Nikon Coolpix S800c Review
Body and Design
Despite its Android underpinnings, the Coolpix S800c looks about the same as your typical zoom compact camera. It's sleek, mostly metal, and generally well put-together. The only real weak spot is one I've complained about many times before, and that's the plastic door over the memory card / battery compartment. Given its touch interface, it is no surprise to see that the S800c is light on buttons. The back of the camera has the three standard Android buttons (back, home, and menu), though I wish they were back-lit. The top of the camera has the power and shutter release buttons, as well as the zoom controller. Everything else is handled on the camera's large OLED display.
OLED displays also offer more vibrant colors and better viewing angles than their LCD counterparts. One thing that's sometimes less impressive is outdoor visibility - LCDs typically still do that better, in my experience.
The S800c's 25-250mm equivalent lens has a maximum aperture of F3.2-5.8 which isn't terribly impressive (it's not very 'fast', in photo terminology, in that it lets in less light than many competitive models in the $300-400 range), but it offers pretty decent versatility. As we'd expect from this style of compact camera, the S800c's lens is not threaded, so conversion lenses and filters are not an option.
The S800c does offer optical image stabilization though, which Nikon calls Vibration Reduction. This will reduce the risk of blurry photos, and it also smooths out your videos. There's a 'hybrid' VR option available, which adds electronic shake reduction into the mix, though as a consequence of the way in which it works, processing times will increase, and images may be noisier.
Other items of note on the front of the camera include the stereo microphones, and the AF-assist lamp for helping out in poor light. On top of the camera you'll see the power and shutter release buttons, as well as the zoom controller. If you quickly press the power button, the camera will enter standby mode, which will allow you to wake up the S800c without having to boot up Android. Once the standby time has expired (it's an hour by default), the camera will shut off. You can shut it off yourself by holding down the power button.
In your hand
As you can see, despite the high technology hiding inside, the S800c is a very small camera, of about the same size as a typical midrange compact. Although lightweight and portable, the lack of any sort of hand grip does make it a little uncomfortable to use single-handed. There's a contoured 'hook', of sorts, on the rear of the camera but this is partly formed by the three rear buttons on the right of the display, so don't grip too tightly...
The Coolpix S800c is indeed a compact camera, and one that'll travel in your pockets with ease. Here's how it compares to the same group of compact ultra zooms that I listed earlier:
(W x H x D, excluding protrusions)
|Volume (bulk)||Mass (empty)|
|Canon PowerShot ELPH 530 HS||3.4 x 2.1 x 0.8 in.||5.7 cu in.||130 g|
|Fujifilm FinePix F800EXR||4.1 x 2.4 x 1.4 in.||13.8 cu in.||212 g|
|Nikon Coolpix S800c||4.4 x 2.4 x 1.1 in.||11.6 cu in.||184 g|
|Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ5||4.1 x 2.3 x 0.8 in.||7.5 cu in.||120 g|
|Samsung Galaxy Camera||5.1 x 2.8 x 0.8 in.||11.4 cu in.||312 g|
|Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX30V||4.3 x 2.5 x 1.4 in.||15.1 cu in.||221 g|
The Coolpix S800c is pretty much straight down the middle in terms of both bulk and weight.
|Louvre Museum pyramid by Didier Quan|
|Oka Frozen Leaf 2002 DP by MarioSS|
from The Dead Leaves of Winter