I'm a fairly serious photography hobbyist and my primary camera is a Nikon D60. Sometimes, however, it is inconvenient to carry my whole photo kit around, change lenses, etc. That's why I was looking for a compact camera that I could carry around with me all the time.
There are trade-offs in making any camera purchase, but the Coolpix S8200 was perfect for me. My primary interests were in finding a camera that had a great zoom and megapixels at least equivalent to my SLR. At 14x zoom and 16.1 megapixels, the S8200 actually exceeds the specs on my D60. In fact, I was blown away by the zoom which is the equivalent of a 350mm telephoto lens. It isn't quite as small as some other compact cameras, but outperforms most of them and still easily fits into a shirt pocket.
In evaluating this camera against others I was somewhat concerned about the lack of manual options like shutter or aperture priority. The many shooting modes available, however, provide more than enough flexibility for my needs. In fact, the scene menu is just a simplified version of various shutter/aperture options. If I had to make a change, I probably would recommend putting another more commonly used option like Sports mode or Landscape on the selector wheel at the top of the camera instead of Pet Portrait Mode. It's a relatively simply matter to reach them through the menu system (which feels remarkably familiar to my D60), but still Pet Portrait seems relatively obscure for such prominent placement.
I was also somewhat concerned by the many negative comments I'd read about the placement of the pop-up flash, but found them to be unfounded. It's true that once the flash pops up it cannot be retracted again without turning off the unit. The flash is remarkably thin, however, taking up no more than 1/3 the width of the camera. I find that my finger fits behind it just fine when it is engaged and allows for a steady grip. By employing a more "pro-style" grip supporting the camera from the bottom with the index finger and side with the thumb also negates this as an issue, but I understand that many folks aren't comfortable with this. I also assume that by positioning the engaged flash slightly further from the lens offers protection against red-eye, Also, there is a red-eye reduction mode which is very effective in this regard.
While I've never been much for shooting video, the video function on the camera is easy and fun to use and produces great results. I find myself using it more than I thought I would.
The most important factor for me, though, is the quality of my pictures and I'm really happy with the S8200 in this regard. My photos have great color reproduction and are clean and crisp. In fact, I cannot differentiate between the pictures I take on this compact from those I take on my more expensive SLR. I may lose some flexibility in control and editing but am more than satisfied with its small size and ease of use. A beneficial trade-off, indeed.