A "Cool" Nikon Guide: A Coolpix Guide To Be More Precise

Okay, summer’s here – no doubt about it, most of us already noticed the heat and the feeling that we need to go on a vacation soon. The credit crunch made it impossible for most of us to go exactly where we would have wanted to go this summer, but hey, it’s still going to be a blast.

Nevertheless, I am not going to discuss about how easy or how hard it will be to go on a vacation this year, but more on the spot, what Nikon camera is best suited for your pocket/needs/vacation. This particular article is part of a larger set of articles called “The Nikon Perspective to Photography” – in other words, we shall discuss about most of the cameras and lenses Nikon has in their portfolio and which one suit you. Since most of us do not enjoy going on a vacation with a bag full of photography equipment, it would be interesting to discuss more about compact cameras.

Just this spring, Nikon managed to release a couple of new Nikon cameras. However, before we go product-oriented, we should discuss a bit the advantages of a compact. First of all, most of them are idiot-proof, so you needn’t worry that you will have a hard time understanding the dials or the buttons or generally, its settings. No, they are all built so you do not need to think about taking a picture anymore. For that matter, there are enhancements that help you take the greatest pictures you will ever take (such as software embedded inside the camera meant to capture the exact moment when a subject smiles and so on).

Regardless, when discussing about the Coolpix (which is the Nikon compact section) we are discussing about three types of camera series. To be more precise:

The Nikon Coolpix L-Series

In other words, the “Learner” section. It is hard to say why they chose to call it that particular codename, but still, what you need to know is that these cameras are extremely cheap. Their prices are usually driven by the number of megapixels or screen size. And when I say cheap, I really mean cheap – prices ranging from $100 to $300 (max). This is a camera great if all you are interested in is a good bargain and quality a tad bit better than what comes out of your mobile phone. It can also be a great starter camera if you know very little about digital cameras, you want to learn more about photography however you do not want to invest at all in one. Remember the main keyword for this series: simple and cheap. The design itself is not all that stunning, and neither is the quality (as we already established).

Notable L-series cameras nowadays are:

  1. The 8.0 MP cameras: L20 and L21
  2. The 10.0 MP cameras: L100
  3. The 12.0/12.1 MP cameras: L110 and L22

Nikon Coolpix L22

Nikon Coolpix L22

The Nikon Coolpix S-Series

We are heading up one level. When it comes to design, the S-Series beats them all. These particular compact cameras are simply beautiful. And this is exactly what makes them stand out (in other words, the S-Series is Style-oriented, hence the letter). Now, what you have to understand is that even if these little cute guys are pretty, it doesn’t mean their dumb. If you are interested in a camera that looks this good you need not worry about its performance, since it still has the performance edge.

Compared to the L series it is certainly a step up, even when it comes to the number of megapixels (however, you should know better but run around chasing MP especially when looking for a compact camera). What can I say, frankly, I am a fan of the S-series. They’re usually incredibly slim, they look good, they take quality pictures, and some of them have some rather cool features. For example, the S1000pj comes with an integrated projector so you can take a bunch of pictures and then simply project them onto a wall and show them to your friends. If you ask me, that’s one great feature.

The S8000 is also a cool camera which offers not only superzoom but also one lightweight body, along with some awesome quality (consider a quality of 14.1 MP, but that’s only relevant if you do high-resolution prints anyway).

Nikon Coolpix S8000

Nikon Coolpix S8000

The Nikon Coolpix P-Series

Now, since we talked cheap and stylish, we’re left with the last category of Nikon compact cameras, more precisely the performance category. In other words, these cameras are not at all cheap (or more to the point, their price is the highest in the compact section of Nikon cameras) and they are certainly not all that easy to carry.

While they are not as big or as bulky as a DSLR camera, or even as big as the old bridge cameras that you could have seen on the market 2 or three years ago (like the Fujifilm FinePix 9800) you will notice that it is harder to fit one in your pocket (as opposed to cameras in the S-series). One great P-series camera is the new P100 which has integrated VR (or Vibration Reduction) not to mention that it is able to produce some great movies using its full-HD filming program.

Nikon Coolpix P100

Nikon Coolpix P100

The only issue in this case is about budgeting – you will not find P-series cameras all that cheap. But frankly, if what you’re looking for is some sort of vacation replacement for your huge DSLR then you will find that any camera within this particular range is quite comfortable and shares quality pictures.