Nikon COOLPIX S9100 camera
Nikon COOLPIX S9100 review: A compact camera with an 18x zoom and a good CMOS sensor
- 25-450mm zoom lens, clear and vibrant image quality, easy to operate
- Sometimes struggles in tough lighting conditions, lacks manual controls
Nikon's COOLPIX S9100 is well built and it has a massive 18x zoom lens. It can take clear and vibrant pictures, but because it lacks manual controls it can sometimes struggle in challenging lighting conditions. Overall, though, it's not a bad camera at all for a user who wants something automatic.
Price$ 449.00 (AUD)
The Nikon Coolpix S9100 is a solidly built, automatic camera with a huge 18x zoom lens, and it can produce very good images. It doesn't have extensive manual settings, which means it can be tough to capture a great shot in difficult lighting conditions.
The Coolpix S9100 has a 12-megapixel CMOS sensor and a 25-450mm zoom lens, and it's simple to operate. It's aimed at users who want something that's small and automatic yet capable of capturing shots from a distance, as well as taking close-ups. It's not for users who want to mess with aperture and shutter values — check out the Canon PowerShot S95 is you want a manual camera. The most you can do to change the exposure on the S9100 is play with the ISO speed and the exposure brightness. It's quite similar in its capabilities to the Ricoh CX5: It's basically a well-built automatic camera with a good sensor.
The mode dial includes auto, automatic scene selector, scene, effects and continuous mode. You also get dedicated mode settings for three scenes: Night landscape, night portrait and backlighting. The shutter button has a distinct two-step feel to it, and the camera's zoom rocker is not too loose. The rear has a dedicated button for enabling video mode, as well as a conventional 5-way thumb controller (with a rotating ring), and playback, menu and delete buttons. You can access most of its settings by hitting the menu button, and you can change the focus point by rotating the ring.
The Nikon S9100 captures high quality images for the most part; this is evident when you scrutinise the photos at their native size. Images look clear and detailed and there isn't much noise at low ISO speeds. Images captured at maximum zoom are blurrier though, especially if you shoot them while holding the camera, so you won't be able to crop them too much without seeing a drop in detail. However, as far as mega-zoom compact cameras go, the S9100 is a good one: It can definitely produce usable images at its maximum zoom.
This was a handheld shot using the Nikon's maximum 18x optical zoom.
Image stabilisation is built in to the camera, and you can actually feel it working when you press the shutter button half-way down. It performed quite well in our tests, but it's still no substitute for a tripod, especially if you'll be shooting at the maximum zoom (or close to it) or in low-light conditions.
Because you can't change the exposure settings, shooting in very bright conditions can pose problems. Often during our tests the camera didn't use high enough aperture and shutter settings and we ended up with very harsh-looking pictures (this is unlike the CoolPix S8000, which handled automatic exposures much better). The scene modes didn't help ameliorate this much either and we had to change angles instead to get better dynamic range in the shot.
On the bright side, pictures shot in bright light will look, well, bright. The highlights in this photo are overdone; the camera only used a shutter speed of 1/160, ISO 160, and an aperture of f/4.9. It's not too bad, though, and it's very clear.
The S9100's ISO performance.
When it comes to video, the S9100 is merely adequate. It can shoot at a resolution of 1920x1080, and the autofocus can work full time to make sure scenes are always clear. However, moving the camera while shooting produces footage that is noticeably choppy. Like most compact cameras, the best results will be obtained when holding the camera as steady as possible or using a tripod. We love the fact that the camera can shoot at 240fps; you'll definitely want to shoot everything you see in slow motion — once you start, you can't stop.
Overall, the Nikon Coolpix S9100 is a good camera. It can produce clear and vibrant images, it has some cool creative modes you can use (such as a selective colour filter), and its zoom range is versatile. We just wish it had manual controls so that you could tell the camera what to do in difficult lighting situations. However, novice users who don't require manual controls should find this camera to their liking.
Become a fan of GoodGearGuide on Facebook
Follow GoodGearGuide on Twitter: @GoodGearGuide
Stay up to date with the latest reviews. Sign up to GoodGearGuide’s Gear Daily newsletters
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Smart LED Bulb LB130
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Epson WorkForce ET-4550
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Huawei Mate 9
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Google Daydream VR headset
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Acer Swift 7
Lexar® Portable SSD
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Dell XPS 13 laptop
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Surface Pro 4
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Star Wars Death Star Bluetooth levitating rotating speaker review
- 2 Finally! LG OLED TV 2016 range review
- 3 Fetch TV Mighty review: Better than Foxtel
- 4 Fetch TV Mini review: Make your TV a smart TV
- 5 Panasonic Viera DX900U UHD 4K smart TV review
Latest News Articles
- Boom: SanDisk just dropped the world's largest SD card
- Camera app makers tap into RAW power with iOS, and look forward to dual lenses
- Google Camera 3.2 lets you snap pictures while recording video
- CES 2016: Top 10 trends
- Sony α7S II aimed film-makers and low light photographers
PCW Evaluation Team
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
- Horizon Zero Dawn review
- How to quit Pokemon Go (or to start enjoying it again)
- Japan's pop culture, anime-friendly, J-Pop shrine, Kanda Myojin
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- CCBPM Technical AnalystVIC
- CCMDM Consultant/DesignerVIC
- TPDeployment Specialist (DevOps)QLD
- TPSenior Applications Support OfficerQLD
- FTChange Manager - Large Transition ProjectNSW
- FTMid Level PHP DeveloperNSW
- FTDigital Strategist - Global Consulting FirmACT
- FTMid-Level Software Engineer x 2 - Adelaide Based (PV, NV2 or NV1 required)NSW
- TPBI Commercial AnalystVIC
- FTSenior Java EngineerACT
- TPDatabase Integration SpecialistVIC
- TPBusiness AnalystNSW
- FT.net Developer (Front and Back end)QLD
- CCIT Procurement OfficerNSW
- FTDevelopment Manager - SaaSQLD
- TPDigital Process Business Analyst - Digital Transformation**NSW
- FTBranch Practice Manager - SecurityQLD
- CCSenior Infrastructure EngineerNSW
- TPBusiness Analyst - PeopleSoft HR/Payroll ProjectVIC
- CCFinance Analyst/ Project SpecialistVIC
- CCSOE EngineerACT
- FTLife/400 Resource - PermanentNSW
- FTSenior Full Stack .Net Developer with Strong SQL DevNSW
- FTChief Architect - Public SectorACT
- FTSenior Functional Consultant - Data Analytics - TelcoVIC