We're glad to see that Nikon is making the most of its back-illuminated CMOS technology, which places the circuitry for the sensor behind - rather than in front - of it, increasing its sensitivity to light, which should theoretically result in a better performance under dim conditions and higher ISO sensitivities.
Performance in low light is a bit of a point of contention with this camera's predecessor, and the Nikon Coolpix S8200 fares a little better in spite of the sensor's resolution hike, but still doesn't blow the competition out of the water. Images stay pretty clean up to ISO400, then quality drops off fairly sharply. We'd use ISO1600 at a push, but 3200 is best left alone.
As a beginner-friendly, go-anywhere compact, the Nikon Coolpix S8200 excels in just about every aspect. Taking into account the blisteringly quick performance, versatile focal range, decent overall image quality, Full HD movie mode and all-encompassing set of exposure modes, you couldn't ask for much more at this price-point. GPS would have been a bonus for travellers but this would have bumped up the price and reduced the battery life.
The snappy performance, versatile zoom and decent image quality all leave a lasting impression, as does the build quality and user-friendly design.
The only thing it's lacking is GPS, and there are no manual modes to advance to once you've outgrown the point-and-shoot exposure modes.
There's plenty to like about this camera - the only thing that's really missing is any advanced manual functionality, which would increase its appeal as a long-term investment for an aspiring photographer who's keen to develop their skills. If however all you want is a robust, stylish, highly flexible camera that's simple to operate and produces beautiful images, then the Nikon Coolpix S8200 could be the one for you.