Nikon Coolpix S8000 [Review]

Nikon Coolpix S8000 [Review]

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Compact digicams don’t normally set my bells a-ringing but this one intrigued me, big time.

Nikon coolpix S8000.jpg

What on earth is Nikon doing with the Nikon Coolpix S8000? A pocketable picture taker that is just 27mm thin and extends only another 41mm when the stabilised 10x optical zoom pokes its nose into the world. 10x in a compact? Yup.

Then there’s the high megapixel count: 14.2 million of the things, packed into a tiny 11mm CCD. This means its maximum image is 4320×3240 pixels — or, as a print, 37x27cm in size.

While we all know that these mouth-watering specs are driven by the experts in the marketing department and look great in the ads, it doesn’t mean a camera like this can shoot level pegging with a $2000 DSLR.

Despite this, the attractions of a 10x zoom and large image size can have its compensations in educated hands.

For instance: with this lens you can shoot a full shot of a doorway from three metres; then, from the same position you can capture a full head shot. See what I mean?

With an image that could eventually print out to the equivalent of two A4 pages it means you have enormous cropping power well after the shot is downloaded and you’re having second thoughts about what you shot.

Nikon coolpix S8000 back.jpg

Nikon Coolpix S8000 Features

Of course, there is no optical viewfinder and while the rear LCD does have very good definition, it does present a poorly viewable display in bright sunlight.

There is a tiny pop-up flash, poorly sited right under your left finger when holding the camera. This means it has a good chance of avoiding red eye but can be a damned nuisance.

QVB 3.jpg

There is only an auto exposure setting, so you cannot twiddle with various aperture or shutter speed settings. The scene modes on offer can be of help when you’re faced with more challenging shots like beach or snow scenes, fireworks etc.

Movies

Maximum image size in movie mode is 1280×720 pixels — not full HD — but still quite presentable on a large screen. Replay is helped by an HDMI output on the camera.

The camera has an unusual method of taking movie clips: there is a dedicated record button right next to the LCD screen; you don’t have to select movie mode — just push movie record!

There is something quite odd with the zoom in movie shooting: it appears to have only a 3x range; move the zoom in tighter before shooting and you appear to access only a 3x range in that area. Auto focus is of course out of action: preset before you shoot.

Nikon Coolpix S8000 ISO Tests

The ISO range is pretty good: 100 to 3200 plus a jump to ISO 6400 — but this is only accessible when you select Sports Continuous mode. The latter mode, however, gains you entry into a continuous shooting which delivers a run of 45 shots, taken at 3fps. Pretty good in my book!

Nikon S8000 ISO 100 f4.1 1:8 second.jpg
Test shot taken at ISO 100, f4.1 and 1/40 second.

Nikon S8000 ISO 800 f4.1 1:80 second.jpg
Now we are at ISO 800, f4.1 and 1/80 second: definition still good, noise not a problem.

Nikon S8000 ISO 1600 f4.1 1:160 second.jpg
Surprisingly good quality at ISO 1600: f4.1 and 1/160 second.

Nikon S8000 ISO 3200 f4.1 1:320 second.jpg
At ISO 3200 the picture is starting to break up, noise has risen, definition lower.

Strand Arcade window.jpg

Shot of a coloured window taken at ISO 3200 and f3.5 at 1/60 second shows how a high ISO shutter speed can still be used with specific subjects: in this case one that is highly detailed.

Distortion

When checking for optical distortion, I was surprised and delighted to find the Nikkor 10x was straight up and down! No sign of any spherical distortion in the wide or tele ends of the zoom. As far as I can recall, the best performance in any compact I have ever handled. Quite a lens.

Startup Time

From startup to first picture took two seconds, with follow-on shots coming in at a rate of about a second apart. Quite a good performance.

Comments

Quality: an above average compact, this camera will take fine images if you understand its limitations.

Why you’d buy the Nikon Coolpix S8000: high powered zoom in a compact body; high pixel count; small form factor.

Why you wouldn’t: the lens at f3.5 maximum aperture is quite slow.

Nikon Coolpix S8000 Specifications

Image Sensor: 14.2 million effective pixels.
Metering: Centre-weighted (224 segments).
Sensor Size: 11mm CCD.
Lens: Nikkor f3.5-5.6/5.4-54.0mm (30-300mm as 35 SLR equivalent).
Shutter Speed: 8 to 1/2000 second.
Continuous Shooting: 45 pictures (2048×1536) at 3 fps.
Memory: SD, SDHC cards plus 32 MB internal memory.
Image Sizes (pixels): 4320×3240, 4224×2376, 3264×2448, 2592×1944, 2048×1536, 1024×768, 640×480. Movies: 1280×720, 640×480, 320×240 at 30 fps.
LCD Screen: 7.6cm LCD (920,000 pixels).
File Formats: JPEG, WAV, Motion JPEG.
ISO Sensitivity: Auto, 100 to 3200 or 6400xxxx??? sport.
Interface: USB 2.0, HDMI, AV.
Power: Rechargeable lithium ion battery, DC input.
Dimensions: 103x57x27.3 WHDmm.
Weight: Approx. 183 g (inc battery and SD card).
Price: Get a price on the Nikon Coolpix S8000 at Amazon.

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Nikon Coolpix S8000
Author Rating
3

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Barrie Smith is an experienced writer/photographer currently published in Australian Macworld, Auscam and other magazines in Australia and overseas.

Some Older Comments

  • Belinda March 8, 2013 06:55 pm

    I love Nikon cameras too and had been using them for many years...I am having the S8000 and loves the pictures taken in the day time but could not capture nice and sharp one indoor when the lights are dim and night scenery without the flash. I do not like using the flash for night scenery (like in Hong Kong near the harbour watching the laser lights and the building at Hong Kong side from Tsim Tsa Chui) cos I cannot see the actual background lights. Any helpful suggestions and how is the new Nikon S9300 and Samsung WB250?

  • Sanket August 22, 2011 02:03 am

    Horrible camera to take pictures, its just fast to open its lens it still takes normal time to click the picture. In Same mode either the pictures come to bright or just too dark. I m normal camera user who likes to click family vacation, kids moments so i actually dont need big geek words, but when it comes to simple pic taking, this cam is worst.

  • Patrik October 12, 2010 05:26 pm

    I love the features of this camera.really capture great images.

  • coolpix October 3, 2010 07:57 am

    make sure you buy the external battery charger. the internal with usb cable for charging is fickle (we used to say like it was made in Japan; I think that is the case here).

  • tibor szabadi September 23, 2010 09:10 pm

    Wow great features.I love nikon coolpix camera it has unique features and easy to use.

  • tibor szabadi September 23, 2010 09:08 pm

    Wow great features.I love nikon coolpix camera it has unique features and easy to use.

  • Phil September 3, 2010 03:10 am

    Bravo Click and cook, I guess some people just don;t get it. This camera is perfect for those times when you really don,t want to bring the big gun. I use a D300 for my serious stuff and this one for fun and at night when we go out for dinner and walking around. Since we travel to europe frequently it's perfect as a secondary camera and it takes excellent photos that you can do a lot with in photoshop.

  • Jorge Smit August 10, 2010 11:23 pm

    I love this camera too. It is great for candid shots.

  • Sheila July 30, 2010 06:01 am

    I bought one, but found it didn't not take as sharp a picture as my old Kodak 10MP point-n-shoot. I did several comparative shots with them...same tripod, same memory card, same computer...and the Kodak was just a good or better in some cases...not by much, but by enough to make me return the Nikon. Could I have had a malfunctioning model? I found all the photos to be really soft at 100%.

  • Jim July 29, 2010 12:17 pm

    WoW thats Great Click and cook

  • Click and Cook July 26, 2010 12:40 am

    No RAW can't use it? No Hotshoe?

    what a bunch of Divas! LOL gimme a break....

    Far too talented to produce a decent JPEG image?

    Seriously, why would you need RAW format on a Point & Shoot....... think about it

    it is a POINT AND SHOOT that's it!

    If you must produce "World Class" images all the time then by all means don't buy a Point & Shoot and just grab your $7k camera to your niece's birthday!

  • Jim July 21, 2010 12:06 pm

    A fun Camera to always have along, got an extra battery and extra c ard with a neat belt case for under $300

  • Yves Choquette July 19, 2010 02:21 am

    No RAW mode? So useless

  • Jim July 16, 2010 11:56 am

    Got one of these a couple of days ago to be a companion with my D300. I am absolutely amazed at what this baby will do, I know I cannot expect to get the same quality images as the D 300 but the S8000 will fit in my shirt pocket and I will NOW finally have a camera with me always. My gig with photography is to have fun and it is getting FUN-ER all the time.

  • Kelly Carey July 11, 2010 11:14 pm

    This camera is exceptional at macro photography!! I am a canon shooter and I was looking for a simple point and shoot to carry around in my pocket. One of the qualifications of that point and shoot was that it had to shoot fairly well with macro and the Canon's fell short in that category. Nikon however has surpassed my expectations with this camera!! it is phenomenal! It will focus while you are just about touching the subject you are photographing. It is amazing. I recommend this camera to everyone who asks me what camera I used to take a particular photo. I just love it!! [eimg link='http://www.flickr.com/photos/kcareyphotography/4782314555/' title='DSCN0266' url='http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4137/4782314555_49b39c693a.jpg']

  • Jim July 10, 2010 12:15 pm

    It is a camera to always have with you. Always.

  • scott July 9, 2010 02:08 pm

    if it does not have a hot-shoe on it, I really can't use it for much.

  • Grant Palin July 9, 2010 11:27 am

    I've had this camera for a while, it is a good complement to my D50. The S8000 is rather compact, has a very sturdy build, and is a great zoomer. I've had some issues with the speed and the menus, but the pictures have come out fairly nicely. Missing the RAW option, though!

  • Ryan July 9, 2010 06:48 am

    Surely you mean 37x27inches not cm?