I really hate my Nikon Coolpix S9

Ok, I’ve given my new Nikon Coolpix S9 digital camera a month of constant use and I’ve decided that I really don’t like it. I’ve had a lot of cameras over the past 20 years since I first began a career as a photojournalist. A Nikon fan since my first FM (which I still own and it still works), this model doesn’t cut it.

Here’s a picture shot in “Auto”. It was the third in the sequence of six blurry shots.

Sad. That was a funny moment.

(If you have to know, my wife and I traded photos of our Christmas presents instead of the gifts because we were visiting in Alabama and traveling by air. I photographed and gave pictures of the wrapped gifts instead of the unwrapped gifts. After the laughter wore off, I gave her the pictures of the unwrapped presents.)

Here is a photo taken on “Auto” outside at about 3 p.m. in the afternoon. I was standing still. The little sailboat was moving, but not that much!

I’m going to keep the camera because it is very small – my top feature at the time I bought the camera – and based on confidence in my experience, in cases where I absolutely need a good photo, I’m pretty sure that I can adjust the settings and hold still enough to make a usable image. However, I wouldn’t recommend this camera to anyone.

When I want a digital image and it counts, I’ll stick to my Nikon D200 or my wife’s old Canon Elph.

Nikon Coolpix S9 Sub-Compact Camera

I bought a Nikon Coolpix S9 on Friday. I wanted a very small camera to carry in my pocket. Though the camera has impressive features, I’m not sure I’m happy with the purchase. Here are a few notes…

First off, the battery only lasted for about 25 shots. Now, in the spirit of disclosure, this it is a new camera for me and I was playing with the menu features quite a bit. I had fully charged the battery on Saturday morning and was conscious throughout the day that I was trying to conserve the battery for a party that night. There was no indication the battery was going low until the display showed the low battery symbol with about 25% remaining. (I can’t imagine why anyone would bother buying a 2 Gb SD card because simply shooting without viewing and editing I couldn’t imagine getting off more than 250 shots. The 2 gig card holds over 2500 full shots.)

Second… SD cards formatted in the camera don’t work in my card reader that I use for all of my memory cards and plugged into Mac’s OS X 10.4.8. Other SD cards (from my Canon Elf and my Canon Elura) do work in the same reader. The Nikon SD formatted card did work when attached directly to the computer inside the camera.

CAN YOU SAY RED EYE? Every single indoor shot had the problem. I don’t want to be spending my editing time after every indoor shoot fixing red eyes. I know sub-compacts have this problem and I understand all of the science of why this happens however my old Canon Elf isn’t that much larger and it does not have the problem.

Fourth – Even in a well lit room, photographing a friend opening presents from a distance of about 12 feet, the pics were horribly lit. Using no flash, the shutter speed was so slow that everything blurred.

Finally, if you hold the camera with one hand, the surface of the camera is so smooth, you almost pinch it out of your finger grip when pressing the button. Holding it with two hands, you need to be very, very careful to not get your left hand in front of the lens because of where it is located on the top front corner of the camera.

It takes video. On my card, it could record almost 2 hours of video and sound.

There is an option for using it as a digital audio recorder too. You can annotate your photos with a voice caption too. (I did not try that).

Overall, and after one full day of use I am not impressed.

On a positive note, it sure it a compact camera! The menus are easy to understand and adjust. It doesn’t have many options, so it isn’t hard to understand. One feature I’d like is to be able to reset to “default” every time you turn it off and back on. It seemed easy to set options and then forget they are on or where to go to change them.

My parents just bought the Nikon Coolpix S7 which is about a half-inch larger and noticeably heavier. I may wait to see how their snaps turn out after their trip to France later this week and consider that upgraded model.

Sample video clip:

Not so fast

Yesterday I needed to ship back a gift for repair to the manufacturer that happens to be in Canada. I packed up the gift, printed my label and headed off to the U.S. Post office.

After waiting in line, the nice lady behind the counter apologetically explained that Canada requires labels to be typed in ALL CAPS. Canada also requires a form that explains what is in the box in addition to the shipping form that the U.S. Post Office requires and the third form that U.S. Customs requires (no hazardous materials or food, etc.)

After all of that, I find out that for my $23, it will be delivered to the company in 6-10 weeks. I walked out.

Five minutes later, I walked into UPS (with the same box) and the guy behind the counter typed up the packing slip on the computer from my nice and neat label, then printed it, I signed it, paid my $17 and walked out a few minutes later.

The package will be in the repair shop on Friday afternoon.