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]This camera seems to tick quite a few boxes: the CMOS sensor captures an effective 16.1 million pixels; the Nikkor lens has a 14x range, equating to 25-350mm in a 35 SLR lens; it’s very compact and pocketable, at only 33mm depth with lens withdrawn.
The maximum image size is 4608×3456 pixels or, 39x29cm as a print. Movies can be shot at Full HD res of 1920×1080.
Differing to the Nikon P7100, there is a dedicated red button to fire off movie recording, which happens with smooth AF and exposure correction throughout the zoom range. Maximum movie length is 25 seconds; and you cannot shoot stills while recording video.
While you have only the option of Program AE exposure control there are a few ‘sweeties’ to glam up the package.
Turn on the camera and the default Target finding AF kicks in and focuses on the main subject. If the camera does not find a main subject it then relies on a range of areas (up to nine) that contain a focusable item.
Smile Timer: for happy people snaps. When the S8200 detects a smiling face it automatically releases the shutter; in continuous mode a series of up to five images is captured at a rate of 3fps.
There is a tiny, retractable flash cell that is claimed to illuminate out to 5.5 metres with the ISO setting on auto. This should help with most happy snap photography.
From the mode dial you can choose from any of 15 scene modes (sports, beach etc) as well as special effects (soft, sepia etc), night landscapes, backlighting and even pet photography (face detection swings in) plus continuous shooting.
The camera’s continuous shooting rate is admirable: from six (4608×3456) to 60 (1280×960) or 120 (640×480) shots with a shutter speed of 1/120 sec or faster. There is also a pre-capture mode where the camera records the action in five shots prior the shutter being pressed. Now you can’t ask for more!
There is even an HDR mode which rapidly shoots a series of shots, then saves a single merged image with optimum contrast. While you have to keep the camera steady with this approach it’s perfect for heavily backlit subjects. There three levels of control.
Panoramas? Yes, the S8200 can shoot a series of shots that can encompass a 180 or 360 degree view. The supplied Panorama Maker stitching software will combine these into a single, wide image.
After power up, it took about two seconds before I could fire the first shot, follow-ons about a second apart.
The lens is an above average performer: no sign of any distortion at either end of the zoom.
Noise began to appear at ISO 1600, then increased — bot not alarmingly so — at ISO 3200.
Why you’d buy the S8200: you want it in black or red; you’ve fallen in love with its high speed continuous specs.
Why you wouldn’t: Program AE is insufficient exposure control for your needs.
On the face of it, the S8200 seems to be little more than a point-and-shooter, but features such as the longish zoom range, HDR and its continuous shooting ability take it to another level.
It should sell in your market for a hell of a good price!
One downer: the battery has to be charged while in the camera. This means you can’t go shooting while you leave a second battery on charge at home.
Image Sensor: 16.1 million effective pixels.
Lens: Nikkor f3.5-5.9/xxxxx mm (25-350mm as 35 SLR equivalent).
Effective Sensor Size: 11mm CMOS.
Metering: 224 segment matrix centre-weighted.
Exposure Modes: Program AE.
Shutter Speed: 60-1/1500 second.
Continuous Shooting: 10 fps.
Memory: SD/SDHC/SDXC cards plus 89MB internal memory.
Image Sizes (pixels): Stills: 4608×3456 to 640×480.
Movies: 1920x1080p 30fps; 1280x720p 30fps, 960×540 30fps, 640×480 30fps.
Viewfinder: 7.5cm LCD screen (921,000 pixels).
File Formats: JPEG, MPEG4.
ISO Sensitivity: Auto, 100 to 3200.
Interface: USB 2.0, AV, HDMI mini.
Power: Rechargeable lithium ion battery, DC input.
Weight: 213 g (battery and card).
Price: Get a price on the Nikon COOLPIX S8200 at Amazon. Also get it in Red and Silver.