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Nikon Coolpix S3100 - Test shots: ISO performance

By Gavin Stoker

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

8

The Nikon Coolpix S3100 offers a light sensitivity range a little broader than most budget snapshots, starting out at ISO80 and topping out at ISO3200. We also get both Auto ISO and two user selectable fixed range settings, of either ISO80 to ISO400, or ISO80 to ISO800, so you can limit how high the camera automatically 'strays' to preserve picture quality. Let's see how the Coolpix gets on.

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The lowest setting on the S3100 is ISO80, coincidentally also the option the camera itself chose when we tried both Auto ISO and the Fixed Range ISO settings. As we'd expect there's no noise visible anywhere in the image.

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Up a notch at ISO100 and all is still well with the S3100's performance.

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Moving up to ISO200, and again no image noise to report.

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We're at ISO400, the setting at which noise begins to creep into shadow areas on lesser compacts. But again we have a clean bill of health from the S3100.

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At ISO800 there's a subtle softening of overall detail which has again kept any instance of image noise at bay.

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At ISO1600 there's a shift in colour balance and shadow detail is beginning to take on a speckled appearance - but only if you're really looking closely.

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The top setting of ISO3200 and here we notice an obvious smoothing effect across the entire frame to limit any intrusion of noise - the shot beginning to take on a watercolour-like appearance. Overall though the S3100 has delivered an impressive ISO performance for this class of camera.

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Dinty

December 22, 2011, 3:34 am

I bought my Nikon S3100 because I was impressed with its slim dimensions, and its wide angle zoom lens. However I only owned it for 6 days. During that time it seemed to be incapable of getting much more than 50% of the pictures I took in focus. This was despite my trying all the different autofocus modes, and being careful to hold the camera as steady as possible. When the S3100 got a picture in focus the quality was pretty good, but I found I couldn't trust it. I have been dabbling in photography for 55 years and can't remember owning a camera as disappointing as this Nikon. I am prepared to accept that I got a duff one, but I didn't want to take the risk of trying another S3100 and finding that to be duff also, so when I returned the S3100 to the shop I bought a Fuji model instead which I have found to be absolutely first class.

GerryL

March 18, 2013, 3:04 am

You had a bad one. My wife got one a year ago and it is an absolute delight. $69 at Costco didn't hurt either.

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