Nikon Coolpix S100 Digital Camera Review

The Nikon Coolpix S100 is a compact digital camera with a 16 megapixel sensor, 5x optical zoom and 3.5 inch OLED touch screen. Daniel Bell gives his verdict.

| Nikon Coolpix S100 in Compact Cameras
BUY NOW NIKON Coolpix S100

Nikon Coolpix S100 Digital Camera Review: Nikon Coolpix S100 Angled
Nikon Coolpix S100 Angled

The Nikon Coolpix S100 was released in August 2011 and is designed to be both high-tech and stylish. It is available in black, pink and red for £179.95.

Nikon Coolpix S100 Digital Camera Review: Nikon Coolpix S100 Front
Nikon Coolpix S100 Front

Nikon Coolpix S100 Features

The S100 has a 16 megapixel back illuminated CMOS image sensor and a 5x optical zoom lens which is a 35mm equivalent of 28-140mm. To help take blur free photos the camera has Hybrid VR (Lens-shift and Electronic Vibration Reduction), ISO up to 3200 and Best Shot Selector (BSS). There are also dedicated light modes, including Backlight scene mode with Auto HDR, Night Portrait and Night Landscape.

Other modes include Easy Panorama 360°/180°, 3D shooting mode and High speed continuous shooting at 8 fps. The camera can also be charged by USB when connected to your computer or by an AC wall plug.

The camera records videos in full 1080p HD with stereo sound, optical zoom and autofocus available during recording. Videos can also be recorded in slow or fast motion using recording speeds from 15 to 240 fps. To view your videos the camera has a built-in HDMI connector with HDMI-CEC support for output to an HDTV.

Nikon Coolpix S100 Digital Camera Review: Nikon Coolpix S100 Top
Nikon Coolpix S100 Top

Key Features

  • 16 megapixel back illuminated CMOS image sensor
  • 5x optical zoom lens (35mm equivalent: 28-140mm)
  • Hybrid VR (Lens-shift and Electronic Vibration Reduction)
  • Compact body 18.1 mm body
  • 3.5 inch OLED (819K-dot) touch screen
  • Multi-touch control
  • 3D shooting mode
  • Clear, easy-to-use menu
  • ISO 125 - 3200
  • Best Shot Selector (BSS)
  • Dedicated light modes
  • High speed continuous shooting at 8 fps
  • 1080p full HD movie recording with stereo sound, optical zoom and autofocus
  • Film in slow or fast motion
  • Easy Panorama 360°/180°
  • USB and AC charging
Nikon Coolpix S100 Digital Camera Review: Screen | 1/200 sec | f/13.0 | 35.0 mm | ISO 100
Nikon Coolpix S100 Screen

Nikon Coolpix S100 Handling

The S100 is certainly the kind of camera you'll be happy to carry around with you when out socialising and at just 18.1mm deep, it is easily slim enough to carry in your pocket. On the rear of the camera is a 3.5 inch OLED touch screen which has Nikon’s Clear Colour Display technology to minimise reflections and a glass cover protects against scratches. The touch screen is very responsive and is used to control just about everything. There is a shutter release button, indeed the only button on the camera, but the camera can take pictures by simply pressing on the screen. The camera is switched on and off by the front sliding panel, which also acts a lens cover when the camera is off.

The camera has menus which are well laid out and simple to navigate. The camera is let down by its battery, which has a CIPA rating of just 150 shots. Carrying a spare is highly recommended. The camera is ready to take pictures within a couple of seconds of switching on and the camera is quick to focus. During test the camera was able to shoot 16 megapixel images at 5 fps in Continuous Shooting H mode, with 1.3 fps achieved by Continuous Shooting L.

Nikon Coolpix S100 Digital Camera Review: Nikon Coolpix S100 Battery
Nikon Coolpix S100 Battery

Nikon Coolpix S100 Performance

Detail in images when viewed at full size have a good amount of detail in them when shooting at both ends of the lens. Images are well exposed and have excellent colour reproduction, although there is vignetting visible, particularly when shooting against light backgrounds. The lens has a minimum focus distance of just 1cm and takes an excellent, well detailed, macro image.

Nikon Coolpix S100 Lens test images

There is no noise at ISO 100 with just a touch appearing in images at ISO 200. Images are slightly softened at ISO 400 with noise really starting to have a significant effect on image quality at ISO 800. There is plenty of noise at ISO 1600 and ISO 3200, with images produced best used on the web. Despite an increase in noise, colour reproduction isn't effected much at all at high ISOs.

Nikon Coolpix S100 ISO test images

The sample images below are great examples of the colour reproduction quality from the S100. Landscapes have excellent blues and greens. Portraits have good skin tones, with a hint of red-eye. Portraits can be further enhanced in playback mode. Using glamour retouch you can soften the skin, make the face look smaller and enlarge the eyes.

Nikon Coolpix S100 Scene modes

Nikon Coolpix S100 Digital Camera Review: Panoramic | 1/500 sec | f/3.9 | 5.0 mm | ISO 125
Panoramic | 1/500 sec | f/3.9 | 5.0 mm | ISO 125

Auto white-balance produces consistent results, as can be seen under our studio lighting. Under the incandescent lights, very similar images are produced whether using the AWB or incandescent presets. Under the fluorescent lighting the fluorescent preset produces an image with a slight orange cast.

Nikon Coolpix S100 White-balance test images

Although no filter effects can be added when shooting, during playback you can enter the Retouch Menu, where you can add filters such as selective colour, soft focus, miniature and many more. Examples of some of these are below. Other options available are Glamour Retouch, D-Lighting, Stretch, Perspective Control and more.

Nikon Coolpix S100 Digital filters

Video Mode

Below is an example video shot at full 1080p HD. Optical zoom can also be used during recording, with an example on the ePHOTOzine Youtube page. The S100 can also shoot high-speed videos at 240fps although it is limited to QVGA quality, an example can be seen here.

Value For Money

The Nikon Coolpix S100 is currently available for £179.95. Other cameras with a 16 megapixel sensor and 5x optical zoom are the Canon PowerShot A3300 IS at £104.00, Sony Cybershot W570 at £124.95, Fujifilm FinePix Z900 at £139.95, Sony Cybershot WX7 at £184.95 and Samsung MV800 at £199.00.

Nikon Coolpix S100 Verdict

The S100 is packed with full 1080p HD video recording and takes 360°/180° panoramics using the sweep method. On occasion there is some vignetting visible, the battery has a short life expectancy and noise effects image quality from ISO 400. The touch screen is one of the most responsive we've tested at ePHOTOzine. Overall the Nikon Coolpix S100 is a featured packed, stylish digital compact camera which is capable of taking great images.

Nikon Coolpix S100 Digital Camera Review:
The Nikon Coolpix S100 is a stylish camera which takes superb images.

Nikon Coolpix S100 Pros

1080p full HD movie recording
Excellent colour reproduction
Image editing options in playback
Responsive touch screen
Easy Panorama 360°/180°
Slim design
Minimum focus distance of 1cm

Nikon Coolpix S100 Cons

Short battery life
Vignetting visible
Noise effects image quality at ISO 400


Nikon Coolpix S100 Specifications

Max Aperturef/3.9 - f/4.8
35mm equivalent28mm - 140mm
Optical Zoom5x
Image Sensor
Pixels16Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)4608
Pixels (H)3456
Sensor TypeCMOS
Sensor Size1/2.3 inch
Sensor Size (width)6.16mm
Sensor Size (height)4.62mm
Aspect Ratio
  • 4:3
  • 16:9
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor3.5in
Screen resolution820,000 dots
Touch ScreenYes
Min Focus1cm
Focusing modes
  • Autofocus
  • Manual
  • Face Detection
  • AF Tracking
  • Centre
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/1500sec
Shutter speeds longest4sec
Bulb modeNo Data
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Scene modes
  • A
  • Centre-weighted - Average
  • Centre Spot
ISO sensitivity125 - 3200
White balance
  • Manual
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Cloudy
  • Incandescent
  • Fluorescent
  • Flash
Exposure Comp+/-2
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting8fps
Movie modeYes
Video Resolution
  • 1920x1080 FullHD
Video FPS30fps
Stereo SoundYes
Optical Zoom with VideoYes
Other Features
Image StabilisationYes
Card Type
  • SD
  • SDHC
  • SDXC
File Type
  • JPG
Power Source
Battery TypeEN-EL19
Battery Life (CIPA rating)150shots
Box Contents
Box ContentsCamera Strap AN-CP19, Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL19, Charging AC Adapter EH-69P, UC-E6, EG-CP16 and ViewNX 2 CD-ROM

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