Nikon Coolpix S5100 review

A tiny compact that's ideal for snapping on the fly

Nikon coolpix S5100
The Nikon coolpix S5100 isn't too pricey, but you still might want to spend a little more to get a better model

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The S5100 might not be rocking any out of this world features, but it's a solid little camera – particularly when you consider the sub-£150 price. It's small, it's light, and it takes good-quality pictures as long as you can stand the odd spot of purple fringing.

There's no manual mode, and while that's disappointing for purists, for beginners it simply means there are no complicated settings to get to grips with: just the zoom toggle and shutter release button. More complex features, such as the optical image stabilisation and face-detection, work so well they barely require any thought at all to use effectively.

The unfussy design also wins our hearts: this might not be a stunning camera to look at, but everything falls easily to hand. And, while the all-plastic build might not be inspiring, it's likely the S5100 will survive its fair share of mistreatment.

We're less convinced by the rather dull video mode, which produces quite flat results, and there's no doubt that those who want a camera that will grow with their photographic skills should look for something a bit more involving, such as the Samsung WB600.

But for those who want nothing more than a camera that produces competent results without the taxing nomenclature of apertures and f-stops, the S5100 is a very solid choice.

Dave is a professional photographer whose work has appeared everywhere from National Geographic to the Guardian. Along the way he’s been commissioned to shoot zoo animals, luxury tech, the occasional car, countless headshots and the Northern Lights. As a videographer he’s filmed gorillas, talking heads, corporate events and the occasional penguin. He loves a good gadget but his favourite bit of kit (at the moment) is a Canon EOS T80 35mm film camera he picked up on eBay for £18.