The Nikon S9100 is skinnier than a wafer that’s been run over by a steamroller (well, nearly) but it packs a mighty zoom range. Switch it on and an 18x optical lens protrudes Pinocchio schnoz-style out of its pocketably slim body. Impressive stuff if you’re looking for a camera that can snap a wide angle landscape one second and a close-up of a chirping bird in a tree the next.
Sharp as a tack
The S9100 has a brick-like sturdiness and a range of impressive hardware features too. The LCD is a particular strong point: with 921,000 pixels, it’s about as eyeball-slicingly sharp as a 3-inch screen can be, and that’s a real asset when reviewing your recent snaps. Also handy is the VR anti-shake tech, which physically shifts the sensor around to counter the effects of your wobbly hands. It means sharper shots, even at full zoom.
The highly sensitive back-illuminated CMOS helps too, and overall the S9100 delivers beautifully punchy shots, largely free from bothersome, grainy noise. The vivid, pop-out colours and clean crispness beat the photos served up by recently reviewed rivals the Fujifilm F550 EXR and Olympus SZ-30MR. Low light photos are a particular highlight, with noise kept to a minimum – there are two dedicated nighttime modes, so you don’t have to fool around with the settings too much to prepare for murky conditions.
In fact usability is a high point all round, with the range of scene modes and a no-nonsense menu system making the S9100 all but idiot-proof. More experienced photographers might have preferred a wider set of options (there’s no manual mode, and no support for shooting in RAW), but point-and-shoots don’t get much more point-and-shoot than this. And its HD video clips aren’t bad either.