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Nikon Coolpix S3300 Overview

Posted: 01/31/2012

If you're seeking an entry-level digital camera, but you're not willing to sacrifice on zoom range and a sleek, pocket-friendly body in pursuit of a lower pricetag, the Nikon S3300 might just be for you. At just 0.8 inches thick, the Nikon S3300 can pretty-much disappear in your pants pocket or purse, all but forgotten until the moment you need it. When an unexpected photo opportunity appears, you've got a high-res sensor and a 6x optical zoom lens ready to hand, to get photos you'd never manage with your smartphone. (There's a reason your pants don't come with just one pocket, you know!)

To cater to the resolution-hungry, the Nikon S3300 boasts a sixteen megapixel CCD sensor. That's plenty even for larger print sizes, with some generous cropping to boot. The S3300's sensitivity ranges from ISO 80 to 3,200 equivalents, par for the course for a camera in this category.

The S3300's Nikkor-branded 6x optical zoom lens will touch the bases for many photographers, offering everything from a useful 26mm-equivalent wide angle to a moderate 156mm-equivalent telephoto. Nikon has included true optical VR image stabilization, making it easier to get a steady, blur-free image even at the telephoto end of the zoom range. Focusing is possible to as close as five centimeters in macro mode. There's also tracking autofocus capability, to ease focusing on moving subjects.

On the S3300's rear panel is a 2.7-inch LCD monitor. Size-wise, it's a little smaller than average for a modern digital camera, but that's the price you pay to get a really pocket-friendly camera, so it's a worthwhile tradeoff. As you'd expect, there's no optical or electronic viewfinder on the Coolpix S3300, hence, you'll be doing all your image and movie framing at arm's length.

Catering to photographers who prefer not to concern themselves with the subtleties of shutter speeds, apertures, and ISO sensitivities, the Coolpix S3300 offers a generous 19 scene modes that let you tailor the look of your images. There's also Nikon's Smart Portrait System with Smile Timer function, which aims to make it easier to get a good portrait photo by automatically tripping the shutter when your subject is smiling. A variety of pre- and post-capture effects let you further experiment to achieve your artistic vision. Pre-capture options include Soft, Sepia, High Contrast Monochrome, High Key, Low Key, and Selective Color. Post-capture, you can add Soft, Selective Color, Cross Screen, Fisheye, Miniature or Painting effects.

As well as still images, the S3300 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 S3300 stores images and movies in a useful 42MB of built-in memory--enough to capture the key moments if you leave your flash card at home--or on removable Secure Digital cards, including the higher-capacity SDHC and SDXC types. Power comes courtesy of a proprietary EN-EL19 Lithium Ion rechargeable battery, and Nikon rates the S3300 as capable of around 210 shots on a charge.

The Nikon Coolpix S3300 goes on sale from February 2012 in the US market, priced at around US$140.