The S9 comes equipped with stop-motion and time lapse video options, but
ultimately offers more style than substance.
Another area that Nikon ignored is no manual exposure for this camera. The only options that we found were changing the ISO settings and a + or - 2EV setting. There are also specialized scene modes to assist with better shadow detail and highlights, but these are still a far cry from full-blown manual exposure and it's a shame that this feature wasn't considered. A lack of manual controls is typical in too many "casual cameras" these days -- a manual aperture and shutter setting should be easy enough to incorporate, and there is really no good reason to omit this feature set.
On a full charge, the S9 recorded about 250 shots, which was a little disappointing. Even with all of the photo chimping that goes on with digital cameras, many competitive models will give a much higher picture count per charge, per CIPA ratings. If this is a vacation camera, you'd be wise to bring an extra battery and the charger with you. It should be noted that the user manual advises having a full charge if you're shooting the stop-motion video or time lapse video projects.
Because of the very small size and lack of optical viewfinder, holding the S9 steady when shooting proved difficult. Add to this the lack of image stabilization and it becomes a very serious detraction for the camera. In our field tests, we had several frames that would be considered unusable because of blur caused by camera shake. This is, of course, more pronounced at longer focal lengths, but is apparent all the way through the camera's zoom and ISO settings. The camera does have an anti-shake warning, but outside of telling you that you may experience camera shake while shooting an image, it does little or nothing to improve the situation.
The Nikon Coolpix S9 is not for the serious shooter. It truly feels that style matters more than substance. Even though we really liked the video and panoramic features, the camera itself seems rushed and poorly thought out. On the up side, it is a good-looking addition to your pocket and has a simple, elegant design. We'd also like to see some of this camera's features, such as the panoramic mode and time lapse mode, added to some of the higher-end Nikons. Since this is something that most image editing software is capable of doing now, it would be amazingly convenient to be able to overlay the image when shooting panoramas on a D200. Or set the camera to shoot a particular number of frames and leave it. For now, we can only dream.
• 6.1MP Ultra compact point and shoot with LCD viewing.
• 38-114mm f/3.5 - 4.3 EDIF lens
• 2.5 inch LCD (153,600 pixels)
• Media Type: SD cards
• 15 exposure modes
• 115g (4.1 oz.) without battery and memory card
• Approx 90.5 x 58 x 20.4mm (3.6 x 2.3 x 0.8 in)
• Lithium-Ion battery that's good for at least 250 images
• Street price: $207.00 US
In the Box:
• USB Cable UC-E6
• Audio Video Cable EG-CP-14
• Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL8
• MH-62 Battery Charger
• PictureProject CD-ROM