Nikon Coolpix S8200 review

Ben Pitt
29 Oct 2011
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
inc VAT

Some impressive features but there's no justification for this camera to cost more than the Nikon S9100



1/2.3in 15.9-megapixel sensor, 14.0x zoom (25-350mm equivalent), 213g

The S8200's announcement came as a surprise to us, as Nikon already has a superb pocket-sized ultra-zoom camera in the form of the S9100.

Nikon Coolpix S8200

The new model's 16-megapixel sensor may be seen as an upgrade to the S9100's 12-megapixel sensor, but in fact the opposite is true – as usual, the higher resolution adds more noise than details. The S8200 also has a shorter zoom range at 14x to the S9100's 18x. The S8200 is currently the pricier of the two, but Nikon confirmed that this is only because of its newness – the S9100 is deemed by Nikon as being the better camera.

Nikon Coolpix S8200 top

There's little to separate them for features, with their 3in, 921,000-dot screens, superb 1080p video capture and a range of slow-motion video modes that balance frame rate against resolution. Both cameras have a dedicated mode on their dials for continuous shooting at 10fps, albeit for just five frames. However, while the S9100 can also capture 12 frames at 1.7fps, this option is absent on the S8200.

Nikon Coolpix S8200 rear

That wasn't the only time that the S8200 was outpaced by its sibling. The S9100 was marginally quicker to switch on and shoot, and much faster for captured images to appear on its screen. Both focused quickly in bright conditions and both managed to capture a shot every 1.5 seconds, but the S8200 was significantly slower to focus in low light.

Nikon Coolpix S8200 sample 1

Zooming in in overcast weather calls for fast ISO speeds to avoid blur, which reveals the S8200's relatively noisy output - click to enlarge

Our image quality tests revealed the usual trappings of an excessively high resolution sensor. Brightly lit shots looked fine at a quick glance but close scrutiny revealed noisy shadows and noise reduction that smoothed over subtle textures such as foliage and skin. These problems weren't severe but they got progressively worse as low light or long telephoto zoom settings demanded faster ISO speeds. By ISO 1600, noise levels were worse than those of the S9100, and a lot worse than the Canon SX230 HS. The 14x zoom lens delivered sharper focus than the S9100's 18x zoom lens, particularly in telephoto shots, but the SX230 HS's 14x lens was just as sharp.

Nikon Coolpix S8200 sample 2

Even in bright light at ISO 100, noise reduction glosses over subtle textures such as the definition on these feathers - click to enlarge

It's woefully overpriced as we go to press, but even if the price falls to nearer £200, the S8200 still won't be able to compete with the superior quality of the Nikon S9100 or the excellent Canon PowerShot SX230 HS.

Basic Specifications

CCD effective megapixels15.9 megapixels
CCD size1/2.3in
Viewfinder magnification, coverageN/A
LCD screen size3.0in
LCD screen resolution921,000 pixels
Articulated screenNo
Live viewYes
Optical zoom14.0x
Zoom 35mm equivalent25-350mm
Image stabilisationoptical, lens based
Maximum image resolution4,608x3,456
Maximum movie resolution1920x1080
Movie frame rate at max quality30fps
File formatsJPEG; QuickTime (AVC)


Memory slotSDXC
Mermory supplied93MB internal
Battery typeLi-ion
Battery Life (tested)250 shots
ConnectivityUSB, AV, mini HDMI
HDMI output resolution1080i
Body materialaluminium
Lens mountN/A
Focal length multiplierN/A
Kit lens model nameN/A
AccessoriesUSB and AV cables

Buying Information

Warrantytwo-year RTB

Camera Controls

Exposure modesauto
Shutter speedauto
Aperture rangef/3.3 (wide), f/5.9 (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, flexible spot, face detect, tracking
Metering modesmulti, centre-weighted, face detect
Flashauto, forced, suppressed, slow synchro, red-eye reduction
Drive modessingle, continuous, self-timer, smile detect

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