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on August 7, 2014
I've had a Samsung WB850 and I still have a Fuji F900EXR. Both are megazoom pocket cameras. I'm sold on pocket megazooms for reasons that I explained in my review of the WB850. I've put my big DSLRs away only for stuff where I need the features of a big DSLR and those times are becoming rarer. I changed from the WB850 for one reason. It is SLOW between shots. Super camera but it just took too much time between shots AND I wanted a camera that would shoot in raw format.

The Fuji is fast between shots and it shoots in raw BUT it won't let you run the camera and charge the battery in the camera through the USB port. Therefore I always had to carry extra batteries.

After owning the Fuji for a few months, I found that I really did not need raw pictures. I just never used the raw file, only the jpg file. If you don't know what the raw format is, then you most likely don't need raw. I saw the 9700 in a store and was super impressed with the zoom. There is a BIG difference between the 21X megazooms and this 30X. They didn't have it in red and I wanted the red model so I bought it from Amazon.

This camera takes megazoom to a whole new level and it still fits in your jeans pocket.

Pictures and video are great. I won't go into detail about photo and video quality because for the picky you can find ample comparisons and specs on photo and video quality. All three of the cameras take great pictures and video.

This is the biggest zoom on a pocket camera that I've found and I can't see any reason why you need more. There is a 35X but it's not pocket sized unless you are wearing Safari pants and fitting in my pocket is a requirement.

The shot to shot time in practical use is about 2.5 seconds. The Fuji is MUCH faster at around one second. The Fuji wins big on speed but the Nikon wins big on zoom power.

The in-camera battery charging is between the Samsung WB850 and the Fuji F900EXR. You can charge the battery in the camera with an external battery but when you plug in the charger the camera turns off. You can't take pictures or video with an external power source plugged in. That was a bummer but not a deal breaker. They could fix that with a firmware update. My camera still has firmware 1.0 so the next update could fix a few things.

There is no way to permanently turn the flash off. Each time you turn the camera off and on, the flash setting resets to Auto. If a flash is needed, the flash auto pops up and there's no way to stop it other than FOUR button pushes to turn it off. I prefer a manual flash pop up button like the Samsung and Fuji. If the flash is down, it's off. If you want it on you just pop it up.

The GPS is very good. It locks fast outdoors. The Fuji has a function that connects with your phone to get GPS locations to embed in the picture but that's too awkward to use much. Although the Fuji will put location data on the picture by syncing with your phone, it only syncs once and that one location goes on all of the pictures until you manually sync again with your phone. That makes the GPS feature of the Fuji practically useless if you are moving a lot. The 9700 puts the closest POI on the screen. That's a neat feature but not really beneficial for picture taking.

The display screen is big and bright.

The 9700 does have one unusual feature. It has a rather large built-in memory. It has a little over 300MB of built-in memory. This means if you don't have a flash card in the camera, you can still take around 100 16MP photos on the internal memory. That may not seem like a big deal because you say that you will always have a SD card in the camera. Let me tell you from experience about always...

That 300+MB may come in handy one day.

You can set the camera's clock from the GPS which should be a no brainer feature for all GPS equipped cameras but most cameras don't have that obvious feature.

So my rating among the three cameras? All 3 take super pictures and video. Samsung wins for battery, Fuji for styling, speed and raw and Nikon for zoom.

I think the first firmware update will improve things.

UPDATE: After owning the camera for a few days I thought about returning it. It works great but it's the shot to shot time that is as slow as the Samsung WB850. I compared the Nikon against the Fuji and I can take six shots with the Fuji in the same time it takes for two shots with the Nikon 9700. The Fuji is literally 3X faster!

The 9700 will allow you to zoom in closer but with the Fuji you are less likely to miss the whole shot. The Fuji is also about 80% the size of the 9700 so it makes less of an imprint in your pocket. If I had to pick between the two cameras, definitely the Fuji F900EXR. It's only weakness is that you can't charge the battery in the phone and no practical GPS. A 21X zoom is still pretty awesome.
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on April 30, 2014
3/9/16 I was told today by the west coast Nikon service center that Stuck Pixels and Hot Pixels on the image sensor are considered normal. I don’t consider this normal at all, therefore I can no longer be a Nikon customer. It’s time to shop other brands. Before the first repair, I loved this camera, great pictures, great video. But after the repair, it has never been the same. My video's have specks in them that I can't Photoshop out. Ruined.

Here’s my repair history in reverse chronological order.

2/23/16 – Repair #3 for Stuck Pixels and Hot Pixels on the IMAGE SENSOR (I previously called them “specks”). Despite leaving pictures and video examples in the camera for them, the Nikon and the West Coast service center states this is normal. (Note that these specks are on the IMAGE SENSOR, not the LCD screen).

10/19/15 – Repair #2 for “specks” in videos. I didn’t know the term for the specks at the time. On the repair order, they called it blurry photos and replaced the lens again!

6/11/15 – Repair #1 under Extended Service Contract for BLURRY PHOTO’s and LENS ERROR again. Lens was replaced.

12/10/14 8 months ownership 9200 pictures later. Today found my camera BLAZING HOT and battery depleted (was freshly charged) with the camera OFF! 2 hours earlier I took a few pictures, turned the camera off and set it down. VERY DISCONCERTING!!! I let it cool a couple hours, recharged battery, now seems to be ok. Called Nikon - they say "that's the first they heard of it".

5/2/14 Received S9700 #2 – LENS ERROR within a month. Nikon tech support convinced me to “reset” the camera as a fix. Seemed ok for a while.

4/25/14 Received S9700 #1 – Flash wouldn’t popup, return/exchange back to AMZ.

With or without the extended warranty, the camera will go to either the West or East coast repair center depending on where you live. As soon as they deem the issue normal, there is no point in having a warranty. The picture I attached shows the stuck pixels. When I shoot a video in low light, these pixels stick out like a sore thumb and are very detracting. It may not be possible to see on the Amazon photo as you really need a full size monitor to see. These specks weren't there prior to the first repair.

ORIGINAL REVIEW:
Oh No, 5 days left on the Amazon return window and I got a "Lens Error" message on my screen. Could I be on camera #3 in one month?
First week of ownership; I'm on camera #2. The flash on my first camera "needed help" to pop-up (Nikon Service confirmed this was not normal). Thanks Amazon for the fast replacement!

600 pictures on both cameras (300 each) and I'm very happy with its performance. My reference point for "performance" means reliable, crisp, focused picture(s) on a consistent basis (ie. not blurry) while in maximum resolution, minimal zoom, usually during a rushed "point and shoot" scenario. This is my 3rd Nikon (S8000; $200 and S3300; $100). The S9700 is an upward progression from the S8000 (I was very happy with), whereas I'll use my smartphone to take pictures before I ever drop $100 for an entry level camera (S3300) again.

PRO's (in order of my needs)
Easy viewing monitor in bright daylight (except with polarized sunglasses for horizontal/landscape pictures; vertical/portrait OK)
High Resolution (MegaPixels) at $300 price point
Fast focus to get all 9 "focus boxes" to appear for a crisp picture
Macro pictures are great as long as you don't need the flash (lens shadow)
Non-detachable lens (pro/con) - many venues I attend specify no "professional photography" ie. camera's with a detachable lens.
WiFi is convenient to download photo's to your smartphone (to email/text) as well as use as a camera remote control with zoom (instead of just the self timer)
Fast transfer of photo's out of the camera via its usb port

Con's
- That flash is going to break (again), it's a matter of "when". It's made of plastic and has more pivot points than a bi-fold door (see my pictures).
- $6 Nikon Extended Service Coverage (ESC) Nikon 2-Year Extended Service Coverage (ESC) for Nikon Coolpix Digital Cameras I consider this a must if you plan to own your camera beyond 1 year. Nikon stopped selling service parts to independent dealers. I had a great experience with Nikon service (repair of my S8000) and feel it worth the investment.

Recommendation? I would NOT recommend this to someone new to digital cameras, or new to Nikon. It's not an entry level camera. I get the feeling that most people have no idea how to get the 9 green focus boxes, or what they mean. I've learned to not hand my camera to someone else expecting a good picture.
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on August 23, 2014
Don't buy this camera. I Just about didn't buy this camera because of the flimsy, breakable flash. But it had other features I liked. I thought I would just keep it in the non-flash position and only then would the flash pop up when I (rare in my shooting habits) wanted flash. Well in the auto position it won't maintain the setting desired when the camera is turned off. So every time you turn on the camera and a flash is required (according to the camera, not you) the flash pops up. Think of museums or other venues where you don't want flash. You have to manually select no flash, remember to do it as you are going through the museum, etc. You also must remember to stow the flash after every use or risk breaking it off. Or if the flash pops up while in bag or pocket as it surely will: broken camera flash, your fault not covered.
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VINE VOICEon October 25, 2014
I read many reviews on many cameras and IMO the S9700 was a good choice for a pocketable super zoom with good quality images and a rare combination of WiFi remote control + GPS. I love the ability to manually control the camera and center focus weighting. So many great features and good performance have been reported but I unfortunately cannot provide much experience while using it because I quickly experienced some major issues for me and returned it for refund. This may be a good camera for you. I will report the issues I had from my limited time with the camera so you will need to read the more positive reviews to get a balanced assessment.

1) Control Dial Lettering rubs off immediately. The lettering on top of the control dial (A, S, Scene, etc.) wore off after about 20 minutes of use. They wore off simply from rubbing my thumb across the dial. Its as if these marking were "press on" lettering without any protective coating. Very very low quality control markings design. YOu can still see what mode your in by the viewfinder but none-the-less the lettering should not rub off.

2) Camera locks up when disconnecting from WiFi. I was initially able to get the WiFi to connect to my smartphone (LG G2). With the Nikon app loaded on the phone I could view the camera image , adjust zoom and trigger the shutter all from the phone. However, when disconnecting the phones WiFi from the S9700, the camera would lock up. While the camera indicated it was powered on, no camera controls would operate including the power down button!. I had to remove the cameras battery in order to reboot the camera. This happened on 3 different occasions. Probably a downstream firmware update will fix this. I looked online for firmware upgrades but there were none at this point.

3) 1/2 Battery = no WiFi: A day later, I wanted to verify the WiFi issues but the S9700 would not connect to WiFi at all. I see from the manual that if the battery shows 50% that the S9700 will disable WiFi and further will automatically disable WiFi even if you are still using it. IMO this makes the benefit of the remote very marginal

4) Pop Up Flash in most inconvenient position: Yes I knew this going in from the reviews. Its such a natural place, top left, to put your left hand forefinger when holding the camera. But I still could not keep myself from holding it there and getting in the way of the flash.
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on December 2, 2015
After only 5 months, the camera all of a sudden stopped working with a "lens error" message which makes the camera inoperable. We purchased the three year canopy insurance and called them first, but they told us since we can only use this insurance one time over the 3 years, we should contact Nikon since it's still under warranty. We didn't realize the 3 year insurance is only good for one repair so that was a shock as well. We sent the camera to the Nikon Repair Shop in California and it's been there a week and a half so far, so I called Nikon repair to find out the status since we are going on vacation this week and want to bring the repaired camera with us. The representative told me since they received about 100 cameras a day (this should tell you something) it won't be back to us for another week to 10 days more. Had we purchased the camera at Costco, we could have just returned it for a new one. We are very disappointed in Nikon and in Amazon for selling a camera with a known defect, read all the negative reviews on the lens error issue.
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on July 14, 2015
I took this camera on a long vacation to Israel - but it was malfunctioning most of the time. When it was put away in my bag, the lens kept opening up on it's own - and it would stay open until I took the battery out and put it back in. I could not even get the camera to turn itself off. It also kept turning itself on, and running down the battery. One time the battery and camera were super hot and I was worried it was not going to work again. Fortunately it cooled down. Also, the button you push to turn the camera on and off was malfunctioning most of the time. I had to use a pencil to get it to work. Not to mention the pop up flash that kept opening up inside my bag also - I am amazed it didn't break off. I tried to return this camera when I got home from my trip, but Amazon said that it is over the 30 day limit. That stinks, because I had to purchase it in time to go on my trip, and then could not return it until I got home. Not a good idea to purchase anything that for a vacation that you can't return. I used Amazon Prime intentionally so if there were any problems I could get them resolved. Big mistake!

March, 2016
I was not able to get the camera fixed and NOW it is completely broken - just sitting in the case. DON"T BUY THIS CAMERA!!!
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on August 12, 2014
This is a great camera. It's easy to operate and the on board effects can turn ordinary pictures into an extraordinary pictures before you download the pictures to your computer or printer. The video and sound are outstanding. I take this camera with me everywhere I go. The GPS and mapping functions are nice add ons. Another great feature is the 30X optical zoom. The picture quality is excellent.A good quality SD card and an extra battery and this camera is the perfect vacation piece.

Con: The pop-up flash can be a little annoying but if you turn it off when you don't need it's okay.
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on April 13, 2015
I just started using the Nikon COOLPIX S9700 - and, am very happy with the camera, features and photos so far. It's slightly bigger than some of the small compact cameras - but it's very light and still a good portable/compact size (and I love the color). The camera must be plugged in and charged like a cell phone - the battery does come out (but there is no external battery charger - you have to charge it from within the camera) - but the charge seems to last a long time. The instructions come in Japanese - so you'll have to download the English version. Also, you have to purchase extra memory ( I was instructed by their CS to be sure to order a specific compatible memory stick - not all work with this camera) - or you'll only be able to take about 50 photos. ( I was able to pick up the SanDisk SDHC UHS-I Card / 32 GB from Costco for $35.00).
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on June 1, 2014
Camera has a much faster focus than the S9300 and pictures taken from a moving vehicle are in focus making a sharp picture
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on September 21, 2015
This camera has been nothing but a disappointment. I purchased it to replace my Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS20 that I was very happy with but after two years stopped turning on. Panasonic offered to fix it for $180 and I decided for $120 more to go with what a thought would be an upgrade. It wan't. The picture quality is very poor, flash seems random (scenery setting, zoomed out, out pops the flash), but worse, the battery doesn't last. Yes, the original batter and/or the one I purchased from Big Mike's in the accessory kit. For a while it would last a day. Yesterday was the breaking point: I charged the battery overnight, put the camera in my pack, hike to a lovely mountain lake 4 hours later, and the camera indicates there is no charge left in the battery.

Lousy (non-existant) battery life, and poor pictures!
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