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Nikon Coolpix S8000 review

Ben Pitt
17 Jun 2010
Nikon Coolpix S8000
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
219
inc VAT

Keenly priced for a stylish camera with a fantastic LCD screen, but photographic options are limited and image quality is below average

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Specifications

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.

Basic Specifications

Rating***
CCD effective megapixels14.0 megapixels
CCD size1/2.3in
Viewfindernone
Viewfinder magnification, coverageN/A
LCD screen size3.0in
LCD screen resolution921,000 pixels
Articulated screenNo
Live viewYes
Optical zoom10.0x
Zoom 35mm equivalent30-300mm
Image stabilisationoptical, sensor shift
Maximum image resolution4,320x3,240
Maximum movie resolution1280x720
Movie frame rate at max quality30fps
File formatsJPEG; QuickTime (AVC)

Physical

Memory slotSDHC
Mermory supplied32MB internal
Battery typeLi-ion
Battery Life (tested)210 shots
ConnectivityUSB, AV, mini HDMI
HDMI output resolution1080i, 720p, 480p
Body materialaluminium
Lens mountN/A
Focal length multiplierN/A
Kit lens model nameN/A
AccessoriesUSB and AV cables
Weight183g
Size57x103x27mm

Buying Information

Warrantytwo-year RTB
Price£219
Supplierhttp://www.amazon.co.uk
Detailswww.nikon.co.uk

Camera Controls

Exposure modesauto
Shutter speedauto
Aperture rangef/3.5 (wide), f/5.6 (tele)
ISO range (at full resolution)100 to 3200
Exposure compensation+/-2 EV
White balanceauto, 5 presets, manual
Additional image controlsnone
Manual focusNo
Closest macro focus1cm
Auto-focus modesmulti, centre, spot, face detect
Metering modesmulti, centre-weighted, face detect
Flashauto, forced, suppressed, slow synchro, red-eye reduction
Drive modessingle, continuous, self-timer