Nikon S600 Review

 
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Nikon Coolpix S600 Optics


Lens

Zoom
A nice 4x optical zoom range with good overall performance. Digital zoom is quite soft.

28mm 112mm 4x Digital Zoom

The Nikon Coolpix S600's 4x optical zoom lens has a very wide maximum wide angle setting at 28mm (full zoom range equivalent is 28-112mm), which is a nice feature to have, especially for indoor photography. Performance is pretty good at full wide angle, with fairly sharp details overall, though some coma distortion is present. Detail is good, if a bit smudged thanks to noise suppression. Details are a bit sharper at full telephoto. The Nikon S600's 4x digital zoom results in a very soft image with little detail.

Macro
A small macro area with good detail and high resolution. Flash has trouble up close though.

Standard Macro Macro with Flash

The Nikon Coolpix S600's macro setting performed well, capturing a small minimum area of only 1.50 x 1.12 inches (38 x 29 millimeters). Detail and resolution were both very good at the center of the frame, though there's some softening in the corners. (Most cameras have some softening in the corners in macro mode.) The Coolpix S600's flash had trouble throttling down for the macro area, however, and produced a very hot exposure. Plan on using external lighting for any macro shots with the Nikon S600.

Distortion
High barrel distortion, though low pincushion.

Barrel distortion at 28mm is 0.9%
Pincushion at 112mm is 0.1%

The Nikon Coolpix S600's 0.9% barrel distortion at wide angle is higher than average, but the maximum wide angle setting is also quite wide, at 28mm equivalent. At the telephoto end, the Coolpix S600's 0.1% pincushion distortion is fairly low. 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).

Chromatic aberration
High and bright at wide angle, very low at telephoto.

Wide: Moderate but fairly bright,
top left @ 200%
Wide: Moderate,
top right @ 200%
Tele: Quite low,
top left @200%
Tele: Virtually nonexistent,
top right @200%

The Nikon S600's chromatic aberration is high at wide angle, showing fairly bright coloration on either side of the target lines. However, at telephoto, the effect is much lower and really almost imperceptible. This distortion is visible as a slight colored fringe around the objects at the edges of the field of view on the resolution target.

Corner Sharpness
Some blurring in the corners of the frame at both zoom settings, strongest on left side.

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

The Nikon Coolpix S600 produced slightly soft corners of the frame at full wide angle and full telephoto, but it's actually a pretty good performance overall. At both zoom settings, the left corners of the frame had the most noticeable blurring, while the right corners remained fairly sharp.

Viewfinder

Coverage
Very good accuracy from the LCD monitor.

28mm eq., LCD 112mm eq., LCD

The Nikon Coolpix S600's LCD monitor both showed about 104% coverage accuracy at wide angle, and about 101% at telephoto. Both are a little loose, but results are very good.

 

The images above were taken from our standardized test shots. For a collection of more pictorial photos, see our Nikon Coolpix S600 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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