Simple Long-ranger – Nikon Coolpix S9100Announced worldwide in February 2011, the Nikon Coolpix S9100 is a superzoom point-and-shoot camera.
It boasts 18x optical zoom equivalent to 25–450 mm and features a back-illuminated CMOS sensor designed to provide superior image quality at high ISO settings.
Design and Build Quality
The Nikon Coolpix S9100 is made of metal and engineering plastic. The front outer body is made of metal while the rest of the outside is made of polycarbonate. The lens is made of three segments and the buttons and levers are made of sturdy material. The camera features a metal tripod mount, which is essential for a device that is not as light as an ultra compact.
The 12.1-megapixel Nikon Coolpix S9100 uses a 1/2.3-inch type (6.16 x 4.62 mm) back-illuminated CMOS sensor for imaging. It features sensor-shift VR mechanism, which is very effective at high zoom ranges. The camera features an EXPEED C2 image processing engine. It uses a 25-450 mm equivalent f/3.5-5.9 lens, constructed with 12 elements in 11 groups. In normal mode, it focuses from approximately 50cm to infinity at the wide-angle end, and from 1.5m to infinity at the telephoto end. In the macro mode, the camera focuses from approximately 4 cm to infinity at the wide-angle end. Focusing modes available are Face priority, Auto (9-area automatic selection), Manual with 99 focus areas, Center, and Subject tracking. The S1900 uses the three usual metering modes—256-segment Matrix, Center-weighted, and Spot. Exposure can be compensated up to +-2 EV in 1/3-EV steps. Shutter speeds range from 4 sec to 1/4000 sec. ISO sensitivity of the camera ranges from ISO 160 to 3200. White Balance options are Auto, Preset manual, Daylight, Incandescent, Fluorescent, Cloudy, and Flash. The built-in flash has a range of approximately 0.5 to 4.0 m at wide-angle end, and approximately 1.5 to 2.5 m at telephoto end. The available flash modes are Auto, Auto with red-eye reduction, Flash off, Fill flash, and Slow sync. The self-timer can trigger the shutter with a delay of either 2 sec or 10 sec. The featured shooting modes are Auto, Scene, Movie, Night landscape, Night portrait, Backlit scene HDR, and Continuous. Scene modes available are Scene auto selector, Portrait, Landscape, Sports, Party/indoor, Beach, Snow, Sunset, Dusk/dawn, Close-up, Food, Museum, Fireworks show, Black and White copy, Panorama, and Pet portrait. Still images are recorded in JPEG format with a maximum image size of 4000 x 3000 pixels., while videos are recorded in WAV format at the best quality of 1080p (1920 x 1080 pixels). The capture modes are single, continuous H, Continuous L, BSS (Best Shot Selector), and Multi-shot 16.
The Nikon Coolpix S9100 uses a 3.0-inch, 921,000-dot TFT LCD monitor with anti-reflection coating. The camera has internal memory of approximately 74MB and uses an SD card for external storage. It is powered by a rechargeable EN-EL 12 Li-ion battery (supplied). The camera weighs approximately 214 g and measures approximately 104.8 x 62.0 x 34.6 mm excluding projections.
The Nikon Coolpix S9100 is not compact enough to fit in your pocket. It does not feature a well-defined hand grip, except for a small metal strip that is more of a design element than an aid to grip. With a thumb rest absent, the camera feels slippery at times. The mode dial and the zoom lever are comfortable to operate, but the vertical command dial could have been bigger to aid easy operation. We felt the size of the buttons on the back panel has also been unnecessarily compromised for no obvious reasons. The images on the LCD screen appeared bright and crisp.
The Nikon Coolpix S9100 performed well in our tests. AF was fast and precise even under low light situations. Since the camera does not have manual or priority modes for controlling exposure, the aperture-shutter speed combination could not be altered as required in some of our tests. Images were sharp and darkening of corners was very well controlled. Mild darkening was observed, but was barely visible unless you strained your eyes a lot. Flare was also under control, with slight purple fringing seen in high-contrast back-lit areas. The S9100 controlled distortion very well. The wide-angle end exhibited slight pincushion distortion while barrel distortion appeared at the telephoto end. This is rather unusual since wide-angle is generally associated with barrel and telephoto with pincushion.
Auto White Balance of the S9100 performed well with good consistency. It produced mild acceptable color casts under artificial lights, and these were easily removed using Photoshop. Native print size of the images were 10 x 13.33 inches at 300 ppi. At 16.7 percent screen size, the images were free of noise, but were soft and lacked detail from ISO 800 onwards. At 25 percent of screen size, ISO 3200 showed some noise. Viewed at 33.33 percent of screen size, ISO 1600 onwards exhibited noise. Though all images were free of noise, we would advise you to stick to ISO 400 or below because of the overdone noise reduction.
Overall, the performance of the Nikon S9100 was good considering that it is a point-and-shoot camera.
Value for Money
The Nikon Coolpix S9100 retails at an MRP of Rs.18,950. We would consider this fair value for money for a camera that provides 18x optical zoom and provides good image quality.
+ 18x optical zoom
+ Excellent build quality
+ Good overall performance
– Soft images from ISO 800 onwards
– No priority modes
Design and Build Quality 18/20
Key Features 16/20
Performance Autofocus 3/5
Noise Control 4/5
Extra Features 3/5
Value for Money 8/10
Grand Total 79/100
The Nikon Coolpix S9100 would be a very good choice if you are looking for a point-and-shoot superzoom that performs well and yet does not burn a hole in your pocket. Though we would have liked some creative controls like aperture and shutter priority, we cannot really complain, considering the price it retails at. Certainly recommended.