Nikon S5 Review
Nikon S5 Design
The beautiful wave-like chassis of the new Nikon S5 is a great new direction for what was becoming a boring ultra-slim category. For being able to squeeze a nice 3x Nikkor ED glass lens into such a thin body, Nikon's engineers deserve kudos. Not only is this a plus for the images, it gives the S5 its pleasing wave-like flow, with the thinner right side of the camera serving as a decent hand grip. The choice of metals in the construction are also nice with glossy aluminum combining with elements of acrylic, stainless steel, silicone paneling and chrome to make up the main body. All in all, this 3.7 x 2.3 x 0.8 inch, 5.3-ounce camera has lots of pizzazz.
The front of the Nikon S5 is lacquered aluminum with a slight inward curve to the right side of the camera as well as toward the back. The curving design helps avoid creating any right angles on the Nikon S5. On the top right is a small round focus-assist lamp. Next to this is a circular cut-out in the metal, banded by chrome, for the lens. The lens cover automatically slides shut when the camera is powered off and then slides open quickly when it powers on. Below the lens on the left are raised white letters with the name of the product. Above the product name, right next to the lens, is the small rectangular flash in an oval cut-out. Aside from the Nikon logo in black on the right side of the front of the Nikon S5, the rest of the face plate is smooth painted silver.
The right side of the Nikon S5 is polished chrome with a raised chrome eyelet in the middle to affix the included hand strap.
The opposite side of the Nikon S5 is a smooth and featureless slab of glossy chrome.
On the left side of the top of the Nikon S5 is the camera’s new “One-Touch Portrait” button. This button accesses a new feature which combines Face-Priority AF and In-Camera Red-Eye fix to help optimize portraits. In the middle is a series of four holes for the Speaker, and just right of that is a single hole for the Mic. On the right side of the top in chrome are a small indented on/off button, a shutter button and a unique rocker switch for zooming.
The back of the Nikon S5 is dominated by the 2.5-inch LCD screen. On the right side there’s a small wedge-shaped indentation that serves as a thumb rest. To the left of the thumb rest is a rounded rectangular playback button; below that is a mode button and below that are a menu button and a trash button adjacent to each other. On the bottom right is the jog dial, which Nikon calls a Rotary Multi Selector.
The bottom of the Nikon S5 has a sliding door on the right for the optional SD memory card and battery, a multi connector slot for connecting to the Coolstation, and a plastic tripod socket.
Nikon S5 External Controls
Shutter Button: Just to the right of the power switch, the Shutter button is long and slim. This button sets the Nikon Coolpix S5's exposure when halfway pressed, and releases the shutter when fully pressed. In Playback mode, pressing this button lets you record a short sound caption to accompany the displayed image. If an audio clip has already been recorded, pressing the shutter button plays it back for you. If you are zoomed in on a picture, pressing this button also saves a separate cropped image, while leaving the original.
Power Switch: Nestled in a small recess to the left of the power LED and Shutter button, the power switch turns the camera on and off with a push.
Zoom (W and T) lever: Located on the right size of the top of the Nikon S5, the tiny zoom switch control the optical and digital zoom (when enabled) in any record mode. In Playback mode, the "W" button activates the index image display mode, while the "T" button controls digital enlargement of the captured image.
One-Touch Portrait mode button: On the left side of the top of the Nikon S5 is the One-Touch Portrait Mode button. When pressed, the button combines Face Priority AF and In-Camera Red-Eye Fix to help create better portraits. In Playback mode, the button lets you access D-Lighting.
Rotary multi-selector jog dial: On the back of the Nikon S5, just right of the LCD, this dial can move in any direction. In any Settings menu, the dial navigates through menu selections, and the center OK button selects.
In Playback mode, the right and left sides of the dial scroll through captured images. Spinning the dial rapidly plays back images at the rate of up to 10 pictures per second.
In Record mode, the dial controls specific exposure features. The top portion of the dial controls the camera's flash mode, producing a popup menu of options (Auto, Red-Eye Reduction, Anytime Flash, and Flash Cancel). The left side activates the camera's Self-Timer mode, while the bottom arrow activates the Macro focus mode. All of these settings are confirmed by pressing the central button once the selection has been made.
When connected to a computer with Nikon's software loaded, pressing the center button triggers a "one touch" upload of selected images to the computer.
Record/Playback Button: On the top of the rear of the camera is the Record/Playback button which toggles between Record and Playback modes.
Mode Button: Below the Record/Playback Button is the Mode button. Pressing the Mode button during shooting or playback displays a mode-selection menu.
In Shooting Mode options are:
- Shooting (Auto)
- Portrait/Scene Assist
- Night Portrait
- Voice Recording
In Playback Mode options are:
- List by date
- Voice playback
Menu Button: Directly below the Nikon S5's Mode button, this button displays the settings menu in any camera mode. It also dismisses the menu display.
Erase Button: To the right of the Menu button, this button pulls up the Erase menu while in Playback or Record mode.
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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.