Nikon coolpix s9700

Nikon Coolpix S9700 Review

The Nikon Coolpix S9700 is the top of the range digital compact camera from the Style series. It features a back-illuminated 16 megapixel CMOS sensor, 30x optical zoom, FullHD video and a 921,000 dot screen to watch them on. The amount of tech in this camera is enough to make a robot cry. It certainly talks the talk and in this full review, we'll find out if it walks the walk. The Nikon Coolpix S9700 costs around £269.99 / $349.95 and is available in red, white and black.

Rising out of the Style range like a skyscraper in the suburbs is the Nikon Coolpix S9700. Packed with tech, the S9700 looks like it would be more at home in the Performance range. However, the P series of Nikon cameras are for keen enthusiasts and as such, don't really offer much in the way of easy modes for the point and shooters. The S9700 still offers the Easy Auto mode, albeit buried in a menu system.

The S9700 bears an uncanny resemblance to the more higher spec models in terms of shape and design. It's a heavy block of metal and plastic which holds a 30x optical zoom inside the bulge at the front. The lenses contain ED (Extra-low Dispersion) elements to reduce chromatic aberrations and the focal length works out at an eye bulging 25-750mm in 35mm terms.

We hear you asking “What about camera shake?” Well, the S9700 has been fitted with a 5-axis Hybrid VR. This type of Vibration Reduction of combining electronic and optical image stabilisers isn't new but using 5 ways of stabilising the image is on a camera at this designation.

Front Rear

Once the light has gone through the lens, it burns onto a back-illuminated 16 megapixel CMOS sensor. In the past, some Nikon compacts have suffered with low light and high noise problems, so hopefully, this new sensor that is lower in resolution than previous models will react better. The back-illuminated technology will also help by allowing more light onto each photo site, but our noise test will give the definite answer.

No expense has been spared on the screen incorporating a 921,000 dot OLED screen which can even be used in direct sunlight. We managed to get some glorious sunshine while testing the S9700 and we can confirm that this is certainly true.

As we mentioned earlier, the S9700 sits on the Style side of the fence. But it's so close to the Performance series, it can reach an arm through and tickle its armpits. Because of this intimacy with both ranges, the S9700 has a mixture of lazy modes and performance enhancing features. On the top plate, you'll find the power switch and shutter release with a tiny switch that operates that obscene zoom range. It's like striking a match and getting a bonfire burning at the end of your fingers.

Front Pop-up Flash

Situated next to the shutter release on the shoulder of the Nikon Coolpix S9700 is a Command dial. It has the easy to use modes, such as Auto, Scenes, Smart portrait and Special effects but also holds the manual PASM modes. The top of the camera also holds the WiFi and GPS unit above the lens. On the opposite side to the Command dial is a pop-up flash that sits very high when open. That's great for avoiding red-eye. However, it uses so many different joints to collapse down into the unit – which you have to do manually – it's like trying to get a cat into a bath; it's possible, but you'll have to wrestle a bit.

Thanks to the aforementioned Command dial, there's no need for a Mode menu button on the back of the Nikon Coolpix S9700, so this has been replaced with a GPS button. It displays a map of the World and allows you to not only log your photo's locations, but also track where you're going. Fantastic for travellers and that's exactly who the S9700 is aimed at.

The menu will change depending on the mode that you're currently in. It has the usual layout of three sections with the primary menus tabbed down the left side. The centre section shows what each tab can offer, while the right side shows the current setting for that option. Pressing right drills into the menu and allows you to make any changes. The colour scheme is light grey on the centre section with dark grey surround and a yellow highlighter. Those colours may not sound appealing, but they work nicely and the menu is very easy to see and use. The five tabs on the left are for the mode you're currently in, Video modes, WiFi, GPS and the Set-up menu.

Side Top

Start up time from the off position to being switched on, focused and a photo taken is 1.8sec which is a good performance. There are two continuous shooting modes; High and Low. The first is a burst mode that rapidly fires off five high resolution pictures in just over half a second. It works out roughly 8fps (frames per second). Slightly higher than the 6.9fps on the Nikon website, so that's pretty good. You do have to allow for human error, though, so keep an open mind. It takes a total of 10 seconds to download the pictures as well.

In Low mode, the camera takes pictures at a much slower rate. We got 16 pictures in eight seconds before the camera stopped to download. That's roughly 2fps and it took the camera up to 43 seconds to download and be ready to shoot again. This was going through the Nikon EXPEED C2 processor and writing onto a Class 4 Micro SD card in an adapter. The speed of the card will affect the write speed, so you may see a slight increase with a faster variation in.

In playback, the pictures will be displayed full size with some basic information that will disappear after a few seconds. Should you take a photo that you wish you'd added a digital effect to, you can press OK at this stage and add it on after. The added bonus is that the camera saves that as a separate file on the memory card, preserving the original. The layout of the Playback menu is the same as when you're shooting. However, there's a slight variation in the inclusion of the Mode tab.

Memory Card Slot Battery Compartment

The Playback modes are usually in a separate menu which is accessed via the Playback button. On the Nikon Coolpix S9700, doing that takes you back to the shooting screen. The Video menu has been replaced with the full Playback menu which allows you to amend the pictures with some basic editing via the Quick retouch, D-Lighting, Red-eye correction or Glamour retouch options. There's also provision to amend the print order, create a slide-show to thrill your family and friends of your travelling adventures.

In the top section of the box is a Quick Start guide which is in multiple languages. ViewNX 2 is now in downloadable format, which is a shame for those photographers with no internet connection. Below the guide is the camera, a lithium ion battery and charging unit. The unit consists of a USB cable, charging unit and three-pin UK adapter. This a much more flexible approach and one thing we like about all Nikon compacts. The cameras can be charged up via USB on the computer or by using one of the two plug options available to you.

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Digital Compact Camera Nikon COOLPIX S9700/S9600/S32

February 7, 2014

3 new COOLPIX S-series cameras, including a high-power zoom model equipped with a variety of exposure modes, a Wi-Fi® function, location data functions with a built-in world map, and support for movie recording with 5-axis vibration reduction, as well as a family model that offers simple operation and features such as water- and shockproofing for worry-free use

TOKYO - Nikon Corporation is pleased to announce the release of three new COOLPIX S-series models incorporating advanced functions and ease of use.

When Dynamic Fine Zoom is enabled, the zoom range is expanded to 60x, or the equivalent of 1500mm. The S9700 has been packaged in a very compact size with a thickness of 34.5 mm despite its 30x high-power zoom lens.

Location data acquired with shooting using the high-performance GPS/GLONASS function is recorded, allowing users to both preserve location data with images and trace memories from vacations and the like. In addition, as the camera itself is equipped with a world map, the rear of the camera has been redesigned with a new map button. By simply pressing this button, users can display image shooting locations on the map with photos. The camera is also equipped with an electronic compass that records bearing information with photos.

GPS (with A-GPS)/GLONASS In addition to GPS (A-GPS*), the S9700 also supports the Global Navigation Satellite System (GLONASS). This enables recording of shooting location data (latitude and longitude) more quickly and accurately, even in places where positioning was previously difficult, such as between buildings.
  • *A function that calculates GPS signal acquired by the camera and data (EE data: Extended Ephemeris data) that predicts GPS satellite location for faster positioning. Please update A-GPS data by downloading the latest file from the Nikon Imaging Company website.
Electronic compass Location data is used to display the direction in which the lens is pointed with shooting. North, South, East, or West is displayed. In addition, when the lens is pointed down, a circle compass with north, south, east, and west (16 cardinal points) is displayed. POI (landmark) display Information for approximately 2,200,000 landmarks, including the names of places and historical sites, has been registered with the camera. Information related to the place at which photos are taken can be displayed in the monitor and recorded with photos. Log function When the log function is enabled, the route of movement is recorded even when the camera is not in use or is turned off. This feature is optimal for tracking your route while hiking or on vacation.

The camera is equipped with four exposure modes—[P] programmed auto, [A] aperture-priority auto, [S] shutter-priority auto, and [M] manual. These modes were added in response to requests from users looking to better reflect their intent according to the subject or impression they wish to convey with shooting.

A 22x high-power optical zoom NIKKOR lens has been built into the S9600's compact body. The lens also supports macro photography with focusing on a subject positioned at the center of the frame as close as approximately 1 cm to the lens. In addition, the camera is equipped with Dynamic Fine Zoom, which enables approximately 44x zoom with which resolution is preserved in the digital zoom range.

Pre-focus The camera automatically acquires the subject and focuses even when the shutter-release button is not pressed halfway. The subject can be instantly detected even with zooming, or with shooting in dark or dimly lit places. As the user need not press the shutter-release button halfway to focus, capture of sudden and unexpected photo opportunities is supported with a shorter distance required for focusing movement and faster autofocusing. Target Finding AF By simply pointing the camera toward the intended subject, the camera instantly predicts and displays the portion on which focus will be acquired. As the active focus area is automatically specified in accordance with the size of the subject, resulting images are in clear focus. In addition, Target Finding AF not only works with subjects positioned at the center of the frame, but with off-center subjects as well. This capability is clearly exhibited with shooting of not only human subjects, but with flowers, food, and smaller subjects as well. Scene Auto Selector mode The camera evaluates the subject and conditions, and then automatically applies the optimal scene mode from ten possibilities, including Portrait, Night landscape, Backlighting, and Close-up. This enables faster shooting by eliminating the need to apply various settings manually. This mode makes it possible for even those new to digital cameras to enjoy shooting without confusion.

The built-in Wi-Fi® function can be used to transfer photos* to a smart device over a wireless connection as soon as they are taken. Photos can be easily shared with family and friends, or uploaded to blogs or social networking sites (SNS). In addition, the display on a smartphone, tablet, or other smart device can be used to frame images and control shooting remotely. This is very convenient when taking group photos and the like in which the user is included. With remote shooting, the self-timer, zoom, and shooting information are also displayed on the smart device screen.

  • *The Wireless Mobile Utility app must first be installed on the smart device (the app can be downloaded free of charge from the smart device's app store), and Wi-Fi connection settings must be applied before image transfer is possible.

1920 x 1080/60i movies with stereo sound can be recorded by simply pressing the camera's movie-record button. The camera offers a number of movie recording functions, including a movie pause function that can be used to pause and resume recording of a single movie to include only the desired portions of an activity or event, and unnecessary portions of recorded movies can be eliminated and the remaining portions saved as a separate movie file. There is also a Face Priority option with which the camera recognizes and automatically focuses on human faces.

Five-axis vibration reduction compensates for more forms of camera shake by expanding the range of compensation with the combination of lens-shift vibration reduction, which reduces camera shake in the form of slight tilting to the left and right or forward and back, with electronic vibration reduction, which compensates for camera shake in the form of slight movement to the left and right, up and down, or in a somewhat circular motion up and down and left and right. In addition, effective stabilization of the scene displayed in the monitor with recording makes framing movies easier for sharp and clear recording.

In addition to previous Glamour Retouch effects—Skin Softening, Small Face, Big Eyes, Powder, Hide Eye Bags, Whiten Eyes, Whiten Teeth, Redden Cheeks—users can apply four new effects—Eye Shadow, Lipstick, Glare Reduction, Mascara— for a total of twelve effects. The degree to which each effect is applied can also be adjusted.

The results of Special Effects are displayed with the view through the lens in the monitor before shooting or recording begins, allowing users to choose, preview, and apply a special effect. Users can choose from a total of 26 special effects Soft, High Key, Low Key, Nostalgic Sepia, High-contrast Monochrome, Selective Color (12 colors+Full color), Pop, Super Vivid, Toy Camera Effect 1, Toy Camera Effect 2, and Cross Process (4 colors).

Quick Effects enables editing of images while previewing results in the camera monitor in just three simple steps: shoot, apply, and save. A total of 31 effects are available: Soft, High Key, Low Key, High-contrast Monochrome, Selective Color (12 colors), Pop, Super Vivid, Painting, Toy Camera Effect 1, Toy Camera Effect 2, Cross Process (four colors), Cross Screen, Fisheye, Miniature Effect, Sepia, Cyanotype, and Soft Portrait.

Battery charging time can be significantly reduced by using Charging AC Adapter EH-71P/EH-71PCH. What's more, shooting and playback operations can be performed while the battery is charging.

Waterproof to a depth of approximately 10 m and shockproofing that withstands falls from approximately 1.5 m The strength and waterproof characteristics so popular with this camera's predecessor, the COOLPIX S31, have been improved to withstand falls from up to 1.5 meters and waterproofing to ten meters. The camera is also dust resistant and cold-proof to approximately -10°C, making it the perfect camera for outdoor leisure activities. Display of messages related to waterproofing Messages related to waterproofing are displayed under a variety of circumstances, including when the camera is turned on after the battery has been charged and when Shoot Under Water shooting mode is selected. These messages offer precautions for using the camera near the water or in sandy locations, instructions for removing foreign matter that adheres to the camera, instructions for inspecting the camera after it is used underwater, and cleaning methods with easy-to-understand explanations. Image Lock function By simply holding down two of the flexible buttons at left on the rear of the camera, users can restrict deletion operations. This enables worry-free use by children or those unfamiliar with digital camera operation by preventing accidental deletion of images.

The S32 offers an effective pixel count of 13.2-million pixels and is equipped with a CMOS sensor for even better image quality. Auto image overlay technology utilizes the high-speed performance of the CMOS sensor to enable beautiful rendering of images under difficult lighting conditions. It prevents loss of detail in shadows and highlights with backlit scenes, and also suppresses the effects of camera shake and noise that often occur with capture of night landscapes, for superior image quality even with shooting in dark surroundings.

Users of all ages can enjoy expressing themselves in a variety of ways by applying special effects prior to shooting, and by changing colors and the like in photos after they are taken. Effects have names that even children will understand, such as Take Soft Pictures and Add a Fisheye Effect. Three new options—Add a Bubble Effect, Add a Neon Effect, and Add a Cartoon Effect—have been added to the effects that can be applied prior to shooting.

Settings can be applied with intuitive operation from menu screens displayed using the four flexible buttons.

Grading function This function allows children and adults to grade each other's photos. Grades such as Excellent and Good can be applied, increasing parents' and children's fun through photos. Exchange Messages function Voice messages can be added to images. Users can enjoy communicating with family members by exchanging messages via a single image. Slide shows with background music and animation Users can enjoy slide shows with which background music and animation have been added to high-quality photos. Three themes are available for selection—Classic, and Animated and Pop Art, to which animation is added. Function for creating photo albums Photo albums can be easily created and saved using the camera and photos taken with the camera. Users can choose from five photo album designs.

1920 x 1080/30p full-HD movies with stereo sound can be recorded by simply pressing the camera's movie-record button. Full-HD movies recorded with the camera can also be played back on an HDMI-compatible TV by connecting the camera to the TV's HDMI port using an HDMI cable (available separately).

The S32 inherits the symmetrical design that considers two-handed use by children with small hands. The rounded form and slightly tapered front offer a better hold on the camera. The S32 is available in four vivid colors—blue, yellow, white, pink—that make simply owning the camera fun.

Nikon COOLPIX S9700 review - | Cameralabs

The Nikon COOLPIX S9700 is a compact travel zoom with a 30x optical zoom lens, a 16 Megapixel CMOS sensor and a 3 inch OLED screen with a 921k dot resolution. The COOLPIX S9600, launched at the same time, has a shorter 22x zoom, a lower resolution screen, lacks the built-in GPS and of course is priced a little lower.

Both models support fully manual exposure control with PASM modes selected from a conventional mode dial alongside a fully auto point-and-shoot mode and feature scene detection and composite stacking modes for HDR and low noise shooting.

The COOLPIX S9700 has built in GPS as well as Wifi, a popular combination in a travel zoom. Add in full resolution burst shooting at 6.9 fps, a wide range of movie modes including 1080p full HD and a choice of slow motion settings, and you’ve got a very capable sounding travel zoom which ticks all the boxes at a competitive price. To find out if the real-life performance lives up to its promise, I tested the COOLPIX S9700 alongside Canon’s PowerShot SX700 HS. Both models were launched during 2014 and updated in early 2015 to the S9900 and SX710 HS respectively. During the transition from one version to the other, bargains can often be found, so I thought it would be interesting to see how these pair of potentially discounted cameras compared. So read on to find out which of these two is the best bet for those looking for a powerful zoom in a compact form factor at a competitive price.

Nikon COOLPIX S9700 design and controls

In terms of size and weight, most of the popular recent compact super-zooms are very closely matched and the COOLPIX S9700 is no exception. It measures 109.6×63.5×34.5mm and weighs 232g including battery and card. Generally, if you want a smaller body you’re going to have to sacrifice zoom range and if you want a longer zoom you’ll be looking at bigger, heavier models. The COOLPIX S9700 will fit in your jacket or coat pocket.

With dimensions of 113x66x34.8mm the Canon PowerShot SX700 HS is a tiny bit taller and wider, but I reckon Canon and Nikon must be doing their measuring differently because back-to-back on the desk in front of me I can’t see a significant difference. At 269g with battery and card fitted the SX700 HS is a little heavier though. The Panasonic Lumix TZ60 / ZS40 is pretty much identical at 111x64x34.4mm and 240g and the same almost goes for the Sony Cyber-shot HX50V / HX60V, at 108x64x38.3mm it’s a fair bit thicker giving it a much chunkier appearance.

The plastic body is finished in gloss paint and is available in black, red or white. It feels sturdy enough and all the doors and flaps fit nicely, with the exception of the pop-up flash, which sits a little proud of its recess in the top panel. Opposite, on the other side of the slight hump that houses the Wifi aerial, there’s a recessed on/off button, shutter release with zoom collar and the mode dial which is set into the top panel with an exposed rear section that can be operated with your thumb.

On the rear panel the control layout is much the same as on the earlier COOLPIX S9500 with a slightly larger thumb pad. The movie record button is a little lower but still conveniently positioned for thumb operation and the multi-selector wheel below it is used for menu navigation as well as one-touch access to flash, exposure compensation, focus and self-timer settings. There’s also a new button that displays a map view, showing either your current location or the location of reviewed images.

The COOLPIX S9700 has a fixed 3 inch OLED screen with 921k dot resolution. There’s no question that this is a good quality screen, the image is highly detailed and very stable. The colour looks accurate (though obviously this doesn’t affect image quality) and the image is nice and contrasty, making it easy to see in all but direct sunlight. The OLED screen also has a wide angle of view, so you can still see pretty well even with the camera held at high and low angles.

The PowerShot SX700 HS has a 3 inch LCD screen with the same resolution as the COOLPIX S9700’s and there really isn’t much to choose between them. Like the COOLPIX S9700, the S700 HS display is bright, punchy and detailed. Note the more recent COOLPIX S9900, updates the S9700 with a fully articulated screen, a unique feature among its peer group. As for the latest Canon SX710 HS, the screen is the same as its predecessor.

On the right side of the S9700’s body there are two small doors above and below the central wrist strap fitting. The lower one is a mini HDMI port for connection to an HD TV with an optional cable. The upper one is a USB port that is used to charge the camera as well as for transferring photos and video from the card or the built-in memory. You can charge the camera via this port using either the supplied mains charger, or by plugging it into a notebook or other suitable power source. Personally, I think this is a more versatile and useful approach than that used by the PowerShot SX700 HS where the battery has to be removed and placed in an external charger. Having said that the latter method means you can still use the camera while the battery is charging if you have a spare.

The COOLPIX S9700’s EN-EL12 battery provides enough power on a full charge for 300 shots – 50 more than the PowerShot SX700 HS. But if you’re prepared to have the SX700 HS dim the screen after a couple of seconds and switch off after 3 minutes, Eco mode will extend the battery life to 360 shots.

The COOLPIX S9700 has a built-in flash that automatically pops up when required. There are four modes selected from a menu which appears when you press the top position on the the Multi selector wheel – Off, Red-eye reduction, Standard and Slow sync. The quoted range is 6 metres at the lens wide angle setting, on the face of it more powerful than the PowerShot SX700 HS, but I suspect the figure for the COOLPIX S9700 is quoted at a higher ISO. Neither the COOLPIX S9700 nor the PowerShot SX700 IS has a hotshoe, but the SX700 HS is compatible with Canon’s HF-DC2 external flash.

Nikon COOLPIX S9700 lens and stabilisation

The COOLPIX S9700’s 30x optical zoom has the same 25-750mm equivalent range as the PowerShot SX700 HS, but its f3.7 – 6.4 aperture isn’t quite as bright at the wide angle end of the range as the latter’s f3.2 – 6.9. The compensation is that it’s a little brighter at the telephoto end of the range. Note the latest versions of both cameras share the same lenses as their predecessors.

The 25-750mm equivalent range is impressive in a compact this size, and while there are other 30x compact zooms, the Lumix TZ60 / ZS40 and the Sony HX50V / HX60V being two examples, both of those models start at a slightly wider 24mm wide angle and fall short of the COOLPIX S9700’s telephoto reach by 30mm – so that’s a 24-720mm range compared with 25-750. In practice the difference is barely noticeable, but if you’re stuck in a tight corner, the fractionally wider Sony and Panasonic may be more useful. That said, there’s always the COOLPIX S9700’s Easy panorama mode for really wide views, something the PowerShot SX700 HS lacks. Redressing the balance, the SX700 HS Framing assist button helps you keep track of subjects when zoomed in, something that’s not quite so easy on the COOLPIX S9700.

Nikon COOLPIX S9700 coverage wideNikon COOLPIX S9700 coverage tele
4.5-135mm at 4mm (25mm equiv)4.5-135mm at 135mm (750mm equiv)

The COOLPIX S9700 has optical image stabilisation which Nikon calls Vibration Reduction or VR. Vibration reduction is set separately for stills and movie shooting with Photo VR activated from the Setup menu. In addition to the On and Off positions there’s a third option called Hybrid. This combines the optical stabilisation with in-camera post processing to digitally remove any blurring that remains. The digital correction is applied only under certain conditions, including when the shutter speed is slower than 1/30 at the wide angle setting or 1/250 at the telephoto focal length and when the sensitivity is 200 ISO or lower.

In addition to Vibration Reduction, Motion detection automatically raises the ISO sensitivity to enable selection of a faster shutter speed when either subject movement is detected or there’s a risk of camera shake. It’s quite a useful feature for beginners, who might be unaware of the consequences of shooting at slow shutter speeds, but it can be turned off and manual selection of the ISO sensitivity also disables it.

To test the COOLPIX S9700’s stabilisation I set it to Shutter priority exposure mode, zoomed the lens to its maximum 750mm equivalent telephoto setting and took a series of shots at progressively slower shutter speeds, first with Photo VR turned off and then with it on. As you can see from the crops below, the COOLPIX S9700 can produce blur-free shots down to 1/50 at the maximum zoom range, I managed the occasional sharp shot at 1/25 but for consistency 1/50 is the limit, at around four stops slower than the photographer’s ‘one over the focal length’ dictum suggests is safe, that’s pretty impressive by any standards.

100% crop, 4.5-135mm at 135mm, 125 ISO, 1/50th VR off.

100% crop, 4.5-135mm at 135mm, 125 ISO, 1/50th VR on.

Compared with the PowerShot SX700 HS, the COOLPIX S9700’s mode dial is relatively uncomplicated with positions for PASM modes, Auto, Scene, Effects and a smiley face icon indicating Smart portrait mode. Program Auto sets the aperture and shutter speed automatically, Aperture Priority lets you set the aperture and the shutter speed is set automatically, Shutter priority is the other way around and in Manual mode you set both the aperture and shutter speed. If this is new territory for you, the COOLPIX S9700 is the ideal camera to learn about these manual and semi-auto modes in practice.

In the meantime, The green camera icon on the mode dial puts the COOLPIX S9700 into Auto mode. The difference between this and Program Auto is that there’s less for you to do. You can change the image size and quality from the shooting menu and adjust exposure compensation, but you can’t shift the exposure (adjust the aperture and shutter speed whilst maintaining the same exposure value), adjust the ISO sensitivity, white balance or any of the other options available from the Shooting menu in Program auto mode.

Switch the mode dial to the Scene position and the menu offers 18 scene modes including all the usual suspects from Portrait to Party via Landscape, Sports, Beach, Fireworks show, and Backlighting. There are two panorama modes for shooting 180 and 360 views. You press the shutter once and pan the camera as smoothly a you can. You can pan with the camera in portrait or landscape orientation – the COOLPIX S9700 works out which, you don’t need to tell it beforehand. Portrait mode produces the largest images which are 1536 x 4800 pixels for 180 panoramas and the 360 ones measure 1536 x 9600.

While it isn’t one of the best HDR modes around, the COOLPIX S9700 features Nikon’s Backlighting scene mode. HDR mode fires a fast burst of bracketed shots and produces a composite HDR image from them. The COOLPIX S9700 also includes a selection of 11 special effects filters – Soft focus, Pop, Super vivid, Cross process, two toy camera effects , Nostalgic Sepia, High-contrast monochrome, High key, Low key and Selective colour. Other than selecting the colour from an on-screen palette for the Selective colour effect and choosing one of four cross process colours, none of them is customizable. All can be used for movies but note there’s no Miniature effect like on the SX700 HS. Below you can see Nostalgic sepia, High-contrast monochrome, Selective colour, Pop, Cross process, and Toy camera effect 2 .

The shooting menu also offers something called Quick effects. With this activated you can apply effects filters to a shot just after you’ve taken it. Effects include Pop, Super vivid, Painting, Photo illustration, High key, Toy camera effect, Cross process, fish-eye, miniature and selective colour. To apply the effect you press the OK button in the centre of the Multi selector while the image preview is on the screen, but in fact you can apply the effects an any time by pressing the OK button when previewing images in playback mode. The filtered version is saved along with the original. Quick effects can’t be applied to movies, so, alas, no miniature effect for movie clips.

Finally, Smart Portrait mode automatically takes a shot when it spots a smile in the frame. It doesn’t offer the wink and face self-timer functions of the SX700 HS, but you can apply a skin softening filter, shoot in continuous or BSS modes and set blink detection.

Nikon COOLPIX S9700 movie modes

The COOLPIX S9700 has a best quality HD movie mode of 1080p25 which is encoded at an average bit rate of around 17Mbps. All of the video modes are available in PAL and NTSC compatible frame rates (i.e. 25/30 and 50/60fps) depending on the frame rate setting in the Movie menu, from here on I’ll use the PAL specifications. Next on the menu is an interlaced 1080i50 mode, followed by 720p25. That’s followed by a another 720p mode saved in Apple’s edit-friendly iFrame format, and lastly a VGA mode that records 640×480 resolution video at 25fps (or 30fps for NTSC video mode).

That’s just the normal speed modes; the COOLPIX S9700 also has several HS options for playback at speeds other than real time. HS480/4x shoots 640×480 video at 4x normal speed (100 or 120fps depending on whether you have PAL or NTSC video mode selected) which plays back at quarter speed. HS720/2x records 1280×720 at double the normal frame rate for half speed playback, and finally 1080/0.5x records full HD video at half the normal frame rate for double-speed playback.

Audio isn’t recorded with the HS video modes but I was pleasantly surprised to discover that you can use the effects filters. The only limitation on this is that the Soft and Nostalgic sepia effects are only available with the HS720/2x mode. I should also mention that you can’t use the use zoom or Full-time AF with the HS modes. That said, although they’re fairly even matched in terms of video modes, the PowerShot SX700 HS only offers low resolution VGA (640×480) and QVGA (320x 240) modes at 1/4 and 1/8 speed playback respectively.

The COOLPIX S9700 doesn’t have a movie position on the mode dial, so recording is started by pressing the dedicated record button whatever mode you’re in. One of the drawbacks of this approach is that you can’t frame up your shot very easily as the screen switches from 4:3 proportions to 16:9 (assuming you’re shooting in one of the HD modes). The PowerShot SX700 HS mode dial movie position makes this much easier, but the COOLPIX S9700 does at least have a display mode that superimposes the 16:9 area on the 4:3 screen for you.

The COOLPIX S9700 provides two autofocus modes for movie shooting, Single AF (AF-S), which sets the focus at the beginning of your clip and Full time AF (AF-F) which continually adjusts it. AF-S is the default, but if you want to record anything that’s moving, or if you’re panning the camera from near to far subjects, you need to switch to Full-time AF. The COOLPIX S9700’s full-time AF mode works very well. The only thing that taxed it was zooming, as you can see from my coffee cup test below it copes well, keeping focus on the subject even in low light conditions.

The COOLPIX S9700 doesn’t support any of the PASM exposure modes for movie shooting, regardless of the position of the mode dial and ISO, the sensitivity and exposure are set automatically. In that respect it’s the same as the PowerShot SX700 HS.

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Except for the final slow motion example all these clips were recorded in the COOLPIX S9700’s 1080p25 mode with the focus set to the continuous AF-F mode. Here the COOLPIX S9700 handles the exposure well and produces good quality footage. The stabilisation does a good job during the pan, but the full extent of the zoom – 750mm equivalent keeping the frame steady is a lot to ask and there’s a bit of jumpiness.
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For this tripod mounted panning shot I turned the stabilisation off. Again, the S9700 does a great job with the exposure managing the tricky into sunlight section of this panning shot well. The AF loses track during the zoom but quickly corrects itself. On this quieter shot you can just hear the noise of the zoom motor.
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The only criticism I’d make of this interior low-light panning shot is that it’s a little noisy. The white balance and exposure are good, the Full-time AF behaves well and the stabilisation keeps things nice and steady.

sample video 4: indoors, low-light, Continuous AF

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To test the Full-time AF on the COOLPIX S9700, I zoomed it in a little and panned from the coffee cup on the table up to the bar and back again a couple of times. Nothing to complain about here, the COOLPIX S9700 to tracks the focus back and forth smoothly and consistently.

Nikon COOLPIX S9700 handling

The COOLPIX S9700 is a little slower than the PowerShot SX700 IS to start up, it takes a couple of seconds to extend the lens and ready itself for shooting, but that’s fairly average. It also takes a couple of seconds for the zoom to travel its full optical range at the faster (and noisier) of its two speeds, which is swift, but the fine motor control is a little haphazard which sometimes makes it a bit of an effort to precisely frame your shot.

In Auto modes the menu system is more than adequate, which is another way of saying it’s fine if you don’t use it much. In PASM modes when you’re more likely to want access to ISO sensitivity, metering and AF modes and the like, it can be a bit cumbersome. The problem is the lack of a quick menu of some kind. The PowerShot SX700 HS’s Func. Set button makes changing common settings a great deal quicker and easier.

Like the SX700 HS the COOLPIX S9700 has built-in Wifi. There’s no NFC chip in the COOLPIX S9700 though, so connection isn’t a straightforward for those with NFC equipped smartphones; note the newer S9900 does have NFC. That said, to connect to the COOLPIX S9700 all you need to do is enable Wifi from the menu then select the COOLPIX S9700’s SSID on your phone. Before you do that, it’s advisable to set up security options on the camera, otherwise you’ve got an open Wifi connection that anyone can tap into.

Once that’s done you have the option of remote shooting using Nikon’s Wireless Mobile Utility app as well as downloading images from the card in the camera. The remote shooting features are pretty basic. Regardless of the mode dial position the camera shoots in Auto mode and there’s no exposure control available, not even exposure compensation. You can zoom the lens in fairly stacatto steps and there’s a noticeable lag between tapping the control on your phone and the camera responding.

Downloading images from the camera’s card to the phone is straightforward, You can view the images in a grid, get a full screen look at a low resolution preview and select it for download at one of three sizes – the original, or a down sampled file at VGA (640×480) or something called ‘Recommended size’. It took around eight seconds to download an original 6MB image from the COOLPIX S9700 to my iPhone with the two devices about a metre apart.

The COOLPIX S9700’s Wifi features are basic, but they do the job. Wifi on the PowerShot SX700 HS is more polished, but in terms of remote shooting and download, you don’t get a lot more. However, the SX700 HS does allow you to connect to a printer or another camera over Wifi and you can also upload to social media and photo sharing sites via Canon’s Image Gateway platform.

The COOLPIX S9700 is also equipped with a GPS receiver which means you can automatically tag photos with geolocation data and display them on a map. A dedicated button on the rear panel activates a map display which shows your current location as well as the position of recently taken photos. There’s a POI database which shows local points of interest and these can also be embedded in the image metadata.

During shooting the GPS reception strength is indicated on screen by a three bar graphic. On the whole I found the COOLPIX S9700 picked up a signal reasonably quickly and I had few problems with reception, though I wasn’t often in heavily built up areas. There’s also a compass heading display and when you play back images a small graphic indicates the direction you were facing when you took them. The latest S9900 keeps the GPS receiver, which makes it unique among the 2015 models as both Canon and Panasonic have now dumped GPS hardware from their 30x models, and Sony is yet to update its 2014 model.

The COOLPIX S9700 has two full resolution modes at 6.9fps and 2.1fps. The faster of the two shoots a 5-frame burst, focus and exposure are fixed on the first frame for all continuous shooitng modes. There are two faster settings that shoot 1280×960 images at 60fps and 640×480 at 120fps. There’s also a clever Pre-shooting cache mode that starts recording when the shutter is half pressed; when you fully press the shutter the COOLPIX S9700 captures a burst of 25 1280×960 frames at 20fps including up to 5 cached frames from before the shutter was fully depressed. Additionally, like most Nikon compacts The COOLPIX S9700 includes the Best Shot Selector mode which shoots a quick 10-frame burst and saves the sharpest to the card, discarding the others. Finally, Multi-shot 16 shoots 16 images and combines them in a 4×4 grid.

To test the continuous shooting on the COOLPIX S9700 I fitted it with a freshly formatted 8GB Sandisk Extreme UHS-1 card rated at 45Mb/s. I selected the best quality Large Fine JPEG setting and set the drive mode to the fastest full resolution 6.9fps Continuous H mode. The COOLPIX S9700 fired a burst of five shots at a slower than expectd 4.7fps. Reducing the quality to Normal resulted in a slight increase to 5fps. Though it’s a short burst that captures under a second of action, the COOLPIX S9700 does at least provide a wealth of faster lower resolution options for capturing longer sequences.

Nikon Coolpix S9700 Review: Overview

By Kyle Schurman

Review posted 06/23/2014

Quick Take


  • Extremely sharp images in most shooting conditions, even at full telephoto setting
  • Hybrid Vibration Reduction feature works very well
  • Versatile camera with plenty of useful features
  • 30x optical zoom lens is impressive in this thin of a camera
  • Shot-to-shot delays are minimal
  • Shutter lag is not noticeable
  • Continuous shot modes are impressive with varied options
  • OLED display screen offers extremely sharp images
  • Built-in GPS and Wi-Fi included
  • Good battery life when shooting still images 
  • Ability to charge camera using USB cable while connected to computer


  • Image quality is good, but lags some other models in this price range
  • ISO 800 and higher photos will show noise
  • Chromatic aberration is noticeable in high contrast photos
  • No touch screen or articulated display screen
  • Those who won't use GPS and Wi-Fi capabilities won't receive as good of a value
  • Wi-Fi and GPS functions can be a little confusing to set up and use
  • Playback features are a bit odd
  • Camera's shooting interface could be better designed
  • Menu structure could use an updated design

Bottom Line

Having a 30x optical zoom lens in a camera that measures only 1.4 inches in thickness makes the Nikon Coolpix S9700 a model well worth considering, as few thin cameras can match such a large telephoto option. The S9700 also works extremely fast with minimal shutter lag and shot-to-shot delays. Throw in built-in GPS and Wi-Fi capabilities, and the S9700 is a great option for travel photography, as it's easy to carry, creates good photographs, and it has plenty of flexibility to meet almost any type of photography situation. The S9700 struggles a bit in low light photos, and a larger image sensor would allow this model to shoot photos that could be printed sharply at large sizes, but it's still a very nice camera that's good for shooting vacation photos. Read more in our Full Conclusion.

Nikon's new Coolpix S9700 has the makings of an affordable all-around point-and-shoot. While it doesn't have the ultra zoom lenses of the P600 (60x) and the P530 (42x), it still boasts a whopping 30x optical zoom inside its petite shell, good for a 35mm equivalent of 25-750mm. The S9700 also features at 16-megapixel BSI CMOS image sensor, 1080/60i HD video recording, built-in Wi-Fi, built-in GPS (not on either the P600 or P530), and a high resolution 3.0-inch OLED display.

Nikon Coolpix S9700 Features

  • 16-megapixel BSI CMOS Image Sensor
  • 30x Optical Zoom Lens
    • 60x Dynamic Fine Zoom (digital)
    • 25-750mm (35mm equivalent)
  • Lens Shift Vibration Reduction (VR)
  • 1080/60i HD Video Recording
  • Hybrid Vibration Reduction (VR)
  • 3.0-inch OLED Display (921K-dot)
  • Built-in Wi-Fi 
  • Built-in GPS
  • Li-ion battery (good for 300+ photos)
  • SD card slot
The Nikon S9700 is available in Black and Red with an MSRP of $349.95. See o ur buy box at the top right of this page to see the most current online pricing.

What's in the box?:

  • S9700 camera body
  • AN-CP19 strap
  • UC-E21 USB cable
  • EN-EL12 rechargeable battery
  • EH-71P charging AC adapter

Visitors of Steves can visit the stores below for real-time pricing and availability. You can also find hot, soon to expire online offers on a variety of cameras and accessories at our very own Camera Deals page.

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