Nikon S6 Review
Nikon Coolpix S6 Design
The Nikon S6's wave design is stunning. And the 3x ED glass lens is smart enough not to stick its neck out to ruin the effect, either. The controls that at first seem miniscule are, in use, right at your fingertips. And when you can bear to put the S6 down, its Cool Station dock will keep it charged and ready for action. When you think about it, this 4.0 x 2.4 x 0.8 inch, 4.9-ounce camera has a lot of smarts to go with its style.
The front of the Nikon S6 is lacquered aluminum bulging out gracefully around the lens element. 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. Immediately to the left of the lens is the small rectangular flash. Apart from branding and badges, that's it.
The right side of the Nikon S6 is polished chrome with a raised chrome eyelet in the middle to attach the included wrist strap.
The opposite side of the Nikon S6 is a chrome bulge that narrows at the bottom and functions as the WiFi antenna. Just as it starts to narrow, there's a small blue LED to indicate WiFi status.
On the left side of the top panel is Nikon's new One-Touch Portrait button, which combines Face-Priority AF and In-Camera Red-Eye fix to optimize portraits. In the middle are 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 Power button, a green Power LED, a Shutter button, and a unique Zoom lever.
The back of the Nikon S6 is dominated by the 3.0-inch LCD screen on the left. On the right side a small wedge-shaped indentation provides a thumb grip. To the left of the thumb grip is the rounded rectangular Playback button; below that is the Mode button and below that is the smaller Menu button with a small Trash button next to it. Just above the Trash button is a small green LED indicator lamp. On the bottom right is the new Rotary Multi-Selector with the OK button at its center.
The bottom of the Nikon S6 has a sliding door on the right for the optional SD memory card and the Li-Ion battery, a multi-connector slot for connecting to the Coolstation or ImageLink dock, and a plastic tripod socket nearly centered under the LCD.
Nikon Coolpix S6 External Controls
Shutter Button: Just to the right of the Power button, the Shutter button is long and slim. It sets the Nikon Coolpix S6'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 Button: Nestled in a small recess to the left of the power LED and Shutter button, the Power button turns the camera on and off (after a slight delay) with a push.
Zoom (W and T) lever: On the right side of the top panel, the tiny and stiff Zoom switch controls the optical and digital zoom (when enabled) in any Record mode. In Playback mode, pressing in the W direction activates the index image display mode, while the T direction controls digital enlargement of the captured image.
One-Touch Portrait mode button: On the left side of the top panel, the One-Touch Portrait Mode button combines Face Priority AF, Red-eye reduction flash, and In-Camera Red-Eye Fix to help capture better portraits. In Playback mode, the button accesses D-Lighting to lighten underexposed images.
Rotary multi-selector jog dial: On the back of the Nikon S6, just right of the LCD, this dial spins left or right. 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 a selection has been made.
When connected to a computer with Nikon's PictureProject 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 Assist
- Landscape Assist
- Sports Assist
- Night Portrait Assist
- Voice Recording
In Playback Mode options are:
- List by Date
- Audio Playback
Menu Button: Directly below the Nikon S6's Mode button, this button displays the settings menu in any camera mode. It also dismisses the menu display. In Wireless mode, it attempts to connect to the Nikon Wireless Printer Adapter.
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.