Nikon S10 Review
Nikon Coolpix S10 Operation
Given the camera's minimal controls and automatic exposure control, the Nikon Coolpix S10 is fairly simple to operate. Geared toward novices, the camera automatically takes care of the exposure, but does leave some options open to the user for adjustment. The Shooting / Playback button on the rear panel allows quick selection of the main operating mode, while the Mode button adjacent to it lets you select between the available recording modes. Some basic settings, such as flash, macro mode, and a unique portrait assistance option are available via external controls, but the remaining camera features are accessed through the LCD menu. For straight, point-and-shoot snapshots, most users will probably be able to start snapping with the Coolpix S10 right out of the box. But to get to know the camera's more advanced features, plan to spend an hour or so with the manual in hand.
Record Mode Display
In record mode, the Coolpix S10's LCD monitor displays the subject with a modest information overlay, indicating the shooting mode, focus area, memory type (internal or card), resolution, and number of available images at the current resolution and quality setting. A half-press of the Shutter button displays the AF status, red if the camera has trouble focusing and green if focus is set. Through the Setup menu, you can also opt to hide the information display, or to enable a framing grid.
Playback Mode Display
In Playback mode, the default image display shows the most recently captured image, with a limited information display reporting the date and time of capture, image number, memory type, series number, resolution, and a small icon detailing how to record an audio clip to accompany the file. Pressing the wide-angle side of the zoom lever enables the index display mode, and repeated presses on the wide angle side cycle through four, nine, or 25-image displays. Pressing the telephoto side of the zoom lever will bring the currently-selected image up full-screen. Pressing the telephoto side of the zoom lever when viewing an image full-size on the LCD screen will zoom in on the image, up to 10x. There's an option to save the enlarged portion as a crop as well.
Nikon Coolpix S10 Modes and Menus
Shooting Mode: Accessed via the Shooting / Playback button on the camera's rear panel, this mode lets you record still or moving images. The Mode button offers the following recording options:
- Shooting Mode: This mode records still images, with the exposure under automatic control. The user can adjust other camera settings, however, such as flash mode, macro, color, resolution, etc.
- Scene Mode: In this mode, you can choose between Portrait, Landscape, Sports, Night Portrait, Party / Indoor, Beach / Snow, Sunset, Dusk / Dawn, Night Landscape, Close-up, Museum, Fireworks Show, Copy, Back Light, and Panorama Assist preset scene options.
- Voice Recording: In this mode, you can record audio files for as long as the memory card or internal memory has available space. The available time is displayed on the LCD menu.
- Movie Mode: Here, you can record moving images with sound, for as long as the memory space is available.
Playback Mode: Also accessed via the Shooting / Playback button, this mode lets you review captured movies and images, as well as audio files.
Shooting Menu: Available in Shooting mode by pressing the Menu button, the following options are available:
- Setup: Displays the main Setup menu.
- Image Mode: Sets the image size and quality settings. Choices are High 2,816 (2,816 x 2,112), Normal 2,816 (2,816 x 2,112), Normal 2,048 (2,048 x 1,536), PC Screen 1,024 (1,024 x 768), and TV Screen 640 ( 640 x 480).
- White Balance: Adjusts the overall color balance of the image, to suit the light source. Options are Auto, Preset (manual option), Daylight, Incandescent, Fluorescent, Cloudy, and Flash.
- Exp. +/-: Adjusts the overall exposure from -2 to +2 EV, in 1/3 EV increments.
- Continuous: Accesses Single, Continuous, Multi-shot 16, and Interval Timer shooting modes. Continuous shoots a series of images at about 1.6 frames per second. Multi-shot 16 mode captures 16 thumbnail-size shots at about 1.9 frames per second, and arranges them as a single image. Interval Timer shooting sets the camera to automatically capture images at user-set intervals, like time-lapse photography.
- BSS (Best Shot Selector): When this mode is enabled, the camera will automatically select and save the sharpest image from a series of 10. Alternatively, you can select the Exposure BSS option, which will automatically save the best image based on Highlight, Shadow, or Histogram readings.
- Sensitivity: Sets the camera's ISO equivalent to 50, 100, 200, 400, or 800, or to Auto.
- Color Options: Offers Standard, Vivid, Black & White, Sepia, and Cyanotype color modes.
- AF Area Mode: Sets the AF area mode to Center or Manual. In Center mode, the camera's AF system bases the focus on the center of the frame. The Manual option lets you manually set the AF point using the Multicontroller.
Movie Menu: The following options are available in Movie mode by pressing the Menu button:
- Setup: Displays the main Setup menu.
- Movie Options: Sets the movie size and recording style. Options are TV Movie 640 (640 x 480, 30fps), Small Size 320* (320 x 240, 30fps), Small Size 320 (320 x 240, 15 fps), Pictmotion 320 (320 x 240, 15fps), Smaller Size 160 (160 x 120, 15fps), and Time-Lapse Movie (640 x 480, 30fps). Pictmotion movies are for use with Pictmotion software, which allows slide-show-style movies with custom transitions. Time-Lapse Movie captures as many as 1,800 still images and combines them into a 60-second movie file.
- AF Mode: Sets the AF mode to Single AF or Full-time AF.
Full-time AF means that the camera is constantly adjusting focus, while Single
AF mode only adjusts focus with the first press of the Shutter button.
- Setup: Displays the main Setup menu.
- Print Set: Allows you to create digital print orders for printing on a DPOF or PictBridge device.
- Slide Show: Automatically plays back captured images on the memory card or internal memory. You can set the frame interval and set whether the show loops.
- Delete: Allows you to erase all images or selected images from the memory card or internal memory.
- Protect: Write-protects the current image (or removes protection), preventing it from being deleted or manipulated in any way except with card formatting.
- Transfer Marking: Marks the current image for transferring to a computer once connected. You can opt to mark all images or select images.
- Rotate Image: Rotates the current image in 90-degree increments clockwise or counterclockwise.
- Small Pic: Creates a smaller copy of the current image. Choices are 640 x 480, 320 x 240, and 160 x 120.
- Copy: Copies files between the internal memory and memory card.
Setup Mode: This mode allows you to change a variety of camera settings, and is accessible through each of the camera menus.
- Menus: Sets how menu screens are displayed, as a text list or as icons.
- Welcome Screen: Lets you choose the welcome screen that appears when the camera is powered on. Choices are Disable Welcome, Nikon, Animation, or Select an Image (to set one of your images for welcome display).
- Date: Sets the camera's internal clock and calendar. You can also set the time zone for home and travel destinations.
- Monitor Settings: Controls the information and image displays on the LCD monitor for Playback and Shooting modes. Options are Show Info, Auto Info (information displayed only five seconds), Hide Info, and Framing Grid.
- Date Imprint: Lets you imprint the image capture date and time over the image. Options are Off, Date, Date and Time, and Date Counter (number of days between shooting date and selected date, such as a child's birthday).
- AF Assist: Sets the AF Assist light to Auto or Off. If set to Auto, the light automatically illuminates in dark shooting conditions to help the camera focus.
- Sound Settings: Accesses the camera's Button, Shutter, and Startup sound options.
- Record Orientation: If enabled, this option records the image with the camera orientation, so that vertically-framed images are automatically rotated in image playback.
- Auto Off: Sets the period of inactivity before the camera will shut itself off. Options are 30 seconds or 1, 5, or 30 minutes. Regardless of the option selected, the monitor will remain on for three minutes when menus are displayed, and 30 minutes during a Loop slide show.
- Format Memory / Format Card: This option formats either the internal memory or any inserted memory card, erasing all files (even protected ones).
- Language: Sets the menu language to one of 20.
- Interface: Sets the USB, Video, and Auto Transfer interface options. USB choices are Computer or Printer, Video choices are NTSC and PAL, and Auto Transfer lets you mark all images for transfer.
- Reset All: Resets all camera settings to their defaults.
- Firmware Version: Displays the camera's current firmware version.
Note: For details, test results, and analysis of the many tests done with this camera, please click on the tabs at the beginning of the review or below.