Nikon Coolpix S8000 2011

Nikon is the brand many professionals swear by, which makes the £170 price tag on this point-and-shoot very attractive.

Technical stuff
Phil: While the 10x zoom on the Nikon Coolpix S8000 is nothing to be sniffed at, the limited wide-angle coverage is disappointing. At 30mm at the wide end, you’re not going to be able to get as much into the frame as you would do with some other comparable cameras – and though the differences may sound marginal, in reality it can be quite a difference once you’re looking through the lens. On the plus side, the telephoto end offers a decent reach for far-off subjects. The screen is the best we looked at, 3in in size with a crisp resolution of 921k dots – impressive stuff for a compact and a match for those found on high-end DSLRs. There’s a Smart Portrait mode with a range of automatic features, including Skin Softening and Blink Proof alerts – handy in the mountains!

On the hill
Simon: I wasn’t particularly taken with the look of the Nikon Coolpix S8000: it feels well-built, but strangely fragile. Its body is actually metal, but a very light poly alloy, which might be why. Once activated, however, the camera is a joy to operate: swift, smooth and assured. The movie mode is excellent, and the camera features both a quick record button to save you fiddling with menus and HDMI output to transfer the HD video (recorded with stereo sound) to your TV. The menus are navigated via a rotary wheel on the rear, which is easy to operate with gloves on, while you zoom via a perfectly adequate spring rocker built around the shutter. Though it comes with a healthy array of Scene modes, its features are perhaps not as flashy as the Casio’s; but what you get with the Nikon is a practical compact from a top-end brand, which does a basic job very well, rather than packing itself to the gills with tricks. The screen is amazing, and while the top-quality Nikkor lens is limiting for wide shots, the images are among the sharpest and most vibrant here. Shame there are no manual modes, though.

Resolution 14.2 megapixels
Lens 10x optical 30-300mm
Image stabiliser yes
Modes Auto, Smart Portrait and 16 scene modes
Weight 183g
Dimensions 97x61x33mm
Storage media SD/SDHC
Monitor 3in, 920k dots
Movie mode HD 720p, 30fps
Connectivity USB/HDMI

Pros great screen, Nikkor lens, good value, HDMI interface Cons limited wide coverage, least battery life of those here
It’s not flashy, but the Nikon Coolpix S8000 delivers where it counts: on the hill, your telly, your photo wall and definitely in your wallet.

Review by Phil Hall of Digital Photo magazine and Simon Ingram of Trail magazine
First published in Trail magazine February 2011