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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 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: $380.00

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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: $300.00

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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: $350.00

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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: $335.00

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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 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 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: $190.00

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Nikon COOLPIX P310

Nikon’s P-series currently represents their high-end compact lineup. The line came to the fore with the arrival of the P5000 in 2007, an enthusiast compact that blended the separation between point and shoot and DSLR. Subsequent models have ...

Grade: C+ Price: $400.00

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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: $165.00

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Nikon Coolpix L610

The L610 looks to compete directly with Canon's SX150, both of which run on AA batteries and sport a decent zoom range. The L610's 14x optical zoom isn't much compared to the 20x zooms found on higher end compact zoom models, or indeed...

Grade: B+ Price: $130.00

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Nikon Coolpix S01

A camera of the tiniest proportions, the S01 weighs in at just under 100 grams and proportions that may make it the smallest camera on the market. Nikon has achieved this engineering feat by packing in a smaller, cellphone camera sized 10.1 megapi...

Grade: B Price: $120.00

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Nikon Coolpix P7700

The Coolpix line of pocket cameras have been high performers in the category, even if they haven't always looked the part. The latest models feature large rotatable LCD panels, and this replacement to the P7100 improves on the predecessor in m...

Grade: B+ Price: $500.00

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Nikon COOLPIX S9200

Power and portability blend perfectly into the Nikon COOLPIX S9200. This digital camera features 16MP backside-illuminated CMOS, 18x wide-angle optical zoom lens, VR image stabilization, Full HD (1080p) video, 3.0-inch LCD, Easy Panorama Mode, 7 f...

Grade: B- Price: $200.00

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Nikon COOLPIX S6500

Nikon's more advanced point and shoot models have caught quite a bit of attention in the past few years. The camera giant's newest addition, the Nikon Coolpix S6500, adds wi-fi, a few more megapixels and a longer zoom range over the older ...

Grade: B+ Price: $250.00

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Nikon COOLPIX S9500

The S9500 pushes the boundaries of compact travel zooms by adding a bit more zoom in a bit smaller package. The S9500 has a 22x zoom, plus packs in features like GPS and wi-fi. We expect the S9500 to be worthy of the Nikon name in image quality as...

Grade: B+ Price: $230.00

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Nikon COOLPIX AW110

Nikon has been steadily improving their all-weather lineup and the AW110 is a good choice for the rugged photographer. Capable of diving down to 59 feet for an hour, the AW110 can handle more depth than any other waterproof model for 2013. Nikon&#...

Grade: B+ Price: $326.00

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Nikon COOLPIX S32

While the Nikon S32 doesn't sit at the top of the category for waterproof cameras by a long shot, it does sit near the top for cameras under $125. Most budget cameras have a slow, 1 fps burst speed, but this little guy at least hits four. The ...

Grade: C+ Price: $160.00

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Nikon COOLPIX S3500

The Nikon S3500 adds another four megapixels to the previous model, but doesn't upgrade the CCD sensor size. Regardless, the 20.1 megapixel camera with a 7x zoom is still a decent choice for a a smaller, more affordable point-and-shoot. Nikon ...

Grade: B+ Price: $140.00

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Nikon COOLPIX P330

Interestingly, Nikon lowered the number of megapixels in the P330 from the previous model, yet stepped up the image sensor size. Nikon also put a f1.8 lens in front of the larger sensor, and increased the aperture range—all signs that this m...

Grade: B+ Price: $270.00

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Nikon COOLPIX A

Nikon enters into the world of compact cameras with full frame sensors with their new Coolpix A. The first in its line, the A uses the DX sensors found on Nikon's DSLRs. But that's not all the A shares with DSLRs, Nikon also offers various attachm...

Grade: B+ Price: $942.00

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Nikon COOLPIX L620

Nikon's popular compact zoom line received a nice speed upgrade with the Coolpix L620. While the older L610 took burst shots at a sluggish 1.9 fps, the L620 takes up to six photos in a row at 10 fps. Nikon has also added their high speed setti...

Grade: A- Price: $476.00

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Nikon COOLPIX S02

Sub-$200 cameras are very much a hit and miss. Nikon's September 2013 budget compact, the S02, is directed towards consumers looking for a trendy, pocketable camera. Except for the lack of wi-fi, the S02 operates very much like a smart phone with ...

Grade: B- Price: $99.00

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Nikon COOLPIX P7800

Viewfinder-lovers, rejoice--Nikon has released an update to their strong low light performer, the advanced compact Coolpix P7700, with the viewfinder-equipped P7800. The P7800 still features the large, 1/1.7" backlit sensor and fast f2.0 lens whic...

Grade: A- Price: $449.00

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Nikon COOLPIX L30

We're pleased to see that Nikon is sticking with a 1/2.3" size sensor with their budget models, instead of shrinking it down to hit the right price point. What you will sacrifice for this price is speed, with just a 1.1 fps burst mode, th...

Grade: C+ Price: $149.00

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Nikon COOLPIX S3600

Nikon's cheapest Coolpix S-line camera for 2014 still keeps the 1/2.3" sensor, though it switches over to a CCD style. It sports a nice 8x optical zoom with vibration reduction, though doesn't offer wi-fi at this price and has a small...

Grade: B+ Price: $149.00

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Nikon COOLPIX S5300

While camera manufacturers have devoted a lot of attention to advanced models, there's still a place in the market for compact, point-and-shoot cameras. The Nikon S5300 is one of those cameras. Featuring convenience features like wi-fi, it als...

Grade: B Price: $180.00

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Nikon COOLPIX S6800

Nikon's S6500 was one of our favorite compacts of 2013 and we expect the S6800 to be a top performer in the category as well. The 16 megapixel 1/2.3" sensor, 12x optical zoom and 9.4 fps burst mode are good features considering the $200 p...

Grade: A- Price: $200.00

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Nikon COOLPIX AW120

Nikon has certainly taken a step in the right direction with the all-weather AW120. When taking images underwater, lighting is much more limited, so a good lens is a must. The AW120 features an f2.8-4.9 lens, which is much brighter than the previo...

Grade: A- Price: $539.00

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Nikon COOLPIX S9700

Nikon's 2014 compact zoom, the S9700, looks to have an excellent set of features for the $350 retail price tag. The S9700 features the same 16.1 megapixel 1/2.3 sensor as Nikon's bulkier and pricer P520 and P600 ($450 and $500 retail, resp...

Grade: B Price: $320.00

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Nikon COOLPIX P340

The advanced compact market has long been defined by the Sony RX-100, but $600+ for a compact camera is a little bit much to ask for some consumers, considering the price of an entry-level DSLR. That's where this little sub-category of budget ...

Grade: B+ Price: $380.00