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Customer Review

495 of 514 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars S8100 was worth the wait!, October 22, 2010
This review is from: Nikon Coolpix S8100 12.1 MP CMOS Digital Camera with 10x Optical Zoom-Nikkor ED Lens and 3.0-Inch LCD (Black) (Camera)
OK, I was really wanting the RED Nikon S8100 but apparently only black is available unless you buy it directly from Nikon. I decided to go black because I live in Oregon where there is no sales tax, and Nikon was going to tax me and add $10 to the shipping. Black isn't all that bad looking anyway and it matches my Cooler Master HAF-X PC case.

I'm upgrading from a Sony DSC-V1. The size of the Nikon is a hair wider, a hair shorter and about half as thick. The DSC-V1 had a po-pup flash in the same area as the S8100 so I was used to holding the camera the correct way already. For those of you that can't think outside the box, the proper way to hold this camera is to make a gun with your left hand, thumb pointing up, then bend your wrist so the gun is pointing to your right, then place the camera in the gun. RTFM. This tip is printed (and pictured) in the quick start booklet that came with the camera. Once you get used to it, you won't mind pop-up flashes at all. The only issue you will have is when your dense friends take pictures of you with it and hold the flash down, not knowing any better.

The downgrade from the S8000's 14 megapixel CCD to the S8100's 12 megapixel CMOS sensor is no downgrade whatsoever. Megapixels are nearly irrelevant to point and shoot cameras above 12 anyway, and the image quality increase, and low light shooting improvements you get with the CMOS sensor EASILY trump a 2 megapixel increase. I am continuing to be surprised how good my pictures keep turning out, in all light levels.

The 10x optical zoom is great, but what is amazing is how clean the digital zoom is beyond that. I am used to fuzzy or blurry shots when using the digital zoom, but this camera somehow gets around that. The placement of the zoom lever forces you to use your right forefinger instead of your thumb which I'm used to. It felt kind of odd at first, but makes complete logical sense from an ergonomic point of view when you are holding the camera properly. On the opposite side, the macro function floored me. For a point and shoot camera, I never expected a macro this good. It macro shoots better than my Cannon DSLR. I can rest the lens up against the object I'm shooting and the image will still focus good.

The LCD screen on the back is a typical 3" screen, but a very untypically high quality resolution. It has the highest resolution screen of any point and shoot I could find. You can really see the detail of what you are about to shoot with it. It's bright and the colors are accurate.

The 1080p video this camera produces is better than I expected. Far better. You can use the zoom feature while rolling AND take stills simultaneously. It also records in stereo sound. Great stuff.

Some people complained that this camera is still a bit too large for their liking. If it was any smaller that it is now, you would not be able to hold it without accidentally pressing a button or something, and it fits in my pocket just fine. Those people must have toothpick fingers or don't realize that size much smaller than the S8100 really isn't much of an advantage unless you are some kind of top secret spy or something.

The camera has all the basic features you would want, and several that are kind of neat. Manual on the fly brightness, hue, and vividness adjustments can be handy, the skin softening feature turns your subjects into super models, and the ISO sensitivity range is above average. It has a wind noise reduction option while taking video, and all the features you would use the most are easily and quickly accessible.

I know I'm sounding like a Nikon fanboy now but I'm just so happy with this camera. The only thing I can think of I don't care for is the rubber stop that plugs the USB port on the bottom of the camera. I prefer a flip door, but this is just my preference.

It comes with surprisingly good full version photo editing software, and even a panoramic stitching program that I've yet to try. The full manual is on a CD that comes with it though I prefer a book to look at. The start-up speed (power on to photo ready) is just under 2 seconds. Holy cow batman!

One feature that I haven't taken advantage of yet but look really useful in action shooting is the high-speed shooting at five full resolution frames at up to 10 frames'per'second, and a pre'shooting cache that records up to two shots before the shutter'release is fully pressed. This will really make it easy to get the action shot you really want. The other feature that I'm very impressed by is the advanced Night Landscape mode which combines a series of five consecutive shots taken at a fast shutter speed into a single image with reduced noise when taking hand held shots. Dark backgrounds turn out very visible without over lighting the subject. Very cool technology idea.

In summery, I feel like the $299 I paid for the Nikon S8100 is very justified. DSLRs should be nervous that these point and shooters will start stealing their market considering the lower price, quality and technology improvements. Nikon has a winner!
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Tracked by 3 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 22 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 18, 2010 11:01:01 AM PST
Optional says:
Thank you so much for the wonderful review! It's so refreshing to finally read a knowledgeable review after reading reviews from people who don't have a clue how to use a camera yet still like to complain. I have been waiting and waiting for the RED and finally got mine at a very good price (it totally worth the wait!).

Posted on Nov 30, 2010 6:19:26 AM PST
Kanu says:
Thanks for the beautifully detailed review. Nikon S8100 is my first camera...Yes, the very first camera and I dont mean digital/SLR. Im a student and it is a big buy for me. I was being so apprehensive about not being able to make the right choice that at one point I went paranoid about my choices.
Most of the people have so seriously complained about the tiny flaws in the camera as if they are about sue Nikon for criminal charges. It is good to compare DSLRs with point-shooters but dont forget it is a point and is not a DSLR. It is the customer's fault to expect DSLR features in $300 camera!!
It is not like I have never tried photography with other cameras. I have used my friend's DSLR too but could never own one! Im loving the pictures, Nikon S8100 takes.

I can heave a sigh of relief after reading your review rather than losing my sleep for all other not-so-knowledgeable reviews. Thanks!

Posted on Dec 28, 2010 8:29:49 PM PST
R. Perez says:
Beware of Best Buy. I bought the S8000 on 06-2010 along with a 4yr extended warrantee for another $80. Guess what?
The ON switch started failing, just months later and unfortunately, while on vacation. Best Buy refused to fix it and made
my camera dissappear and handed me a piece of paper and said, "go select another camera". Today, 12-28-2010, I got the
news, plus the kept the $20 difference between the cameras. That's right, they kept my $20 and simply said, that's the
way it is. To even add more HURT to the situation, they also said they would not transfer the warrantee over to the new
camera, an S8100. That meant, they would now take $20 plus another $80 of my money and make me buy another warrantee.
Luckily, they looked at the purchase receipt and noticed how little I had actually had the camera and reversed that decision.
So, they kept $20 of my money. Are their employees INCLUDING TIPS now, like they do in dirty restaurants, against the
customers will? Anyways, having confidence in Nikon, although I believe there is a S8000 defect that they are not talking
about, I chose the Nikon S8100. So far, so good. It's DISGUSTING that there is no WRITTEN USERS MANUAL. It's on a CD.
So, let's see Nikon, I should run around with a LAPTOP in one hand and your camera in the other?

Posted on Dec 28, 2010 9:17:07 PM PST
JK says:
You can purchase the red Nikon Coolpix S8100 from

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 29, 2010 7:29:59 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 29, 2010 7:30:51 PM PST
@ R. Perez...
All I read was "Whaaa whaaaa! Whaaaa! Cry!"
Users Manual on CD = less overhead making the product cheaper for you. Who really needs to read the user manual for a point and shoot anyway?

If you buy your stuff from Best Buy then you deserve to pay full retail idiot sticker price, pay for tips, and get rude customer service. Try this thing called "the internet"... you can get that camera for $199 now.

P.S. NEVER buy an extended "warrantee". However, you might consider a "warranty" (a totally different meaning) if you have cash burning a hole in your pocket and a habit of breaking stuff.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 6, 2011 8:12:34 PM PST
Q. A. Thomas says:
All I hear from you rudeness. No need to be a douche! Newsflash everyone does not like to buy from the internet. So R. Perez nor anyone else doesn't deserve t be punished from buying from a store.

Posted on Feb 9, 2011 6:18:04 PM PST
[Deleted by the author on Feb 10, 2011 1:45:44 PM PST]

Posted on Mar 5, 2011 7:49:29 AM PST
Max says:
Nice review. I just bought the camera, and love it just as much, and concur with the points you made. Thanks!

Posted on Mar 6, 2011 12:15:17 PM PST
Returning a red S8100 today. Gripping the camera to avoid the pop up flash doesn't feel secure and the lag between pressing the shutter and the actual photo takes forever. I did turn off much of the intelligent features, but was still disappointed. This camera is for my wife, but she didn't like it as well. Good thing I bought it at Costco.

Posted on Apr 16, 2011 11:12:52 PM PDT
S. Murphy says:
You've had this camera since October, I just purchased this camera yesterday and like an idiot I'm reading customer reviews NOW after reading the PhotographyBlog review before buying it. I'm seeing that a LOT of people are having issues with the lens breaking after a few months. Have you had any issues with this camera since you wrote this review?
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