It’s the first ‘smart camera’, and one with a 16-million-pixel sensor and 10x optical zoom. Tim Coleman tests the Google Android OS-powered Nikon Coolpix S800c. Read the Nikon Coolpix S800c review...
Image: This unedited image has been taken using the camera’s auto mode
Google Android is used by a large number of smartphones, and as such is a continuously developed OS that is both speedy and smooth. The S800c uses an old version of Android, Gingerbread 2.3, rather than the latest version, which is currently Jelly Bean 4.1. Gingerbread is possibly the most widely supported version, with most of the current apps working on the camera. So it may be an old version, but it is reliable.
Alongside the camera, Nikon has introduced its own myPicturetown app, which is an online image viewing and storage service.
Where a smart camera currently has an advantage over a smartphone is in the lens. Most smartphones feature a fixed wideangle lens, whereas the S800c uses a versatile 4.5-45mm (25-250mm equivalent) lens equipped with shift-vibration reduction.
Remove the Android operation from the specification of the S800c and it appears much of the camera’s core is identical to the Coolpix S6300, which is a consumer compact with a current street price of around £120. With the S800c’s initial RRP of over £400 (although it is now £379.99), the Android platform is relatively costly. Of course, a big part of that cost is in the new OLED touchscreen, which is used effectively for functions such as touch AF, navigating the camera and typing. I will go into more detail about the screen in the Build and Handling section.
The core of the camera is made up of a 16-million-pixel, back-illuminated CMOS sensor. It is the standard 1/2.3in (6.17×4.55mm) size. JPEG-only still images and 1080p full HD videos are processed using the company’s Expeed C2 processor.
Image: The file converted via Instagram into b&w, with added contrast and blur at the edges
Like the S6300, the S800c has autoexposure only, with an easy auto mode, scene modes that include backlighting, HDR, a smart portrait mode and special effects including high-contrast monochrome. There are no manual-exposure controls, apart from ±2EV exposure compensation. However, with access to photography apps there is an abundance of extra picture effects and shooting modes available. In auto mode, the drive modes include a continuous high shooting burst of 8.1fps for full-resolution files, or up to 120fps using a reduced file size.