We shoot a specially designed chart in carefully controlled conditions and the resulting images are analysed using the DXO Analyzer software to generate the data to produce the graphs below.

A high signal to noise ratio (SNR) indicates a cleaner and better quality image.

For more more details on how to interpret our test data, check out our full explanation of our noise and dynamic range tests.

The Nikon S3100 is compared with the Pentax Optio RS1500, Canon PowerShot A800 and the Nikon Coolpix S8200 which are in teh same price bracket.

Nikon Coolpix S3100 Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR)

The Nikon S3100 compares well with the Pentax Optio RS1500, Canon PowerShot A800 and Nikon Coolpix S8200 at the lowest sensitivity (ISO) settings.

All three cameras have the same sized sensor (1/2.3in), but while the S3100 and Pentax RS1500 have a pixel count of 14 million, the Canon A800 has 10 million pixels and the Nikon Coolpix S8200 16.79. Nevertheless, the Nikon S8200 rules the roost in the middle of the sensitivity range, while Pentax RS15 produces the cleanest images at the highest sensitivity settings.

Nikon Coolpix S3100 Dynamic Range

A high dynamic range indicates a better ability to reproduce a wide range of tones. These cameras do not produce raw files, only JPEGs which are automatically processed in-camera to produce the best image possible in the view of the manufacturer.

Nikon coolpix s3100 review dynamic range

Nikon coolpix s3100 review: dynamic range

Although the S3100 performs well, it cannot quite match the dynamic range of the Canon PowerShot A800 and Nikon Coolpix S8200 when sensitivity is pushed beyond ISO 200.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Head of Testing, Cameras

Angela (Twitter, Google+, website) is head of testing for Future's photography portfolio, writing and overseeing reviews of photographic equipment for Digital Camera, Photography Week, PhotoPlus, NPhoto and Practical Photoshop as well as TechRadar's cameras channel. Angela has a degree in photography and multimedia and prior to joining Future in October 2010 was Amateur Photographer magazine's technical editor.