Nikon ambitiously claims that the Coolpix S9300 is perfect for any situation.
Thankfully the lens lives up to Nikon's hype, catering for everything from expansive landscape images to paparazzi-style telephoto shots. It also benefits from relatively wide maximum apertures, making it possible to take telephoto shots in lower light than some competitors, without camera-shake issues.
Additionally Nikon's effective vibration reduction system enables you to take sharp images at low shutter speeds, recording sharp photos at full zoom down to speeds of 1/60 second, if you have steady hands.
Autofocus is quick, accurate and quiet, while continuous shooting is speedy at 6fps. Focusing is slower at the telephoto end, especially in lower light, but is still good.
The Nikon Coolpix S9300 focuses well on macro subjects and feels responsive, and the flash is reasonable.
Both metering and auto white balance systems are reliable, performing well in a variety of conditions, both indoors and out. Saturation is also good, with rich but accurate colours and similarly punchy contrast levels.
Despite reliable metering, many images feature blown highlights and murky shadows, highlighting the Nikon Coolpix S9300's limited dynamic range in comparison with an SLR. The HDR mode somewhat addresses this, brightening shadows and darkening skies, but results are inconsistent.
Noise is another issue. Even at ISO 125 some noise is visible in daylight shots when viewed at 100 per cent, and fine details are smeared. Daytime images at ISO 400 are also a little noisy, while ISO 3200 is only suitable for small images.
The camera features a Night Landscape mode that takes several shots and merges them together to reduce noise. Although it successfully reduces noise, images are also very soft.
Overall sharpness is limited and images have a textured look when viewed at 100 per cent. Sharpness is low in telephoto images, although this isn't surprising, considering the generous zoom range. Distortion is generally not noticeable, although there is slight barrel distortion at 25mm.
The Nikon Coolpix S9300's HD video performance is a mixed bag. Picture quality is generally good, but the vibration reduction and autofocus systems can be slow to kick in, especially at longer focal lengths. Stereo sound quality is passable, but the sound of the lens zooming is obvious in quieter scenes.
The inbuilt GPS accurately logs locations and shows a real-time compass, but rapidly drains the battery in as few as 90 shots (and one 10 second video). For a camera designed for travel, this is very poor.
You can coax out around 200 shots out of it, but this is still low. Compounding the issue, charging takes a lengthy four hours.