Keenly priced for a stylish camera with a fantastic LCD screen, but photographic options are limited and image quality is below average
1/2.3in 14.0-megapixel sensor, 10.0x zoom (30-300mm equivalent), 183g
Nikon has taken a four-year hiatus from the compact ultra-zoom market, but it has returned with the S8000. The 10x zoom is less ambitious than some of its rivals, but the camera itself is also a little slimmer and lighter.
It looks extremely smart with its curved metal body, and the 3in screen has a 921,000-dot resolution, giving an incredibly sharp picture and crisp menus. The navigation pad doubles as a wheel, making it quick to browse and adjust menu options. There are no manual exposure or focus controls, though, and the available options are standard fare for a point-and-shoot camera.
Performance was mostly excellent, taking just 1.3 seconds to switch on and shoot, and 1.6 seconds between shots. Continuous mode was nothing special at 0.9fps, but a Sport Continuous option captured 3-megapixel frames at 3.5fps, using a fast shutter speed to eliminate motion blur. Flash photography was slow, though, with gaps of up to 12 seconds between shots.
With its 14-megapixel resolution, one might hope for some impressively detailed photos, but it failed to live up to the specifications. The main problem was noise: even at ISO 100, fine details were suppressed in an attempt to clean up images, and high contrast-lines looked untidy too.
Image quality dropped further as the ISO speed increased, and only the boldest shapes survived intact at ISO 400. No compact ultra-zoom camera excels at high ISO speeds but this is particularly bad. Purple fringing added to the S8000’s woes, adding halos of purple around high-contrast edges towards the edges of frames.
It wasn’t all bad, though. 720p videos looked and sounded great, despite the lack of access to the optical zoom. Automatic exposures were well judged and colours were rich and lifelike. When viewed on the camera’s screen or when resized to fit a PC monitor, photos looked superb. However, cameras that cost just a little more offer better image quality and controls. The S8000’s screen and smart design aren’t enough to compensate.
|CCD effective megapixels||14.0 megapixels|
|Viewfinder magnification, coverage||N/A|
|LCD screen size||3.0in|
|LCD screen resolution||921,000 pixels|
|Zoom 35mm equivalent||30-300mm|
|Image stabilisation||optical, sensor shift|
|Maximum image resolution||4,320×3,240|
|Maximum movie resolution||1280×720|
|Movie frame rate at max quality||30fps|
|File formats||JPEG; QuickTime (AVC)|
|Mermory supplied||32MB internal|
|Battery Life (tested)||210 shots|
|Connectivity||USB, AV, mini HDMI|
|HDMI output resolution||1080i, 720p, 480p|
|Focal length multiplier||N/A|
|Kit lens model name||N/A|
|Accessories||USB and AV cables|
|Aperture range||f/3.5 (wide), f/5.6 (tele)|
|ISO range (at full resolution)||100 to 3200|
|Exposure compensation||+/-2 EV|
|White balance||auto, 5 presets, manual|
|Additional image controls||none|
|Closest macro focus||1cm|
|Auto-focus modes||multi, centre, spot, face detect|
|Metering modes||multi, centre-weighted, face detect|
|Flash||auto, forced, suppressed, slow synchro, red-eye reduction|
|Drive modes||single, continuous, self-timer|