Nikon Coolpix S9100 review

Price when reviewed

It isn’t only image quality that wins the S9100 its place on our A List, however. It’s also the sheer joy of using it. The metal case feels exceedingly solid in the hand, and the 921kpixel screen – twice the resolution of most compacts – gives a colourful and detailed view of what you’re shooting. Best of all, with a shutter delay of only a fifth of a second between your finger going down and the exposure being captured, the camera feels, if you’ll pardon the expression, snappy. Flash recharge time is fast too, at 1.7 seconds.

Nikon Coolpix S9100

And the camera’s easy to control. A dial on the top lets you switch between shooting modes, scene selection mode and full auto mode. For more options, you can tilt or spin the circular control to navigate an intuitive onscreen menu. Dedicated buttons for playback and movie recording sit in locations that may look arbitrary, but which quickly become second nature. In all, although Nikon’s interface looks unremarkable, in use it feels more instinctive.

It’s important to note that the S9100 doesn’t attempt to offer DSLR-type flexibility. There’s no shutter or aperture priority option, no manual mode, no bracketing and no RAW capture. Oddly, the pop-up flash must be manually ejected, adding a note of cheapness to what otherwise feels like a high-quality product. You do, however, get some control over ISO: two auto modes allow you to set it in the range ISO 160 to ISO 800, and ISO 160 to ISO 400, and you can manually set it to ISO 1600 and ISO 3200.

Nikon Coolpix S9100

Plus, there’s a host of inventive consumer features. A clever pre-shooting cache can start recording stills from the moment you half-press the shutter, so you won’t miss your shot if the action takes you by surprise. A “best frame” mode fires off a flurry of shots, automatically discarding blurred images and keeping the most successful, sharpest ones.

High-speed burst and movie modes let you capture footage at up to 240fps (albeit at limited resolutions), providing the possibility of creative special effects such as extreme slow-motion. Panorama mode lets you capture broad vistas with a simple sweep of the hand. And the 30fps 1080p movie mode is an unusual treat at this price: most compacts top out at 720p.

If you’re a photographic enthusiast – or perhaps interested in becoming one – these niceties won’t make up for the lack of manual control. But for those who simply want to grab photos with minimum fuss, the Nikon Coolpix S9100 oozes usability and produces great results. Factor in the price – just £180 online – and it’s a steal.


Image quality5

Basic specifications

Camera megapixel rating12.0mp
Camera screen size3.0in
Camera optical zoom range18x
Camera maximum resolution4,000 x 3,000

Weight and dimensions

Dimensions103 x 34 x 62mm (WDH)


Battery type includedLithium-ion
Battery life (CIPA standard)270 shots
Charger included?no

Other specifications

Built-in flash?yes
Aperture rangef3.5 - f5.9
Camera minimum focus distance0.04m
Shortest focal length (35mm equivalent)25
Longest focal length (35mm equivalent)450
Minimum (fastest) shutter speed1/2,000
Maximum (slowest) shutter speed1s
Bulb exposure mode?no
RAW recording mode?no
Exposure compensation range+/- 2EV
ISO range160 - 3200
Selectable white balance settings?yes
Progam auto mode?yes
Shutter priority mode?no
Aperture priority mode?no
Fully auto mode?yes
Exposure bracketing?no
White-balance bracketing?no
Memory-card typeSDXC
LCD resolution921k
Video/TV output?yes
Body constructionMetal
Tripod mounting thread?yes
Data connector typemicro-USB

Manual, software and accessories

Software suppliedPC-PJTransfer, ViewNX
Accessories suppliedWrist strap

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