Nikon also includes several continuous shooting options. The best one is the Continuous H setting, which lets you shoot at up to 7.9 frames per second in our tests for seven photos at full resolution. The Continuous L mode drops to approximately 2fps for six photos, but will continue to continuously shoot at a slower rate until you stop pressing the shutter release. The camera also has 60fps and 120fps bursts; the former captures up to 25 images at a resolution of 1 megapixel, and the latter grabs up to 50 VGA-quality shots at a press of the shutter release. There's a substantial wait while the camera stores all those photos, but if you're trying to capture a specific moment in time, this is your best bet with this camera. Also, with all of these modes, the focus, exposure, and white balance are set with the first photo. If you have a fast-moving subject, like someone running, there's a good chance only the first photo will be in focus.
The rest of the S9300's shooting performance is pretty quick, too. From off to first shot is 1.4 seconds. Shutter lag--how quickly a camera captures an image after the shutter-release button is pressed without prefocusing--is 0.3 second and 0.6 second in bright and low lighting, respectively. Shot-to-shot times averaged 1.4 seconds. Using the flash, however, slowed the camera to 6.5 seconds between shots. Also, when the lens is fully extended, it takes a little longer to focus and shoot, something to keep in mind if you're considering this for fast-moving subjects.
Aside from all the features and performance, the camera is nice-looking and easy to use, too. Available in black, red, and silver, the S9300 has just a couple subtle differences from the prior version. There's now a bump-out on top for the GPS receiver and a rubberized thumb grip on back separating the one-touch movie record button from the rest of the controls. More importantly, the flash design has been changed. The S9100's flash angled up from the body leaving you little room to grip the camera and it had to be triggered manually with a switch. The S9300's flash pops straight up -- and fast -- automatically when it's needed. And when you're done with it, you can just press it back down.
Along with the power mode dial sits on top for quickly changing your shooting mode. The rest of the shooting and camera options are navigated with a four-way control pad/wheel with an OK button in its center (Nikon calls it a Rotary Multi Selector), and then there are Menu and Delete buttons at the very bottom. The control pad is used for menu and image navigation as well as setting the self-timer, adjusting flash and exposure compensation, and turning on macro focus. Should you want to move more quickly through menus, images, and videos, you can spin the wheel instead of doing single presses with the underlying control pad. Although it moves easily, you can feel stops.
The S9300 is powered by a lithium ion rechargeable pack that is rated for 200 shots; that's OK, but keep in mind that using the zoom a lot or the movie and burst-shooting modes will kill battery life faster. The battery is charged in the camera by connecting via USB to a computer or the included wall adapter. The battery and card compartment are on the bottom behind a locking door. Mini-HDMI and Micro-USB ports are behind a door on the right side of the camera.
Lastly, the S9300 has built-in GPS. It's strictly there for geotagging photos, so no fancy maps or anything like that. But it was relatively fast to lock onto a signal, even in the middle of New York surrounded by tall buildings. Nikon wisely gave it its own tab in the menu interface, making it easy to turn it on and off.
The Nikon Coolpix S9300 is a good choice for anyone after a pure point-and-shoot experience and a long zoom lens. You might want to wait for it to go on sale, though, simply because it's a bit overpriced compared to what Canon and Panasonic are offering. Or if you don't want the GPS, 3D photo mode, or mind popping up your own flash, you might want to save yourself some money and buy an S9100 before they're gone.
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
|Time to first shot||Typical shot-to-shot time||Shutter lag (dim)||Shutter lag (typical)|
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Find out more about how we test digital cameras.