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Nikon Coolpix S9300 Review

July 2012 | By Jeff Keller
Buy on Amazon.com From $275.25

The Nikon Coolpix S9300 ($349) is a compact, GPS-equipped travel zoom camera. It features an 18X optical zoom lens, 16 Megapixel CMOS sensor, a high resolution 3-inch LCD display, Full HD video recording and, of course, a GPS receiver.

The Coolpix S9300 is the follow-up to the S9100, which was introduced last year. I've put together this chart to compare the two cameras:

Feature Coolpix S9100 Coolpix S9300
Sensor 12.1 Megapixel (CMOS) 16.0 Megapixel (CMOS)
Lens range / zoom 25 - 450 mm (18X)
Image stabilization type Sensor-shift + digital Lens-shift
IS in movie mode Electronic Optical
LCD size/resolution 3' / 921,000 px
ISO range 160 - 3200 125 - 3200
Flash range (Auto ISO) 0.5 - 4.0 m (W)
1.5 - 2.5 m (T)
0.5 - 5.1 m (W)
1.5 - 3.0 m (T)
Continuous shooting (full res) 9.5 frames/sec 6.9 frames/sec
Built-in GPS No Yes (with compass)
Internal memory 74 MB 26 MB
Battery used EN-EL12
Battery life (CIPA standard) 270 shots 200 shots
Dimensions (W x H x D) 4.2 x 2.5 x 1.4 in. 4.3 x 2.5 x 1.3 in.
Weight (fully loaded) 214 g 215 g

So there you have the differences between the S9100 and S9300. Aside from the higher resolution sensor and GPS, there isn't much to choose between them. If you noticed, the battery life on the S9300 has dropped considerably (and this is with GPS turned off), which isn't what we like to see on new models.

As you might imagine, the Coolpix S9300 faces tough competition from the likes of Canon, Fuji, Panasonic, and Sony. How does the Coolpix S9300 hold up? Find out now in our review!

What's in the Box?

The Coolpix S9300 has an unremarkable bundle. Inside the box you'll find:

  • The 16.0 effective Megapixel Coolpix S9300 digital camera
  • EN-EL12 lithium-ion rechargeable battery
  • Charging AC adapter
  • Wrist strap
  • USB cable
  • A/V cable
  • CD-ROMs featuring Nikon ViewNX 2 and Reference Manual
  • 24 page Quick Start Guide (printed) + full manual on CD-ROM

The Coolpix S9300 has 26MB of built-in memory, which holds a grand total of two shots at the highest quality setting. Thus, you'll want to pick up a memory card right away, unless you have one already. The S9300 supports SD, SDHC, and SDXC cards, and I'd recommend a 4GB card to most people. Picking up a Class 6 or faster card will ensure the highest performance.

The S9300 uses the same EN-EL12 lithium-ion battery as its predecessor. This battery holds 3.9 Wh worth of energy which, while not wondrous, is still average for this class. Here's how the camera compares to other compact travel zooms in terms of battery life:

Camera Battery life
(CIPA standard)
Battery used
Canon PowerShot SX260 HS * 230 shots NB-6L
Fuji FinePix F770EXR * 300 shots NP-50A
Nikon Coolpix S9300 * 200 shots EN-EL12
Olympus SZ-31MR iHS 200 shots LI-50B
Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS20 * 260 shots DMW-BCG10
Pentax Optio VS20 200 shots D-LI122
Samsung WB850F * 200 shots SLB-10A
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX20V * 320 shots NP-BG1

* Built-in GPS

Battery life numbers are provided by the manufacturer, and are calculated with the GPS turned off.

As you can see, the Coolpix S9300 is tied for the worst battery life in its class, along with the Olympus and Samsung cameras. Therefore, I'd highly recommend picking up a spare battery. A Nikon-branded EN-EL12 will set you back at least $29.

The Coolpix S9300's battery is charged internally, over its included (proprietary) USB cable. You can use an included AC-to-USB adapter to charge, or just plug the camera right into your computer. Don't plan on charging when you're in a hurry, as it takes almost four hours to fully charge the battery. Internal battery charging also prevents you from charging a spare battery separately - you'll need to get the external charger listed below for that.

There are just two optional accessories available for the Coolpix S9300. The first is the MH-65 external battery charger (priced from $38). This fills up the battery in 2.5 hours (still not that fast) and also allows you to charge a spare. The other accessory is the EH-62F AC adapter (priced from $29) which let you operate the camera while plugged into the wall, unlike the included USB charger.

Bundled software includes Nikon Transfer and ViewNX 2, both of which run on Mac and Windows. Nikon Transfer does just as it sounds - it moves your photos and movies from the camera to your computer. ViewNX 2 is a pretty standard image organizer, with a good set of editing tools. You can adjust things like sharpness/contrast/brightness/and color, brighten shadows, straighten a crooked photo, remove redeye, or reduce chromatic aberrations.

The manual for the Coolpix S9300 is split into two parts. In the box there's a 24-page 'Quick Start Guide' in the box, which is enough to get you up and running. For more details, you'll have to load up the full manual, which can be found in PDF format on an included CD-ROM. The quality of the manuals is better than average - it's too bad that you have to load it up on your PC to read it, though. Documentation for the included software is installed onto your computer.

This review was first published at www.dcresource.com, and is presented here with minimal changes, notably the inclusion of a full set of product images, our usual studio comparisons and an expanded samples gallery, plus the addition of a standard dpreview score.


If you're new to digital photography you may wish to read the Digital Photography Glossary before diving into this article (it may help you understand some of the terms used).

Conclusion / Recommendation / Ratings are based on the opinion of the reviewer, you should read the ENTIRE review before coming to your own conclusions.

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DPReview calibrate their monitors using Color Vision OptiCal at the (fairly well accepted) PC normal gamma 2.2, this means that on our monitors we can make out the difference between all of the (computer generated) grayscale blocks below. We recommend to make the most of this review you should be able to see the difference (at least) between X,Y and Z and ideally A,B and C.

This article is Copyright 2012 and may NOT in part or in whole be reproduced in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from the author.

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