Nikon Coolpix S9700

Australian T3 - - RATED -

$449, mynikon­

A sight­see­ing ex­pert with a big zoom lens at a low price

We’re firmly back in the fixed-lens com­pact cam camp here, with Nikon’s 16-megapixel 1/2.3-inch CMOS sen­sor and 25-750mm lens match­ing up well along­side the other trav­ellers on test. What sets this apart from the rest of the tourist crowd? The stan­dard is­sue 30x op­ti­cal zoom, which can be ex­tended to a 60x reach us­ing the Dy­namic Fine Zoom func­tion. It still shoots at max­i­mum res­o­lu­tion, but you’ll have to hold in­cred­i­bly still to avoid blur – we sug­gest at­tach­ing a tri­pod if you want to pick out de­tails like an­i­mals or land­marks from afar.

Max­i­mum lens aper­ture is again a so-so f/3.7 but, as you’re prob­a­bly begin­ning to re­alise by now, that’s stan­dard for com­pact shoot­ers that tend to con­cen­trate more on lens reach than bright­ness. Nikon also lim­its the top light sen­si­tiv­ity set­ting here to ISO6,400, another com­mon com­pact cam­era short­com­ing, but it’s far from ideal if you’re plan­ning to shoot out of the sun.

Pho­tos and 1080p videos are com­posed with the aid of the rear dis­play. It’s not a touch­screen, but it is OLED, giv­ing you an al­most life-like win­dow to compose your shots through. On-screen menus are easy to navigate, if un­nec­es­sar­ily ba­sic at times.

There’s more here to get to grips with than on the av­er­age point and shoot, though, with a full com­ple­ment of pro­gram, shut­ter pri­or­ity, aper­ture pri­or­ity and man­ual shoot­ing modes, match­ing or bet­ter­ing the oth­ers for creative op­tions, in­clud­ing high-con­trast mono­chrome for bud­ding An­ton Cor­b­jins. As we find Nikon im­ages to be a tad un­sat­u­rated as a rule, the in­clu­sion of the Vivid mode also proves a bonus.

With GPS that plots pics on an in­te­grated map and Wi-Fi con­nec­tiv­ity, this Nikon man­ages to stand out in a test full of ex­ceed­ingly com­pe­tent per­form­ers by zoom­ing that ex­tra mile. Love Big lens on a com­pact body. OLED screen. Cheap­est big-zoom op­tion on test Hate No grip. Small but­tons tough to con­trol T3 Says the com­pact cam­era that de­liv­ers a big zoom at an af­ford­able price

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