Nikon Coolpix S80 review

Is beauty more than skin deep with the Nikon Coolpix S80?

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Nikon coolpix s80

In keeping with form over function the Coolpix S80 comes with a no-frills standard evaluative meter, which gives a good overall exposure balance for the majority of images, with an occasional tendency for slight over-exposure. Extreme situations fool it, but this is easily resolved by a half-press of the shutter button, locking the exposure and then recomposing or using AF/AE lock mentioned previously or by using the exposure compensation facility.

A camera like the Coolpix S80 is likely to mainly be used with its auto white balance setting selected, and it does a very good job. Scenes have an accurate and natural feel to them. There are also 5 pre-sets and a manual white-balance option should the need arise.

Overall, images are neutral with a natural contrast and the camera retains good shadow and highlight detail with minimal clipping. It is only at extremes this can be become a problem.

The 5 x optical zoom, a 35mm-175mm VR ED lens has a useful range, but would benefit from being wider at the lower focal-length - a 28mm equivalent would be ideal. Camera shake can be a serious issue with long telephoto lenses, but the 5-way vibration-reduction (VR) combination helps keeps this to a minimum.

With care it is possible to achieve good hand-held results at 1/8sec at the longest focal length. That is very impressive. Nikon has also included ED glass (used in Nikon professional lenses) to ensure images are clear and smooth with good resolution, but unfortunately colour fringing is still be a problem in some situations.

For a camera of this price noise is controlled exceptionally well through the ISO80 - ISO6400 range (ISO 3200 & 6400 files are limited to 3-million pixels) and images are still acceptable at the higher ISO settings. There is little evidence of detail 'smearing' but from ISO 1600 onward fine detail starts to lose definition due to the effect of noise-reduction. Edges appear to join smoothly together as opposed to having hard definition.

Overall the Coolpix S80 images would benefit from a small increase in sharpening, but to my mind that's better than them being too sharp as at least USM can be applied to taste. Some cameras have sharper images in the lower ISO range, but appalling image quality at the higher end. The Coolpix S80 gives images that are usable across its entire ISO range making it very practical.

Not surprisingly, the Coolpix S80 doesn't have a raw capture mode. Although this would allow users to extract more quality from images using their own noise reduction or sharpening techniques, but that would defeat the point of the Coolpix S80. It is camera about play and not work.

Tech Specs

Product TypeCompact Camera
Battery Size SupportedProprietary Battery Size
Maximum Video Resolution1280 x 720
Effective Camera Resolution14.1 Megapixel
Wide AngleNo
Product FamilyCoolpix S
HD Movie ModeYes
Memory Card SupportedSecure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) Card, Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC), Secure Digital (SD) Card
Image StabilizationOptical
Optical Zoom5x
Digital Zoom4x
Brand NameNikon
FeaturesFace Detection
Screen Size8.9 cm (3.5")
Video FormatsMPEG-4
Viewfinder TypeNo
Weight (Approximate)116 g
Image Sensor Size1/2.3" (6.16 mm x 4.62 mm)
Maximum Image Resolution4320 x 3240
Display Screen TypeOLED
Height62.6 mm
Width98.8 mm
Depth16.5 mm
Product SeriesS
Focal Length6.30 mm to 31.50 mm
Image FormatsJPEG
Focus ModesAuto
ManufacturerNikon Corporation
Product ModelS80
Product NameCoolpix S80 Compact Camera
Product LineCoolpix
Exposure Control

Programmed Auto

Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part NumberVMA651E1
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

High style meets high tech with the debut of the ultra- slim, Touch Control Nikon COOLPIX S80. A large, bright 3.5-inch Ultra-High Resolution (819,000-dot) Organic LED (OLED) Clear Color Display provides touch control of camera functions, and the display's wide viewing angle and anti-glare coating make for bright, brilliant image composition, viewing and sharing. The 14.1-megapixel S80 features a 5x Wide Zoom-NIKKOR ED lens, HD (720p) stereo sound movie recording and creative image editing functions, including the ability to write or draw on the image. The S80 also offers VR Image Stabilization and high sensitivity up to ISO 6400. In a variety of colors, the stylish COOLPIX S80 is as beautiful as the pictures it takes.

Package Contents
  • Coolpix S80 Compact Camera
  • Audio Video EG-CP16
  • AC Adapter EH-68P
  • Battery EN-EL10
  • USB Cable UC-E6
  • CD-ROM
Limited Warranty1 Year