photo sharing and upload picture albums photo forums search pictures popular photos photography help login
rolandrb | profile | all galleries >> Galleries >> Nikon Coolpix S9100 tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

Nikon Coolpix S9100

Nikon lenses have always been very good. Apart from the lens, there are so many things wrong with Nikon cameras that it amazes me they are still in business. Playing around with this camera for a few hours turned up the following problems:
  1. When needed, the image stabilisation is somewhat hit and miss (about 75% miss)
  2. In Auto mode it often chooses too low an ISO number and therefore too long an exposure such that the hit and miss image stabilisation causes smeared images.
  3. The Auto White Balance gives a strong orange tint when it comes to dull internal lighting.
  4. The exposure can be way brighter than what you are seeing on the screen, where the white balance is wrong, which forces you to adjust exposure downwards.
  5. It has trouble focusing in poor light or for dull back-lit subjects. You need to be aware of this and to check that it is focusing correctly. As such, for low light situations, it requires a degree of skill and alertness from the user which should never be the case for a travel compact camera such as this one.
  6. Firmware updates could fix all the above problems. Trouble is, no firmware updates were released for this camera, which says a lot for Nikon customer care.
  7. The panorama mode on the camera is not fit for purpose. It is very easy to use but the stitching together and interpolation of the images to make a panoramic scene is very poor. If you wanted to shoot a panorama then you would be better off taking a few images and then stitching together with software such as PhotoStitch that is supplied with Canon cameras.
  8. For use of mini tripods, the worst possible place to have a tripod screw hole is at the end of the camera. And that is exactly where they have put it.
  9. If you just want to view images on the camera then the power is not activated by pressing the image replay button. There is only the one switch and switching it on will extend the lens.
  10. The battery does not have enough power to guarantee that it will last for an intensive day's shooting (no surprise there and true of every digital camera). But the charger that comes with the camera will only charge an expensive Nikon-labelled battery and not a spare cheap battery made in China (where the Nikon-labelled battery was likely made in any case). So if you buy a spare cheap battery or two (which you might need) then you need to buy an extra charger to go with it (such as a Patona).
  11. Has a fiddly battery close door.
More on the auto-white-balance problem the camera has: This could be deliberate. What they might be doing is de-emphasising the blue channel because that is the channel that will show up the noise the most when light levels are low. So they de-emphasise the blue channel which has the effect of giving an orange tint, and they hope people won't notice. Or they hope that people think it is "supposed" to be like that. It isn't and I don't like it when cameras do that - the AWB should work the same way as the eye/brain does. So it might be giving an orange tint deliberately, which is very annoying, but on top of that to get the exposure wrong is unforgivable. But now for its good point and the only reason I bought the camera (used and for a low price):
  1. It has an 18x zoom with very good optical performance with an f-stop range of 3.5-5.9 which offers more brightness for the longer zoom range than its competitors for travel compact cameras (unsurprisingly, this comes at the cost of increased camera bulk).
Another reason I originally bought this camera is that I assumed the back-lit CMOS sensor had a better performance than other manufacturer's back-lit CMOS sensors. But comparing with Canon, I see no difference. I can not recommend this camera to anyone due to the problems I have listed above. For me, it is a cheap used camera that fills the gap of a travel compact with a large zoom range with good optical performance. Canon will