-conscious, it’s perhaps a little disappointing that the S6800’s screen isn’t touch-sensitive and is also fixed, so you won’t be having any flip-out fun to help snap selfies. This isn’t helped by the screen’s limited vertical viewing angles, which is especially problematic when trying to compose high-angle shots as contrast is severely reduced. The display’s 460k-dot resolution is also pretty average and a far cry from the current crop of smartphone screens, though screen brightness is quite high.

The S6800 wastes no time in starting up, being ready for action in around one second. After that you’ll be able to focus on your subject almost instantly in good light, however the autofocus system does get rather sluggish in dimmer conditions, often requiring a frustrating couple of seconds to find its mark. The default Smart Auto mode on most Coolpix cameras also seems to have some trouble with close up shots, often refusing to focus at or near the camera’s 2cm minimum focussing distance. To reliably macro focus you’ll need to switch to the regular Auto setting and manually engage macro mode.

Fortunately making such adjustments isn’t too tricky thanks to Nikon’s basic but clear menu system. It’s easy to read and operate in extreme conditions, although there is a slight lag between a menu input and the camera actually responding.

Nikon Coolpix S6800 Nikon Coolpix S6800
Front Side

Delving through these various menus also reveals plenty of continuous shooting modes. There’s a clever Best Shot Selector function where the camera will automatically select the sharpest shot from a burst of frames. Alternatively you can choose the standard continuous mode which will fire at up to 9.4fps at full resolution, albeit only for 7 frames before the memory buffer needs a good 10 seconds to refresh. If that’s not enough then you can opt to lower the image size and shoot for up to a 50-shot burst at 120fps.

Failing that there’s always the Full HD video mode. This shoots 1080p resolution at 25fps, or you can downgrade to 720p or 480p to save storage space. Also useful is the Wind Noise Reduction setting which does noticeably boost audio clarity in such situations.

Other extra features are the Easy Panorama mode which does a pretty good job of automatically and seamlessly creating a panorama as you pan the camera, but reduces the final image size to just 920 vertical pixels and destroys detail in its wake. Being restricted to a choice of either 180 or 360-degree pans is also annoying.

Nikon Coolpix S6800 Nikon Coolpix S6800
Top Battery Compartment

Nikon’s Smart Portrait feature is more impressive though. This dedicated shooting mode utilises the camera’s face detection technology to automatically detect whether your subject is smiling or blinking, and only fires the shutter at the ideal moment. Then just to ensure he or she looks extra special, the camera automatically fixes any red-eye, optimises image contrast and softens skin complexion to one of three possible levels.

If you forgot to activate the Smart Portrait mode but fancy touching up a photo taken using a different mode, then all is not lost thanks to the S6800’s Glamour Retouch trick. Simply scroll through your photos to one which contains a face and the camera detects the face’s location in the shot and offers up a host of editing options to whiten teeth, hide any bags under the eyes or even apply different coloured eye shadow. It all sounds a bit gimmicky, but you’d be surprised how effective the results can be, provided you don’t take things too far!

Last but not least is the S6800’s Wi-Fi ability. Just download a companion app for iOS or Android devices and away you go. The system enables you to browse and transfer photos, but also use your mobile device as a remote control for the camera so you can snap shots from a distance. You’ll need the S6800’s battery to be fully charged though, as otherwise the camera automatically severs the wireless connection. Even with plenty of power the iOS app had trouble accessing images on the camera though and disconnections were frustratingly frequent.

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 6Mb.

The Coolpix S6800 may be focussed on style and compactness over outright image quality, but it will snap a nice shot, providing you don’t scrutinise the results too closely. The camera’s exposure metering strikes a good balance between preserving shadow and highlight detail and, along with the punchy colour reproduction, means shots look bright and attractive straight from the camera. Auto white balance also acquits itself well, accurately capturing colour where similar cameras have come a cropper.

If you do view at 100% and pixel peep then the limitations of the S6800’s small sensor are visible. Some grain is present even at low sensitivities, whilst fine detail in landscape shots can look slightly smoothed and painterly. However these are issues which plague pretty much any camera with a 1/2.3” sensor and the S6800 deals with them fairly well.

Ramp up the sensor sensitivity for low light or to freeze a fast-moving subject and of course more image noise comes into play, but the camera controls grain well and eliminates colour speckling up to ISO800. Even ISO1600 is quite useable, though by ISO3200 the camera is losing the battle with noise. The maximum ISO6400 is best left as a marketing tool rather than a useful setting, such are the high levels of noise and detail smoothing.

Optical performance is also up to scratch as the lens keeps chromatic aberrations (purple fringing) to a minimum and maintains good corner sharpness. Distortion is minimal at wide angle, though there is a visible pincushion effect at the maximum telephoto end, although you shouldn’t notice it unless you shoot stark geometric subjects.


The Nikon Coolpix S6800 has seven sensitivity settings ranging from ISO125 to ISO6400 at full resolution.

ISO 125 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

iso125.jpg iso200.jpg

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

iso400.jpg iso800.jpg

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

iso1600.jpg iso3200.jpg

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)


Focal Range

The S6800’s 12x zoom lens achieves a maximum wide-angle focal length equivalent to 25mm, and is capable of a telephoto reach of 300mm (in 35mm-camra terms).



focal_range1.jpg focal_range2.jpg


Here are two 100% crops - the right-hand image has had some sharpening applied in Photoshop. The out-of-the camera images from the Nikon Coolpix S6800 are slightly soft at the default sharpening setting and benefit from some further sharpening in a program like Adobe Photoshop. You can alternatively change the in-camera sharpening level to suit your tastes.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

sharpen1.jpg sharpen1a.jpg
sharpen2.jpg sharpen2a.jpg

File Quality

Shooting the Nikon Coolpix S6800 at its maximum 16.0MP resolution in Fine JPEG quality produces images 6-8MB in size. You can choose to downgrade to Normal quality at this resolution, whereby the file size roughly halves.

Fine (7.39Mb) (100% Crop)

Normal (3.86Mb) (100% Crop)

quality_fine.jpg quality_normal.jpg

Chromatic Aberrations

Given the range of the zoom lens, the Nikon Coolpix S6800 shows some purple fringing, with limited effects in areas of high contrast as shown in the examples below.

Chromatic Aberrations 1 (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations 2 (100% Crop)

chromatic1.jpg chromatic2.jpg


The S6800’s lens will focus as close as 2cm from a subject, however depth of field becomes very shallow at this extremely close distance.


Macro (100% Crop)

macro1.jpg macro1a.jpg


The S6800’s built-in flash has four settings: Auto, Auto with red-eye reduction, Fill flash & Slow sync. Shooting a white surface from a distance of 1.5m, the flash provides even coverage with the lens zoomed in, though some vignetting is visible in the wide-angle shot.

Whether the flash is set to standard Auto mode – or Auto with red-eye reduction – the camera successfully avoids any trace of red-eye.

Flash Off - Wide Angle (25mm)

Flash On - Wide Angle (25mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

Flash Off - Telephoto (300mm)

Flash On - Telephoto (300mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

And here are a couple of portrait shots. As you can see, neither the Fill Flash or the Auto with Red-eye reduction options caused any amount of red-eye.

Flash On

Flash On (100% Crop)
flash_on.jpg flash_on1.jpg

Red Eye Reduction

Red Eye Reduction (100% Crop)

flash_redeye.jpg flash_redeye1.jpg

Vibration Reduction

Holding a camera steady at or near the 300mm-equivalent focal length the S6800 is capable of is a tall order. Luckily Vibration Reduction saves the day and ensures shots like this stay crisp.

Shutter Speed / Focal Length

Anti Shake Off (100% Crop)

Anti Shake On (100% Crop)
1/5th sec / 256mm antishake1.jpg antishake1a.jpg


Night photography is easy with the Night Landscape mode, which works whether you’re shooting hand-held or on a tripod.

Night Night (100% Crop)
night1.jpg night1a.jpg


This setting automatically captures two exposures of a high-contrast scene to record shadow and highlight detail separately, then merges them into a single HDR image.


hdr_off.jpg hdr_on.jpg

Special Effects

The S6800 offers thirteen colour effects, all of which are previewed live. Your options are: Soft, Nostalgic sepia, High-contrast monochrome, High key, Low key, Selective colour, Pop, Super vivid, Painting, Toy camera effect 1, Toy camera effect 2, Cross process & Mirror.


effects_01.jpg effects_02.jpg


High Key

effects_03.jpg effects_04.jpg

Low Key

Selective Color

effects_05.jpg effects_06.jpg



effects_07.jpg effects_08.jpg


Toy Camera 1

effects_09.jpg effects_10.jpg

Toy Camera 2

Cross Process

effects_11.jpg effects_12.jpg



Easy Panorama

Easy Panorama just requires you to pan the camera whilst it captures and stitches the images into either a 180 or 360-degree panorama.

Easy Panorama

Sample Images

This is a selection of sample images from the Nikon Coolpix S6800 camera, which were all taken using the 16 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 1920x1080 pixels at 25 frames per second. Please note that this 13 second movie is 26.4Mb in size.

Product Images

Nikon Coolpix S6800

Front of the Nikon Coolpix S6800

Nikon Coolpix S6800

Front of the Nikon Coolpix S6800 / Lens Extended

Nikon Coolpix S6800

Side of the Nikon Coolpix S6800

Nikon Coolpix S6800

Side of the Nikon Coolpix S6800

Nikon Coolpix S6800

Rear of the Nikon Coolpix S6800

Nikon Coolpix S6800

Rear of the Nikon Coolpix S6800 / Image Displayed

Nikon Coolpix S6800

Rear of the Nikon Coolpix S6800 / Main Menu

Nikon Coolpix S6800

Top of the Nikon Coolpix S6800

Nikon Coolpix S6800

Bottom of the Nikon Coolpix S6800


Nikon Coolpix S6800

Side of the Nikon Coolpix S6800

Nikon Coolpix S6800

Side of the Nikon Coolpix S6800

Nikon Coolpix S6800

Front of the Nikon Coolpix S6800

Nikon Coolpix S6800
Front of the Nikon Coolpix S6800
Nikon Coolpix S6800
Memory Card Slot / Battery Compartment


There’s a lot to like about the Nikon Coolpix S6800. It produces bright, punchy images in most conditions and handles low light better than many similar cameras. Leave it in the default Smart Auto mode and the camera’s exposure metering, autofocus system and auto white balance prove reliable and give you crisp, well exposed shots with accurate colour. It’s a slight shame the Smart Auto mode isn’t more willing to detect a macro scene though.

Packing a 12x zoom lens into such a petite package also gives the Nikon Coolpix S6800 great versatility, with a focal length range that covers a wide variety of shooting scenarios. Nikon’s Vibration Reduction system ensures this zoom ability is usable without having to worry too much about camera shake.

If anything lets the side down, it’s the Nikon Coolpix S6800’s extra features. Basic colour effects work well enough, but the lacklustre Easy Panorama mode is left in the digital dust by the quality of panoramas produced by modern smartphones. Likewise the camera’s Wi-Fi abilities can impress, but are all too often marred by the instability of the companion app and spontaneous signal disconnection. Only the S6800’s nifty Smart Portrait and Glamour Retouch features really generate some ‘wow factor’, though we suspect the novelty could soon wear off.

So should you buy an S6800? Well if you’re after decent performance, shooting versatility and compactness, it makes a lot of sense. It’s a pity there aren’t any standout aspects and the extra features are lacking compared to what a smartphone can do, but the Nikon Coolpix S6800 is still a good, easy to use all-rounder that should appeal to a wide audience.

4 stars

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

Main Rivals

Listed below are some of the rivals of the Nikon Coolpix S6800.

Canon IXUS 265 HS

The Canon IXUS 265 HS (also known as the PowerShot ELPH 340 HS) is a stylish point-and-shoot compact camera that offers a 16 megapixel back-illuminated CMOS sensor, 12x wide-angle zoom lens, full 1080p HD movie recording, 3 inch LCD screen and built-in wi-fi and NFC connectivity. Read our in-depth Canon IXUS 265 HS review to find out if this tiny camera is worth its £189.99 / $199.99 price-tag...

Canon IXUS 510 HS

The new Canon IXUS 510 HS is a stylish and well-appointed compact camera. Also known as the ELPH 530 HS, the Canon IXUS 510 HS offers a wide-angle 12x zoom, 10 megapixel CMOS sensor, 3.2 inch LCD touchscreen, built-in wi-fi and full 1080p HD movies. Read our in-depth Canon IXUS 510 HS review complete with full-size sample images and video.

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...

Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ9

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ9 is a brand new travel-zoom compact camera. The stylish Panasonic SZ9 offers 16 megapixels, a 10x zoom lens (25-250mm), 3 inch LCD screen, built-in wi-fi connectivity, 10fps burst shooting and 1080p HD movies. Read our expert Panasonic DMC-SZ9 review now...

Samsung DV300F

The new Samsung DV300F compact camera brings together an innovative 1.5 inch LCD on the front, useful for composing self-portraits, and a wide range of wi-fi connectivity options. The 16 megapixel Samsung PL120 also features a 25mm wide-angle 5x zoom lens, 720p HD video, and a multitude of special effects modes, all for just £179.99 / $199.99. Read our in-depth Samsung DV300F review.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX220

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX220 is a slim and stylish compact camera with wi-fi and NFC connectivity. The WX220 also features a 10x zoom lens, 18 megapixel Exmor R CMOS sensor, 10fps continuous shooting and Full 1080p HD movie recording. Priced at around £179, read our Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX220 review to find out if it's worth considering...

Review Roundup

Reviews of the Nikon Coolpix S6800 from around the web. »

The Nikon Coolpix S6800 was announced in January 2014 and is a Wi-Fi enabled compact camera which also features a 16 megapixel back-illuminated CMOS sensor and a 12x optical zoom lens. It is available in either red, black, white or pink and costs around £172.
Read the full review »


Number of effective pixels 16.0 million
Image sensor 1/2.3-in. type CMOS; approx. 16.76 million total pixels
Lens NIKKOR lens with 12x optical zoom
Focal length 4.5-54.0 mm (angle of view equivalent to that of 25-300 mm lens in 35mm [135] format)
f/-number f/3.3-6.3
Lens construction 9 elements in 7 groups (1 ED lens element)
Digital zoom magnification Up to 4x (angle of view equivalent to that of approx. 1200 mm lens in 35mm [135] format)
Vibration reduction Lens shift (still pictures). Lens shift and electronic VR (movies)
Motion blur reduction Motion detection (still pictures)
Autofocus (AF) Contrast-detect AF
Focus range [W]: Approx. 50 cm (1 ft 8 in.) to infinity, [T]: Approx. 1.5m (5 ft) to infinity. Macro mode: Approx. 2 cm (0.8 in.) to infinity (wide-angle position). (All distances measured from center of front surface of lens)
Focus-area selection Face priority, manual with 99 focus areas, center, subject tracking, target finding AF
Monitor 7.5 cm (3-in.), approx. 460k-dot, TFT LCD with anti-reflection coating and 5-level brightness adjustment
Frame coverage (shooting mode) Approx. 99% horizontal and 99% vertical (compared to actual picture)
Frame coverage (playback mode) Approx. 99% horizontal and 99% vertical (compared to actual picture)
Media Internal memory (approx. 25 MB), SD/SDHC/SDXC memory card
File system DCF, Exif 2.3, and DPOF compliant
File formats Still pictures: JPEG. Sound files (Voice Memo): WAV. Movies: MOV (Video: H.264/MPEG-4 AVC, Audio: LPCM stereo)
Image size (pixels) 16M (High) [4608 x 3456(fine)]. 16M [4608 x 3456]. 8M [3264 x 2448]. 4M [2272 x 1704]. 2M [1600 x 1200]. VGA [640 x 480]. 16:9 [4608 x 2592]. 1:1 [3456 x 3456]
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, Easy panorama, Pet portrait), Special effects, Smart portrait, Auto
Continuous Shooting Single (default setting), Continuous H (the frame rate for continuous shooting is about 9.4 fps and the maximum number of continuous shots is about 7), Continuous L (the frame rate for continuous shooting is about 2 fps and themaximum number of continuous shots is about 7), Pre-shooting cache (the frame rate for continuous shooting is about 11 fps and the maximum number of continuous shots is 5, including a maximum of two frames captured in the pre-shooting cache), Continuous H:120 fps (the frame rate for continuous shooting is about 120 fps and the maximum number of continuous shots is 50), Continuous H:60 fps (the frame rate for continuous shooting is about 60 fps and the maximum number of continuous shots is 25), BSS (Best Shot Selector), Multi-shot 16
Movie 1080/30p (default setting): 1920 x 1080/16:9, 1080/25p (default setting): 1920 x 1080/16:9, 1080/60i: 1920 x 1080/16:9, 1080/50i: 1920 x 1080/16:9, 720/30p: 1280 x 720/16:9, 720/25p: 1280 x 720/16:9, iFrame 720/30p: 1280 x 720/16:9, iFrame 720/25p: 1280 x 720/16:9, 480/30p: 640 x 480/4:3, 480/25p: 640 x 480/4:3, HS 480/4x: 640 x 480/4:3, HS 720/2x: 1280 x 720/16:9, HS 1080/0.5x: 1920 x 1080/16:9
ISO sensitivity (Standard output sensitivity) ISO 125-1600. ISO 3200, 6400 (available when using Auto mode)
Exposure metering mode 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 Mechanical and CMOS electronic shutter
Shutter speed 1/2000-1 s. 1/4000 s (maximum speed during high-speed continuous shooting). 4 s (Fireworks show scene mode)
Aperture Electronically-controlled ND filter (-2 AV) selection
Aperture range 2 steps (f/3.3 and f/6.6 [W])
Self-timer Can be selected from 10 s and 2 s
Flash range (approx.) (ISO sensitivity: Auto) [W]: 0.5-2.8 m (1 ft 8 in.-9 ft 2 in.). [T]: 0.5-1.5 m (1 ft 8 in.-4 ft 11 in.)
Flash control TTL auto flash with monitor preflashes
Interface Hi-Speed USB equivalent
Data Transfer Protocol MTP, PTP
HDMI output Can be selected from Auto, 480p, 720p, and 1080i
I/O terminal Micro-USB connector, HDMI micro connector (Type D) (HDMI output)
Supported languages Arabic, Bengali, Bulgarian, Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hindi, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, 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. 1 h 50 min (when using Charging AC Adapter EH-71P and when no charge remains)
Battery life¹ Approx. 170 shots when using EN-EL19
Movie recording (actual battery life for recording)² Approx. 35 min when using EN-EL19
Tripod socket 1/4 in. (ISO 1222)
Dimensions (W x H x D) Approx. 96.8 x 57.5 x 22.9 mm (3.9 x 2.3 x 1.0 in.) (excluding projections)
Weight Approx. 145 g (5.2 oz) (including battery and SD memory card)
Temperature 0°C-40°C (32°F-104°F)
Humidity 85% or less (no condensation)
Wi-Fi (Wireless LAN) standards IEEE 802.11b/g/n (standard wireless LAN protocol)
Wi-Fi (Wireless LAN) communications protocols IEEE 802.11b: DBPSK/DQPSK/CCK. IEEE 802.11g: OFDM. IEEE 802.11n: OFDM
Wi-Fi (Wireless LAN) range (line of sight) Approx. 10 m (11 yd)
Wi-Fi (Wireless LAN) operating frequency 2412-2462 MHz (1-11 channels)
Wi-Fi (Wireless LAN) data rates (actual measured values) IEEE 802.11b: 5 Mbps. IEEE 802.11g: 20 Mbps. IEEE 802.11n: 20 Mbps
Wi-Fi (Wireless LAN) security WPA2
Wi-Fi (Wireless LAN) access protocols Infrastructure
Supplied accessories Camera Strap, Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL19, Charging AC Adapter EH-71P, USB Cable UC-E21

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