Record Screens & Menus
At default settings, the display in shooting mode shows basic camera settings on the right side of the screen, including battery life, anti-shake on/off, motion detection, movie record setting, movie duration left on memory card, still-image file size, and number of still images left on memory card.
You can hide this information, though changing the displayed information requires a trip to the menus - there is no dedicated button or position on the dial that will take you directly to the Monitor Settings/Photo Info menu:
- Show info
- Auto info
- Hide info
- Framing grid+auto info
- Movie frame+auto info
- Face priority
- Subject tracking
Shown here in Auto mode, the camera displays five AF boxes used to determine focus. The auto focus works well most of the time, but using the powerful 18X zoom at full magnification in indoor lighting can tax its limits, sometimes taking three seconds to lock on a subject roughly five feet away.
The Coolpix S9300 offers 17 scene modes, and a scene auto selector on its mode dial that you assign to one of the scene modes for easy switching. When turning the mode dial, an icon appears on the right side of the display to help you navigate to your desired position.
- Close Up
- Easy Panorama
- Fireworks Show
- Night Portrait
- Pet Portrait
- 3D Photography
One of the eight positions on the mode dial is Smart Portrait. In this mode, the camera automatically trips the shutter when a smiling face is detected (obviously there's none in this photo).
The Smart Portrait menu lets you adjust three settings: skin softening, smile timer, and blink proof. Skin softening offers three levels: high, normal, and low. Unlike some other point-and-shoots, I found this camera's skin softening to be subtle and not cartoonishly severe. On the other hand, I found it hard to distinguish the effect's severity at the three levels, or detect the effect in shots taken in Portrait mode (which also applies skin softening) versus Auto mode.
Smile timer works as advertised, tripping the shutter automatically when someone smiles. Blink proof also worked as promised; with this turned on, the camera takes two shots in quick succession, saving one of the two and discarding the one with eyes closed. You can not use the flash when blink proof is on.
The Smart Portrait icon is displayed in the upper left corner of the display. Here, with the camera in Smart Portrait mode, there are additional icons on the left side to indicate that smile timer and skin softening are turned on.
Pressing the exposure compensation position on the rotary multi-selector (right) launches the exposure compensation menu, shows a histogram, and displays additional menu options. Up/down adjusts exposure compensation, while left/right navigation takes you to two other adjustments (L-R): hue and vividness. The next two icons at right are exit and reset.
Pressing the menu button while in shooting mode brings up the shooting menu. Shown here are the options available in Auto mode.
- Image mode: 16M, 8M, 4M, 2M, VGA, 16:9 12M
- White balance: auto, preset manual, daylight, incandescent, fluorescent, cloudy, flash
- Metering: matrix, center-weighted
- ISO sensitivity: auto, fixed range auto (ISO 125-400 or ISO 125-800), 125, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200
- AF area mode: face priority, auto, manual, center, subject tracking
- Autofocus mode: single AF, full-time AF
Camera Settings Menu:
- Welcome screen: none, Coolpix, select an image
- Time zone and date: date and time, date format, time zone
- Monitor settings: photo info (show info, auto info, hide info, framing grid + auto info, movie frame + auto info), image review (on, off), brightness
- Print date: date, date and time, off
- Vibration reduction: on, off
- Motion detection: auto, off
- AF assist: auto, off
- Digital zoom: on, off
- Sound settings: buttons sound (on, off), shutter sound (on, off)
- Auto off: 30 seconds, 1 minute, 5 minutes, 30 minutes
- Format card
- TV settings: video mode (NTSC, PAL), HDMI (auto, 480p, 720p, 1080i), HDMI device control (on, off)
- Charge by computer: auto, off
- Blink warning: on, off
- Eye-fi upload: enable, disable
- Filmstrip: on, off
- Reset all
- Firmware version
With the S9300's GPS feature turned on, you can geotag your images. Getting the feature to work may require that you download to your memory card an update for the A-GPS file via a PC, then insert the card into your camera. There is a points of interest feature for recording place/location info of well-known landmarks, as well as an electric compass that shows you what direction you're shooting; in playback a circle with a highlighted wedge shows the direction the camera was pointed when the shot was taken.
Surprisingly, turning GPS on did not cause the battery to drain more quickly. Though the camera is rated to last an unimpressive 200 shots (50% with flash) by CIPA, surprisingly I was able to snap 426 frames (almost all without flash) with GPS turned on.
The camera records 1080p HD video (1920 x 1080) at 30fps. Via the movie options, you can also choose from five other options. Among the camera's fun features is its ability to record at 120 frames per second, creating super slow motion video, as well as 60fps, to create half-time slow motion movies.
Movie recording options:
- HD 1080p (1920 x 1080)
- HD 720p (1280 x 720)
- iFrame 540 (960 x 540)
- VGA (640 x 480)
- HS 120 fps (640 x 480)
- HS 60 fps (1280 x 720)
Other movie menu options:
- Open with HS footage: on, off
- Auto focus mode: single AF, full-time AF
- Wind noise reduction: on, off
The movie record screen indicates the movie quality setting (1080p, 30fps), and the remaining recording time on the memory card. Movie quality was high, though the auto focus at powerful zoom settings had a tendency to lag. Or, it might be more fair to say that when taking advantage of the S9300's powerful 18x zoom, I had a difficult time holding the camera still enough to allow the autofocus to do its job. Using a tripod in such a situation (such as filming a horse race from the bleachers) is highly recommended.
Visitors of Steves can visit the stores below for real-time pricing and availability. You can also find hot, soon to expire online offers on a variety of cameras and accessories at our very own Camera Deals page.