Nikon was the first major camera manufacturer to introduce a compact camera powered by the Android operating system, announcing the Nikon S800c shortly before the Samsung Galaxy Camera was revealed. Here Amy Davies of our testing team takes a look at what the Nikon Android camera has to offer in our Nikon S800c review.
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The Nikon Coolpix S800c also introduces an integrated Wi-Fi feature that lets photographers download apps to use with the Android camera, as well as send emails and images.
The Nikon Android camera works best if you’re in a Wi-Fi hotspot, but if you’re not you can also tether the Android camera to your smartphone to share its 3G signals.
See our Nikon S800c review video below to find out how it fares.
Nikon Android Camera Review – Video Transcript
This is the Nikon Coolpix S800c, it’s a compact camera with a bit of a difference as it features the Android operating system.
Its standard camera spec includes a 16 million pixel CMOS sensor, which is physically larger than those found on a mobile phone, a 10x optical zoom, an OLED 819k dot touchscreen and Full HD video recording.
So, what this camera should offer in real terms, is a high quality camera device, coupled with all the benefits of an Android operating system, such as the ability to download apps, upload to social networking sites and browse the internet.
Many people will probably question the point of that, but the ability to use a myriad of photographic apps currently available on the market with a camera which is better than your average smart phone optic is an intriguing prospect.
Currently, there’s not many cameras like this on the market, with its biggest rival being the recently announced Samsung Galaxy camera. However, unlike that camera, this S800c is roughly the same size as the average compact camera, and therefore fits much more easily in a jeans pocket.
It’s perhaps a little surprising that a large 10x zoom can fit into this camera’s sleek body. This is just one of the features which elevates this camera above a standard mobile phone camera.
There’s very few physical buttons on the S800c, with most of the operation taking place via the touchscreen itself. The touchscreen is capacitive – like the screen you get on an iPhone – and is therefore very responsive and easy to use.
If you’re already an Android user, picking up and using the S800c will seem like second nature. You can also choose to ignore the Android element altogether and use the S800c as a standard device, by choosing “shooting” from the home screen. This will extend the lens ready to use.
Unfortunately the start up time of this camera can be a little slow… this is basically akin to switching on a mobile phone, rather than super quick speeds we’re used to seeing from cameras. However, once it’s on, operation is generally pretty quick, and the camera will enter standby rather than switching completely off.
When you do want to access the different apps available, you’ll find that several, such as Google Mail are already installed. You can download more by visiting the Google Play store. Look out for the photography category of the app store for dedicated photographic apps.
Once an app is installed, using the camera becomes pretty much identical to using the same app on a mobile phone. So let’s take a look at the incredibly popular Instagram. As you can see here, it’s just like using a phone, you just take the picture, add the effect and then you can choose to upload to Facebook, Twitter and so on.
The camera is equipped with WiFi, so you will need to be in a WiFi hotspot to upload your shots, however if you’re out and about and you’ve got a smartphone, you could always use your phone as a personal hotspot to get online.
There’s currently thousands of apps available for the Android system, so it can be really fun experimenting with what’s available. The camera has a built in memory of 1.7GB which can be used for apps or storing photos. There’s also an SD card slot to expand that capability.
Images straight from the camera are pretty decent, and having the ability to use a 10x optical zoom is definitely what elevates this above the realms of a smartphone. The larger sensor also makes it perform better in low-light as well, worth bearing in mind if you want to photograph at parties and nights out. Those images which have been run through photo apps also appear to be of a higher quality than from a standard phone.
Ultimately, the Nikon S800c is a very interesting proposition. With not much competition in the market at the moment, in terms of standalone cameras, it’ll be interesting to see if this takes off – and whether other manufacturers decide to also include an operating system on camera devices.
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