The Nikon Coolpix S100 is a touch controlled digital camera. At around 18mm wide it will fit easily into more or less any pocket. It has a number of the latest buzz features including 3D photos and Full High Definition movies with stereo sound.
The Coolpix S100 is a sleek looking camera with a sliding lens cover. It has 16 megapixels and a 5x wide angle lens.
One of the big plus points of this camera is that its touch screen is the most responsive I have ever tested. Many screens can become frustrating, especially when using your fingers to select options rather than a stylus, but the touch control feature of the Coolpix S100 works a treat. The LCD screen is also excellent for viewing.
Megapixels and Zoom
The Coolpix S100 has 16 megapixels and a 5x wide angle zoom lens. The focal length of the lens is equivalent to 28 - 140mm in 35mm format. The maximum lens aperture is f/3.9 - f/4.8.
Memory Cards and Batteries
Power is supplied by a lithium ion battery. Nikon estimates you should be able to take around 150 shots in between charges. Images can be stored on SD, SDXC or SDHC memory cards. There is also 71MB of memory built into the camera for some extra back up.
You can shoot Full 1080p High Definition movies. Stereo sound can be recorded to accompany your movie clips.
The LCD screen is 3.5 inches in size. This is a great size for a touch controlled screen. In terms of screen size it is a case of the bigger the better when it comes to touch control.
The predefined shooting modes available are: Back Light, Beach, Black and White Copy, Close Up, Draw, Dusk/Dawn, Fireworks Show, Food, Landscape, Museum, Night Landscape, Night Portrait, Panorama Assist, Party/Indoor, Pet Portrait, Portrait, Snow, Sports, Sunset and 3D Photography.
3D photography is relatively new to digital cameras. An increasing number of cameras are offering this feature and you can use the Coolpix S100 to produce 3D photos.
Easy Panorama Mode
Just as with 3D photos more and more brands are offering a feature to create panoramic shots. The Coolpix S100 can produce either 180 degree or 360 degree panoramas. All you need to do to create one is press down the shutter button and sweep the camera round in an arc.
For close up work you can focus from 1cm away from your subject.
Advanced Portrait Sysytem
Nikon have equipped the Coolpix S100 with their advanced portrait system. This includes features such as red eye fix, a smile shutter that waits until some is smiling before taking a picture and a blink warning that gives a warning message if it detects someone blinking when a picture was taken.
Picture Quality Summary
Picture quality is about mid range for a pocket camera. I had hoped for something a little better. The level of quality would not be enough to put me off buying, but there are pocket cameras that offer produce sharper, clear photos.
Outdoor Scenic Shot 1
In the first photo the Coolpix S100 manages to show high levels of detail in the lightest areas of the shot. This leads to high levels of detail showing on the boats. The downside is that there are lower levels of detail showing in the darkest areas. It is very difficult for smaller compact cameras to get high contrast scenes exactly right and more often than not it is detail in the lighter areas that goes missing first. As the white boats are the main subjects in this scene the Coolpix S100 at least brings out detail in the key areas.
The overall sharpness of the photo does not match up to the best cameras in this category. This is probably not to a level where it becomes noticeable with smaller prints, but may start to show up it you go much above snapshot size.
Outdoor Scenic Shot 2
This shot can be marked down as roughly average when it comes to picture quality at this price point. The shot is sharp enough, but focusing does start to fade towards the edges. This is a common issue with digital cameras when the lens is zoomed right out. The building on the left leans in a little too.
Outdoor Scenic Shot 3
Zooming in does put this camera under a bit of pressure. There is a hazy look going on in this picture, especially as the scene becomes more distant on the right hand side of the shot. The amount of sharpness lost is more than I would expect to see in a camera with this price tag.
Focusing or general sharpness in all four outdoor shots tends to slip away as you move towards the edge. This is more pronounced on the right hand side of each photo. The loss of sharpness is not massive, but there are other pocket sized cameras that will give you that bit of extra picture quality.
Moving in a lot closer the Coolpix S100 performs well. There are no issues with sharpness and the camera manages to get levels of light and colour depth just about perfect.
Indoor Portrait With Flash
There are typically two types of indoor photo with flash. The first is the perfectly exposed shot with light evenly spread across the picture. The second is where the burst of light is concentrated in the centre of the photo causing the face to reflect back some of the light and for the hair to be dark, lacking in detail. The Coolpix S100 does something different. With this picture the strength of the flash is if anything a little overdone. This leads to a very bright picture. This is preferable to the darker pictures and as you get to know the camera you are likely to work out the optimum distance to stand from your subject.
Indoor Portrait Without Flash
Like the shot taken with flash this is another picture that is a lot lighter than other cameras deliver. Definition is good for a shot taken inside when lighting is not perfect.
Close up shots are good for a small compact camera. Sure you will get better quality with larger, more expensive digital cameras, but picture quality for close ups is more than adequate for quick close up snaps.
Nikon digital cameras can produce deeper colours than some other brands. That is the case here. This shows up especially in the colour of the sky in the second test shot.
In some shots the edge is lost from the definition with the photos having a slightly hazy look.
Canon Powershot A4000 IS Rating 84/100
You get quite a lot for your money with the Canon Powershot A4000 IS. If you only plan to make small sized prints or share your photos on the Internet you may not see a great deal of difference between the photos taken with this camera and those taken with other models available at around the same price. What you might notice is that the pictures have a touch more clarity. This is likely to become more evident if you make larger prints. To sum up, if you are looking for a handy compact camera, at a reasonable price, that can cope very well with most photo opportunities this camera is hard to beat.
Read Review: Canon Powershot A4000 IS Review
Panasonic DMC S5 Rating 84/100
If you are looking for a cheap pocket sized digital camera it is difficult to find one offering better picture quality than the Panasonic Lumix DMC S5. It is such a small camera and very easy to use. It is almost the ideal snapshot camera if you do not want to spend a great deal of money.
Read Review: Panasonic DMC S5 Review
Panasonic DMC S3 Rating 84/100
The Panasonic Lumix DMC S3 is an excellent value for money pocket camera. It is very hard to beat when compared alongside its direct rivals. Picture quality and features have an edge over many of its competitors while the rapid response times are also a big plus point. If you are looking for a cheaper compact digital camera then you can’t go far wrong with the Lumix DMC S3.
Read Review: Panasonic DMC S3 Review
Review Date: March 2012
The Nikon Coolpix S100 gets most things right. It is great to use such a responsive screen. This is matched by minimal shutter lag. Some of the buzz features such as High Definition movies with stereo sound, 3D photography and easy panoramas are likely to prove popular. Pictures are bright and colourful, but you will need to be careful about print size. Larger prints may start to show a few imperfections.
Ease of Use:
Value for Money:
65.2 x 99 x 18.1mm
Single Shot With Flash:
Five Shots With Flash:
Turn on Time:
If you have a larger sized hand it is likely to more or less wrap round the camera. With the lens unit tucked away in the top corner and the flash unit situated close by a little extra care needs to be taken to keep fingers in the clear.
LCD Screen Quality
When it comes to touch control the Coolpix S100 has one of the most responsive screens around. The icons are a little larger than with many rival cameras and this helps with picking out the option you want.
In addition to the touch screen responsiveness the screen is also one of the very best for viewing. The clarity of the screen leaves many rival cameras standing.
Turn on Time and Shutter Delay
The Coolpix S100 responds very quickly. Shutter lag times are up there with the fastest cameras. Turning on the flash makes little difference and this is another area where the camera outperforms most others.
Design and Build Quality
This is a very sleek camera. The sliding lens cover makes it look a little different from a lot of other cameras. The build quality appears to be good, but owners have reported that the camera is easily scratched and marked.
More or less everything is controlled via the screen. The only button on the camera is the shutter button. Even then you can set the camera up to take a picture by touching the screen. All other functions including zoom are operated via the screen.
The main viewing screen shows controls for zoom, shooting mode, playback, flash, self timer, macro mode, exposure compensation and the menu. Accessing the menu gives you options for resolution, ISO, continuous shooting, white balance, touch screen options and setup options. The setup area breaks down into 17 further areas and options.