Nikon S6 Review

 
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Nikon Coolpix S6 Performance


Timing and Performance

Good to average speed for a consumer camera. Unusually slow shutdown, however.

Startup/Shutdown
Power on
to first shot
2.4 seconds
Time it takes for LCD to turn on and lens to deploy.
Shutdown
3.5 seconds
How long it takes to cover lens to stow camera in your pocket.
Buffer clearing time
3 seconds
(Large/Fine JPEG,
Unlimited shots in
continuous mode)
Worst case buffer clearing time.* This is the delay after a set of shots before you can remove the card. Some cameras won't retract their lenses and shut down until the buffer is cleared.
Mode switching
Play to Record,
first shot
1.2 seconds
Time until first shot is captured
Record to play
4.4 seconds
Time to display a large/fine file immediately after capture
Display
recorded image
1.7 second
Time to display a large/fine file already on the memory card.
Shutter response (Lag Time):
Full Autofocus Wide
0.48 second
Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, zoom lens at wide angle position.
Full Autofocus Tele
0.65 second
Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, zoom lens at telephoto position.
Prefocused
0.094 second
Time to capture, after half-pressing and holding shutter button.
Cycle time (shot to shot)
Single Shot mode
Large Fine JPEG
2.04 seconds
Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots
Single Shot mode
640x480 JPEG
1.67 seconds
Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots
Early shutter
penalty?
No
Some cameras refuse to snap another shot if you release and press the shutter too quickly in Single Shot mode, making "No" the preferred answer
Continuous mode
Large Fine JPEG
0.82 second (1.23 frames per second);
No limit w/fast card*;
~2 seconds to clear
Time per shot, averaged over buffer length or 20 shots, whichever came first
Continuous mode
640x480 JPEG
0.43 second (2.34 frames per second);
No limit w/fast card*;
~1 second to clear
Time per shot, averaged over buffer length or 20 shots, whichever came first
Flash recycling
4 seconds
Flash at maximum output
Download speed
Windows Computer, USB 2.0
811 KBytes/sec
Typical Values:
Less than 600=USB 1.1;
600-770=USB 2.0 Low;
771-4000=USB 2.0 High
*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a Kingston Ultimate 120x SD memory card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times. Slow cards may also limit length of bursts in continuous mode.

The S6's performance ranges from quite fast to just average, depending on what you're trying to do. It starts up fairly quickly, and has a fast shutter response at both wide angle and telephoto lens positions. If you prefocus the camera by half-pressing and holding down the shutter button before the final exposure, it's also very fast, with a shutter delay of only 0.09 second. Shot-to-shot cycle times are pretty good as is continuous-mode speed, if not impressive, at a bit over two frames/second, for up to four shots in succession. The flash takes about four seconds to recharge after a full-power shot, about average for this class of camera. Connected to a computer, download speeds are a bit sluggish by current standards, so you may want to consider a separate card reader for downloading large batches of images if you don't want to wait for WiFi at about six seconds an image. Overall, the S6 is responsive enough for typical consumer needs. Though the Continuous shooting mode is a little slower than average, it should be sufficient for family snapshots and the average little league game.

Battery and Storage Capacity

Battery
Good battery life except when using WiFi.

Test Condition
Number of Shots
LiIon Rechargeable Battery 200

The Nikon Power-shot S6 uses a custom rechargeable LiIon battery for power. The table above shows the number of shots the camera is capable of based on CIPA battery-life and/or manufacturer standard test conditions. We normally always recommend picking up a spare battery and keeping it freshly charged and on-hand for long outings, and that's especially true for the S6 if you plan to use WiFi much.

(Interested readers can find an English translation of the CIPA DC-002 standards document here. (180K PDF document))

Storage
No card is included with the Nikon Coolpix S6, although it accepts Secure Digital cards; 20MB RAM is built into the camera.

Image Capacity with
20MB Internal Memory
Fine Normal
2,816 x 2,112 Images 6 13
File Size 3.1 MB 1.6 MB
2,048 x 1,536 Images 24
File Size 864 KB
1,024 x 768 Images 85
File Size 254 KB
640 x 480
Images 182
File Size 119 KB

The Nikon Power-shot S6 stores its photos on Secure Digital memory cards or in approximately 20MB of internal memory. No card is included with the camera. We strongly recommend buying at least a 128 MB card, preferably a 256 MB one, to give yourself enough space for extended outings.

 

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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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