Nikon Coolpix S30 Overview
The Nikon Coolpix S30 is an entry-level model, designed not to break the bank. It's designed not to break itself, either, in situations that might bring the typical entry-level digicam to their knees. According to Nikon, it's capable of being used underwater at depths up to 9.8 feet, and of surviving a drop from 2.6 feet. That could make for an appealing choice not only for a day at the beach (or by the pool), but also if you're seeking a camera that can handle a little rough-and-tumble if a hyperactive toddler or outdoorsy teenager gets their hands on it!
Available in white, blue, and pink versions, the Nikon S30 is based around a ten megapixel CCD sensor, plenty for the print sizes most consumer photographers desire, with a little room for cropping left over. Sensitivity ranges from ISO 80 to 1,600 equivalents, about typical for an entry-level model. A Nikkor-branded 3x optical zoom lens is said to offer wide-angle shooting possibilities, although information on effective focal lengths wasn't available at press time. Suffice to say, though, that with 3x range, a useful wide angle will translate to only a very modest telephoto capability. You may need to zoom with your feet, if trying to frame a more distant subject. Focusing is possible to as close as five centimeters in macro mode.
On the S30's rear panel is a 2.7-inch LCD monitor, a little below average among current digital cameras, albeit not that uncommon for an entry-level model. There is, of course, no optical or electronic viewfinder on the Coolpix S30.
Catering to the entry-level market, the Coolpix S30 offers a number of scene modes that let you tailor the look of your images without needing to understand the subtleties of shutter speeds, apertures, and ISO sensitivities. These include Point and Shoot, Underwater, Interval Shooting, Highlight Color, Diorama Effect, Closeups, Continuous, Food Mode, Soft Focus and Fireworks. There's also Nikon's Smart Portrait System, which aims to make it easier to get a good portrait photo, automatically firing the shutter when your subject is smiling.
As well as still images, the S30 can capture high definition movies at 1,280 x 720 pixel (720p) resolution. No information on frame rates or compression types was available at press time.
The Nikon S30 stores images and movies in a reasonably useful 47MB of built-in memory--enough to save the day if you forget to bring a flash card with you--or on removable Secure Digital cards, including the higher-capacity SDHC and SDXC types. Power comes courtesy of two standard AA batteries, and Nikon rates the S30 as capable of around 410 shots on a pair of EN-MH2 rechargeable NiMH batteries. (In a pinch, you can get 240 shots with Alkaline disposables, or 700 shots with Lithium disposables.)
The Nikon Coolpix S30 goes on sale from February 2012 in the US market, priced at around US$120.