Nikon S7c Review
Nikon Coolpix S7c Design
The Nikon Coolpix S7c digital camera is small and sleek, with a shiny graphite-colored body that's both fashionable and understated. The camera's thin profile stays thin because the lens never extends from the camera body, keeping it very pocket friendly and less prone to lens damage. Measuring about 3.9 x 2.4 x 0.8 inches (101 x 60 x 21 millimeters) at its widest points, and weighing 4.9 ounces (140 grams) without the battery or memory card installed, the Coolpix S7c makes a great travel companion. A wrist strap accompanies the camera to keep it secure while shooting. The 3x zoom lens is protected by an automatic sliding lens cover that slips out of the way inside the front panel when the camera is powered on. Due to the camera's size, there isn't much in the way of a handgrip, though there is a tiny thumbrest on the rear panel.
The Coolpix S7c's front panel is quite smooth and free of protrusions, and features the 3x optical zoom lens, flash, and a tiny self-timer / AF assist lamp.
On the right side of the camera (as viewed from the rear) is the wrist strap attachment eyelet.
The left side of the Coolpix S7c appears featureless, but behind the shiny silver panel is the WiFi antenna. Below the WiFi logo is a small LED lamp that lights whenever the camera is connected to a WiFi network.
The camera's top panel includes a handful of controls. Stretching from left to right are the One Touch Portrait / D-Lighting button, speaker grill (four small holes), microphone (one small hole), Power button, Shutter button, and tiny Zoom lever.
A large, 3.0-inch color LCD monitor dominates the Coolpix S7c's rear panel, leaving room only on the right side for the remaining camera controls. From the top, control buttons are the Shooting / Playback, Mode, Menu, and Delete buttons. Below these are the Rotary Multi-selector, which is surrounded by a thin four-way rocker button. To navigate through menu options, you can use the up, down, left, and right buttons, or you can turn the rotary portion of the control. In addition to navigational purposes, the arrow keys also access flash, self-timer, and macro options. An OK button at the center of the control confirms menu selections, but also accesses the Vibration Reduction mode or initiates image transfer to a printer or computer.
The Coolpix S7c's bottom panel is quite flat and features the plastic threaded tripod mount alongside the Multi-connector jack and shared memory card / battery compartment. Unfortunately, the compartment's proximity to the tripod mount won't allow quick battery or memory card changes while shooting on a tripod. The compartment door slides outward before opening to reveal the battery and memory card slots, and a small, spring-loaded lock keeps the battery from falling out when the compartment is open. The Multi-connector jack hosts the AC adapter or the CoolStation camera dock that accompanies the camera.
Nikon Coolpix S7c External Controls
One Touch Portrait / D-Lighting Button: Located on the far left side of the camera's top panel, this button enables framing assistance for portraits in Shooting mode. When pressed, it automatically enables Portrait scene mode, Face-Priority AF mode, and the Advanced Red-Eye Reduction flash mode. You can cancel these settings by pressing the button a second time.
In Playback mode, pressing this button enables the D-Lighting feature, which automatically brightens backlit subjects and adjusts the contrast.
Power Button: The first in a series of buttons on the right side of the top panel, this button powers the camera on and off. When on, a small green LED right of the button glows.
Shutter Button: Right of the Power button, this button sets focus and exposure when pressed halfway, and triggers the shutter when fully pressed. In Playback mode, while the information display is present, pressing this button lets you record a short audio clip to accompany the displayed image.
Zoom Lever: Located on the very far right side of the Coolpix S7c's top panel, this tiny lever controls the optical and digital zoom in any Record mode. In Playback mode, the telephoto side enables digital enlargement of captured images, while the wide angle side accesses the index display modes. In a settings menu, pressing the lever toward the telephoto side displays a help page to explain the currently-selected menu option.
Shooting / Playback Button: Adjacent to the top right corner of the LCD monitor, this button switches the camera between Playback and Shooting modes.
Mode Button: Below the Shooting / Playback button, this button displays a virtual mode dial on the LCD monitor when pressed. Turning the Rotary Multi-selector on the rear panel selects the main camera mode, offering Shooting, Hi ISO, Scene, Voice Recording, Movie, Setup, and Wireless LAN modes. (Pressing down on the OK button selects the mode.)
Menu Button: Below and left of the Mode button, this button displays the settings menu (or dismisses it) in any camera mode.
Delete Button: Directly right of the Menu button, this button lets you erase images from the internal memory or memory card (unless write-protected).
Rotary Multi-selector: Positioned in the bottom right corner of the rear panel, this combination rocker button and rotary dial accesses a range of camera settings. In Record mode, the up arrow cycles through the available flash modes, while the down arrow accesses Macro mode. The left arrow enables the Self-timer mode. In any settings menu, the arrow keys navigate through menu options, or you can turn the rotary dial for the same effect. When making adjustments, the rotary dial also serves as a selection tool. Pressing the OK button enables the Vibration Reduction mode, which attempts to reduce camera blurring from minor movement.
In Playback mode, both the rotary dial and the arrow keys cycle through captured images on the memory card. If an image has been enlarged, all four arrows or the rotary dial pan around the view. Pressing down on the OK button initiates image transfer mode when the camera is connected to a computer, either wirelessly or via the CoolStation camera dock.
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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.