Short-form review posted for Nikon Coolpix SQ!|
(Saturday, April 12, 2003 - 02:36 EDT)
I've just posted a review of Nikon's slick-looking Coolpix SQ (minus sample photos at this point though, see below) a compact 3 megapixel model with internal lens and swivel body.
With a square design that's somewhat reminiscent of the Minolta Dimage Xi, the SQ's sleek body slips easily in to pockets, while the swivel body that's been something of a Nikon trademark makes it easy to shoot from awkward angles. Besides the unusual body design, one of the salient characteristics of the SQ is that it has what's easily the best LCD I've yet seen on a digicam. While I've seen other combined transmissive/reflective LCD screens before, the one on the SQ does by far the best job of being clearly visible in both dim indoor lighting and full sunlight outdoors.
Other performance characteristics are more or less average, while the $499 list price is a little high for a three-megapixel camera in the US market. Still though, for that price, Nikon includes a docking station/battery charger unit, something that's often an added-cost accessory from other manufacturers.
I don't have sample photos from the SQ just yet, as Nikon initially asked me not to share samples from the prototype they gave me to test. Later, they apparently determined that image quality from that round of late-version prototypes was indeed representative of final production models, so I'm currently shooting a full set of my standardized test images. (These will hopefully be posted within a week or less.)
I've heard informally that the SQ will see only very limited distribution in the US, apparently due to the slightly high price and the less than overwhelming reception given earlier high-style Coolpix models (the 2500 and 3500). While I wouldn't stick my neck out to the extent of telling Nikon to change their plans and bring more SQs to the US market, I do feel that it would be wrong to sell this camera short: It's a very appealing model with nice features and good performance. Check it out!