Nikon S200 Review

 
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Nikon Coolpix S200 Optics


Lens

Zoom
Below average performance from the 3x optical zoom lens, with noticeable distortion and blurring in the corners and purple fringing across the entire image.

38mm
114mm
4x Digital Zoom

The Nikon Coolpix S200 zooms over a typical 3x optical zoom range, equivalent to a 38-114mm range on a 35mm camera. Details are reasonably sharp at wide angle, though there is some blurring in the extreme corners of the frame and coma distortion in the tree limbs against the sky, especially on the right-hand side. At telephoto, corner-to-corner sharpness was better, but pincushion distortion was quite evident, as was purple fringing around highlights. You'll find purple fringing all across the frame, including in the center, which is neither common nor desirable. The camera's 4x digital zoom takes it out to 12x total, with the loss of quality usually associated with digital zoom.

Macro
A below average macro area with good detail and high resolution. Flash had a bit of trouble throttling down.

Standard Macro Macro with Flash

The Nikon Coolpix S200's macro setting is a bit below average, capturing a large minimum area of 2.90 x 2.18 inches (74 x 55 millimeters). Detail and resolution are both good, with only a moderate amount of softening in the corners from the lens. (Most cameras have some softening in the corners in macro mode.) The flash shot is slightly overexposed and exposure is somewhat uneven, but still usable.

Distortion
Higher than average barrel distortion, very high pincushion.

Barrel distortion at 38mm is 0.9%
Pincushion distortion at 114mm is 0.7%

The Nikon Coolpix S200's 0.9% barrel distortion at wide angle is a little higher than average, and is noticeable in some images. At the telephoto end, the S200's almost 0.7% pincushion distortion is very high compared to other cameras we've tested, and quite visible. Note: Distortion 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).

Chromatic aberration
Moderate to very high, noticeable effect on images in edges at wide angle.

Wide: Moderately high,
lower left @ 200%
Wide: Very high,
lower right @ 200%
Tele: Moderate, lower left @200% Tele: Low, lower right @200%

Chromatic aberration is moderately high to very high at wide angle on the Nikon Coolpix S200, showing about 12+ pixels of moderately bright coloration on either side of the target lines. Telephoto is slightly better. However, the phenomenon of "purple fringing" can be seen across the frame, including in the center, and is not at all good. Note: 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.

Corner Sharpness
Fairly soft results overall at wide angle with moderate blurring in corners at telephoto.

Wide: Soft in the
right corners (lower right).
Wide: Slightly soft at center.
Tele: Moderately soft
in the corners (upper left).
Tele: Sharp at center.

The Nikon Coolpix S200 produced soft corners in a few shots. The right corners are soft at wide angle (the lower left corner is quite sharp), and the center is slightly soft as well. At telephoto, the corners also show moderate blurring, but the center is fairly sharp.

Viewfinder

Coverage
Very good accuracy from the LCD monitor.

38mm eq., LCD monitor 114mm eq., LCD monitor

The Nikon S200's LCD monitor showed about 102% accuracy at wide angle, and about 99% at telephoto. Pretty good results here.

 

The images above were taken from our standardized test shots. For a collection of more pictorial photos, see our Nikon Coolpix S200 Photo Gallery.

Nikon S200

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