Nikon Coolpix S4 Review
Features & Controls
The Coolpix S4 is equipped with a 270° swiveling 10x Nikkor optical zoom lens with 38~380mm (in 35mm equivalent) focal length coverage. The maximum aperture is F3.5 and electronically preset in 5 steps (f3.5, f4.0, f6.8, f8.0 and f13.6). This all-glass lens is constructed of 12 elements in 9 groups and has Nikon Super Integrated Coating (SIC) applied.
The lens operates internally and does not extend. It comes with a nifty little
cap that snaps onto the end of the lens. You just flip it open when using the camera,
it doesn't need to be removed so it won't get lost.
Like the original Coolpix 900 and the 950, 990, 995 and 4500 that followed, the Coolpix S4 features a swiveling lens section with 270° of rotation. This allows the camera to be used in virtually any angle from high over your head to low on the ground. You can always see and frame the subject on the LCD screen, it's also great for macro close ups on a tripods or handheld self-portrait shots!
Auto focus is handled by a contrast detect TTL system with a 5-area AF using automatic selection. Low light focusing is aided by an AF-assist LED. Single AF and Continuous AF modes are available and the focus range is:
2.5 in. (6cm) to infinity in Macro mode
The built-in speedlight is on the lens section so it's always pointing at the subject and is ideal for macro closeup photography. The AF-assist lamp is used for the red-eye reduction flash mode.
The flash range is approx. 0.4-3m / 1.3 - 10 ft. (at ISO
auto) and can be set for Auto Flash, Auto+Red-Eye Reduction, Fill Flash, Slow Sync or
Disabled. The S4 also features In-Camera Red-Eye Fix which will automatically
detect and remove most occurrences of flash red-eye in people pictures.
There is no optical viewfinder but there is a large 2.5-inch color LCD with 110,000
pixels of resolution and an adjustable backlight. It serves as the viewfinder and is
used to review/share your images and movies and access the menu screens. The display
automatically dims when no buttons are pushed to conserve battery power. With only
110,000 pixels this display is not very high resolution and the surface is
covered by shiny plastic that can make viewing difficult.
Delkin eFilm PopUp LCD Shade doesn't come with the camera - but it ought to!
This will be the best $25 you'll ever spend, it completes the S4 and makes its 2.5-inch
screen a pleasure to use outdoors or in any bright environment. Besides shading the LCD from
glare it also protects it from scratches. When not in use it folds away tight to the
camera body, barely increasing its depth.
Controls on top: The power on/off button, microphone, speaker and the shutter release.
The Mode switch has positions for Record, Scene and Movie modes.
The zoom control is built around the shutter release and functions as the Index and
Magnify buttons in playback. When accessing the menus, the Telephoto button acts as
the Help button to call up onscreen information.
Controls on the back (left to right): The Monitor button controls the information
overlayed on the LCD screen. The Trashcan button is for deleting images in playback. The
Menu button calls up and dismisses the menu system. The "blue arrow" button puts the
camera in Play mode. The 4-way selector is for navigating menus and selecting pictures,
press it straight in to accept selections. In record mode pressing it "Up" selects the
desired flash mode. Pressing it "Left" activates the 10-sec self timer. Pressing it
"Down" enables the macro focus mode.
In playback mode you press the OK button to enable the
The single interface connector is a combination port that is used to connect either the
USB 1.1 cable for downloading images to Mac and Windows computers or to connect the
Audio-Video cable for viewing on a TV set. The video signal is selectable for
either NTSC or PAL standards.
The Coolpix S4 is equipped with 13.5MB of internal memory and a SD memory card slot, no card is supplied with the camera. Images and movies can be copied from internal memory to SD card or vice-versa. We recommend the purchase of at least a 256MB (or larger) SD card or your picture taking will be very limited at 6MP.
01/30/2006 - We tested the S4 with a 150x PQI 4GB SD card and it worked fine.
Approximate Storage Capacity
The camera is powered by two standard AA batteries; NiMH rechargeable, lithium or alkaline type. Alkaline batteries will power the camera for up to 160 shots. We highly recommend the use of rechargeable AA NiMH batteries, they will last for up to 290 shots and can be recharged hundreds of times - saving you money and helping the environment.
One-use photo lithium AA batteries are expensive but ideal for infrequent use with long storage periods and will provide up to 450 shots. (per CIPA standard testing)
An optional power adapter allows the camera to be powered
from an A/C wall outlet.
The Coolpix S4 has a menu option to set the Battery type - offering choices of Alkaline, COOLPIX (NiMH) and Lithium. Its purpose is to allow the camera to more accurately measure/display the remaining capacity of the installed batteries.
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