Nikon is giving photographers a chance to get in on the action with the new S9100 that sports a mega 18x optical zoom in a package the size of a bar of soap.

Due out in March and costing around £299.99 the new Coolpix camera comes with a Nikkor wide-angle lens offering a range from 25mm to 450mm, and presenting a "travel zoom" to compete with the likes of the Panasonic Lumix TZ20 or the Canon PowerShot SX230 HS.

Needless to say, Pocket-lint just had to zoom over to Nikon to get our grubby little mitts on it and bring you a cornucopia of hands-on shots for your titillation and enjoyment.

But it’s not just about that big zoom. The S9100 also features a highly sensitive back-illuminated CMOS sensor, meaning that even in low light or extremely bright conditions, the camera will easily capture the scene, and of course you’ll get Full (1080p) HD movie-recording with stereo sound as well.

“The Coolpix S9100 will open up new avenues for people who demand powerful performance in a compact body. Through its wide-angle to super-telephoto coverage, Full HD video, and functions that make handheld night-time shooting as easy as taking daytime pictures, this slim and stylish camera enables creative freedom and the ability to capture pictures as you see them.” explains Sander van Velzen, product manager for Consumer Products at Nikon Europe.

nikon coolpix s9100 hands on image 9

There’s a new Panorama feature that extends your view even further by offering 360 degree and 180 degree photos. While you pan vertically or horizontally across a scene, the camera’s CMOS sensor takes a rapid burst of frames which are merged to instantly create a beautiful panorama just like the Sony Alpha models and its panorama mode.

You’ll get a 12.1-megapixel CMOS image sensor, showing Nikon aren’t all about the megapixel count any more, and an advanced Night Portrait mode that reproduces night scenes and indoor portraits exactly as the user sees them (supposedly). It works by taking consecutive shots, with and without flash, which expose the portrait subject and background separately. The consecutive images are then immediately combined to produce beautiful night portraits that capture your subject and background authentically - we've seen similar pseudo-HDR modes before.

There’s anti-blur technology, VR (Sensor-shift and Electronic Vibration Reduction) and ISO control up to 3200. You’ll also get Best Shot Selector (BSS) which automatically selects the sharpest of up to 10 sequential shots.

The camera comes with a built-in HDMI mini connector with HDMI-CEC support, so you can connect your camera to a high definition (HD) television as long as you’ve got the right cable.

A 3-inch high resolution 921k-dot LCD monitor completes the package while those really concerned about their image, rather than just those the camera produces, can get the Coolpix S9100 in three colours: red, black and dark silver.

Bet on black, it looks fantastic with its matte finish.