Nikon CoolPix S8100 tips and tricks

Started Nov 16, 2010 | Discussions thread
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keeponkeepingon
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Nikon CoolPix S8100 tips and tricks
Nov 16, 2010

The Nikon S8100 is frustrating in that (for me) the interface is very unintuitive. From the 3rd screen of startup I've found myself having to refer back to the manual. I've owned a lot of cameras but never a Nikon, everything here may be obvious to any Nikon user, and indeed, most of the stuff below is all clearly laid out in the 220 page manual. However, if you are like me and only resort to the manual when you have to, these tips may save you some time:

1. If you have an iPhone the manual is downloadable from nikon.com and very viewable/searchable on iBooks.

The non-printable version is available without a serial number from:

http://www.nikonusa.com/pdf/manuals/noprint/S8100_ENnoprint.pdf

2. When setting your city/time zone hitting "up" on the control dial will set DST. There is a little symbol with a sun and a clock on the lower right hand side but I missed it until I got stuck and had to read the manaul.

3. When you start up the camera you are asked to enter your language, then your timezone then your local time. After setting the last setting, minutes, getting out of the local time screen stumped me. According to the manual, in order to get off the time screen you need to return to the first setting (DMY) then hit OK. Hitting OK on any other field including the last (most intuitive) one will not get you off the screen.

4. Be aware when you hit OK on the DMY screen the lens will extend. This surprised the heck out of me and I nearly dropped the camera. (if I read a line or two further in the manual I would have seen this).

5. Be aware there are two 12mp settings. When I looked at the menu options I thought there was only one 12mp setting and the starred one simply indicated the current selection. Looking at my pictures I was confused that many of my file sizes were between 2 and 3mp (my other 12mp camera creates 4-5mp files). It turns out that the first/starred 12mp setting has a a compression ration of 4 to 1, the second has a compression ration of 8 to 1. If you are unhappy with your pixel peeping check this setting.

6. ISO in auto mode is limited to a max of 800 ISO or 400 ISO depending on the mode. You can manually select ISO 1600 and 3200 but selecting the ISO is cumbersome (menu, scroll to ISO, hit right arrow, scroll to desired ISO, hit OK).

7. The content of the menu screen changes depending on what you have selected on the top mode dial. This stumped me because my sequence was: set menu options, try out auto mode, switch to scenes, play with control wheel, arrow keys trying to change scene modes, get frustrated, read the menu. I'm used to having a context sensitive menu but mostly when switching from playback to record mode.

8. On my computer (win xp, dual athlon 64 4200, nvidia 7900GS) the 1080P videos are unwatchable using programs such as picasa. I find I get the smoothest playback using Quicktime and setting the display to 1/2 size.

Ah the kids are up so I'll need to cut this short.

It'd be great to hear from S8100 owners any other tips on using the camera.

Thanks!

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Camera's I've owned:
Kodac DC210 DC3400
Canon S100* S50 SD780IS Rebel XT* Rebel T2i*
Casio EX-Z750 EX-Z850 EX-Z80 P505* EX-Z80
Nikon S8100
Pentax *ist DL*
Canon AE1*

= Still working

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