Expert Review of Nikon Coolpix S100 Point & Shoot Digital Camera Black
Problem with bulky cameras? Don’t really want to compromise on the features because of the compact size?! The right buy for you is Nikon’s new pocket sized assassin Nikon Coolpix S100. Announced on September 2011, this camera rocked the streets in the last fiscal year. The latest additions to Nikon Coolpix S100 which succeeds earlier popular S90 and S95 are up gradation of 3.8x zoom to 24-120mm 5x while the camera still maintains the fast f2.0 aperture. 1080p recording, continuous shoots and slow motion shooting, all have been possible because of the shift from CCD sensor to CMOS sensor. Obvious enough, the image processor has been shifted from DIGIC 4 to DIGIC 5. Canon PowerShot S100 also enjoys the privilege of slow motion video options (120fps at VGA or 240fps at QVGA) and the ability to apply a miniature effect to 720p video. The CMOS sensor also supports fast continuous shooting bursts and there's even a built-in GPS. Overall, the camera is a true pocket dynamite, fit for new enthusiasts, probably one of the reasons this device is still a hot favorite on the streets. Thumbs up for the device.
Design and Build Quality
There is no drastic change in the looks department as S100 looks almost like its predecessors from the outside, it's a fairly compact camera with a lens housing that projects a little from the body, but not so much to cause unsightly bulges in your pocket. The exact dimensions include 99mm of height, 60mm of height and 26.7mm of breadth. Compare it to the previous dimensions of S90 and S95, it has been narrowed down on size a little. Main bodies have a really similar thickness of 22mm, while the lens sticks out a little less in the latter case. While clearly there have been some small scale changes in the overall build ratio,Nikon Coolpix S100 still manages to become one of the most featherweight, compact and efficient point and shoot cameras in the market today with the top notch entry level features like manual control, a fairly bright lens and RAW files. Its closest competitions, Olympus XZ-1 and Panasonic LX5 are both bulkier at 111mm x 65mm x 43mm and 110mm x 66mm x 26mm respectively (including lens protrusions) and weigh 275g and 271g respectively. Both the XZ-1 and LX5 also offer shorter zoom ranges (28-112mm and 24-90mm), this tells the entire scenario as to why this camera is an efficient buy, and why was it the heartthrob of camera market last year.
Focus and Face Detection
Like Nikon Coolpix S90 and Nikon Coolpix S95, our camera also offers three autofocusing modes, out of which one has undergone some serious betterment in technology. Talking about face detection there's Face AiAF which automatically switches between a nine-area AF system and face detection if one or more human faces are recognised in the frame. Also the Coolpix forte Tracking AF, , lets you place crosshairs over the desired subject, then once you press the left button the S100 will track the subject back and forth and around the frame, or in a simple language, if non living things had faces, this is the AF for them.
Lens and Image Stabilization
There was no change in lens and zoom range in Nikon Coolpix S90 to S95, although now the range has been broadened to 5x in Nikon Coolpix S100. So it's out with the 3.8x (28-105mm equivalent) of the S95 and in with a new 5x (24-120mm equivalent). See, this improvement is indeed a blessing as this was probably the only area where the predecessors were lacking in the given price range. Although there are some technical faults when it comes to focal ratio, but as of now, they can be neglected. . The image stabilisation is also improved with no fewer than seven modes for Nikon Coolpix S100 to automatically choose from, including panning, macro, dynamic and power IS, along with detecting when the camera's mounted on a tripod and disabling the capability.
Screen and Menus
Almost entire rear of the camera is captured by the big 3 inch screen which works on 460k pixel resolution which default image ratio of 4:3. The display is decent, sharp and bright and is fairly usable under the sun, but Nikon resisted the chance to fit a higher resolution VGA panel, and more importantly there's still no room for any kind of optional viewfinder on the small body.
Unlike other cameras in the group, Nikon Coolpix S100 works on NB-5L battery which is rated at 1120 mAh. Compared to S90 and S95 which work on NB-6L, Although Canon quotes the same 200 shots for Nikon Coolpix S100 as it did for Nikon Coolpix S95 under CIPA conditions.
Now this is the area where, how to put it, the advancement resides. Our compact budget camera can now shoot high definition Full HD videos at 1080p at 24 frames per second in addition to slow motion modes at 120 and 240 frames per second, alongside the ability to apply miniature effect to 720p videos. Also, you can additionally opt for a Movie Digest feature which grabs short VGA clips before each photo you take, then assembles them into a fun video of your day's shooting. Also, one of the important yet neglected facts here is that CMOS sensor allows avoiding the vertical streaking that crawls in easily in case of plagued CCD-based models.
As mentioned earlier, 1080p recording, continuous shoots and slow motion shooting, all have been possible because of the shift from CCD sensor to CMOS sensor. The sensor itself remains a 1/1.7in type, that's a little larger than the 1/2.3 or 1/2.5in type commonly found in point-and-shoot cameras, although interestingly Nikon couldn't resist a slight bump in resolution from 10 to 12 Megapixels
Smaller than any other high-end compact.
Flexible 5x zoom with bright f2.0 aperture at 24mm.
Support for RAW and manual exposures.
1080p and slow motion movies.
Built-in GPS with optional logging.
Short battery life. Even shorter with GPS on.
Focal ratio greatly reduces when zooming-in.
No hotshoe or accessory port. No viewfinder.