Nikon COOLPIX S9900 Review

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With last year’s Nikon S9700 30x travel zoom compact camera, we saw Nikon actually reduce the resolution a bit from 18 to 16 megapixels, which we felt was a smart move — slightly larger pixels, slightly better signal-to-noise ratio and thus better image quality and lower noise levels. And this time around, with the updated Nikon S9900, they’ve stuck to this decision by keeping the same 16-megapixel back-side-illuminated CMOS sensor.

The new S9900 also maintains the same 30x optical zoom lens, which provides a highly versatile 25-750mm-equivalent focal length range, all telescoping from a slim, sleek and pocketable camera body. The zoom range is perfect for wide landscapes and travel shots, as well as portraits and far-off wildlife or outdoor sports. Thankfully, a hybrid system of lens-shift type and electronic Vibration Reduction is included, which will help fight blur from camera shake, for both stills and video.

However, if that’s not enough zoom power for you, Nikon’s 2x Dynamic Fine Zoom feature — an enhanced version of digital zoom — will take you out to an effective 1500mm-equivalence. The camera also offers a traditional digital zoom with a 4x multiplier that provides an effective 3000mm-equivalence. However, as is typical of digital zoom, fine detail is bound to degrade somewhat no matter how enhanced it is. Nevertheless, that’s a powerful amount of zoom for slim, pocketable camera.

One of the major new features for this year’s S9900 travel zoom is the inclusion of a vari-angle screen, though it remains a non-touchscreen panel like the previous model. In the S9700, the LCD was fixed in-place, and now, the 3.0-inch articulating screen offers a lot more convenience when shooting high or low scenes or in awkward positions.

While the resolution of the screen — 921,000 dots — remains the same, the S9900 opts for a TFT-LCD RGBW panel as opposed to the OLED monitor of the S9700. The screen still includes an anti-reflective coatings and a 6-level brightness adjustment.

Nikon S9900 Review -- Product Image

The S9900’s LCD provides approximately 98% horizontal and vertical frame coverage while shooting.

Paired with an unbranded image processor, the Nikon S9900 is capable of shooting at a rate of seven frames per second for five shots, which puts it on-par with the performance level of its predecessor.

The native ISO range from remains unchanged at ISO 125 to 1600, though that can be extended as high as ISO 6400 when using Program, Aperture-priority, Shutter-priority, or Manual modes. Despite the advanced shooting modes, the S9900 captures still images as JPEGs only; no RAW.

The S9900 also offers Full HD video recording using the H.264 format at 30 frames per second, though 60i interlaced video frame rate is also available. In PAL mode, 50i and 25p are available. 720p HD and standard definition VGA video are offered at 30p (25p), as well as High Speed modes up to 120p at VGA and down to 12.5p at Full HD. The S9900 also includes a new Time Lapse Movie mode that allows for the in-camera creation of timelapse videos.

Nikon S9900 Review -- Product Image

The Nikon S9700 included both Wi-Fi connectivity as well as GPS with Points of Interest functionality, and the new S9900 maintains these amenities. However it also adds NFC connectivity for quick and easy pairing and connection with compatible mobile devices.

The Nikon S9900 uses the same EN-EL12 lithium-ion rechargeable battery pack as the S9700, and the CIPA-rated yield remains the same — around 300 shots on a charge.

Wired connectivity includes USB 2.0 High Speed data and Type-D Micro HDMI for high-def video. Images and movies are stored on SD, SDHC, or SDXC memory cards.

Basic Specifications
Full model name: Nikon Coolpix S9900
Resolution: 16.00 Megapixels
Sensor size: 1/2.3 inch
(6.2mm x 4.6mm)
Kit Lens: 30.00x zoom
(25-750mm eq.)
Viewfinder: No / LCD
Native ISO: 125 – 6400
Extended ISO: 125 – 6400
Shutter: 8 – 1/4000
Max Aperture: 3.7
Dimensions: 4.4 x 2.6 x 1.6 in.
(112 x 66 x 40 mm)
Weight: 10.2 oz (289 g)
includes batteries
MSRP: $350
Availability: 03/2015
Manufacturer: Nikon
Full specs: Nikon S9900 specifications

Available from March 2015, the Nikon Coolpix S9900 ships in two body colors: black or silver. List pricing is set at around US$350.





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