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Nikon Coolpix 2100 Updated 15-04-04 ? I had a few more thoughts about the joys of digi-cams.. Why go Digital? I was a great fan of the APS format camera. I loved the way it had drop and load, three picture formats, easy reprints and, most of all, a massive reduction in the size of the camera itself. At last, compact camera?s could truly be compact. My first APS, a Minolta model that was more or less indestructible was sadly lost due to a careless moment when I left my bag on a bus. I brought another Minolta APS, and I was very happy with it. There was one thing, however, that I could not really get round with the APS camera. I am not David Bailey ? far from it. If I take a great photo, its accompanied by twenty three pictures of my thumb, the inside of my pocket and random areas of sky/sea/grass (delete depending on location). I always end up paying for these pictures. I send away to get the film of our latest trip to Alton Towers developed, only to find that my £5.99 has been converted into another 5mm layer of an already thick wedge of naff photos. Digital photography changes all that. It gives you the chance to see what you snap, to review the results and to get rid of the chaff. It allows you an instant result, if you have a printer. Digital photos can be shared via the web or on a CD. If you feel that your daughter looks slightly sinister with those scary red eyes, simply run a red-eye remover program on your electronic pics and presto ? those baby blues are exactly that. But best of all, you can simply pay for the pictures you want to keep in an album, or frame. Average prices for digital prints from an online company such as Bonusprint don?t go much above 20p a photo ? not including P&P. I worked out that I hav
e saved £25 so far on the 5 photo?s I have had printed. So you?re convinced ? Well I would recommend the Nikon Coolpix as a pretty good place to start out with digital photography What?s in the box? The Coolpix 2100 is based on what seems to be a Nikon ?platform?. You?ll find at least 3 camera?s in the Coolpix range that look exactly the same on the outside. Each has a varying range of features ? the 2100 being the entry level. The Coolpix 2100 is by no means feature-light though. Out of the box you will get ? 2m Pixels Camera with flash 3 X ?Real Zoom? and 4 X Digital Zoom LCD Display CF Format RAM card (16mb) 2 x AA rechargeable batteries AC Battery Charger Wrist Strap NikonView editing software USB Cable 12 Months manufacturers warrenty I paid £169.99 for mine, from Comet On-line. At the time this represented a saving of £30 pounds on the in-store price, and about £10 - £15 pounds on all other e-tailers. You can get a 2100 for around £129.99 now. Features and benefits The Digital camera rings you many nifty little gizmo?s that a simple mechanical camera, or even an APS simply cant give you. Because you remove the mechanical parts, such as a wind on motor, shutter release mechanism etc, you tend to get more space for the electronics that allow some cool ?on the go? image manipulation. The Coolpix is controlled by means of a dial on the top, a cross-key adjacent to the LCD screen, three menu buttons and the zoom control. Its all fairly intuitive. You only need to hit the manual when you get the sneaky suspicion that you are missing out on some great, life chang
ing setting. The top dial sets the camera?s shooting mode. You get a basic mode, a manual mode and scene modes ? including sunset, beach/snow and party - indoors. There are four framing assists ? portrait, landscape, sports and night portrait. The dial also allows you to go into video mode, where a 15 second movie can be captured. There is no sound capability on this compact camera. Each of the modes has a menu, where by you can set one of the numerous submodes, such as architecture (in landscape mode) or couple portrait. There is a continuous shooting mode in sports, with a BSS (Best Shot Selector) that ensures you only get the clearest photo. The nighttime features give great low light effects, and even enable you to capture things like fireworks. The flash can be set to auto, red eye and off. The camera also has a self timer and a macro mode for close up shooting of small objects. I have had this camera for nearly a year and I still have not found all the features, or even used half of them. Getting at your pictures The software supplied with the camera is pretty good for helping you to retrieve and organise your photographic masterpieces. Simply install from the disk, connect the USB cable to your PC and plug in the camera. Turn it on and you will be presented with a pop-up from the Nikon software. Alternatively, press the transfer button on the camera. The pictures are displayed in the browser, and you just select the ones you want to download to you PC. You can download all of the pictures, or a few. Once copied to the hard disk, you can clear out your Compact Flash card and your ready for the next set of snaps. (a 128mb card will hold over 270 PC sized (1024 x 768) photos, so unless you are worried about loosing precious moments, you don?t need t
o download that often. Once the pictures are on your hard drive, you can use any editing package, including the one supplied with the camera, to touch up your images. Remove red eye, crop the unknown guy standing next to Auntie Doris or simply give your brother the devil horns you know he hides under his hair ? anything is possible. Should you want to get hard copies of any pics, you are going to need a high quality printer. Go for one such as the HP Photosmart 7260, and you will be able to print your pictures straight off your compact flash card. Always use photo quality paper if you plan to keep the shots in an album, or frame. Make sure you have a spare ink cartridge or two ? its quite thirsty work, printing high definition colour pictures. Alternatively, take your CF card to boots, with just your chosen shots on, and they will print them out for you onto nice glossy paper. I use Bonusprint, where I can just upload my pictures directly off my PC, pay a small amount and get back some nice 4 x 6?s in less than a week (www.bonusprint.co.uk) What I don?t like about the 2100 The camera is not perfect ? I doubt you will find any that are. For a start, at over £150, I would have liked to get a carry case that is actually made for the camera. As I said, Nikon have used this chassis for several models ? this being the entry level. The top of the range is over £300, but you still don?t get a case. The battery charge time is quite long, and there is no in-camera charge, so you have to take spares with you, or carry the charger around in your bag. However the most annoying gripe I have is the time it takes to actually capture an image. From pressing the shutter button to saving your shot, it can be around 3 seconds. Ok if you are taking a posed portrait ? not so good if you are snapping your
Mum?s dog chasing his tail. There are ways to speed this up, but it?s one of the things I think digital camera technology needs to improve on most. Summary I suggest you invest in a couple of accessories when you buy your Coolpix 2100 (or in fact any Digital Camera). 1. A case. There are currently, as I mentioned earlier, no Nikon cases for this format of camera. Jessops have some generic cases, which look OK, take the camera and a couple of batteries and a spare CF card, and still don?t make it look like you are a paparazzi snapper trying to catch Posh and Becks coming out of the local marriage guidance counselors. 2. A couple of spare batteries. You don?t have to buy Nikon batteries. Go for some that are at least rated 2000mAh as these will last you a bit longer. A pack of four Jesspos own brand will cost you £7.99. You might also want to invest in a fast charger for these. Don?t use the Nikon batteries in this though as I wouldn?t want you to risk your warranty. 3. A bigger Compact Flash card. The one supplied is only 16mb. This will hold about 30 standard size (high quality PC sized) shots. Get a bigger one, say 128mb, and you will expand this to over 200. A 128mb Crucial Compact Flash card (www.crucial.com) is £22 4. Not essential, but handy to have ? a mini tripod. I got mine from Singapore, and it was about £4 (and it?s a Nikon) but you can buy these for as little as £4.99. There are a lot of other goodies you can add ? including some nifty telephoto lens adapters that clip over you built in lens, but it all depends how far you want to take the obsession. For less than £200 you get a stylish little snap camera, that fits into your pocket, has enough features to keep the most gadget happy among you going for at l
east a year, and will save you a few quid on photo processing too.
Most digital cameras aimed at those on a budget are bulky and uninspired in their design and, more often than not, they use four AA batteries to satisfy their hunger for power. This is not true of the Nikon Coolpix 2100. It is compact, nicely weighted and not at all the eyesore some budget-priced cameras can be. It's a two-megapixel camera with a top resolution of 1,600 x 1,200 pixels. The supplied 8MB card will hold eight images at high compression or 15 images at normal compression at this resolution. The 3x optical zoom lens zooms quickly and has a delay between optical and digital zoom ranges. From there, the digital zoom advances at about the same speed as the optical zoom. Macro mode brings the minimum focus distance down to a mere 4cm. If you use the flash in close proximity to your subject it tends to bleach out the photo, but it performs well at other times. The Coolpix 2100 has a fast shutter speed of up to 1/3,000th second, which is faster than most. Its ISO settings range from 50 to 200, which means it likes as much light as possible to maintain image quality. In lower light some image noise is recorded, although no more than you might expect to see from a film camera set at ISO 200. The mode dial on the top switches between four automatic program modes for portrait, sports, landscape and night. There's also a fully automatic mode, a manual mode, a movie mode (unfortunately clips are without sound) and a position for setup adjustment. One other mode, accessible through the camera's menu system, can be set to one of nine 'scenes' that most appropriately match the subject you want to capture. Change the scene to one of these presets and the camera will optimise its settings - the results are usually better than with automatic settings. Controls are nice and simple, with a four-way pad to navigate the camera's menu. The zoom controller sits comfortably under your right thumb and there's a dedicated d
elete button for fast removal of images. The Review button is also on the rear of the camera and when pressed it's quick to switch from record mode and display the last recorded image. Two AA batteries are required to power the Coolpix 2100 and Nikon supplies two high-power nickel metal hydride (NiMH) rechargeable batteries as well as a charger. For this camera, £175 is a pretty reasonable price - only the low-capacity CompactFlash card shows signs of cost-cutting. Otherwise, it's compact and easy to use and produces quality images.
This is my first review on DooYoo, thought i would start with my digital camera that i recieved a couple of months ago, as you may get the impression by the end, i really like it!! o0o0o0o The Price o0o0o0o I purchased mine from PC world a couple of months ago now, and it had just been knocked down from £250 to £180, which is a real bargain! o0o0o0o What you get o0o0o0o Included in the box are a strap, the USB cable, a Compact Flash (tm) card, a video cable, two re-chargable Ni-MH Batteries, a battery charger, The start-up CD-Rom, instruction manual the warranty etc. and most importantly, the camera. It includes absolutely everything you could possibly want or need in a digital camera. o0o0o0o Getting Started o0o0o0o It advises that you charge the batteries up for a minimum of 10 hours when first using them, a really, really long time, especially when you just want to get started taking pictures!! But, of course, i did what is reccomended, after spending so much money i didn't want to take any chances. After i had waited for what seemed like an eternity i finally got to play with it, i put the batteries in the camera, and put the Compact Flash card in the slot provided and i was away. o0o0o0o The Camera o0o0o0o The camera is very small, roughly 3cmx6cmx8cm, and very light, even with the batteries in. It has a 1.5 inch TFT screen, used for viewing and sorting you pictures. It has a built-in flash, and obviously the lense on the front, and on the back there are the menu buttons and the zoom buttons, (along with the screen). On top there is the 'mode dial' and the button used to take the photos, to turn it on there is a lever with the button on top which you simply push to the side. Once you turn it on the lense comes out and makes a whirring noise, while it is turned off the lense automatically detracts and covers it self up. On the screen the 'Coolpix' logo is shown b
riefly and then it shows whatever it is pointed at. Thats basically it, if you want to take a picture you can then use the zoom buttons to zoom in and out, then press the button, it auto focuses and has an auto flash feature which makes it even simpler to use. o0o0o0o Extra Features o0o0o0o On the Mode dial at the top of the camera there are several different modes which you can choose from, including; Camera, Movie and scene. Camera mode is selected when wanting to take normal photos. The camera has a movie mode, which is 15 secs (max) without sound, not really sure what the use is for it, but is quite good fun. When using the scene mode you can select an 'environment' such as Part/Indoor, or Fireworks night etc, the camera then sets the variables to how it thinks it will work best in that environment, in camera mode you can change all of the things to suit your needs anyway you like, i dont have a great knowledge of how light effects pictures, so i just generally use the regular mode and dont change anything. Every mode on the dial has a menu, where you can change the sttings of each individual mode. There is also a 'Set up' mode on the dial, where you can set the quality of the picture- 640, 1024, 1600. All of the menus are very easy to navigate, and it of course comes with the usual instruction manual which is the size of the new Harry Potter book, i have read (most) of it, but for what i want it to do for me i know how to use it. o0o0o0o Uploading Pictures o0o0o0o When you install the software onto you PC it installs Nikon View 6, and Arcsoft Panorama maker, Nikon view is where you can manage all of your pictures and where you control where they are uploaded to. The panorama maker is a very clever program where you can put in a few pictures you have taken of a building etc, that you have had to take more than one picture, it then puts all of them together to make one big, high quality, picture. <
br>The camera comes with a 8mb card, which on high quality (1600) will take 15 pictures, this isnt many but i bought a 128mb card for £24 from e-buyer.com and it holds hundreds!! The pictures are uploaded through a USB cable which connects directly to you PC, all you do is connect the camera, turn it on, and a menu automatically pops up and gives the name of the folder where they will go, which you can change, then you press the transfer button and it starts, to upload 30 reasonable quality pictures takes about 5 seconds, which is plenty quick enough!! It then opens Nikon view for you where you can manage or edit them. o0o0o0o Main Features o0o0o0o 2.0 Effective Megapixels 36-108mm 3x Zoom-Nikkor Lens (35mm equivalent) 14 scene modes One touch transfer Accepts type I CompactFlash cards Overall this is a very good camera, it is small, light and very easy to use, creates very good quality pictures which upload very quickly, it has basically everything possibly wanted from a digital camera. It also has the benefit of being made by Nikon, which are very high quality camera makers, and it feels sturdy enough to last for a long time. The only bad point i can make is that it doesnt come with a case, i bought one which cost £10 which does the job perfectly, but for nearly £200 you would have thought they could include one!! If you are looking for a camera i would definately reccomend for you to go out and buy this one!!