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on 10 August 2012
I finally worn out my poor Canon Powershot SX200 (I'm not a photographer but I take up to 200-300 pix a week as part of my work, plus nature photos at weekends, so I need something I can stuff into pockets, backpacks, handbags and briefcases). Convinced by the reviews on this site, I decided to give the S8200 a go.

I've given it 4 stars rather than 5 because the first one I received locked up when on full optical zoom - the entire camera froze, and the only way I could release it was to take the battery out. Nikon help line were great, and Amazon despatched the replacement before I'd managed to put the old one in the post to them! Then, the second one did it as well! But it's such a great camera, I decided to persevere, and with Nikon's help we managed to fix it by resetting the factory settings, and it's been fine ever since.

I don't much like Nikon's software for downloading and viewing - it's a cluttered screen and far more complicated to download than it needs to be, so I just use my old Canon software for that, but the Nikon software is very much better for editing.

But as for the camera itself, all I can do is echo some of the other reviews. The photos I've had from it so far are just stunning - I can't believe it was me that took them! I tested it out at a zoo, and even photos taken zoomed through grubby glass were awesome - it focused past the muck really well! The clarity and colour are amazing, and even I've found the settings and menus easy to work through. The macro shots are incredibly clear as well.

I'm not techie enough to go into the fine details of what the camera can do, and other reviewers have covered that really well, so read their comments and buy this camera. Despite the false start, this is the best compact camera I've owned, and I really do ask a lot of them.

Don't take too much notice of some people's comments about the flash popping up where you hold it. I've not had a problem with it. I guess it just depends on how much you need to grab your camera, but it's so light I often use it one handed anyway.

But do get a spare battery - it gets through them really quickly when reviewing on the monitor. The downloading using the USB cable is a bit hit and miss as well, so best get a card reader for that.

So, a great camera, despite a false start, and I'm glad I persevered with it.
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I am a semi pro who uses full-frame Nikon D700 and DX format D7000 DSLRs. I had a basic Coolpix before and wanted a pocket camera that I could take anywhere when I didn't want the burden of my normal camera. How many times have you heard someone say "but I didn't have a camera on me" when they miss a photo opportunity?

The spec of this S8200 is very impressive and it's solidly and reassuringly made, with nicely weighted controls. A big 3 inch screen, an impressive lens and a number of extra modes (inc good close-up) for the more adventurous photographer, all for a reasonable price make this an inspired choice. I have only taken well exposed, sharp photos - it refuses to let me down!

The lens is a real cracker - and I use some very expensive Nikon Nikkor lenses with my DSLRs to compare it with - not only the wideangle at its widest setting but all the way up through its 14x zoom, at all settings it shows good sharpness and distortion is very well controlled. The built in anti camera shake feature kicks in on long lengths and is really effective. Even the extra 2x digital zoom beyond the normal is surprisingly usable.

For those wanting more exposure control, there's a really useful and easy to use compensation button on the main rocker switch. Press once and a vertical chart pops up on screen and you can increment in 1/3 stops up or down up to 2 stops either way. Press OK and the screen clears and you shoot. The screen image brightens and darkens accordingly, so you know how much to change it by. However, you have to remember to reset it after as there's no visual reminder. I used it with against-the-light landscapes through tress and it made enough of a difference to use it and the fact that Nikon place such a prominence and ease of this feature, means that they've thought about who will be using it, including experienced snappers like me.

I used the Coolpix to record my father's 80th birthday - including a precious video of the cake being presented to him. I entrusted this important event solely to this tiny, discreet camera, whereas I could have used my professional gear but looked like a press photographer rather than a participating, loving family member. The video is simple to use, you can also zoom slowly whilst video recording, which helps for smooth recordings, not fast enough for a child charging around but fine for a person walking toward you - and with the autofocus coping well, even under artificial light indoors. You end up with reasonable sized files that can be easily uploaded onto facebook etc but still with good quality.

The charging in-camera is via an adapter and the USB cable, a bit fiddly, so I have bought a separate charger and spare battery, along with a Tuff-Luv camera case that was a bargain at a fiver. I also got from Amazon a 16gb Sandisk SDHC card that should allow quite long video recordings and thousands of photos.

I'm very happy with my new little silver marvel; whilst I won't be using it for pro use I am reassured that I must surely have one of the best compacts on the market and I'm one who is photographically very difficult to please!
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In the box
The camera comes neatly packaged in a commendably busy little box with a number of accessories and paperwork. You get:
= The camera
= A USB cable
= An AV cable
= A lanyard
= A rechargeable Li-ion battery
= A charger adapter
= A quick start manual
= A CD with Nikon's image processing software
= A second CD with reference information, including the detailed user manual.
= A veritable snow-drift of other bits of paperwork that can, for the most part, go straight into the recycling.

There is no SD card provided so you will need to buy one of these and neither is there a camera case.

The camera itself is about the size of a packet of cigarettes, but a little deeper and it slips into a pocket as easily as a small mobile phone. I was expecting something a lot bigger and bulkier. I'm sure that there are plenty of much more compact cameras on the market but this is no elephant by any means - certainly when compared to my elderly Canon 3xzoom model. It's light enough to be used comfortably one-handed but heavy enough to retain a nice heft.

Looks and layout
This is by no means a good looking camera. It's boxy and angular unlike its more ergonomic-looking cousin the COOLPIX L610. On the other hand it looks well engineered and is (in my opinion) at its best in the "traditional" black finish.

The top of the housing carries the zoom control, the on-off switch, the shooting mode setting wheel and the shutter button and on the left hand side of the top is a pop-out flash. The right hand side of the housing has a wee flap that gains access to the USB and HDML ports and below this is a lanyard loop. Underneath is a fitting for a tripod mount and another flap that provides access to the battery and the SD card port. On the front of the camera is the telephoto lens. When the camera is off, this is stowed away and it is quite comical to see the lens magically appear from such a small camera body.

On the back the camera is mostly LCD screen - it's a nice big one - but there are also a few familiar display and menu control buttons. Do bear in mind that there is no view finder. It seems that compacts these days don't have such devices and picture composition has to be done via the LCD screen. You can set the display up to show two horizontal and two vertical gridlines which will help you with framing, levelling and composition.

Getting started
Easy peasy lemon squeezy. It took me about five minutes from opening the box to getting a photo. Well, I exaggerate a little - I had to put the camera on to charge for about 20m to get a few electrons into the battery (full charge takes about 4 hours) but all that is needed apart from that is:

1. install the battery and SD card (assuming you have one to hand)
2. turn it on and set the language and date time
3. format the memory card (optional)
4. point and click and presto majesto, there you are!

Downloading the pictures to your laptop is equally simple. Attach the camera to the laptop via the supplied USB cable, wait for the laptop to download drivers from the web and watch as the photos are transferred from one to the other.

That's ALL you need to do to start taking and viewing photos.

LCD screen
Without a viewfinder, the screen is a critical piece of equipment. Fortunately it is big and easy to read. I haven't tried it in full sunlight yet (well it //is// October!) but in full daylight it is clear and bright and quite acceptable.

You can set up the screen to show gridlines which will help you frame the shot and keep the camera horizontal. The screen also shows information about the shooting mode and number of exposures available on the SD card.

Picture quality
My old 5MP camera produced what I though was quite acceptable photos (when printed off at 6x4 small) and the received wisdom was always that 5MP was quite sufficient for a good digital point-and-click camera. This is true I suppose but cropping a 5MP picture does push the final image quality to it's limits especially if you want to zoom in very close. Incidentally I think this is pretty much the gist of how "digital zoom" works - the camera basically crops and enlarges the image rather than actually zooming the lens. Which is why I have never bothered activating the feature - I do my cropping after downloading the photo. Anyway, cropping is where the big megapixel count comes into its own. You can crop a 16MP image (hyperbole warning) to your heart's content without a noticeable loss in quality in the final, small/medium format print. Clearly if you're displaying in large format you need to be a little more careful but at least at 16MP you have room for manoeuvre.

And yes, the images produced by the camera do appear to be of excellent quality - which is of course the important point. They are crisp, clear and colourful (and enormous). I will update this review after I've put some time in with the camera in different environments and played about with the images.

Auto focus works well and I suppose that the camera shake thingy does too - or maybe my hands aren't all that shaky.

The 14x zoom is a big plus and it increases the range of potential shots I can make over that which I could achieve with my Canon 3x. I don't know how best to describe this so I have added a couple of pictures as an example.

Annoyingly, this pops out automatically //right under your left hand index finger// so you will have to modify how you hold the camera to avoid interfering with the flash cube. The L610 seems to have solved this problem by placing the flash in the middle of the top side - a much better arrangement.

Taking photos inside the house in low light, the flash does a fine job, illuminating wide and far.

Image storage
I had an 8GB micro SD card going spare and an SD adapter (which is basically an SD card with a tiny little slot for the micro SD card), so I installed this and discovered that I had (at full reso) about 1000 shots to play with. This is overkill for me really - I tend to shoot and process pictures in batches of ten to fifty, depending on circumstances. Even on longish holidays, I can now transfer my photos to my Tablet for storage, backup and full size viewing at the end of the day's outings. Even the camera's internal memory of 90MB will take about 10-20 images at full resolution.

Of course once you start taking movies, then your card's capacity will begin to show. I rarely if ever use my camera for movies so I can't comment, however.

Image manipulation
Via the screen and menu system you can do basic tasks, such as view and delete images.

The camera comes with a CD providing Nikon's image import and manipulation software. I installed this and then wished I hadn't bothered. It's way too complex for me and I have no wish to learn how to use it (and it doesn't look THAT easy to use, at least to begin with). It is quite possible to import images onto your laptop, perform basic image processing functions (crop, resize, auto-adjust etc) with the software that comes with Windows, MS Office or even freeware off the net. As I mentioned earlier, I managed to do all these things with the most basic of software already on my laptop.

I have no doubt that the software is very capable and could be useful to pro or semi-pro photographers, but for my purposes it's just not necessary.

It's not a standard AA or AAA rechargeable, it's a dedicated/specialised unit and if it runs out in the field you won't be able to pop into the local corner shop to buy a replacement. So, buy a spare (or several!) - they're only about £6. You'll have to charge it in the camera and then find somewhere to store it, but it will save a good deal of embarrassment and annoyance.

Charging of the battery is done with it installed in the camera, which is handy, and you can also charge off your laptop (although the camera must be switched off, otherwise it won't charge).

As for battery life, well I haven't tested it to destruction yet but I took the camera out for a walk in the woods and got a bit snap happy. I took about 30 photos, several panorama shots and about four short videos and the battery icon ddn't change at all. The manual promises 250 shots at full res, so I suspect that battery life won't be too much of an issue for a casual snapper.

Other features & capabilities
The best feature is, I think, the Auto scene facility whereby the camera decides what sort of photo you're trying to take (landscape, portrait, indoors, outdoors, moving subject, blah blah) and selects the correct settings to optimise the picture. This works extremely well and takes a lot of the guess work (and putton pressing) out of casual photography.

As you might expect, the camera does have a number of "special" features (I'm sure most other makes can do very similar things). The camera will "recognise a smile" and automatically shoot when Grannie shows her gums at the sight of the fifteenth packet of Werthers Originals in her Christmas present haul. The camera can also recognise a pet and take an automatic pot-shot when Rover or Snuggles look at the camera. Whether they have to smile for this to happen is not explained, nor do Nikon tell us whether the camera will recognise a guinea pig, budgie or your reticulated python.

There's a rather nice panorama facility which allows you to take 180 or even 360 degree shots. This works very well and the images are very nice indeed. It is possible to see the join where the camera's software stitches individual images to make the whole, but the pictures are fine quality if a bit letterboxy. I've uploaded a picture to the camera's page by way of an example.

The movie camera facility seems fine - it's activated by a single on-off button on the back of the camera so it's easily selected, which I like.

The camera has a number of other settings, tailored to circumstances. It'll be a while before I can try them all out but one I had cause to play with recently was the "Fireworks" setting. This is quite effective and I think sets a long exposure to fill the image with lots of light and coulor. You do need a steady hand though. I've uploaded an image taken at our local bonfire night for your edification...

I don't have much experience with cameras or photography so it's hard to compare this with other current models. However, it seems to be a very capable compact camera; it does much what you would expect it to do and with no immediate vices or failings. It is certainly a big improvement over my old Canon 5MP 3x zoom (well, it bl00dy ought to be oughtn't it?) and it deserves at least a fence-sitting three star rating. It also compares well with the cheaper Nikon L610, where the main differentiator is the power-pack. I prefer the Li-Ion option of the S8200 and, feeling generous, I think I can bump the S8200 up to 4 stars without too much of a pang of conscience.
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on 6 July 2017
Still works well to this day and takes great pictures. Quality camera for the price.
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on 6 January 2013
Excellent point and shoot, particularly like the multishot function. only thing missing is a fully manual mode to allow for longer exposure times
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on 20 November 2012
Sick of delay in taking photos with other expensive digitals this one responds well. Very pleased good zoom as well
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on 29 November 2011
I am a DSLR user and owner/past owner of many cameras. My current pocket point and shoot/backup camera is a Canon Powershot SX210 IS. I bought the Nikon Coolpix S8200 mainly because of its backlit CMOS sensor (which is an improvement over the Canon's).
Since using the S8200, I have been very pleasantly surprised. First, the build quality appears to be solid, weighty and has a quality feel to it (although not too sure about the paint on the thumbwheel - bound to be susceptible to wear and tear). Secondly, the handling is pleasant and assured, with a DSLR feel. Thirdly, the image quality is very good for a point and shoot. Noise, the dreaded noise is well controlled when light is good, but noticable in low-light situations.
The biggest surprise to me is the way the camera takes pictures. It works entirely off auto or scenes, there is even an auto-scene setting which works like a dream. It automatically picks the scene settings, and the results are amazing; making taking pictures a breeze (because I no longer have to think about shutter speed, aperture, lighting etc...). There are no manual modes of any sort, and I can't even revert to my sometimes obsessive desires to control every aspect of a camera! What a joy.
I think Nikon has made a very good 'point and shoot' camera, if you just allow the camera to its own devices, it'll reward you with good pictures.
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on 18 June 2012
I bought this to replace a Fuji FinePix F500 which I eventually returned to Fuji because of the awful quality of the images it produced (despite being sent to them twice for investigation.)

The quality of the images is miles better than the Fuji, especially in low light conditions. I was a bit worried that there are no manual modes - everything is either automatic or done via "scenes" - but the Nikon seems to cope with pretty much everything I've thrown at it. There are loads of scene types, such as museum, sunrise, snow, beach, food, fireworks etc which cover everything you'll ever need. The night landscape mode is excellent at brightening up a gloomy image, even without a tripod. In continuous mode you can shoot up to 120 frames per second. You can create a B&W image with just one colour showing. The camera can take a picture when it detects someone smiling, or sees a cat or dog face. If the images aren't quite as bright as you'd hoped, you can easily adjust the exposure levels. Sports mode is ideal for taking pictures through a coach window as you're whizzing past scenery.

The screen is very difficult to see in bright light. All you can see is a reflection of your face. But then I've never seen a screen that's any better. And for reviewing your images, the screen is excellent. Even at the tiniest thumbnail size (72 images on the screen) you can easily identify your pictures. There's a lot of info on the screen when you're taking pictures (not that I ever look at any of it!) and it's all very easy to read.

This is a great little camera, whether you just point and shoot in auto mode, or investigate the myriad scene options. It starts up quickly, focusses well (there are several autofocus options), has vibration reduction, motion detection and a host of clever little features that make taking pictures a very enjoyable experience.

And mine is red - which is important!
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on 12 January 2012
Had my eye on the Canon S95, but in the end a surprise gift of a Nikon S8200 took the decision out of my hands and as a complete photographic amateur, I'm more than happy with the results. Its operation is so intuitive that the control freak in me has not even been persuaded to get the manual out of the box once! Everything is automatic, and it seems to read your mind and does what you want it to, without the need for manual settings at all!

As others have said, the colour fidelity is great, optical zoom effective, and the zoom operation is as rapid as I need it to be when focusing on a rapidly approaching or receding child (!), and the automatic settings responsive in all light conditions tried so far.

Panorama option is a fun addition to the repertoire, while the remaining usual selection of gimmicky effects that can be reproduced later in photoshop are all there for those that like their portraits in sepia etc...

I thought I'd miss not having an optical viewfinder, but the screen is still manageable even in sunny conditions for taking and viewing photos, and the screen resolution is superior to any others I've seen. I've even ventured into the world of macro, with beautifully clear results.
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on 6 July 2012
I bought this little camera to take on holiday with me. My partner has an older model of it, and, having used it, I was very impressed and wanted one of my own. I chose the red version, because I liked the colour and wanted something a bit brighter than the normal black or grey.

This did not disappoint. It's compact enough to pop in a handbag or pocket, and once set on the "automatic" setting, you can just take your pictures without having to do any more work, as the camera selects the best setting for you. You can, of course, choose from an extensive menu yourself, ranging from landscape to portrait, night settings and close ups (and many more). I just haven't got that far yet! It also takes vidoes, apparently, but I have not tried that.

I'm delighted with my holiday photographs, every one is crystal clear with gorgeous lifelike colours. The camera coped with pictures in bright sunlight, in caves, on boats and in towns by night without my having to fiddle about with it. I bought a memory card to go with it, and it still has tons of space left. Battery life is good, it lasted the whole of my holiday with only 1 recharge to top it up - the bettery was getting low but wasn't exhausted after over 250 pictures.

I am sure that I will be taking this camera out and about with me a lot more, and that I will be taking loads more photos in future.

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