Steve's Conclusion

By Matt Metzker

Steve's SnapShot
Thumbnail image for nikon_s570_promo3.jpg
  • 12-Megapixel Imaging Sensor
  • Nikkor 5x wide optical zoom lens
  • 2.7-inch LCD with 230K pixels
  • Very Fast Start-up and Auto-focus
  • Movies at 640x480 or 320x240 with audio
  • Smart Portrait System
  • 4-Way VR Image Stabilization
  • Li-Ion rechargeable battery

Pros
  • Nikkor 5x wide optical zoom lens
  • Fast start-up and auto focus
  • Auto Scene Selector
  • Smart Portrait shooting mode
  • Sharp, vibrant images
Cons
  • Slow processing time
  • Slow continuous shooting
  • No display settings options
  • LCD display is low quality
Timing Test Results
  • Power up to first image captured = 3.4 seconds
  • Shutter lag when prefocused  = less than 1/10 of a second
  • Shutter lag with autofocus = approx. 2/10 to 3/10 of a second
  • Shot to shot delay wo/flash = 5.2 seconds
  • Shot to shot delay w/flash = 6.2 seconds
  • Sequential burst =  1.5fps
Bottom Line
The Nikon CoolPix S570 is a mixed bag of slowness and great images, ease of use and and image distorting LCD.
Pick This Up If...
....you want an inexpensive, compact camera that is great for snapshots and non-action events.
Nikon has introduced the Coolpix S570, this is a compact point-and-shoot with 12 Megapixels of resolution, a 5x wide-angle optical zoom, and 2.7 LCD. It features 4 different shooting modes: Auto, a scene mode with 17 different options,  a Smart Portrait mode and a movie mode.

Some other the other features offered by the S570 include a electronic VR (Vibration Reduction) image stabilization system, motion detection, auto scene selector and a smart portrait system that involves a new skin smoothing system, smile timer, blink detection system, face priority AF, red-eye fix and D-Lighting.

The Coolpix S570 is as about as basic as you can get. With so many scene modes and auto features, it does not get any easier to snap a picture; and the pictures it does take are exemplary. I did have trouble capturing moving images that did not come out blurry at a monster truck show. The motion detection may have been rendered ineffective due to the distance from my seat to the floor of the arena. As far as toting the S570 around is concerned, it was mostly unnoticeable in my sweater pocket. It is light weight, but its metal body gives it a nice solid feel.

The performance of the S570 is akin to a double-edged sword. I was totally happy with the images it took, but the speed (or in this case, lack thereof) left me incredibly frustrated at times. Mostly, the time it takes for the camera to process a shot and be ready to take the next picture, but its slowness was a continual frustration. Continuous mode was also a disappointment. In the time that other models can capture 3 shots, the S570 will only get 2, and usually the missing shot was the one you wanted. For instance; I used the CS feature to get images of a truck jumping off a ramp. What I ended up with was the truck approaching the ramp, the truck in the air, and the truck off the screen. In my opinion two shots were missed: the launch off the ramp, and the landing. The timing tests go like this: from power-up to first picture it took 3.4 seconds. As is pretty common with most cameras the shutter lag from the pre-focus position is almost  non-existent, but when done with no pre-focus, there was about a 2/10 to 3/10 of a second delay; still not to shabby. The shot to shot delay was awful at 5.2 seconds between frames on average. The CS mode that the S570 offers was not much better, we averaged 1.5fps at 12M High resolution. All of our tests were completed using a SanDisk Ultra II 4GB SDHC memory card, Auto shooting mode, Auto ISO, flash off and all other settings at the factory defaults. All times may vary depending on lighting, camera settings, media, etc.

Our outdoor sample images show that the camera produces excellent exposures that are crisp and vibrant, maybe a little too vibrant. It seems that the S570 really pumps up the colors. Shooting this time of year is hard to get a lot of contrast, but the S570 finds a way. A good example of this is the portrait shot of the woman and children it is a splendid example of the camera's ability.

Indoors, I found that the Coolpix s570 did a very good job. Again as in the outdoor samples, the pictures taken look sharp, clean and vibrant. The flash has the power necessary to produce great results in the 7ft range we tested at. The M&M shots all came out great, and even up to 1600 ISO, you will get great prints for your photo album. The ISO 3200 setting is both noisy and shows a great loss of detail, I would avoid using that high of an ISO unless absolutely necessary.

Movie mode allows you to capture video with sound at resolutions of 640x480 and 320x240 at either normal or high quality options. It is disappointing that with the growing number of cameras offering HD quality video, that the S570 goes without it. But, as you will see in our example on the samples page, the S570 still pulls off great videos with excellent sound. The max. movie length is 25 min., no matter what size storage card is loaded.

As I wrap up, I wanted to take a few lines to comment on the LCD screen that is on the S570. Indoors or out, it was dreadful. Viewing from the sides does not distort the view, but image quality of the live image would change depending on the angle I was viewing it at. It worked fine when looking directly head-on, but when angled up it looks"blown-out", while having the opposite effect when angled down it (the live image gets dark); it just does not seem like a quality display was used on the S570.

Powering the S570 is a 3.7V, 740mAh Li-Ion rechargeable battery. While completing our tests, I captured about 205 images and several videos as well as spending time viewing them via the LCD screen without worrying about the battery running low. This fits right in with Nikon's claims of being capable of capturing 220 images on a single charge (CIPA). With the included battery charger, you have the ability to easily keep a second battery charged and on hand at all times, making this a great camera for a long day, weekend or even extended vacation shooting trips.

Bottom Line - The Nikon CoolPix S570 was a tough one to review, on the one hand it is slow, very slow, both in the shot to shot delay and in the CS mode. If I was purchasing this camera to take pictures of the kids at sporting events I would be disappointed. Then there is the issue with the LCD. Its low quality was continually creeping up. On the other hand. It has a great price at $180.00 and you get really good images for that price. It's also very easy to operate. If you want a camera that you do not have to fiddle with, something to just pull out, turn on and start taking static pictures (like landscapes, etc.), the Coolpix S570 fits the bill.

Visitors of Steves can visit the stores below for real-time pricing and availability. You can also find hot, soon to expire online offers on a variety of cameras and accessories at our very own Camera Deals page.