Nikon Coolpix S9100 Review

April 18, 2011 | Gavin Stoker |

Image Quality

All of the sample images in this Review were taken using the 12 megapixel Fine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 4.5Mb.

Although the S9100 pushes the boat out in terms of the available focal length happily it doesn't over-reach itself. We managed to get very usable results shooting at its extremities. Especially impressive, given that this is a point and shoot model aimed at the general user rather than amateur enthusiast. Too many times with rival travel zooms two or three shots are required to get a sharply focused image in daylight when shooting handheld at maximum 450mm equivalent telephoto – but that wasn't the case here.

Yes there's softening of detail to limit the appearance of image noise at ISO800 and above, but we can live with that. At ISO1600 it's only really shadow detail that is taking on the tell-tale sandy appearance, and only if enlarging sections to scrutinize closely. At the maximum setting of ISO3200 there's a more obvious smoothing/softened effect compared with the previous images. Overall though the S9100 has delivered a very respectable ISO performance for a sub £300 camera, and one that befits a camera emblazoned with the Nikon logo.

So the S9100 is reliably consistent, even if, to nitpick, we noticed marginal corner softening at extreme 25mm equivalent wideangle settings. As with just about every other pocket digital compact, purple fringing occasionally also makes an appearance in images with areas of high contrast. Otherwise colours veer towards the naturalistic.


There are 6 ISO settings available on the Nikon Coolpix S9100. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting.

ISO 160 (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 S9100's 18x zoom lens offers a very versatile focal range, as demonstrated by the examples below.




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 S9100 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)

Example 2 (100% Crop)


The Nikon Coolpix S9100 offers a Macro setting that allows you to focus on a subject that is 4cms 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 S9100 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 (450mm)

Forced On - Telephoto (450mm)

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 S9100'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 1 second at ISO 800. I've included a 100% crop of the image to show what the quality is like.

Night Shot

Night Shot (100% Crop)