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Nikon Reviews: Best Nikon Compact Cameras

While Nikon is more known for their DSLRs, they have a few compact cameras often worth a look. Nikon point-and-shoots are a bit harder to judge without a full hands-on review--we've seen a few gems, but there's also a few that really didn't pan out.

Nikon offers compact cameras for nearly every budget, and it appears that Nikon's naming strategy tends to indicate price and level as well. The S-models ex. Coolpix S6500) are mid-line options. L models on the other hand are very basic with minimal features but a low price. The P tends to designate a more advanced camera with highlighting features like a larger sensor or a bigger zoom. AW designates their rough, waterproof models. The numbers following that can also indicate their level--for example the Coolpix S3300 has fewer features than the S6300. Numbers will also indicate when it was released, with the S6500 being newer than the S6300.

Be careful with the lowest budget options, they tend to be slow and snap pretty basic shots. Nikon's advanced options have recieved several decent reviews from us in the past, with the middle options being hit or miss. Here are Nikon's best compact cameras.

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Nikon COOLPIX L26

Nikon's cheapest camera, the L24, gets an upgrade in the L26. The sensor has been switched out for a 16 megapixel CCD, the zoom is now 5x, and video has been increased to 720p. The camera still runs on AA's, too, which is both good and bad...

Grade: B- Price: $130.00

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Nikon COOLPIX S6300

Nikon's higher-end S-series models have really impressed in the last year or so. They are responsive and have the latest backside illuminated CMOS sensors. The S6300 is pretty compact for its impressive 10x zoom lens and offers key upgrades to...

Grade: C+ Price: $244.00

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Nikon COOLPIX S3300

The S3300 and S4300 are essentially identical other than the S4300's larger 3-inch LCD. Both have 16 megapixel sensors and a useful 6x zoom with a 26mm wide-angle. The video, as you'd expect from a CCD sensor, is 720p. Unless you need the ...

Grade: C Price: $170.00

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Nikon COOLPIX S30

One of Nikon's cheapest cameras and a truly affordable waterproof camera, the S30 cuts a lot of corners but is a decent buy for the money. There's a tiny 10 megapixel sensor under the hood and an uncompetitive 3x zoom, yet for only $120 th...

Grade: B Price: $110.00

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Nikon COOLPIX AW100

Nikon finally got the ruggedized camera right in the AW100, it seems. The AW100 is still a compromise in some respects (battery life), but image quality is good enough for most purposes and, with waterproofing to 33 ft and shockproofing to 5, it c...

Grade: B Price: $295.00

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Nikon Coolpix S6100

The Nikon S6100 is a mid-range point-and-shoot, best for casual shooters who want the added versatility of a little extra zoom. It's a 7x zoomer with a large, crisp 3-inch touch LCD and 720p video capability -- all nice specs. At a bloated 16 ...

Grade: C+ Price: $300.00

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Nikon Coolpix S9100

Nikon surprised us last fall with the S8100, a compact zoom with the chops to actually turn out some decent low-light pictures. Camera buyers had been begging for something like it for quite some time, and while a few other models had come close, ...

Grade: B- Price: $240.00

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Nikon Coolpix P300

Nikon's P300 looks like a great compact camera, with enough power and control to appeal to some enthusiasts but a price that puts it within reach of hobbyists and general camera buyers. The standout feature here is the f/1.8 lens, which is inc...

Grade: B- Price: $360.00