Nikon Coolpix S8000 Review

March 3, 2010 | Mark Goldstein |


The Nikon Coolpix S8000 is a solid entry into the travel zoom market, and easily one of the slimmest and more attractive models currently available. On paper it's also one of the quickest too, but only if you ignore the inexplicable 3 second delay after the S8000 is powered on and can accept the reduced 3 megapixel resolution to achieve the headline-grabbing 3fps burst shooting.

Nikon are pushing the speed of the S8000, and it certainly doesn't disappoint in this regard. Focusing is on a par with most entry-level DSLRs, quickly locking onto the subject without too many misses. The S8000 also bursts into life very quickly, although it's best to leave the camera turned on to avoid that puzzling 3 second "freeze". Other standout features include the versatile 10x optical zoom, excellent high-resolution LCD screen and the 720p video mode, although the inability to use the optical zoom during recording is infuriating.

Image quality is only above average, with the 14 megapixel sensor delivering acceptable results in terms of noise from ISO 100-400, although it becomes all too apparent at ISO 800, with the faster settings of 1600 and especially 3200 not really worth using. Chromatic aberrations are also visible in high contrast images and pictures are soft straight out of the camera with no ability to sharpen them. On the upside the 1cm macro mode is an excellent feature, as is the built-in anti-shake system, and although it takes a few seconds to warm-up, the pop-up flash is very handy.

Although it gets a lot of things right, the Nikon Coolpix S8000 also gets some important things wrong - most notably the 3 second operational delay on startup, lack of zoom in movie mode, below par continuous shooting at full resolution, and 14 megapixels on such a small sensor resulting in less than stellar photos. The S8000 represents a decent first stab at what is quickly becoming a hotly contested camera category, but market-leaders Panasonic don't need to worry too much just yet...

4 stars

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