Nikon Coolpix S100 Overview
Aimed at the fashion-conscious photographer who wants not just a camera, but an accessory that complements their visual style, the Nikon Coolpix S100 is a replacement for last year's Coolpix S80 model. Like that camera, it features an attractive body with a sliding lens barrier on the front that not only serves as a power control, and as protection for the lens when closed, but also gives the Coolpix S100 extremely clean lines when powered off. On its rear panel, an electrostatic touch screen display serves a similar purpose, negating the need for physical controls, and allowing a surface that's completely smooth.
At the heart of the Nikon Coolpix S100 is a backside-illuminated CMOS image sensor with an effective resolution of 16.0 megapixels. Backside-illuminated sensors place their circuitry on the rear (non-illuminated) side of the chip, leaving more space on the active side available for light-gathering, and thereby increasing sensitivity. The Nikon S100 offers sensitivities ranging from ISO 125 to 3,200 equivalents, with everything from ISO 125 to 800 equivalents available to an Auto ISO function. Total resolution of the S100's 1/2.3-inch type imager is 16.79 megapixels.
The Nikon S100's 0.8-inch thick body includes a Nikkor ED-branded 5x optical zoom lens, offering everything from a useful 28mm-equivalent wide angle to a moderate 140mm telephoto. Maximum aperture varies from f/3.9 to f/4.8 across the zoom range. There's also a 4x digital zoom function which provides an effective 560mm-equivalent telephoto when combined with the optical zoom, although like any digital zoom this extra reach will come at the cost of significantly reduced image clarity, since the camera is essentially just taking the center of an image shot at the camera's maximum optical zoom level, then scaling it up to full resolution and making some educated guesses as to the missing data (with more to guess as the zoom level increases). By default, the Nikon S100's lens can focus to just 20 inches (50 cm) at wide angle, and 40 inches (1 m) at telephoto, but a macro mode enables focusing as close as just 0.4 inches (1 cm) in the wide angle position.
The rear panel of the Nikon S100 is dominated by a large 3.5-inch Organic LED panel with a relatively high resolution of approximately 273,000 pixels (820,000 dots, with each pixel comprising adjacent red, green, and blue dots.) The S100's screen has an anti-reflective coating, and a five-level brightness adjustment. It's the same panel used in the preceding S80, but we understand that the electrostatic touchscreen overlay is now more responsive. Compared to resistive touch panels, electrostatic (or capacitive) panels have better light transmission, are more scratch-resistant, and generally have a longer operating lifetime. They're also less likely to react to accidental bumps, since they work by detecting minute differences in electrical charge across the surface of the panel when touched by a conductor such as a human finger.
The Coolpix S100 offers not only still-image capture, but also a high definition 1080p (aka Full HD; 1,920 x 1,080 pixel) video capture, which includes stereo sound. The S100 allows use of the optical zoom lens during video capture, enabling consumer videographers to better follow their subject as recording continues. There is also a multi-shot 3D still image mode, which automatically captures two frames as you pan across a scene, then combines them to create a single 3D image file of unspecified format. The Nikon S100 offers a selection of filter effects functions that cater to artistic types who don't want to sit in front of a computer editing their photos, although a list of these modes wasn't available at press time.
Images and movies are stored on Secure Digital cards, including the higher-capacity SDHC and SDXC types. The S100 also includes approximately 71MB of available internal memory, enough to capture a few of the most important shots, should you accidentally leave your flash card at home. Catering to transferring of images and movies to a computer, the Nikon S100 offers a USB 2.0 High Speed data connection. Power comes from a proprietary EN-EL19 lithium-ion battery pack, rated for approximately 150 shots on a charge, to CIPA testing standards. An optional EH-62G AC adapter is available for longer shooting sessions, if a power point is convenient.
The Nikon Coolpix S100 has dimensions of approximately 3.9 x 2.6 x 0.8 inches (99.0 × 65.2 × 18.1 mm) excluding projections, and weighs 4.9 oz. (138 g) including battery and SD memory card. The product bundle includes one EN-EL19 battery pack, both USB and video cables, an AC charging adapter, camera strap, and ViewNX 2 software CD-ROM.
The COOLPIX S100 will be available in the US market from mid-September 2011 in red, black, purple, and gold versions. Pricing is set at approximately US$300.