Nikon CoolPix P7000, S8100, and S80 cameras

 Camera maker Nikon has launched a series of new CoolPix cameras, aiming to appeal to everyone from casual photographers to serious “prosumers” with the new CoolPix S80, CoolPix S8100, and CoolPix 7000.

First up, the CoolPix P7000 aims to meld the convenience of a small-bodied camera with the manual power of a DSLR. The camera offers a 10.1 megapixel resolution—which is actually lower than its predecessor, the P6000—but actually packs a large sensor, so the camera can handle low-light shooting down to ISO 6400—and more in a low noise night mode. The P7000 ships with a 7.1× optical zoom lens, features a 3-inch LCD display, and comes with a built-in neutral density filter that can reduce the amount of light that passes through the lens allowing for longer exposures in bright conditions (like sunlight) for more accurate color and processing. The P7000 also offers a zoom memory so users can preset a focal length for zoom shots, improved support for RAW files, HD movie recording (with stereo sound), and storage support for SD/SDHC/SDXC media cards. The camera also sports a number of manual controls sure to appeal to users who have advanced beyond basic point-and-shoot capabilities: it doesn’t have swappable lenses, but it offers a good deal more control than a typical consumer camera. Nikon says the P7000 should be available later this month for a suggested price of $499.99.

Next, the CoolPix S8100 compact point-and-shoot camera features a 10× optical zoom and a 12.1 megapixel resolution—that’s actually another step back from the 14.2 megapixel resolution in the S8000. However, that lower resolution also improves sensitivity: the S8100 incorporates backside CMOS sensor illumination for improved low-light shooting (down to ISO 3200) with very little noise. The S8100 offers lens-shift and vibration-reduction technologies to cut back on motion blur, and also incorporates motion detection technology that adjusts exposure and shutter speed on the fly to reduce blurring. The S8100 can also capture 1080p video with stereo sound and snap still images at the same time—the size of the stills depends on the resolution of the video being captured, while a high-speed burst mode can handle five 12 megapixel shots at 10 frames per second, or up to 54 one megapixel photos at about 120 fps. The S8100 features a 3-inch LCD display, and supports macro photography as close as 1cm from the lens. The CoolPix S8100 should be available later this month for about $299.

Finally, with the CoolPix S80 Nikon incorporates a 3.5-inch OLED touchscreen display, enabling users to control the camera as well as do useful things like…draw on their photos. The S80 offers a very compact body (under 17mm thick) for easy portability, along with a 14.1 megapixel resolution and a 5× optical zoom; users can also record HD movies (720p) and push them and photos to a HDTV using a mini-HDMI connector. The S80 also offers in-camera filters and editing functions, including a “Glamour retouch” that can detect faces in images. Nikon says the CoolPix S80 will be available this fall for a suggested price of $329; the camera will be available in a variety of colors, including black, blue, red, gold, silver, and pink.