Nikon Coolpix S8200 Review

October 20, 2011 | Mark Goldstein | Rating star Rating star Rating star Rating star Half rating star


The Nikon Coolpix S8200 is a new travel-zoom camera featuring a 14x zoom lens with a versatile focal range of 25-350mm. Measuring just 32.7mm thick, key features of the S8200 include a 16.1 megapixel back-illuminated CMOS sensor, high resolution 3 inch LCD screen, full 1080p high-definition movies with stereo sound, lens-shift Vibration Reduction, 1cm macro mode, shooting mode dial and a fast auto-focus system, shutter-lag and startup time. The Nikon Coolpix S8200 also offers target-finding auto-focus mode, Easy Panoramas, 6fps continuous shooting at full resolution, in-camera HDR imaging, a range of special effects and advanced Night Landscape and Portrait modes. Available in three colours, Black, Red and Gold, the Nikon Coolpix S8200 costs £279.99 / €325.00 / $399.95.

Ease of Use

The Nikon Coolpix S8200 is almost identical to the S8100 model that it replaces, so a lot of the comments that we made about that camera apply equally to this latest release. The Nikon Coolpix S8200 has a rather conservative yet still appealing design, with the metal body finished in a glossy black coating that's helpfully rubberised on the front half, aiding your grip on the camera. Although very slightly thicker than the S8100, the S8200 is still very slim for a camera with a 14x zoom lens, but note that the camera does measure over 70mm deep when the zoom is fully extended. At 213g it's also quite a light camera, and just about fits in both the palm of your hand or a shirt pocket.

The new 14x lens dominates the front of the S8200 and has an attractive rounded appearance that helps distinguish it from rival models, as does the neat pop-flash which automatically appears whenever a flash mode is selected. Otherwise the design is pretty conventional, with nothing to surprise or scare anyone who has used a digital camera in the last five years, making it easy to get up and running in no time at all.

That's certainly helped by the S8200's lightening fast reflexes. Start-up time is almost instant, with the camera ready to go in less than half a second, making it one of the faster compacts that we've tested recently. The S8200 also is something of a speed demon when it comes to focusing on your subject. The 14x zoom lens provides a versatile focal range of 25-350mm, impressive given the overall size of the camera, and is wide enough for landscapes and has more than enough reach for candid portraits.

The lens has a fairly fast maximum aperture of f/3.3 at the wide-angle end but a rather slow f/5.9 at full telephoto. The Nikon S8200 is very quick to find focus, locking onto your target in less than 0.2 seconds, regardless of the lighting conditions or which end of the zoom range you're using. In addition, the target-finding auto-focus mode successfully detects, tracks and focuses on the main subject, making it easier to capture fast-moving subjects successfully.

Nikon have included their excellent VR (Vibration Reduction) image stabilisation system to help prevent camera-shake, an essential feature nowadays, which is turned on and off in the Setup main menu. In practice the VR system makes a noticeable difference to the sharpness of the images, as shown in the examples on the Image Quality page, but don't expect to get sharp results every time at the longer focal lengths without the use of a suitably fast shutter speed. Thankfully leaving the anti-shake system on didn't reduce the battery-life too much, with the camera managing just over a 250 shots using the supplied Lithium-ion rechargeable battery. The S8200 can be charged using the USB socket on a computer or via the main power using the included AC adapter.

Nikon Coolpix S8200 Nikon Coolpix S8200
Front Rear

In addition, there are a range of other functions and modes that also help to prevent camera shake. High ISO light sensitivity up to ISO 3200 at full resolution throughout the range reduces the risk of blurred images, while the Motion Detection option automatically detects and compensates for both camera and subject movement. The Best Shot Selector (BSS) mode automatically selects the sharpest of up to 10 sequential shots.

The Night Portrait mode takes consecutive shots which expose the portrait subject and background separately, then immediately combines the exposures to create a blur-free portrait. The Night Landscape mode combines a series of five consecutive shots taken at a fast shutter speed into a single image with reduced noise, useful when taking handheld shots. The Backlighting mode offers an in-camera high dynamic range (HDR) function, merging several images of the same scene to achieve a single image with a broad range of tonal detail. All of these options and the Vibration Reduction system can be used at the same time if so desired.

There aren't too many external controls and buttons (just 13 in total) on the Coolpix S8200, reflecting the fact that this is a point and shoot camera with no real manual controls. On top of the camera is the pop-up flash, left and right stereo sounds mics, small recessed On/Off button, shutter release button and tactile push/pull zoom lever.

There's also a handy Shooting Mode dial with 8 options, which means that you don't have to use the main menu just to change mode, and it has a positive action to prevent unwanted movement. There are 18 scene modes to choose from, including the clever Scene Auto Selector, which automatically recognizes the scene in your picture from 6 presets (Portrait, Landscape, Night Portrait, Night Landscape, Closeup and Backlight) and adjusts the camera settings accordingly. New to the S8200 is the Effects mode, which shoots both still images or movies using a special effect, such as Soft Focus and Nostalgic Sepia. You can also use one of the in-camera filter to enhance your photos after you have taken them, with filters including Cross Screen, Fisheye and Miniature.

On the bottom the S8200 has a memory card slot allowing the use of either SD, SDHC or SDXC cards, and there's also 32MB of internal memory, which can store 5 images at the highest quality level. The memory card slot is shared with the battery compartment. There's also a metal tripod socket which is inconveniently located in the far-left corner of the camera.

Nikon Coolpix S8200 Nikon Coolpix S8200
Side Pop-up Flash

The rear of the S8200 is quite traditional in design, with all of the controls located to the right of the large LCD screen. The large 3 inch LCD monitor has a excellent resolution of 921k dots, resulting in a detailed and vibrant display that puts standard LCD screens to shame. It also offers five levels of brightness, an anti-reflection coating and a wide viewing angle.

There's a round navigation wheel and a central OK button to the right, surrounded by two buttons above and two below. The navigation wheel is a nice touch that can be used to scroll through menu settings and pictures, but doesn't really serve any other purpose. The four corners of the wheel also double up to access the flash, exposure compensation, macro and self-timer settings (starting at 12 o'clock and going clockwise).

Above the navigation wheel is a button for playing back your images and there's also a handy dedicated button for starting and stopping movie recording (more on this below). Below the navigation wheel are the self-explanatory Menu and Delete buttons. Unfortunately there's no quick way to change the ISO speed or other key settings, forcing you to delve repeatedly into the menu system.

D-Lighting is a long-standing Nikon technology that brightens the shadow areas of an image, and on the S8200 it can be applied to an image after it has been taken. Face-priority Autofocus can detect up to 12 faces in a scene just so long as they're looking directly at the camera, whilst In-Camera Red-Eye Fix automatically processes the picture to remove red-eye. Blink Warning alerts you if someone in the frame had their eyes closed, and the Smile Timer automatically takes the picture when a smile is detected. The Skin softening function magically makes your subject look 10 years younger by smoothing out any perceived imperfections, and the Creative Slider instantly adjusts the brightness, saturation and colour tone of an image.

Nikon Coolpix S8200 Nikon Coolpix S8200
Memory Card Slot Battery Compartment

The Nikon Coolpix S8200 can record full 1080p HD quality video complete with stereo sound. It offers 1920x1080, 1280x720 and 640x480 pixel movies at 30 or 15fps, and 320x240 pixels at 15fps saved in the Quicktime .mov format. There's also a range of high-speed options available - 120, 60 and 15 fps - which give your movies a slow-motion effect. An HDMI Mini port allows the S8200 to be easily connected to a HDTV, although no suitable cable is supplied in the box. You can also use the 14x optical zoom lens during recording, complete with the optical vibration reduction system and autofocusing, also the lens is painfully slow in operation, presumably to avoid recording the noise of the zoom mechanism.

The S8200 is capable of capturing an impressive 120 or 60 frames per second, but sadly only at VGA and 1 megapixel resolution respectively. The standard continuous mode can shoot at 6fps at full 16 megapixel resolution, which is a good performance for this class of camera. The camera's pre-shooting cache mode can record up to two shots before the shutter-release is fully pressed. There is also a Multi-shot 16 mode that quickly takes 16 low-resolution photos and arranges them into a single image.

Once you have captured a photo, the Nikon Coolpix S8200 has quite a good range of options when it comes to playing, reviewing and managing your images. You can instantly scroll through the images that you have taken, view thumbnails (up to 16 onscreen at the same time), zoom in and out up to 10x magnification, apply D-Lighting, the Skin Softening feature, 4 different Filter Effects and Quick Retouch (improves the contrast and saturation), set the print order, view a slide show, delete, protect, rotate, hide and copy an image, plus create a smaller version and choose your favourite images.

The Monitor Settings menu option toggles between various views, including showing detailed settings information about each picture, such as the ISO rating and aperture/shutter speed, framelines and no information. Unfortunately there is no histogram available during composition, but a small one can be displayed during playback with a press of the OK button. If you have never used a digital camera before, or you're upgrading from a more basic model, reading the well-written and easy-to-follow manual before you start is a good idea. Thankfully Nikon have bucked the recent trend of not providing hard-copy manuals by supplying it in printed format.

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 6Mb.

The Nikon Coolpix S8200 produced images of above average quality during the review period. The 1/2.3 inch, 16 megapixel sensor used in the S8200 produces noise-free images at ISO 160 and 200, with ISO 400 also looking good, although there's some grain at 100% magnification and slight loss of saturation. ISO 800 shows some quite obvious noise, softening of fine detail and further loss of saturation, and ISO 16000 is even noisier, although still OK for small prints and web images. The fastest setting of ISO 3200 seems to have been included just to look good on the list of specifications.

The S8200 handled chromatic aberrations quite well, with some purple fringing effects appearing in high contrast situations. The built-in flash worked well indoors, with no red-eye and good exposure. The night photograph was merely OK, with the maximum shutter speed of 4 seconds limiting what you can achieve after dark. The Vibration Reduction system works very well when hand-holding the camera in low-light conditions or when using the telephoto end of the zoom range. Macro performance is excellent, allowing you to focus as close as 1cm away from the subject. The images were soft straight out of the S8200 and ideally require some further sharpening in an application like Adobe Photoshop, as you can't change the in-camera setting.


There are 6 ISO settings available on the Nikon Coolpix S8200. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting.

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)


ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)


ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

Focal Range

The Nikon Coolpix S8200's 14x zoom lens offers a very versatile focal range, as demonstrated by the examples below.



File Quality

The Nikon Coolpix S8200 has 2 different image quality settings available, with Fine being the highest quality option. Here are some 100% crops which show the quality of the various options, with the file size shown in brackets.

14M Fine (5.25Mb) (100% Crop) 14M Normal (2.9Mb) (100% Crop)


Here are two 100% crops which have been Saved as Web - Quality 50 in Photoshop. The right-hand image has had some sharpening applied in Photoshop. The out-of-the camera images are soft at the default sharpening setting and benefit from some further sharpening in a program like Adobe Photoshop. Unfortunately you can't change the in-camera sharpening level.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)


Chromatic Aberrations

The Nikon Coolpix S8200 handled chromatic aberrations fairly well during the review, with some purple fringing present around the edges of objects in certain high-contrast situations, as shown in the examples below.

Example 1 (100% Crop)


The Nikon Coolpix S8200 offers a Macro setting that allows you to focus on a subject that is 1cm away from the camera when the lens is set to wide-angle. The first image shows how close you can get to the subject (in this case a compact flash card). The second image is a 100% crop.

Macro Shot

100% Crop


The flash settings on the Nikon Coolpix S8200 are Auto, Auto/Red-eye Reduction, Off, On and Slow Sync./Red-eye Reduction. These shots of a white coloured wall were taken at a distance of 1.5m.

Forced Off - Wide Angle (25mm)

Forced On - Wide Angle (25mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

Forced Off - Telephoto (350mm)

Forced On - Telephoto (350mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

And here are some portrait shots. As you can see, neither the On or the Auto/Red-eye Reduction settings caused any red-eye.


On (100% Crop)

Auto/Red-eye Reduction

Auto/Red-eye Reduction (100% Crop)


The Nikon Coolpix S8200's maximum shutter speed is 4 seconds in the Fireworks scene mode, which is not great news if you're seriously interested in night photography. The shot below was taken using a shutter speed of 2 seconds at ISO 160. I've included a 100% crop of the image to show what the quality is like.

Night Shot

Night Shot (100% Crop)

Night Landscape

The Nikon S8200's Night Landscape mode combines a series of five consecutive shots taken at a fast shutter speed into a single image with reduced noise, useful when taking handheld shots.

Night Landscape

Night Landscape (100% Crop)

Vibration Reduction

The Nikon Coolpix S8200 has an anti-shake mechanism, which allows you to take sharp photos at slower shutter speeds than other digital cameras. To test this, I took 2 handheld shots of the same subject with the same settings. The first shot was taken with anti shake turned off, the second with it turned on. Here are some 100% crops of the images to show the results. As you can see, with anti shake turned on, the images are much sharper than with anti shake turned off.

Shutter Speed / Focal Length

Anti Shake Off (100% Crop)

Anti Shake On (100% Crop)

1/20th sec / 25mm
1/6th sec / 350mm

Special Effects

The new Effects mode offers a variety of creative options.


High-contrast Monochrome


High Key

Low Key


Selective Color (Orange)



Nostalgic Sepia


Easy Panorama

The Easy Panorama shooting mode lets you pan the S8200 either vertically or horizontally to create an auto-stitched panorama.

Normal (180 degrees)
Wide (360 degrees)

Sample Images

This is a selection of sample images from the Nikon Coolpix S8200 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 quality setting of 1920x1080 at 30 frames per second. Please note that this 16 second movie is 36.9Mb in size.

Product Images

Nikon Coolpix S8200

Front of the Camera

Nikon Coolpix S8200

Front of the Camera / Lens Extended

Nikon Coolpix S8200

Pop-up Flash

Nikon Coolpix S8200

Isometric View

Nikon Coolpix S8200

Isometric View

Nikon Coolpix S8200

Isometric View / Lens Extended

Nikon Coolpix S8200

Isometric View / Lens Extended

Nikon Coolpix S8200

Rear of the Camera

Nikon Coolpix S8200

Rear of the Camera / Image Displayed


Nikon Coolpix S8200

Rear of the Camera / Turned On

Nikon Coolpix S8200

Rear of the Camera / Main Menu

Nikon Coolpix S8200

Top of the Camera

Nikon Coolpix S8200

Bottom of the Camera

Nikon Coolpix S8200

Side of the Camera

Nikon Coolpix S8200

Side of the Camera

Nikon Coolpix S8200

Front of the Camera

Nikon Coolpix S8200

Front of the Camera

Nikon Coolpix S8200

Memory Card Slot

Nikon Coolpix S8200

Battery Compartment


The Nikon Coolpix S8200 increases the megapixel count and the zoom to keep up to speed with the competition, although merely average image quality and a slight price increase prevents us from recommending Nikon's latest travel-zoom model more highly.

The S8200 gets a more versatile 14x lens for 2011, which captures everything from wide-angle landscapes to close-up and personal candid shots, all without making the overall camera too much bigger or heavier. The move to a back-illuminated 16 megapixel sensor is a less successful one. As with its predecessor, the S8200's image quality is still only just above average, 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. So although adding more megapixels hasn't detracted further from the camera's image quality, it certainly hasn't improved it.

The 6fps continuous shooting at full resolution and target-finding auto-focus mode are both excellent additions to the already quick performance of the S8200, joining the DSLR-like autofocusing speed, quick start-up, short shutter-lag and general speedy operation. Other standout features retained from the S8100 include the excellent high-resolution LCD screen, handy shooting mode dial and the full 1080p video mode, accompanied by a range of high-speed modes and the very welcome ability to use the 14x optical zoom with autofocusing during recording.

In summary the Nikon Coolpix S8200 improves a couple of major features and adds a few new functions to further improve on a camera that we already liked a lot. Unfortunately it still has some key deficiencies, most notably the so-so image quality especially at the higher ISO speeds, the frustrating need to access the main menu for commonly used options like ISO speed, and the lack of any manual controls for more advanced users. Just like its predecessor, this makes the S8200 better suited to more casual users looking for a versatile all-rounder, rather than possibly being a pocket backup for a DSLR or compact system camera user. The Nikon Coolpix S8200 is Highly Recommended for point-and-shoot use in good light, which will more than satisfy most of the camera's target audience.

4.5 stars

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

Review Roundup

Reviews of the Nikon Coolpix S8200 from around the web. »

The Nikon Coolpix S8200 is a great superzoom. Its photos are first-class and, although we were slightly disappointed by its video performance, we'd strongly recommend it nevertheless.
Read the full review » »

The S8200 is Nikon's latest entry into the medium zoom or ‘travel zoom' compact sector. It comes equipped with a 16MP back-lit CMOS sensor and 14x optical zoom (24-350mm equiv.) lens with optical Vibration Reduction (VR) technology. That equates to a wide 24mm through to telephoto 350mm range that's ideal for group shots, close ups or zooming right in on far away action and the lens-based VR helps to steady shots in real time.
Read the full review »


*1 Not compatible with Multi Media Card (MMC)
*2 Based on CIPA Standards for measuring life of batteries
*3 Based on CIPA Guidelines, DCG-005-2009

Effective pixels 16.1 megapixels
Image sensor 1/2.3 type RGB CMOS sensor
Lens Optical 14x zoom, NIKKOR lens; Focal length: 4.5-63.0 mm (35mm [135] format equivalent to 25-350 mm); aperture: f/3.3-5.9; Lens construction:11 elements in 10 groups (two ED glass elements, one aspherical lens elements)
Digital zoom Maximum 2x (35mm [135] format equivalent to approx. 700 mm)
Focus range (from lens) Approx. 50 cm (1 ft. 6 in.) to infinity (at wide-angle setting), approx. 1 m (3 ft. 3 in.) to infinity (at telephoto setting), Macro mode: approx. 1 cm (0.4 in.) to infinity (at wide-angle setting)
Vibration Reduction (VR) Lens-shift type (for still images and movies)
ISO sensitivity (Standard output sensitivity) ISO 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200 (4608 x 3456), Auto (ISO 100 to 1600), Fix range auto (ISO 100 to 400, 100 to 800)
LCD monitor 7.5 cm (3-in.), approx. 921k-dot, TFT LCD monitor (VGA), clear color panel, anti-reflection coating, brightness adjustment
Storage media Internal memory (approx. 93 MB), SD/SDHC/SDXC1
Movie Full HD 1080p: 1920 x 1080 (30 fps), HD 720p: 1280 x 720 (30 fps), iFrame 540: 960 x 540 (30 fps), VGA: 640 x 480 (30 fps)
Interface/Direct print compatibility Hi-Speed USB/PictBridge/mini HDMI
Power sources Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL12 (1050 mAh), AC Adapter EH-62F (option)
Number of shots per charge2 (battery life) Approx. 250 frames with EN-EL12
Dimensions (width × height × depth) Approx. 103.7 x 59.3 x 32.7 mm (4.1 x 2.4 x 1.3 in.)
Weight3 Approx. 213g / 7.6 oz. (including battery and SD memory card)
Supplied accessories Camera Strap AN-CP19, Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL12, Charging AC Adapter EH-69P, UC-E6, EG-CP16, ViewNX 2 CD-ROM
Optional Accessories Soft case, Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL12, Battery Charger MH-65, AC Adapter EH-62F

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