Features & Controls

Nikon's S30 boasts 10-megapixels of resolution, which comes from a 1/3-inch CCD type image sensor. This senor is paired with an internal Zoom-NIKKOR 3x optical zoom lens, which is house completely inside the camera's body. This lens is comprised of 6 elements in 5 groups, with a maximum aperture range of f/3.3 - 5.9. The equivalent zoom range is 29.1 - 87.3mm. There is also a 4x digital zoom feature, which extends the range to approx. 349 mm. However, the digital zoom will degrade image quality, so we recommend you use it sparingly.

The S30 does not offer optical image stabilization, however Nikon notes that it does include Electronic VR (Vibration Reduction). This process uses image processing to reduce image blur by capturing two shots at once, analyzes the two shots, then corrects the blur.

Autofocus is handled by a contrast detection AF system, which uses either Center or Face priority Focus-area selection. Due to the nature of the S30 being extremely easy to use, you have no control over AF in still image mode; the camera chooses between Center AF and Face Priority AF. For movies, you do have the option to set the AF from Singe or Full-time.

Effective AF range:
  • Wide angle: Approx. 1 ft. (30 cm.) to infinity
  • Telephoto: Approx. 1 ft. 8 in. (50 cm.) to infinity
  • Macro close-up mode: Approx. 2 in. (5 cm.) to infinity

Located directly above the lens is the small built-in flash unit. This unit is designed to help illuminate subjects in darker shooting conditions, or when underwater. With a maximum effective range of approx. 1 - 11 feet at wide angle, don't expect to light up an entire room; however this range should suffice for close-ups.

On the top are three controls; the movie shutter release on the left, the On/Off button in the center, and the still image shutter release on the right.

On the back you'll find a 2.7-inch LCD screen, which is surrounded by the camera controls. This screen offers 230,000 dots of resolution and covers 98% of the captured range; meaning you'll capture slightly more than what you see on the screen. This screen was visible in various conditions, and also offers 5 levels of brightness adjustment.

The S30 uses a very unique control layout. The typical 4-way still exists on the right, however it doubles as the zoom control by pressing Up (Telephoto) and Down (Wide angle). In playback, the zoom controls also toggle the Index and Magnify options. Next you have the Play button to enter playback mode. On the left hand side of the LCD are the menu buttons. Pressing any one of them will enter the menu system, and you press the button that is to the left of the desired mode. If the menu has more than one page of options, you use the 4-way to scroll up or down, but you still have to press one of the four buttons on the left to choose an option. It's completely different than any system we've ever seen, and took some time to get used to.

On the bottom is the only port door on the camera, which hides the USB/AV port at the top left, along with the batteries and SD card. The combination I/O port handles both USB connectivity to your PC or a printer, along with standard definition AV output. While there is a USB cable provided, not AV cable is in the kit. The camera also does not offer a HDMI port.

Surrounding the port opening is a small rubber gasket, which seals against the metal cover that is attached to the plastic port door. When the door is closed and locked, the metal lid / cover seals tightly against the rubber seal to keep both water and dust out. During our underwater tests, we saw no signs of water getting past this seal, however we did not have the facilities to test the S30 down to 10 feet underwater.

Here you can see the port at a different angle, asd well as the metal lid / cover that is attached to the port door. The second yellow door is what keeps the batteries in place, and hides the SD card slot.

The S30 is compatible with any size SD/SDHC/SDXC memory card; and is shown here with a SanDisk Ultra II 4GB SDHC card. Power comes from two AA type batteries, and you have the option of using one-use Alkaline or Lithium cells, as well as rechargeable NiMH or NiZN type cells; like the energyOn 2000mAh NiMH cells above. We highly recommend rechargeable cells; they last longer and will save you money in the long run.

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.