Nikon S10 Review

 
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Nikon Coolpix S10 Optics


Lens

Zoom
A generous 10x optical zoom range, with good performance. Digital zoom also performs well.

38mm 380mm 2x Digital Zoom

The Nikon Coolpix S10's optical zoom covers the equivalent of a 38-380mm range, which is outstanding among consumer digital cameras. Results were good at wide angle, though some corner softness is visible, as well as a small amount of coma distortion. Results were very good at full telephoto, with sharp detail, but there was strong chromatic aberrration in the top corners (most noticeable around the tree branches). The camera's digital zoom performed better than expected, as it maintained a good level of resolution and fine detail. Overall, very good results.

Macro
A tiny macro area with excellent detail and high resolution. Flash exposure was very uneven up close.

Standard Macro Macro with Flash

True to Nikon form, the Coolpix S10's macro setting performed quite well, capturing a very small minimum area of 1.30 x 0.98 inches (33 x 25 millimeters). Detail and resolution are both excellent, though there's fairly strong blurring in the corners from the lens. (Most cameras have some softening in the corners in macro mode.) The flash produced a very uneven exposure here, with strong shadowing in the left side of the frame. (Plan on using external lighting for your closest macro shots with the Coolpix S10.)

Distortion
Very high barrel distortion, though low pincushion.

Barrel distortion at 38mm is 1.10%
Pincushion at 432mm is less than 0.02%

This is the tendency for the lens to bend straight lines outward (like a barrel -- usually at wide angle) or inward (like a pincushion -- usually at telephoto). The Nikon Coolpix S10's 1.10% barrel distortion at wide angle is very high among the cameras we've tested, and quite noticeable in its wide shots. At the telephoto end, the Coolpix S10's pincushion distortion was much more acceptable, at about 0.02%.

Chromatic aberration
High, very noticeable effect on images at edges, not uncommon among long zooms.

Wide: somewhat high and bright,
top left @ 200%
Wide: bright,
top right @ 200%
Tele: very high and bright,
top left @200%
Tele: very bright,
top right @200%

Chromatic aberration is high at wide angle, and even stronger at telephoto, showing about 20+ pixels of very bright coloration on either side of the target lines. (This distortion is visible as a very slight colored fringe around the objects at the edges of the field of view on the resolution target.) The effect is pretty noticeable in several of our test shots.

Corner Sharpness
Softness in the corners of the frame.

Wide: quite soft in the left
corners (upper left)
Wide: much sharper at center
Tele: soft in the lower
corners (lower left)
Tele: a tad soft at center

The Nikon Coolpix S10 produced pretty soft corners in a few shots. At full wide angle, the left corners of the frame suffered most, with minor blurring in the right corners. At full telephoto, all four corners were again a bit soft, but the strongest effect was noticeable in the lower corners.

Viewfinder

Coverage
Great accuracy from the LCD monitor.

38mm eq., LCD 380mm eq., LCD

The Nikon Coolpix S10's LCD monitor proved quite accurate, showing about 100% frame accuracy at wide angle, and about 98% at telephoto. Great results.

 

The images above were taken from our standardized test shots. For a collection of more pictorial photos, see our Nikon Coolpix S10 Photo Gallery.

Nikon S10

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