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Nikon Coolpix S700 Optics


Lens

Zoom
Good performance with the Nikon S700's 3x optical zoom lens. Digital zoom also performs well.

37mm 111mm 4x Digital Zoom

The Nikon Coolpix S700's 3x optical zoom lens covers a range equivalent to a 37-111mm zoom on a 35mm camera, fairly standard among consumer digital cameras. Details are reasonably sharp at full wide angle, with low levels of coma distortion and moderate blurring in the top corners of the frame. Results at full telephoto are also quite good. The camera's 4x digital zoom also performed well, and though resolution and detail are compromised with the digital enlargement, there's still a lot of fine detail visible.

Macro
Good detail and high resolution up close, though an average-size macro area. Flash exposure is uneven.

Standard Macro Macro with Flash

The Nikon Coolpix S700's macro setting performed well, capturing an average-sized minimum area measuring 2.42 x 1.81 inches (61 x 46 millimeters). Detail and resolution were fairly sharp in the center, though there's a significant amount of softening in the corners from the lens. (Most cameras have some softening in the corners in macro mode.) The Nikon S700's flash produced an uneven exposure with strong shadows in the bottom of the frame. External lighting will yield the best results with the S700's macro setting.

Distortion
High barrel distortion at wide angle, a small amount at telephoto. Distortion Control setting definitely tames the amount of distortion visible.

Wide-angle Barrel distortion at 37mm is 0.9% with Distortion Control Off
Wide-angle Pincushion at 37mm is 0.1% with Distortion Control On
Telephoto Barrel distortion at 111mm is 0.3% with Distortion Control Off
Telephoto Barrel distortion at 111mm is 0.03% with Distortion Control On

The Nikon Coolpix S700's 0.9% barrel distortion at wide angle is higher than average, and quite noticeable. Activating the Distortion Control setting eliminates the barrel distortion, though it pushes just a hair too far and creates 0.1% pincushion, though results are still more favorable here. At the telephoto end, the S700's 0.3% barrel distortion is modest, and again, Distortion Control does a good job, resulting in only 0.03% barrel distortion. Note that quite a bit of the 12-megapixel image is "cropped" in the Distortion Control process, though the image size remains the same. Distortion is the tendency for the lens to bend straight lines outward (like a barrel -- usually at wide angle) or inward (like a pincushion -- usually at telephoto).

Chromatic aberration
High at wide angle, though less noticeable at telephoto. Strongest on right side of the frame, due to stronger blurring in the upper right corners.

Wide: High,
top left @ 200%
Wide: Higher and bright,
top right @ 200%
Tele: Modest,
top left @200%
Tele: Slightly stronger,
top right @200%

Chromatic aberration is high at wide angle, showing fairly bright coloration on either side of the target lines. The effect appears stronger in the top right corner, due in part to stronger blurring in the corner here. At telephoto, the effect is less noticeable and less bright, showing about 11 pixels. Here again, the effect is stronger in the right corner, due to blurring. (This distortion is visible as a slight colored fringe around the objects at the edges of the field of view on the resolution target.)

Corner Sharpness
Moderate blurring in the right corners of the frame at wide angle, fairly soft corners at full telephoto as well.

Wide: Soft in the right
corners (upper right).
Wide: Sharp at center.
Tele: Softer in the
corners (upper left)
Tele: Sharper at center, though
still somewhat soft.

The Nikon Coolpix S700 produced soft corners on the right side of the frame at full wide angle, compared to sharper results at center. The left corners showed a small amount of blurring, but nothing too strong. At full telephoto, blurring was noticeable in all four corners of the frame compared to the center.

Viewfinder

Coverage
Good accuracy from the S700's LCD monitor.

37mm eq., LCD 111mm eq., LCD

The Nikon Coolpix S700's LCD monitor showed about 97% frame accuracy at wide angle and telephoto. Slightly tight, but still pretty good results.