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Nikon Coolpix S9700 Review

Nikon Coolpix S9700 Review - The Nikon Coolpix S9700 offers a 30x optical zoom lens, Wi-Fi and GPS, could this be the best travel camera available? Find out in our full review.

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Category : Compact Cameras
Product : Nikon Coolpix S9700
Price : £269
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Features
Handling
Performance
Verdict
Specification

Nikon Coolpix S9700 White (3)

The Nikon Coolpix S9700 is designed to be the ideal travel camera, featuring a pocketable body, a 30x optical zoom lens, fullHD video recording, and built-in Wi-Fi and GPS. Available in black, white and red.

Nikon Coolpix S9700 Features

Nikon Coolpix S9700 White (4)

The Nikon Coolpix S9700 features a 30x optical zoom lens with a 25-750mm equivalent range, along with a 16 megapixel back-illuminated CMOS sensor. 5-axis Hybrid VR (Vibration Reduction) enables sharp photos, as well as fullHD video recording. Pre-AF shortens the autofocus time and gets crisp results even at full zoom or in low light.

Nikon’s Smart Portrait System (with features including Smile Timer, Blink Proof and Red-Eye Fix) helps achieve perfect portraits and reviewing images is easy on the 3inch 921k dots OLED screen. A retouch menu, lets you add effects or applying Glamour Retouch. 

Built-in Wi-Fi lets you connect to your smart device to use it as a remote control to achieve ideal self-portraits without getting your own arm in shot. Or you can use the smart device connection to upload and instantly share photos with family and friends via email or social media websites.

GPS and GLONASS functions mean that detailed location information can be recorded on each photo. Your travel routes can be logged via the world map function so you’ll never forget where you took the photo.

Scene Auto Selector optimises camera settings, leaving you to focus on framing your photos. Alternatively you can set manual exposure modes (P/S/A/M) and scene modes using the mode dial. 

Nikon Coolpix S9700 White (6)

Key Features

  • 16 megapixel backlit CMOS sensor
  • 30x optical zoom lens, equivalent to 25-750mm
  • Hybrid VR, optical and electronic image stabilisation
  • 3inch 921k dot OLED screen
  • P/A/S/M Manual controls
  • FullHD video recording
  • ISO125 - ISO6400
  • Wi-Fi and GPS built in
  • 1cm macro mode
  • Easy panoramic mode
  • Available in black, white and red

Nikon Coolpix S9700 Handling

Nikon Coolpix S9700 White (7)

Handling - The S9700 feels well built with a metal body and stylish chrome touches to the top and front of the camera. Build quality appears to be good with the camera featuring a metal tripod socket, although the location isn't ideal as it's close to the edge of the camera. 

A bar at the front of the camera gives your hand something to hold onto, along with a rubber grip on the rear for your thumb. Apart from this, the camera does feel quite smooth, and slippery so we would recommend using the provided wrist strap. On top of the camera is the pop-up flash, on/off button, shutter release button surrounded by the zoom rocker, as well as the mode dial. The mode dial makes it easy to switch modes, and a large video record button makes it easy to quickly start recording. On the back is the playback, GPS, scroll wheel / 4-way controller with middle OK button, menu and delete buttons. The 4-way controller gives access to the self-timer, flash, exposure and macro. 

The screen is a good resolution with 921k dots and is an OLED LCD screen, meaning the screen is bright and with an anti-reflective coating is easy to see even outdoors in bright sunlight. 

Nikon Coolpix S9700 White (1)

Menus – The menu system is easy to navigate and clearly laid out with clear easy to read text. The options are spread over several sections, including playback, setup, etc.

To make use of the Wi-Fi you need to download the Wireless Mobile Utility app to your smartphone or tablet (iOS or Android). This allows you to use your mobile device to download pictures from the camera to edit and share them. You can also use it as a remote release. A preview appears on your mobile device, you can control the zoom or set a timer. Other information appears on the screen, such as shutter speed, aperture, number of shots left and battery life.

Battery life - Battery life is rated at 300 shots according to Nikon / CIPA test results, which is quite good, although extended use of Wi-Fi and GPS is likely to drain the battery more quickly, therefore we would recommend a spare battery if you wish to shoot more, or use GPS and Wi-Fi regularly.

Nikon Coolpix S9700 White (8)

Speed - We took a number of shots to test the camera's responsiveness, from switch on to first photo, shot to shot, focusing speed etc. We take a number of shots and then use the average to ensure accurate and consistent tests, making it easy to compare with other cameras.

Shutter Response 0.05secs
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response 0.2secs
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response 0.2secs
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo 1.8secs
Shot to Shot without Flash 0.8secs
Shot to Shot with Flash 1.3secs
Continuous Shooting - JPEG
(shots before slow down)
6.8fps (5 shots)

Focus and shutter response are both very quick, and the camera has a quick continuous shooting mode, shooting at 6.8fps for 5 shots. 

Nikon Coolpix S9700 Performance

Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.

Nikon Coolpix S9700 Sample Photos


Sample Photos - Exposure is reliable and colours look very good from this camera, with bright saturated colours. Skin tones are good, and portrait photos taken with flash are free of red-eye. 

Nikon Coolpix S9700 Lens test images


Lens Performance - Images have good colour and reliable exposure with reasonable levels of detail into the corners, whether shooting wide-angle or telephoto shots. Dynamic range is quite good, and can be extended by using the D-Lighting option or alternatively you can set the camera to take and combine the images using the backlight / HDR function. Levels of purple fringing and chromatic aberration are kept low, with just a little visible in the far corners of images, or in areas of high contrast. Macro performance is very good with the camera focusing on subjects just 1cm away from the front of the lens. Overall images are a little soft, and we would have liked to see more detail. 

Nikon Coolpix S9700 ISO test images


ISO Noise Performance - ISO125 shows low levels of noise, with ISO200 and ISO400 also showing low levels of noise. Noise is still quite low at ISO800, however detail has dropped at this setting. Noise becomes more obvious at ISO1600, and detail drops again. ISO3200 shows additional noise, and detail drops further, however results may still provide usable if sharing on the web or resizing images. ISO6400 shows the highest level of noise, and this setting is best avoided. 

Nikon Coolpix S9700 White-balance test images


White Balance Performance - Auto White Balance (AWB) performs well under tungsten light with a slightly warm result. The tungsten preset gives a more accurate result, and AWB performs well under fluorescent lighting. The fluorescent preset gives a slight magenta / orange colour cast. 

Panoramic | 1/1250 sec | f/3.7 | 5.2 mm | ISO 125
Panoramic | 1/1250 sec | f/3.7 | 5.2 mm | ISO 125

Panorama mode - The camera features an automatic panoramic mode, where you simply press the shutter release button and pan the camera from one side to the other. Results are reasonably good, and well stitched together, although the resolution is low.

Nikon Coolpix S9700 Digital filters


Digital Filters - There are a large number of different effects available from the "Effects" option on the mode dial, with examples shown above. The effects are available in playback editing as well.  

Video - Video quality is good with the camera recording full HD video at 30 or 25fps, with stereo sound and optical zoom. Some wind noise is picked up by the camera, as well as lens noise when using the optical zoom. 


Value For Money

The Nikon Coolpix S9700 is available for £269 which makes it very good value for money as one of the most affordable travel zooms with a 30x optical zoom lens. Alternatives to look at include the following cameras: 

Canon Powershot SX700 HS, 30x optical zoom, Wi-Fi, £277
Sony Cyber-shot HX60, 30x optical zoom, Wi-Fi, NFC, £319
Panasonic Lumix TZ60, 30x optical zoom, Wi-Fi, GPS, EVF, £339

You'll also need to buy a memory card and a case or bag to keep your camera safe and protected - have a look at our complete guide to camera bags.

Nikon Coolpix S9700 Verdict

The Nikon Coolpix S9700 offers a lot of camera in a relatively small, pocketable package. With a 30x optical zoom lens, a 3inch screen, high speed shooting, full HD video, manual controls, built-in Wi-Fi and GPS, there's not much more you could possibly want from a compact digital camera. In fact, there's only one other camera that offers more, in the form of a built in EVF in the Panasonic Lumix TZ60. The Nikon Coolpix S9700 is available for a very good price, being priced slightly less than the competition, and is available in a number of colours, including black, red and white. Images don't show as much detail as we would have liked to see, but colour and exposure are both good which should make the camera ideal for sharing images on social media websites such as Facebook. 


 
  The Nikon Coolpix S9700 offers a wide range of features that make it an ideal travel camera, including built-in Wi-Fi and GPS.

 

Nikon Coolpix S9700 Pros

30x optical zoom lens
2 year warranty
Good colour reproduction
Wi-Fi and GPS built in
Full manual controls
Good value for money
Good 3inch screen
1cm macro mode

Nikon Coolpix S9700 Cons

Soft images - detail could be better
Low resolution panoramic photos
Tripod position could be better

FEATURES  
HANDLING  
PERFORMANCE  
VALUE FOR MONEY  
VERDICT  

Nikon Coolpix S9700 Specifications

ManufacturerNikon
Lens
Max Aperturef/3.7 - f/6.4
35mm equivalent25mm - 750mm
Optical Zoom30x
Image Sensor
CCD pixels16Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)4608
Pixels (H)3456
Sensor TypeBack-lit CMOS (B.S.I.)
Sensor Size1/2.3inch
Sensor Size (width)No Data
Sensor Size (height)No Data
Aspect Ratio
  • 4:3
  • 16:9
  • 1:1
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor3in
Screen resolution921k dot OLED
Touch ScreenNo
Focusing
Min Focus1cm
Focusing modes
  • Autofocus
  • Face Detection
  • AF Tracking
  • Multi
  • Centre
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/4000sec
Shutter speeds longest8sec
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Aperture-Priority
  • Shutter-Priority
  • Manual
  • Scene modes
  • Program Variable
Metering
  • Centre-weighted - Average
  • Multi Pattern
  • Spot
ISO sensitivity125 - 6400
White balance
  • Auto
  • Manual
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Cloudy
  • Incandescent
  • Fluorescent
Exposure Comp+/-2
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting6.9fps
Video
Movie modeYes
Video Resolution
  • 1920x1080
  • 1280x720 720p
  • 640x480 VGA
Video FPS30p, 25p
Stereo SoundYes
Optical Zoom with VideoYes
Other Features
Image StabilisationYes
Interface
HDMIYes
USBUSB 2
Wi-FiYes
Storage
Card Type
  • SD
  • SDHC
  • SDXC
File Type
  • JPG
Power Source
Battery TypeRechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL12
CIPA Rating300
Box Contents
Box ContentsCamera Strap, Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL12, Charging AC Adapter EH-71P, USB Cable UC-E21
Dimensions
Weight232g
Width109.6mm
Height63.5mm
Depth34.5mm

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