For the most part, the Nikon Coolpix S9100 produces sharp images with accurately reproduced colours and contrast, and a large amount of fine detail recorded.
Keeping the pixel count down to a respectable 12.1MP and using back-illuminated CMOS technology has resulted in a camera capable of shooting at higher ISO settings than compact digital cameras could traditionally manage.
Photographs taken at sensitivities of up to ISO 400 show few signs of softening due to noise reduction, retaining fine details and accurate colours well.
Stepping sensitivity up to ISO 800 results in slight softening due to noise reduction, but this is only noticeable on close examination.
Colour saturation and detail are both lost at higher sensitivities, although the performance is still very impressive for a compact camera at ISO 3200, and the images should still make reasonable 9x6-inch photo prints if exposed correctly.
Two metering options are available, and the Matrix option does a good job in a wide range of conditions, although it's easily fooled by strongly backlit subjects and bright, overcast skies. As a result, these types of scenes may require positive exposure compensation to photograph.
A scene mode auto selector function removes the hassle of having to manually change scene modes from photo to photo.
Occasionally this automatic selection may choose an inappropriate scene mode, though. For example, on a dull, overcast day, the scene auto selector will sometimes switch to the night portrait mode, resulting in a long exposure.
Sensor shift image stabilisation mostly works well, although it can occasionally be difficult to achieve satisfactory sharpness at the long end of the zoom, even outdoors, in moderately good light. Due to this, it pays to take extra care when using the telephoto end of the zoom range to ensure there's as little camera movement as possible.
The Nikon Coolpix S9100's auto white balance works well in a wide range of conditions, leaving just enough colour cast to retain the atmosphere of the shot.
A good range of presets are provided for those times where more accurate colour is desirable, and a custom white balance preset can also be taken from a neutral surface.
Distortion can often be a problem with superzoom compact cameras like the Nikon Coolpix S9100. Strong barrel distortion can be seen in straight lines towards the edges of the frame at the wide end of the zoom range, which is quite common. At the telephoto end, there's still a little barrel distortion, although at a much less noticeable level.