Nikon Coolpix S4300 Overview
Looking for an affordably priced, sleek and approachable camera with a minimum of confusing buttons, and better than average zoom range? If so, you might be the target customer for Nikon's Coolpix S4300, a fashion-friendly model that's less than an inch thick. Available in five colors--plum, black, silver, white or red--the Nikon S4300 is has just five buttons and levers, and one indicator lamp. All other interaction takes place through its touch-panel display.
For the heart of the S4300, Nikon selected a sixteen megapixel CCD sensor, with plenty of resolution for larger print sizes, even after some generous cropping. The S4300's sensitivity ranges from ISO 80 to 3,200 equivalents, par for the course for a camera in this category.
The S4300'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 S4300's rear panel is a 3.0-inch touchscreen LCD monitor. Size-wise, it's about average for a modern digital camera, and resolution is a bit higher than average, at around 460,000 dots. The big news is the touch-panel overlay, which lets you intuitively control the camera right from the screen itself, and has really allowed Nikon to declutter the S4300's interface. As you'd expect, there's no optical or electronic viewfinder on the Coolpix S4300, 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 S4300 offers a generous 20 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, Painting, or Color Options effects.
As well as still images, the S4300 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 S4300 stores images and movies in a useful 76MB of built-in memory--enough to save the day 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 S4300 as capable of around 180 shots on a charge.
The Nikon Coolpix S4300 goes on sale from February 2012 in the US market, priced at around US$170.