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PMA 2010: Nikon Coolpix P100, S8000 Previews
by DCR Staff -  2/25/2010

We've already taken a look at the two new lenses Nikon launched for PMA 2010. Now we're scaling things down to give you a quick preview of two of their new compact cameras - the Coolpix P100 ultrazoom and the Coolpix S8000. Nikon's Steve Heiner gives us a video tour of the new features on each camera, and we managed to snag a few sample images with each one.

Nikon Coolpix S8000
The compact Coolpix S8000 packs a big zoom lens into a relatively pocketable camera body. Steve talks us through some of the notable features included in the S8000 using one of the new copper-colored models to demonstrate.

We had some shooting time with the Coolpix S8000 as well. In our sample image below, the camera does an admirable job with the exposure. At a reduced size for web or a small print, it's a nice photo. Leaves are visible in the shadows behind the dancers, and the colors are vibrant without being overly saturated.

At 100%, it's more evident that some aggressive noise-reduction is at work. In places with a mix of shadows and highlights, such as the side of the dancer's arm, pixel-peepers will spot some noise. We can assume that at higher ISO sensitivities, performance will continue to decline. That's about par for the course for a compact camera like this - and as a snapshot in dark, tricky lighting conditions, it's a very nice photo easily suitable for online sharing or 4x6 inch prints.

The design of the "S for Style" Coolpix S8000 takes a bit of a departure from past Coolpix compacts. In our second video, Steve talks us through some of the ideas behind the unique design.

Nikon Coolpix P100
Nikon's successor to the Coolpix P90, the P100, brings a little extra zoom to the table. It's also working with a back-illuminated CMOS sensor, opening up more possibilities like high-speed movie recording. Steve walks us through the feature set in our conversation with him about the camera.

I also spent a few minutes shooting with the P100 as the sun set on our festive Luau-themed scene. At wide angle in good light, the images from the camera are nicely detailed. Colors appear in the image almost exactly as I remember them in real life.

The Coolpix P100 sits very comfortably in my hand, compact enough for a bag or purse but substantial enough to grab onto. Up on the right shoulder of the camera is a mode dial, shutter release wth zoom lever, and the on/off switch. Note the dual microphones for stereo sound recording in 1080p HD video mode.

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At the time that we're publishing this, the entry-level D3000 DSLR is retailing for just over $450 on Amazon. So does the $399 Coolpix P100 compete with their least expensive interchangeable lens camera? Steve responds to that question in our second video.

Reviews on the way
Now that we're back at home base, we're gearing up to review the latest round of compact cameras from PMA. The Coolpix P100 and S8000 will definitely be two to watch out for, so stay tuned.