Long zoom lens cameras have supplanted using sensors bursting with megapixels to the point-and-shoot market. The CoolPix ranges of Nikon cameras have increased their likeability with a wide range. Extending the zoom to a whole new level comes the new Cool Pix S 9700 from Nikon. Let’s take a look at the S 9700 in depth.
The S9700 features a 1/2.3-inch 16-megapixel CMOS sensor. Its lens uses the optical lens-shift and electronic Vibration Reduction (Nikon’s name for image stabilization) to keep things steady, and has an aperture range of f/3.7-6.4. The camera has a stunning shutter speed of 1/2,000th of a second, and it goes higher depending on the mode you’re in. Top burst mode is 5 shots that flaunts 6.9 frames per second. The ISO of the camera ranges from 125 to 1,600, but you have the option of 3,200 and 6,400 in PASM modes. The camera also records Full HD 1080p movies at 30 fps. Nikon has also introduced the new Dynamic Fine Zoom feature. The company claims that this feature maintains a section of high image quality in the first 2x of digital zoom.
The S 9700 also has hints of the new technology incorporated within it. The camera has in-built Wi-Fi which is quite a welcoming features.
The camera can transfer images to your iOS and Android smart phones/tablets. The Wireless Mobile Utility application comes in handy for easy file transfer. You can also use the camera remotely with the use of the app. Although, there are limited options to control your camera using your phone, you can still adjust the zoom, activate the self-timer, and fire the shutter. Admittedly, Nikon is a few steps behind the competition in its Wi-Fi implementation. There is unfortunately no way to post files directly to social networks from the camera unlike Canon, Panasonic models. The camera also has integrated GPS. The GPS, when enabled adds geographic coordinates to your photos. Most of the photo sharing sites and workflow applications will recognize that data and display your photos on a map. The GPS locks onto a signal in about 40 seconds, and the camera has its own world map that displays nearby landmarks. With fine and robust features included in this camera, its lens is somehow slow and not smooth. This camera has not direct Wi-Fi button not is there near-field communication (NFC) for quick pairing.
Design, Display and Handling:
The S9700 is slim enough for most pockets, measuring 2.5 by 4.3 by 1.5 inches (HWD) and weighs 232 grams. With rounded edges and a ridge in front of the camera that provides an easy grip, it is quite pleasing to hold. The lens is a 30x (25-750mm f/3.7-6.4 equivalent) design. On top of the camera’s plate, you will find a retractable flash that rises automatically when it's enabled. The camera has a power button, shutter release and zoom rocker, and a mode dial. Other control on the camera’s rear panel is a dedicated button for video recording. It is located near OLED display. The control dial has four directional controls that control flash output, exposure compensation, macro focus mode, and self-timer. On the center, is an OK button , a World Map button as well as a standard playback, delete button as well as menu controls.
The mode dial on the camera has Manual, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, and Program modes, as well as a fully automatic setting. There is a position for Scene mode, color filter, Smart portrait setting etc. This camera lacks the filter mode that you find on other cameras. However, you can apply filters to any photo you've shot. By default, the camera prompts the user after each image and users can always apply filters when reviewing images on the card.
The camera has a 3-inch OLED rear display with a 921k-dot resolution. The display is quite sharp and has no issues while using it outdoors under harsh sunlight. The display lacks touch input. It is a little disappointing because, most cameras in the same range possess the touch feature. Overall, this isn’t the best point-and-shoot camera, but considering its feature additions and size, it makes a fine companion.
The Nikon Cool Pix S9700 has a starting and shooting time of just 1.8 seconds. Its lock focus and fire range is 0.1 second. With a few continuous shooting modes; one captures a burst of five full-resolution images at 5.7fps, and it can also shoot continuously at 1.2fps. The camera also has a few more additional burst modes that have been adapted from the Nikon 1 series camera. One of the notable additions is the 60 and 120fps burst modes at reduced resolution, as well as a Best Shot Selector that captures images as long as you hold the shutter button down and saves the one that the camera feels has the best composition and focus. The camera also has a Pre-Shooting cache setting that constantly buffers 1-megapixel images from the Live View feed, so you can capture action a moment after it has passed by holding down the shutter button.
Even at ISO 800, the camera manages to keep the noise well under 1.5 percent. It takes a leap from 1.4 percent to 1.7 percent at ISO1600 and performs quite well there. The video recording at 1080p30 quality is also sharp and attractive. You would love the sharp and vibrant details, however you might notice some rolling shutter effects on the camera while movement.
The camera has PASM (Program, Auto, Shutter Priority and Manual) modes. With -2EV to +2EV compensation, it is pretty standard. There are a few shooting modes too including; Back Light, Beach, Black and White Copy, Close Up, Dusk/Dawn, Easy Auto Mode, Fireworks, Food, Landscape, Museum, Night Landscape, Night Portrait, Panorama, Party/Indoor, Pet Portrait, Portrait, Scene Auto Selector, Snow, Sports and Sunset. Definitely worth giving all the modes a shot.
Battery, memory and connectivity:
The camera is powered by a EN-EL12 Rechargeable Lithium-Ion Battery Pack. This battery is claimed to yield around 300 shots on a charge. The camera supports SD/ SDHC and SDXC memory cards and has an internal memory of 329 MB. The camera has Micro HDMI port connectivity (for HDTV connection) along with a Micro USB port (can be used as a charger) and there is an AC adapter to charge the battery directly.
The camera has a sharp lens and its image quality is impeccable even at higher ISO levels. You might also like the in-camera image filters as well as the 5.7 fps capture mode. The S 9700 has an incredible 30 X zoom which is quite outstanding. The Sharp LCD as well as the Wi-Fi and GPS make this camera quite desirable. However, the battery life is pretty short and the Wi-Fi should have been more functional. Overall, the S 9700 packs a great deal with a compact body. If you are looking for pocket friendly cameras with great zoom, this might be it.
Nikon Coolpix S9700 Rivals:
Nikon Coolpix P600
Sony CyberShot DSC RX100
Sony CyberShot DSC WX350
Canon PowerShot SX700
At the time of writing this article, the best available price for Nikon Coolpix S9700 in India is Rs.15030/-. The price will be updated regularly in this page.