Nikon Coolpix S6300 Overview
Want enough telephoto reach to capture more distant subjects, but don't want to lug around a bulky mid-sized camera, or an interchangeable-lens camera kit? The Nikon S6300 digital camera could be the answer. Its handsome body has similar styling to the simultaneously-announced S9300, but in a significantly smaller package. (Compared to its longer-zoom sibling, the S6300 is a bit over half an inch less wide, and almost a quarter inch less tall and deep.) Catering to the style-conscious among us, four body colors are available: red, black, silver or blue.
Based around a sixteen megapixel, backside-illuminated CMOS sensor, the S6300 should offer plenty of resolution for larger print sizes, even after some generous cropping. CMOS chips typically offer faster performance than their CCD counterparts, and that's true of the S6300, which offers seven frames-per-second burst shooting at full resolution. (Nikon's EXPEED C2 processor plays its part in this speed, as well.) Backside-illuminated chips move much of their circuitry off the front surface of the sensor, leaving more room for light-gathering photodiodes, and thereby improving sensitivity. The S6300's sensitivity ranges from ISO 125 to 3,200 equivalents, fairly standard for a camera in this category.
The S6300's Nikkor-branded 10x optical zoom lens offers a pretty useful range, from a 25mm-equivalent wide angle to a 250mm-equivalent telephoto. Of course, a lens with that much telephoto reach would be of little use if you couldn't get a steady, blur-free image, and so Nikon has included true optical VR image stabilization. Focusing is possible to as close as four centimeters in macro mode. There's also tracking autofocus capability, to ease focusing on moving subjects.
On the S6300's rear panel is a 2.7-inch LCD monitor, a little smaller than average in a digital camera that's above the entry level. You wouldn't expect to find an optical viewfinder alongside a lens with this much reach, but sadly, there's no electronic viewfinder on the Coolpix S6300 either. Hence, you'll be doing all your image and movie framing at arm's length.
Catering to photographers who'd rather spend their time looking at the sights rather than coping with the subtleties of shutter speeds, apertures, and ISO sensitivities, the Coolpix S6300 offers a generous 20 scene modes that let you tailor the look of your images. There's also Nikon's Smart Portrait System, which aims to make it easier to get a good portrait photo. A variety of pre- and post-capture effects let you further experiment to achieve your artistic vision. Pre-capture options include Soft Focus, Sepia, High Key, Low Key, High Contrast Monochrome, and Selective Color. Post-capture, you can add Soft, Selective Color, Cross Screen, Fisheye, Miniature, or Painting effects. There's also an Easy Panorama mode capable of generating 180-degree or 360-degree panoramas, in-camera.
As well as still images, the S6300 can capture high definition movies at 1,920 x 1,080 pixel (1080p) resolution. No information on frame rates or compression types was available at press time, but we do know that the S6300 includes a stereo microphone, for a more immersive audio experience.
The Nikon S6300 stores images and movies in a rather limited 25MB of built-in memory, or on removable Secure Digital cards, including the higher-capacity SDHC and SDXC types. Power comes courtesy of a proprietary EN-EL12 Lithium Ion rechargeable battery, and Nikon rates the S6300 as capable of around 230 shots on a charge.
The Nikon Coolpix S6300 goes on sale from February 2012 in the US market, priced at around US$200.