Nikon S6 Review

 
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Nikon Coolpix S6 Optics


Lens

Zoom
A typical 3x optical zoom range, with good performance despite the typical soft corners seen in compact digicams.

35mm
105mm
4x Digital Zoom

The Nikon Coolpix S6 zooms over the equivalent of a 35-105mm range, which is fairly typical for its class. Overall performance is quite good, with good detail and sharpness at wide angle. The 4x Precision Digital zoom takes it out to 12x total, with the typical loss of resolution associated with Digital Zoom, although the Coolpix S6 arguably does a better than average job.

Macro
A very small macro area with excellent detail and resolution, a Coolpix hallmark. Closest focusing distance is 1.6 inches.

Standard Macro Macro with Flash

Like most Nikon Coolpix digicams, the S6's macro setting performed unusually well, capturing a tiny minimum area of only 1.57 x 1.18 inches (39 x 29 millimeters). Detail and resolution were both excellent, with great definition even in the tiny particles of dust on the top edges of the coins. Corner softness is fairly minimal as well. (Most cameras have some softening in the corners in macro mode, the Nikon S5 shows less than most.) At 1.6 inches from the subject, the onboard flash isn't very useful, so plan on illuminating Macro shots with available light or external flash.

Distortion
Average barrel distortion, slightly high pincushion.

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 S6's 0.84% barrel distortion at wide angle is about average among the cameras we've tested, and not terribly obvious in most images. At the telephoto end, the S6's 0.36% pincushion is higher than average though.

Barrel distortion at 35mm is 0.84%
Pincushion at 105mm is 0.36%

Chromatic aberration
Moderate at wide angle (but small effect on images at edges, none at telephoto.

Wide: high, top left @ 200% Wide: high, top right @ 200%
Tele: low, top left @200% Tele: low, top right @200%

Chromatic aberration is low to moderate at wide angle, showing about 5-6 pixels of faint coloration on either side of the target lines, but decreases to very low levels at telephoto focal lengths. (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
While the extreme corners of the frame show significant softening, the effect quickly shifts to a sharper image.

Wide: soft upper right corner. Wide: sharp at the center.
Tele: soft upper right corner. Tele: sharp at the center.

The S6 produced very soft corners in a few shots, the upper right corner having the most visible effect, though it was very sharp lower left. A slight crop, would eliminate the worst of the blurring because the image very quickly gets sharp as you move toward the center.

Viewfinder

Coverage
Excellent accuracy from the LCD monitor.

35mm eq., LCD monitor 105mm eq., LCD monitor

The S6's LCD monitor showed almost 102% accuracy at wide angle and 99% accuracy at telephoto.

 

The images above were taken from our standardized test shots. For a collection of more pictorial photos, see our Nikon Coolpix S6 Photo Gallery.

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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.

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