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...

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Nikon Coolpix S800c

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Nikon Coolpix S800c review

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Price as reviewed:

£340.00
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Performance

These images show 72ppi (100% on a computer screen) sections of images of a resolution chart, captured with the lens set to its 60mm point. We show the section of the resolution chart where the camera starts to fail to reproduce the lines separately. The higher the number visible in these images, the better the camera’s detail resolution is at the specified sensitivity setting.

With a 10x zoom and high-resolution sensor, there is little doubt that the S800c is more versatile than a smartphone. However, fast shutter speeds are required at the telephoto settings because the lens-shift reduction is not as effective as I would have hoped.

Given that there is no manual control over shutter speed and the camera does not automatically select a fast shutter speed, one cannot guarantee blur-free images at the more telephoto settings, even with a steady hand. This is a shame because the lens could have been the camera’s trump card.

With an initial price of over £400, it is easy to have high expectations regarding image quality. The S800c is based on a consumer compact camera, though, and as such its JPEG image quality cannot match that of similarly priced high-end models. Close-range subjects in good light are sharp enough, but generally when viewed at 100% any other detail is mushy at best. At such a price level, this is disappointing. When images are viewed at 50%, which is the same size as images from many of the latest popular 8-million-pixel smartphones, they appear much crisper than at 100%.

The usual limitations resulting from the use of a compact-sized sensor apply here. In standard shooting mode, the dynamic range is not expansive enough to cover strong highlight detail, so information in the sky often burns out. With this in mind, it is beneficial to make use of the HDR shooting mode available in-camera, rather than trying to recover nonexistent information post-capture using apps with HDR modes.

In the standard shooting mode, colours are bright, punchy and realistic enough. Opt for the landscape scene mode, and colours are way too saturated to be believable.

  1. 1. Nikon Coolpix S800c at a glance:
  2. 2. Features
  3. 3. Build and handling
  4. 4. Performance
  5. 5. Our verdict
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