Nikon Coolpix S8000 Review – Above average megazoom camera

CameraOn June 15, 2010 at 6:18 am



Nikon Coolpix S8000 has good specs but it is a bit outdated. This would have been hot property had it come to market a year ago. This device is a compact and slim 14 mega pixel camera with wide angle zoom lens, 720p HD movie mode along with built in stereo mic, HDMI port, and high resolution screen at sub $300 price. But I feel that if some one is going for such a camera, he would want more shooting options to play around with. This is more of an automatic camera and shutter bug freaks will be turned off by this. The photo quality in low light or indoor conditions is not that good either. On the bright side, this is an above average megazoom camera meant for people who don’t crop the pictures a lot or print them at a larger size than 4×6 inches.

The color options for this camera are bronze, silver, red and black. The Nikon Coolpix S8000 is quite compact for a camera that has 10x zoom lens such slim case is rare for megazoom cameras. The device is quite attractive and will easily fit small handbag or you pants pocket. The body is made up of metal which gives it a high end look. On the right, there is textured finish which makes it easy to grip the camera. The only problem I had in terms of design was the flas;, it pops from the left and this makes it difficult to hold the camera. You also need to watch out here, my fingers often blocked it during testing. Fortunately, it only comes out when you need it.

Nikon Coolpix S8000’s menu and control system is easy to use and you won’t find it too hard to shoot out of the box. There are three tabs for menu system – Setup, Movie and Shooting. The layout is quite good and you won’t have to hunt around much. The screen has a high resolution; menus look sharp and are quite easy to read. The best part is that the screen is visible even in bright light.

Nikon Coolpix S8000’s controls are pretty much straight forward. There is movie record button between the screen and the big thumb rest. Underneath that, you have the shooting mode button which is labeled ‘Scene’ on the playback button. It is located on the right. Apart from that, there is a four way control pad with OK button in the middle (it is named Rotary Multi Selector here), and on the bottom, there are Delete and Menu buttons. The control pad is to be used to turn on macro focus, adjust exposure and flash compensation, and image and menu navigation. If you want to move quickly through the menu or videos and images, all you have to do is spin the wheel instead of pressing the control pad buttons. It moves fairly quickly but you can still feel the stops. This is typical of digital cameras but still a nice feature to have.

Nikon Coolpix S8000 is powered by lithium ion rechargeable battery which has rated life of 210 shots. I found this true during my tests but I clicked and shot movies as well. You can charge the battery in the camera. There is AC wall adapter and computer USB cord included. The card and battery compartment are located on the bottom. On the right, there is a mini HDMI port for connecting the device to a computer monitor or HDTV but you will have to buy the cable separately.

Nikon Coolpix S8000 has 2 auto modes. One of them is Nikon’s Scene Auto Selector which adjusts the settings based on 6 common types of scenes. It uses the Auto mode if the scene does not match any of these. You can play with the white balance, ISO, exposure compensation along with light metering, autofocus mode and the continuous shooting modes. For this camera, the manufacturer has put in some extra control for vividness (saturation) and hue (color tone). You have adjustable sliders for this. This is not revolutionary but I experimented a lot with these in my labs. The settings for the slider are stored in the memory so they won’t get erased even if you switch the camera off.

Nikon Coolpix S8000 has 14 selectable modes for scene. These scenes are all standard like Landscape and Portrait. You also get Panorama Assist which lets you take a series of your shots and later stick them together through the included software.

Pros

Good screen, stereo mic, 10x zoom lens is housed in a compact body

Cons

Photo quality in low light conditions is quite poor, optical zoom cannot be used during movie recording, shooting performance is mixed, lacks manual and semimanual modes

Outcome

This is an above average megazoom camera but I won’t recommend this to shutter bug freaks.

Specifications
  • 4.1 inches wide, 1.1 inches deep, 2.2 inches high, 6.5 oz weight
  • Black enclosure color, metal body
  • 14.2 megapixels resolution
  • CCD optical sensor
  • Light sensitivity options – ISO auto (100-1600), ISO auto (100-800), ISO auto (100-400), ISO 3200, ISO 1600, ISO 800, ISO 400, ISO 200, ISO 100
  • 2x digital zoom
  • Optical image stabilizer
  • Program, automatic exposure modes
  • Automatic, presets white balance
  • JPEG format for image storage
  • Supported memory cards – SD Memory card, Flash memory card.
  • 32 MB integrated memory
  • Image resolutions – JPEG 4224 x 2376, JPEG 640 x 480, JPEG 1024 x 768, JPEG 2048 x 1536, JPEG 2592 x 1944, JPEG 3264 x 2448, JPEG 4320 x 3240.
  • Flash modes – Red-eye reduction, Flash OFF mode, Slow synchro, Fill-in mode, Auto mode.
  • 5.4 mm – 54 mm – F/3.5-5.6 zoom lens
  • 5.4 mm – 54 mm focal length
  • Automatic focus adjustment
  • Minimum focus range – 19.7 inches
  • Macro focus range  – 1 cm
  • F/3.5-5.6 lens aperture
  • 10x optical zoom
  • Self timer delay – ten, two seconds
  • Additional features – Motion Detection Technology, Smile Detection technology, Intelligent Scene Selector, Blink Detection technology, Face-priority AF function, Best Shot Selector (BSS), 720p HD movie recording, In-camera red-eye fix, D-Lighting technology, Saturation control, Brightness control, Audio recording, Color control, USB charging.
  • Three inch TFT LCD
  • Built in microphone
  • Connectors – Composite audio/video output, USB
  • A/V cable, USB cable include
  • Runs on Nikon EN-EL12 lithium ion rechargeable battery
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