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Nikon Coolpix S8200, S6200 pocket zooms arrive

More zoom! More megapixels! More problems?


All the money is in megazooms these days. While there are still plenty of people buying 3x-5x zoom pocket cameras, the more-popular models are the ones with 10x zooms or longer. And, of course, smaller is better.

In line with that, Nikon increased the zoom ranges on two of its S-series models--the 10x S8100 and 7x S6100--to get the 14x Coolpix S8200 and 10x S6200 for 2011. The S8200 seems to be just a shrunken-down version of the 18x Coolpix S9100, with most if not all of the same shooting features, including full HD movie capture. However, it uses a 16-megapixel backside-illuminated CMOS sensor compared to the S9100's more sane 12-megapixel one. Of course the lens is different, too; the S8200 packs a 14x f3.3-5.9 25-350mm lens in a camera body 1.3-inches thick.

The S6200 replaces the S6100 from earlier this year. The new one is smaller and lighter while having a longer, wider lens (25-250mm compared to 28-196mm). But I guess to do this, Nikon had to get rid of the S6100's high-res 3-inch LCD for a 230K-dot-resolution 2.7-inch display. (Win some, lose some.)

The Coolpix S8200 comes in black, silver, and red and sells for $329.95; the S6200 is available for $229.95 in red, black, silver, blue, and pink.

The S8100 was an easy recommendation for people looking for a pocket point-and-shoot with a long zoom lens. Nikon keeps its S-series cameras very automatic and user friendly, which is not easy to find these days without losing a lot of other features. Here's hoping that the S8200's lens and 16-megapixel sensor (ugh) don't muck things up.