Nikon Coolpix S800c Review

October 23, 2012 | Gavin Stoker |

Image Quality

All of the sample images in this review were taken using the 16 megapixel Fine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 5Mb.

Given that the £379 asking price of the Nikon Coolpix S800c almost pitches the camera against the better premium compacts such as the Samsung EX2F and Panasonic LX7 - or is roughly the same as the most basic body-only DSLR - we were hoping that image quality could help partly justify that outlay.

However, the sensor size is 1/2.3-inch - standard issue for most snapshots costing half as much. Couple this with a high-ish 16 megapixels and there's the threat of visible noise at higher ISO settings, even though this Nikon tops out at a comparatively modest ISO3200. So it proves here, with a gritty appearance predictably creeping in from ISO800 upwards, though, to be fair, even at ISO3200 we'd consider results to be usable at a push. Nikon was obviously right to cap it there however.

Even when conditions are bright, other issues are presented such as blown highlight detail, while JPEGs straight from the camera often appeared softer than we'd hoped. At least colours are realistic and white balance consistent from shot to shot, but this can't make up for the disappointment of an image quality a match for cameras costing half the price. Perhaps we're missing the point however and the S800c is more about its manufacturer wanting to get a head start on rivals and declaring 'look at what we can do' than offering a conclusive argument as to why a dedicated camera will always be better than a smartphone. At this price, we're not so sure it is.

We were more forgiving when it came to video performance on the Nikon Coolpix S800c, as the optical zoom can be used, there's stereo sound and Full HD picture quality. It's a bit of a shame then that the movie option isn't more prominent and you have to drill down into the feature set to find it.


The Nikon Coolpix S800c has 6 sensitivity settings ranging from ISO 125 to ISO 3200 at full resolution.

ISO 125 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)


ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)


ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)


Here are two 100% crops - the right-hand image has had some sharpening applied in Photoshop. The out-of-the camera images 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)


Chromatic Aberrations

The Nikon Coolpix S800c shows some purple fringing, with purpleeffects in areas of high contrast as shown in the examples below.

Chromatic Aberrations 1 (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations 2 (100% Crop)


The Nikon Coolpix S800c allows you to get as close as 10cms to your subject, in this case a Compact Flash card.


Macro (100% Crop)


These shots of a white coloured wall were taken at a distance of 1.5m.

Flash Off - Wide Angle (25mm)

Flash On - Wide Angle (25mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

Flash Off - Telephoto (250mm)

Flash On - Telephoto (250mm)

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)

Red Eye Reduction

Red Eye Reduction (100% Crop)


The Nikon Coolpix S800c's maximum shutter speed is 4 seconds in the Freworks Show scene mode, which is not good news if you're seriously interested in night photography. The shot below was taken using a shutter speed of 1 second at ISO 1600.


Night (100% Crop)