Nikon Coolpix S9700
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