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S800c is The First Android Nikon Camera

by Peter Walkowiak on 08/22/2012

I am going to write the news on this camera and share the specs. I am also going to share my opinion on this type of camera. This is “skating where the puck is going to be” for the digital camera industry. This is pretty much a low end camera meeting a low end phone, the marriage will share the best features of each.

To quickly go over the features, the S800c has a 16mp sensor with an ISO sensitivity up to 3200. On the back it has quite the large 3.5″ OLED touchscreen display with 819,000 dots (about 273,000 pixels). The lens on this guy has a 10x optical zoom which is 25-250mm 35mm equivalent. Wifi is packed inside as well as the always requested but usually missing GPS. Now that we have gone over the big numbers and features lets get into detail with what makes this camera special, Android.

Editor’s Note: The new camera is available for pre-order at B&H Photo

Well its been rumored for awhile but its finally here. Not a big deal for most of us pro users, but for the average on-the-go consumer, this makes a big big wave. This is also quite important for the big camera companies trying to stay relevant. What the current generation has in common is that we like to use our phones to capture all of our daily memories and our DSLRs for the big deal events. This market has been plummeting for years and as I have talked about before with reps of big companies they need to build apps into their cameras.

There are a lot of people who look at this camera and  treat it like a joke that shouldn’t have been told just because of the apps. Well Mr. you are not quite seeing the full picture, you are not seeing past the gimmick apps. There are video and photo apps that are different from the rest and can on their own take a poor camera up to another level.

Video apps like Filmic Pro for video for example take the Apple standard video data rate from 28 Mbps and raises it to 48 Mbps. It does this as well as gives the iPhone a proper audio meter, selectable frame rates, uncompressed audio and framing guides. So even though Nikon has a set video spec that doesnt mean that it cant be tweaked and hacked like Vitally has done to the GH2. Now I am not saying that this camera will be a serious contender in any market but who would have known that the iPhone would have become one. I am just trying to say this is a big step and this is just the beginning. Soon I hope to see larger and better cameras with app stores to unlock a vast potential of capabilities.

Nikon pairing with Android is quite a big deal for a company who usually doesn’t like to change their old views to match the current generation. The S800c will come with Android version 2.3 and will have full access to the Google Play store. There are thousands of dumb fart apps on there but more importantly a lot of good photo and video apps. It is said that Nikon chose version 2.3 because it demands less of the camera and doesn’t require as much ram as the newer 4.1 OS.

As with the D90 Nikon didn’t think that it would start a revolution with video and I feel it coming on again where they have an idea that in my opinion they are treating as if its “just a feature”. I feel if they knew how big of a deal this was they would have some major advertising or at least some good sample videos of usage on the new operating system on the camera. I feel Nikon has an idea of what kind of opportunity they have here or they wouldn’t have stuck a fancy 10x zoom on the camera and sold it for far less than their asking price.

A little on the hardware of the S800c, the battery of the unit only has an advertised 140 shots per charge and it will take 4 hours to charge this battery. This is a bit upsetting for someone planning on taking it out on a hiking trip but perfect for someone taking it out to the bar with their friends. All I can think of is people just burning through the battery editing the photos and video and having it run out of juice while you are still out and about.

The camera can take 8 frames per second at the full 16mp but there are also modes which can shoot 60fps and 120fps which aren’t fully explained as far as what you will get quality wise at these speeds. “Best Shot Selection” is also available and this is borrowed from the Nikon 1 series where it takes a bunch of photos and chooses the best one. The hardware from the camera is quite the typical point and shoot and truly isn’t anything special by looking at the specs on paper or the design. I feel as I rambled on earlier that this camera has some unforeseen potential up its sleeves. This is all of course coming from the company who decided that putting a projector into a point and shoot would break ground in the market. I have seen the naysayers already but I am surprised at all of the comments on various forums, people seem to GET what I am saying here.

This camera will be available later this year at a sort of shocking (not in a good way) $349. Imaging Resource has the first hands on of the camera that I can see here. Id love to hear your opinions!

 

Update:

I just read over Imaging Resource’s hands on of the camera and was quite sad when I saw the “Together but separate” section. It appears that the camera and Android functions are two different functions. This is a ways of locking down the specs of the camera and only letting the user use apps to edit photos and not use custom apps to take photos. Hopefully more information comes out soon about this but this is starting to look like the D90 all over again, a huge missed opportunity.

 

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