Review posted for Nikon Coolpix S4|
(Friday, November 4, 2005 - 02:56 EST)
Nikon's Coolpix line of consumer digital cameras has always been well-received and greatly appreciated for its overall image quality and ease of use.
The Nikon Coolpix S4 packs a lot of features, including a 6.0-megapixel CCD with 10x zoom lens, and a surprisingly large 2.5-inch LCD into a fairly compact package. For the average consumer willing to delve just slightly deeper than just pushing the button, its extensive scene modes and unique framing-assist options greatly extend its capabilities, making it easy to bring back good-looking shots of what might otherwise be difficult subjects.
While it may be a matter of personal taste, we really like seeing the return of the swivel-body design that was so popular on Nikon's earlier Coolpix models. The Nikon S4 delivers bright, saturated color that most consumers are likely to find very attractive, yet manages to produce very natural-looking skin tones as well. It handles a wide range of exposure conditions, so should be able to accommodate the shooting conditions encountered by average consumers fairly easily.
Its low-light capability isn't best-in-class, but is more than adequate for typical city night scenes. We were also surprised to find that its high-ISO capabilities were quite good, with ISO 400 shots usable to print sizes as large as 8x10 inches. Finally, the unique Nikon-only Best Shot Selector is a great help for capturing sharp images in dim lighting without a tripod, and the D-Lighting feature does a great job of opening up shadows, making for much more natural-looking images under difficult lighting conditions.
We'd really like to see better shutter response at the telephoto end of its zoom range, as well as somewhat faster shot to shot cycle times, but the total package is nonetheless very appealing. All in all, a very capable and enjoyable little camera that snaps great-looking photos, deserving of its status as a Dave's Pick. Read our review of the Nikon S4 for all the details!