Skip to main content

Nikon S3100 review

A great little compact camera with 5x zoom and HD video

Nikon Coolpix S3100
Available in seven colours, the Coolpix S3100 is just 18.4mm thick and has few controls


  • Stylish, slim and pocket-sized
  • Easy to use point-and-shoot


  • Closest focus 10cm in macro, LCD has limited viewing angle, limited control for enthusiasts

Announced in February 2011, the Coolpix S3100 is aimed at users who want a shirt-pocket-sized camera that makes life simple. So simple, that while there are 18 scene modes to choose from, the S3100 has an Auto Scene Selector mode, so even this decision can be left to the camera.

Exposure control is limited to compensation (to +/-2 EV in 1/3EV steps) and there's no option to adjust the metering mode.

With an equivalent focal length of 26-130mm, the S31000's lens has a versatile 5x zoom range, suited for general photography on days out and at social events etc.

Nikon has given the S3100 four means of reducing image blur, the first of these is a high sensitivity setting, up to ISO 3200. In Auto mode (which gives the user the greatest level of control) the sensitivity may be set in the range ISO 80-3200. There's also Electronic VR (Vibration Reduction) which is designed to reduce the effect of camera shake and Motion detection which aims to compensate for camera and subject movement. Finally, Best Shot Selector (BBS) automatically selects the sharpest of up to 10 sequential shots.

To help get better portraits the S3100 has Nikon's Smart portrait system which incorporates Smile Timer, to take the shot when the subject smiles, Blink Proof to warn when someone's eyes are closed in the shot, and Skin Softening which automatically smoothes uneven skin tones.