New toy: Nikon Coolpix S10
Because I started doing the Project 365 photo-taking activity, I wanted a small, decent point and shoot camera that I could try to carry with me everywhere I go, so I can take pictures more often. I was not that happy with the performance of the point and shoot I had, even though it had some cool features, so I went researching about other cameras. Originally I was going to try and buy a used Sony DSC-V3 from eBay since it has many of the same features as my beloved Sony DSC-F717, most notably NightShot. Actually, before that, I had my eye on the DSC-828, the follow up to the 717, and while I still want to own one some day, I refocused my thoughts on a smaller camera that would be a lot easier to stash in my everyday bag.
Then I started researching Nikon cameras, since I have a Nikon D70 DSLR. That resulted in me wanting a Nikon Coolpix 8400, an older prosumer-level camera with a “wide zoom” lens that starts at 28mm at the wide end. That’s a nice feature, especially when taking group shots, so that you don’t have to stand so far away from the group to get everyone into the frame. This camera sounded really good, and it had a lot of features I wanted, including a swivel LCD for ease of composition using wacky angles. Unfortunately, this camera was harder to find than the older Sonys on eBay.
More researching on where to find the Nikon 8400 led me to threads about a newer Coolpix with a split, swivel body, called the S10. Even though it doesn’t have manual controls, it had other interesting features besides the swivel body (first introduced on Nikon’s Coolpix 990, IIRC): 10x optical zoom, Vibration Reduction (key for telezoom cameras), very good macro mode, and decent picture quality at higher ISO (even ISO 800 seems usable for resized gallery shots on the web, if not for prints larger than 4″ x 6″). It’s not pocketable, but it’s small enough for me. Its size does have a couple advantages. One is the large 2″ (2.5″?) LCD on the back for composing shots, and the other is enough bulk to help with gripping the camera steady. Cameras that are too small lead often lead to shots blurred by camera shake because the person couldn’t hold the camera properly.
I tried to find picture galleries of photo taken with the S10 in different situations, but there aren’t many out there. I think I’m doomed to like cameras, gadgets, music, etc. that are outside of the mainstream… *sigh* I normally don’t care about whether something’s mainstream, but when you’re looking for discussion forums and/or photo galleries, there have to be other people around who have used the same camera/gadget/whatever!
Anyway, I finally pulled the trigger and bought one last night so that I could use it in conjunction with my D70 at the Detroit auto show. Tried it out, shooting various pictures around the house, and I like what I see! Like most point and shoots it has issues in indoor, low-light scenes, even with the help of VR, but if I up the ISO to 100 or 200 (adds noise, but not too much, IMO), the shutter speeds are quick enough for handheld shots. My other point and shoot camera was simply not good indoors at ISO speeds above its lowest setting, even in fairly well-lit rooms (i.e. during Christmas gift exchanges). I am going to be playing around with it over the weekend while we’re at the car show, and hopefully I’ll have lots of good pics to post soon. 🙂