Nikon Coolpix S3 Review

Click for our main menu

Nikon Coolpix S3

First Look posted 11/16/2005
Full review posted 01/16/2006

Introduction & Physical Views

Click on the Coolpix S3 to take a QuickTime VR tour

The Coolpix S3 is a 6-megapixel camera that delivers high performance shooting power and image quality in a sleek and ultra-portable package. Like the Coolpix S1 and S2 before it, the Matte Black Metal-body Coolpix S3 boasts a 2.5" LCD screen and Nikon's exclusive feature system, including D-Lighting for fixing dark pictures in the camera, the exclusive Face Priority AF (Auto Focus) for automatic face-finding focus and getting great portraits and In-Camera Red-Eye Fix™ to remove most instances of red-eye in the camera.

With the ability to take up to 190 shots from the included rechargeable Li-ion battery*, improved start-up time, and continuous shooting mode, the new Coolpix S3 allows for more shots to be captured than ever before. This superior engineering is paired with a range of Nikon's unique in-camera functions and 17 different scene modes that help make a perfect moment into a perfect photo with the click of a button.

PictBridge compatibility makes it possible to print directly to a printer, without the need for a PC. For those who enjoy organizing and sharing their photographs on a computer, Coolpix cameras ship with Nikon's PictureProject software, a user-friendly photo management software designed expressly for use by Coolpix photographers, that offers a broad selection of cataloging, editing and sharing functions. This software package is aimed at providing a central location that is simple, intuitive and seamless for Coolpix digital photographers.

Coolpix S3 Features:

  • 6-megapixel effective CCD for prints up to 13x19 inches
  • 3x optical zoom (35-105mm in 35mm equivalent)
  • Large 2.5-inch TFT color monitor
  • Program AE and 16 pre-programmed Scene modes
  • Face Priority AF for perfect portrait shots
  • Single, Continuous, Multi-Shot 16 and Time-lapse shooting modes
  • QuickTime movies with audio, up to 640x480 @ 15fps with vibration reduction - length limited only by available memory
  • Built-in flash with auto, fill, slow sync, and red-eye reduction
  • Nikon's exclusive D-Lighting and In-Camera Red-Eye Fix technology
  • Voice memo function records up to 20 seconds of sound that can then be attached to an image
  • 256-segment Matrix Metering, Center-weighted, and Spot AF metering in certain Scene Modes
  • 7 manual white balance settings and White Balance Bracketing
  • SD memory card slot and 12MB internal memory
  • Plug-n-Play USB connectivity
  • PictBridge direct-print compliant
  • One-Touch upload for easy image transfers
  • Rechargeable Li-ion battery included
  • COOLSTATION MV-11 cradle included for easy downloading of images and recharging the battery in the camera

The Coolpix S3 includes PictureProject a complete image editing and processing package for Windows XP, 2000, Me or 98SE, Macintosh Mac OS X 10.1.5 or later, rechargeable battery, MV-11 Coolstation cradle, hand strap, AV cable, and USB cable. The S4 is available now with an MSRP of US$429.95.

Physical Views

Nikon Coolpix S3

Nikon Coolpix S3

Nikon Coolpix S3Nikon Coolpix S3

Nikon Coolpix S3

Nikon Coolpix S3

Nikon Coolpix S3

The Coolpix S3 compared to a standard CD disc.

Nikon Coolpix S3

The Coolpix S4 and the Coolpix S3.

Nikon Coolpix S3

Nikon Coolpix S3

The Coolpix S3 and the Casio EX-Z57 Zoom.

Continue on to the
Features & Controls

Coolpix S3 Specifications

CCD 1/2.5-in. high-density CCD
6.0 million effective pixels
Image sizes 2816 x 2112 High
2816 x 2112 Normal
2048 x 1536
1024 x 768 PC
640 x 480 TV
Lens 3x Zoom-Nikkor; f = 5.8-17.4mm (equivalent to 35-105mm) F3.0-5.4 with macro; 12 elements in 10 groups; glass-molded aspherical lens elements included
Digital Zoom 4x
Autofocus Contrast-detect TTL AF
Center, auto multi-AF
with AF-assist illuminator
Focus range 12 in. (30cm) to infinity in normal,
1.6 in. (4cm) to infinity in Macro mode
LCD monitor 2.5-in., 110,000-dot, amorphous silicon TFT LCD with LED backlight
brightness (5 levels) adjustment, Auto gain-up at low-brightness,
frame coverage: approx. 97%
Auto OFF mode 30 sec.; can be set manually (1/5/30 min.)
Image Storage EXIF 2.2 compressed JPEG compliant with design rule for camera file system (DFC)
QuickTime Motion JPEG (Movie with audio)
Media Internal memory: approx 12MB;
SD memory card (not included)
Shooting modes AUTO
Scene Assistance (Portrait, Landscape, Sports, Night portrait)
Scene (Party/Indoor, Beach/Snow, Sunset, Dusk/Dawn, Night landscape, Close up, Museum, Fireworks Show, Copy, Back light, Panorama assist, Voice Recording, Underwater)
BSS (Best Shot Selector)
Movie with sound (640x480/15fps, 320x240/15fps, 160x120/15fps)
Capture modes Single, Continuous (approx. 1.8fps), Multi-shot 16 (only at 2816x2112 size)
Exposure metering 256-segment Matrix
Shutter Mechanical and charge-coupled electronic shutter
Automatic 2 sec. to 1/350 sec.
Aperture Two-step F3.0/F8.5 (Open/ND filter (-3.0AV))
Exposure control Programmed Auto with exposure compensation (±2 EV in 1/3 EV steps)
Best-shot Selector Camera takes up to 10 shots (at approx 2fps) and records the most detailed image of the 10 using anti-jitter logic which is effective for poor lighting, telephoto and macro shooting. Not available when the speedlight is on.
ISO Sensitivity Auto (50-200) or ISO 50, 100, 200, 400
White balance 1) Matrix Auto White Balance with TTL control
2) Manual or preset for Daylight/Incandescent/Fluorescent/ Cloudy/Speedlight)
Self-timer 10 sec. duration
Built-in Speedlight Shooting range 1-8.2 ft./0.3-2.5m (W), 1-4.6 ft./0.3-1.4m (T) at ISO Auto
Flash control Flash modes:
1) Auto Flash
2) Flash Cancel
3) Anytime Flash
4) Red-eye reduction
5) Slow Sync
Playback menu 1 frame, Thumbnail (4/9 segments), Slide show, Zoom playback (max 10x: 0.2 steps at 1x to 6x, 1 step at 6x to 10x, position selectable), Shooting information display
Delete function Deletes all frames or selected frames
Interface via Coolstation USB (12Mbps, effective speed: approx 2Mbps), mass storage or PTP
Supported Platforms Windows 98SE/Me/2000/XP
Mac OS 9.0-9.2 (only built-in USB ports supported)
Mac OS X (10.1.2 or later)
Video output NTSC or PAL (selectable)
Power requirements One EN-EL8 Rechargeable Li-ion Battery (Supplied ), COOLSTATION MV-11 (supplied), AC Adapter EH-63 (supplied)
Battery life One rechargeable lithium-ion battery EN-EL8 (supplied), 190 images (based on CIPA standard)
(W x H x D)
3.5 x 2.3 x 0.8 in. (89.9 x 57.5 x 19.7mm)
Weight Approx. 4.2 oz (Approx. 118g) (without battery and SD memory card)
Supplied Accessories Hand Strap; USB cable; Audio Video cable; EN-EL8 Rechargeable Li-ion Battery; EH-63 AC Adapter; COOLSTATION MV-11 Cradle; PictureProject CD-ROM
Optional Accessories Battery Charger MH-62; Leather Case/Battery Kit; Leather Case; WP-CP5 Waterproof Case; and SD memory card
Specifications are as represented by the manufacturer

Continue on to the
Features & Controls Page

Return To Our
Reviews Menu

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.