Nikon Coolpix S210 Review
By Movable Type Admin
The Coolpix S210 is Nikon's thinnest camera ever at just 0.7 inch thick. It features an 8-megapixel imaging sensor, 3x optical Zoom-Nikkor lens, Electronic VR Image Stabilization and a 2.5" LCD screen. It also features a new EXPEED image processor, which gives the camera the ability to take high quality and natural looking images with very quick response times.
The slim 7/10 of an inch thickness makes this camera incredibly compact and easy to carry. It does make it a little difficult for people with large hands to operate when using just one hand. Using two hands and the "pinch" technique makes operation easy for anyone. For how small the camera is, the buttons on the top and back are large making their operation simple. The menu system is very easy to navigate and takes no time at all to learn. The zoom controls are conveniently located under your thumb. The 2.5" LCD screen is very bright and easy to see in any lighting conditions thanks to its anti-reflection coating and ability to gain up in low light.
Performance from the S210 is OK at best. It took the camera 2.5 seconds to be able to record its first photograph after being turned on. The shutter lag, the time it takes the camera to capture the image after pressing the shutter release, is almost instantaneous when the camera is pre-focused. When allowing the camera to focus, it took a full second. When shooting in single shot mode, the camera is able to capture 5 shots in 11.5 seconds without the flash and 5 shots in 12.9 seconds with it. The camera also features two burst modes. The regular burst mode was able to capture 10 full-sized images in 13 seconds. The second mode is Multi-Shot 16, which captures 16 smaller images and puts them together as one. It took just 7.9 seconds to capture all 16 images. Our tests were completed using an ATP Pro Max 4GB SDHC memory card, ISO Auto, flash off and all other settings at the factory defaults. Results may vary depending on lighting conditions, battery power, memory card etc.
The camera produced nice images outdoors that show good saturation. The 3x Nikkor optical zoom lens has a 35mm equivalent of 38-114mm. The wide end of the lens is great for shooting landscapes and group portraits, as the telephoto gives you the ability to adjust the framing of your images and single out a person from a group. On the wide end of the lens you will see some barrel distortion and chromatic aberrations in areas along high contrast areas. You will also see some edge softness throughout the zoom range.
Our indoor images were also pleasing. There was a little difference in the white balance between shooting with and without the flash, the flash produced a cooler image. The Face Detection software made shooting portrait shots very easy, although it had a little trouble picking up faces of young children. When the camera does detect a face, however, it does an excellent job of adjusting to produce a good exposure and natural skin tones. It also handled red-eye nicely. The flash has a range of up to 17.7' if the zoom and ISO are set right. As you can see in our M&M man shot, at ISO 64 from around 8' away, the flash was just a little weak. It did however, adjust and handle macro shooting very well.
Fitting with the rest of the camera, the movie mode is also very easy to use. Our clips came out very nice, with good color and smooth video and audio. The electronic VR helps a little with keeping the video steady, but if you use the zoom at all, you will want to also use a tripod. Your options in video mode only consist of the electronic VR and the video size and quality (640x480 and 320x240 or a time-lapse video).
Powering the S210 is a 3.7V 740mAh rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery. This battery supplied more than enough power for me to complete all our tests, take several videos and almost 100 photos on a single charge. There is an included external charger that makes it very easy to keep a second battery pack charged and on hand to make sure that you are always ready.
Bottom Line - The Nikon Coolpix S210 is an incredibly easy to use and stylish 8-megapixel digicam. This is a great camera for anyone looking for a point-n-shoot model only. It has very few options for adjustments and no manual shooting modes. The performance was a little slow for a consumer model in this class, but the quality of the images are good, and the size makes it one of the smallest and easiest to carry cameras on the market. With an MSRP of US$179, we feel this camera offers a good a deal for those in the market for a simple to use digicam that fits into even the smallest of pockets.
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