The Nikon S9300
Point-and-shoots have certainly come a long way since their initial days when 4x zoom was all you got and still the price tags were as heavy as they are today. The evolution will continue till almost every point and shoot will be really affordable and have super-zoom lenses. The Nikon Coolpix S9300 is a modest update to 2011's S9100. It's basically the same camera, but with increased resolution -- 16 megapixels up from 12 -- and built-in GPS for geotagging your photos. The latter comes in handy for travel or if you just like to see where you've shot, while the former is mostly for marketing. There are a couple other minor changes, but unless you really want GPS, there's no reason to upgrade or be upset that you didn't wait. For first-time buyers, though, the S9300 is a very good camera geared for snapshooters with fast performance for a compact megazoom.
Overall photo quality from the S9300 is very good, suitable for prints up to 8x10 and Web use. At full size they don't look good, though, so its 16-megapixel resolution isn't a reason to buy. Though its sensitivity settings run from ISO 125 to ISO 3200, the S9300 produces the best results below ISO 400. Regardless of sensitivity, photos appear somewhat soft and benefit from sharpening with photo-editing software. There's a Fixed Range Auto option that will limit you to ISO 125-400 or ISO 125-800; I recommend using the former outdoors and latter indoors when possible. Colours produced by the S9300 are good up to ISO 800; above that and colours look desaturated and muddy. Nikon adds some extra control over hue (colour tone) and vividness (saturation), with adjustable sliders if you're not happy with Nikon's processing. The slider settings get stored in the camera's memory for the Auto mode, so they stay even if you power the camera off. Exposure is consistently good, too, but if you want to bring out some details lost in shadows, Nikon's D-Lighting feature can be used in Playback mode.
The Nikon Coolpix S9300 is a good choice for anyone after a pure point-and-shoot experience and a long zoom lens. You might want to wait for it to go on sale, though, simply because it's a bit overpriced compared to what Canon and Panasonic are offering. Or if you don't want the GPS, 3D photo mode, or mind popping up your own flash, you might want to save yourself some money and buy an S9100 before they're gone.
The battery and SD card sit in a tight spot at the bottom of the camera that is covered by a rather sturdy piece of plastic flap with spring action. The cover on the mini HDMI and USB port is also pretty well designed, seamlessly blending into the body.
The Coolpix S9300 offers Full HD recording that can be initiated using the dedicated recording button at the back. Resolutions supported are 1080p, 720p, 960x540, 640x480 @30 fps, 640x480 @ 120 fps and 1280x720 @ 60 fps. When shooting in full HD, the video quality as you’d expect from an HD source.
DESIGN AND BUILD
The Coolpix 9300 measures 2.5 inches in length and a hefty 4.3 inches in length; yet, the camera can be very comfortably used by just one hand. There is a nice rubber strip placed diagonally on the top right corner that acts as a rather comfortable resting point for the thumb. The spacing of the buttons is also well thought out, making the switching of various functions a one-handed function.
16MP CMOS Sensor
18x Optical Zoom
3-in LCD display
SD, SDHC, SDXC Card Type support
Exhibit Rating: 4/5
Price: Rs. 18,950/-