Product Type: Nikon digital cameras
Nikon Coolpix 2100
Member Name: clumsy1974
Nikon Coolpix 2100
Date: 14/04/04, updated on 27/10/04 (232 review reads)
Advantages: Small, Easy to use, feature packed for a lowish price
Disadvantages: Long battery charge time, Slow photo action
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
CF Format RAM card (16mb)
2 x AA rechargeable batteries
AC Battery Charger
NikonView editing software
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
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.
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.