Nikon unveils its Android-enabled S800c, compact S7700, and beginner-friendly S01

nikon coolpix p7700 The new camera parade continues as Nikon just announced a trio for very different photographers, including the first Nikon digicam featuring the Android OS. While the $349 Coolpix S800c is pretty cool (details to follow), the updated version of the S7100—the S7700—will give enthusiasts something to chew on as they consider buying it or the Canon G12 or Panasonic LX7.

nikon s800cThe new S800c is Nikon’s latest Wi-Fi-enabled digicam. With Android onboard, social networks aren’t far behind as you can connect to Google+, Facebook, and Twitter to upload much higher-quality images than your basic smartphone. You can also surf the Web and download apps and games from Google Play. We didn’t get the chance to connect with our Wi-Fi network (the camera is due next month) but hopefully it’s easier than Nikon’s earlier efforts. Internal memory holds up to 680MB of apps.

Although you can’t make calls, the S800c’s photographic capabilities blow away any smartphone. It has a 16MP BSI CMOS sensor and a 10x optical zoom (25-250mm). This glass lens is far superior to plastic smartphone lenses and their digital zooms. Like a smartphone, the S800c has a built-in GPS. It has a nice 3.5-inch touch screen too using OLED technology rather than a typical LCD. 

nikon p7700Yes, we all know Compact System Cameras and DSLRs get all the headlines but we’re rather fond of fixed lens digicams with quality zooms and enhanced imaging sensors. This class of camera is designed for shooters comfortable with apertures and shutter speeds—and don’t mind spending $500 to capture images. The Canon PowerShot G12 is the clear leader here but Nikon and Panasonic have quality offerings. (We’re leaving the Canon G1 X and Sony RX100 off the list as they’re much more expensive.)  The new Nikon Coolpix S7700 ($499) should be a winner—but we’ll withhold final judgment until we get a production sample to review. The new model has a 12MP 1/1.7-inch CMOS sensor, 2 megapixels more than the S7100 which featured CCD technology. Switching to CMOS also speeds up response.

The S7700 has a 7.1x optical zoom (28-200mm) just like its predecessor but with a much wider aperture of f/2.0 versus f/2.8 of S7100. This helps you take better shots in low light. The CMOS chip lets you grab photos at up to 8 frames per second (for 6 shots) and video is improved to 1080p from 720p.

It has a 3-inch vari-angle LCD screen rated 921K-dots, lets you capture RAW files and gives you access to P/A/S/M (program, aperture, shutter, and manual priority) so you can make adjustments to your heart’s content.

nikon S01Rounding out the list is the Coolpix S01, a $179 camera Nikon claims is one of the thinnest and lightest available. We didn’t handle it but the tiny digicam weighs 3.4 ounces and measures 3.1 x 2.1 x .7 (WHD, in inches). Since it’s so small, you’ll make your adjustments via the 2.5-inch touchscreen. Beyond the dimensions, the S01 won’t make your inner techie swoon as its uses a 10MP CCD sensor and a 3x zoom (29-87mm), decidedly unimpressive specs for a 2012 digital camera. 

Don’t worry, the announcements aren’t over yet…