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You are hereHome > Digital Camera Reviews > Nikon Coolpix S1000pj


   

Nikon Coolpix S1000pj Review

Review Date: Sept 20, 2009

Category: Point-and-Shoot

Nikon Coolpix S1000pj

IMAGE QUALITY

The Nikon Coolpix S1000pj is a digital camera targeted to point-and-shoot photographers. It has 12.1-megapixel resolution on a 1/2.3-in. CCD image sensor, and a 28-140mm (equiv.) 5.0x optical wide-angle Zoom-Nikkor lens, with a maximum aperture of F3.9(W)-F5.8(T). The lens is optically image stabilized using Nikon's excellent Vibration Reduction (VR) technology.

The Nikon S1000pj is capable of giving good image quality, with good detail and low noise, at ISO 80 and with the lens set to wide-angle. At full tele, image quality is average to good at ISO 80. Overall, the images are not as detailed as we would expect, appearing at times quite soft, especially at full tele, requiring some sharpening in post processing. As is usual with cameras in this category, images at higher ISOs suffer from noise and detail loss.

5.0x Wide-anle Optical Zoom
Wide-angle 28mm Telephoto 140mm
Wide-angle 5mm
(28mm, 35mm equivalent)
Telephoto 25mm
(140mm, 35mm equivalent)

In the pictures above, we show the coverage for 28mm (equiv.) and then 140mm (equiv). It takes about 2 sec. to zoom from wide-angle to telephoto (I counted 9 steps). I love the wide-angle starting focal length which captures satisfyingly wide landscapes and large group shots, and the 5x tele is useful for portraits.

The Nikon S1000pj has (Programmed) Auto mode which allows you to choose some of the most important exposure settings, such as ISO, exposure compensation and white balance. There are also 19 easy-to-use Scene Modes to help obtain the best exposure in common challenging situations.

Macro
Macro
Macro
25mm, Programmed Auto, Multi-Pattern
1/452.8 sec., F5.8, ISO 80, AWB
Handheld with VR On

Macro can be as close as 3 cm (1.2 in.). You engage macro by pressing the DOWN ARROW and select Macro ON. You can use a little of the zoom to frame your picture; a green Flower and green zoom indicator indicate focus lock.

AF is fast and works very well. It is instant in good lighting, but can take up to 2 sec. in low-light, depending on how contrasty your subject is. In extreme low-light, the AF Illuminator automatically kicks in (if you've set it ON in the Menu) to help achieve focus when you half-press the shutter release button.

There are two metering modes: 256-Segment Matrix (i.e. Multi-Pattern) and Center-weighted Average. There is no histogram, live or Playback.

White Balance Indoors
AWB Preset WB
AWB Preset WB

Auto white balance (AWB) indoors under 2 energy-saving fluorescent bulbs is not quite accurate. Fortunately, the Nikon S1000pj allows WB to be set manually via the Menu: Preset WB allows us to obtain accurate colors. AWB works well in natural light.

ISO Comparisons
ISO 80
ISO 80
   
ISO 100 ISO 200
ISO 100 ISO 200
   
ISO 400 ISO 800
ISO 400 ISO 800
   
ISO 1600 ISO 3200
ISO 1600 ISO 3200
ISO 6400  
ISO 6400  

You can set the ISO on the Nikon S1000pj from 80 to 1600, plus 3200 and 6400 at reduced resolution (3M). The 100% crops above (area delimited by the white square) demonstrate that noise at ISO 80 and 100 is under control. Noise starts to be visible at ISO 200 and increases quickly as the ISOs go higher.

As you can see from the pictures above, the photo at ISO 80 is slightly under-exposed. This is because the slowest shutter speed is 1 sec. at f/4.8 in Auto mode and that is not enough in normal room lighting condition.

Like most other consumer digital cameras, the Nikon S1000pj is therefore a good outdoors camera [see our Nikon S1000pj Photo Gallery] but will find it challenging indoors for non-flash photos. Images from ISO 1600 to 3200 exhibit too much noise and loss of detail for clean large prints, but might be acceptable for 4x6 in. size prints and for Web display. For indoors shot, we recommend the use of the flash so as to keep the ISO as low as possible.

Auto ISO ranges from 80 to 800. You also have a choice of two fixed range auto: 80 to 200 and 80 to 400. ISO 1600 to 6400 are only available in manual ISO mode. We recommend that you use Fixed range auto 80 to 200 for the best image quality on this camera.

Chromatic Aberrations
CA
5.0mm, Program AE, Multi-Pattern
1/20 sec., F2.7, ISO 100

CA is present in everyday high contrast shots. In the high contrast shot above, the corner delimited by the red square in the top left corner, and reproduced at 100% crop at bottom right, shows purple fringing.

Long Shutter Speed
Long Exposure
14.9mm, Programmed Auto, Multi-Pattern, 1 sec., F4.8, ISO 200
Preset (manual) WB, Self-timer 2 sec., Tripod Used, 100% Crop

The Nikon S1000pj's slowest shutter speed goes down to 1 sec. in Auto mode, and 4 sec. in Night Landscape mode. This allows some night photography, though we would have preferred longer shutter speeds. Generally, with CCD image sensors, noise usually becomes more prominent at slow shutter speeds.

I take an extreme low-light indoors shot. I cannot not use the 4 sec. of Night Landscape scene mode because Macro mode is not permitted in that scene mode. Because the AF frame can be moved on screen, I can focus on Bamm-Bamm's eyes and focus locks with the help of the AF-assist illuminator. The noise reduction works well in the black areas, delivering a smooth black, but the presence of noise at ISO 200 is also quite visible on the face in this photo.

The Nikon Coolpix S1000pj delivers average to good image quality at low ISOs for a digital camera in this category. VR is effective in helping to reduce blur. Using a high ISO means you might be able to take low-light pictures but the noise issue and loss of image detail will limit pictures taken at high ISOs to small prints and for Web display only. Best results are obtained when the S1000pj is used as a sunny outdoors camera at ISO 80 with the lens set at wide-angle.

The pictures in the Nikon Coolpix S1000pj Photo Gallery page provide a good sample of what the camera is capable of. I have provided samples at 800x600 pixels (compressed to Quality 60/100 in Photoshop Elements) as well as the 4000x3000 pixels original size (click on the image for the original version).

You can safely assume that most macro shots and slow shutter speed shots required the use of a tripod. Any image that is adjusted for levels in Photoshop has "_adjusted" or some other description appended to the file name (though the original sized image is, of course, not adjusted).

I have defaulted the image size to 800x600 pixels. For those who have their monitor resolution set to 1024x728 pixels, everything should snugly fit and you should not have to scroll to see the whole image. If your monitor is set to 800x600 pixels resolution, start the slide show and then scroll to the right to position the image within your screen width. Then, press F11 (if you are using Internet Explorer) to switch to full screen mode, and the image should fill your screen nicely. Press F11 again at any time to switch your monitor display back to normal mode.

To return to this page from the Photo Gallery, click on the animated graphics of the camera.

Please open and download the original size version only if you need to and only once to your hard drive -- and save me some precious bandwidth. Thanks!

 

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