Nikon S7c Review
Nikon Coolpix S7c Operation
Given the camera's minimal controls and automatic exposure control, the Nikon Coolpix S7c's operation is quite straightforward. Geared toward hi-tech novices with its WiFi capabilities and automatic exposure, the camera leaves minimal decision making up to the shooter. The Shooting / Playback button on the rear panel quickly sets the main operating mode, while the Mode button below it lets you select between the available recording modes. Some basic settings, such as flash, macro mode, and a unique portrait assistance option are available via external controls, but the remaining camera features are accessed through the LCD menu. For straight point-and-shoot snapshots, most users can start shooting right out of the box. But to get to know the camera's more advanced features, including its wireless LAN options, plan to spend an hour or so with the manual in hand.
Record Mode Display
In record mode, the Coolpix S7c's LCD monitor displays the subject with a modest information overlay, indicating the shooting mode, focus area, memory type (internal or card), resolution, and number of available images at the current resolution and quality setting. The bulk of this display disappears after a few seconds. A half-press of the Shutter button returns the information and also displays the AF status, red if the camera has trouble focusing and green if focus is set. Through the Setup menu, you can also opt to hide the information display, or to enable a framing grid.
Playback Mode Display
In Playback mode, the default image display shows the most recently captured image, with a limited information display reporting the date and time of capture, image number, memory type, series number, resolution, and a small icon detailing how to record an audio clip to accompany the file (pressing the Shutter button). Pressing the wide-angle side of the zoom lever enables the index display mode, and repeated presses on the wide angle side cycle through four, nine, 16, or 25-image displays. Pressing the telephoto side of the zoom lever will bring the currently-selected image up full-screen. Pressing the telephoto side of the zoom lever when viewing an image full-size on the LCD screen will zoom in on the image, up to 10x. There's an option to save the enlarged portion as a crop as well.
Nikon Coolpix S7c Modes and Menus
Shooting Mode: Accessed via the Shooting / Playback button on the camera's rear panel, this mode lets you record still or moving images. The Mode button offers the following options:
- Shooting Mode: This mode records still images, with the exposure under automatic control. The user can adjust other camera settings, however, such as flash mode, macro, color, resolution, etc.
- Hi Sensitivity Mode: This mode increases the ISO for faster shutter speeds in low lighting.
- Scene Mode: In this mode, you can choose between Portrait, Landscape, Sports, Night Portrait, Party / Indoor, Beach / Snow, Sunset, Dusk / Dawn, Night Landscape, Close-up, Museum, Fireworks Show, Copy, Back Light, and Panorama Assist preset scene options. The first four modes (Portrait, Landscape, Sports, and Night Portrait) feature Assist options, which display framing guidelines to help with specific situations.
- Voice Recording: In this mode, you can record audio files for as long as the memory card or internal memory has available space. The available time is displayed on the LCD menu.
- Movie Mode: Here, you can record moving images with sound, for as long as the memory space is available.
- Setup Mode: This mode displays the main camera settings menu.
- Wireless LAN Mode: This mode enables the camera's WiFi connection option, which lets you wirelessly transmit images to a WiFi network device, such as a computer or printer.
Playback Mode: Also accessed via the Shooting / Playback button, this mode lets you review captured movies and images, and playback audio files.
Shooting Menu: Available in Shooting mode by pressing the Menu button, the following options are available:
- Image Mode: Sets the image size and quality settings. Choices are High 3,072 (3,072 x 2,304), Normal 3,072 (3,072 x 2,304), Normal 2,592 (2,592 x 1,944), Normal 2,048 (2,048 x 1,536), PC Screen 1,024 (1,024 x 768), and TV Screen 640 ( 640 x 480).
- White Balance: Adjusts the overall color balance of the image, to suit the light source. Options are Auto, Preset (manual option), Daylight, Incandescent, Fluorescent, Cloudy, and Flash.
- Exp. +/-: Adjusts the overall exposure from -2 to +2 EV, in 1/3 EV increments.
- Continuous: Accesses Single, Continuous, Multi-shot 16, and Interval Timer shooting modes. Continuous shoots a series of images at about 1.4 frames per second. Multi-shot 16 mode captures 16 thumbnail-size shots at about 1.6 frames per second, and arranges them as a single image. Interval Timer shooting sets the camera to automatically capture images at user-set intervals, like time-lapse photography.
- BSS (Best Shot Selector): When this mode is enabled, the camera will
automatically select and save the sharpest image from a series of 10. Alternatively,
you can select the Exposure BSS option, which will automatically save the
best image based on Highlight, Shadow, or Histogram readings.
- Sensitivity: Sets the camera's ISO equivalent to 50, 100, 200, 400, 800, or 1,600, or to Auto (50 to 800).
- Color Options: Offers Standard, Vivid, Black & White, Sepia, and Cyanotype color modes.
- AF Area Mode: Sets the AF area mode to Center or Manual. In Center mode, the camera's AF system bases the focus on the center of the frame. The Manual option lets you manually set the AF point using the Multicontroller.
- Electronic VR: Enables the Electronic Vibration Reduction mode, choices are Auto or Off. If set to Auto, the camera will automatically apply VR when the OK button is pressed outside of a menu in Shooting mode.
Movie Menu: The following options are available in Movie mode by pressing the Menu button:
- Movie Options: Sets the movie size and recording style. Options are TV Movie 640 (640 x 480, 30fps), Small Size 320* (320 x 240, 30fps), Small Size 320 (320 x 240, 15 fps), Pictmotion 320 (320 x 240, 15fps), Smaller Size 160 (160 x 120, 15fps), Time-Lapse Movie (640 x 480, 30fps), and Stop-motion Movie. Pictmotion movies are for use with Pictmotion software, which allows slide-show-style movies with custom transitions. Time-Lapse Movie captures as many as 1,800 still images and combines them into a 60-second movie file. Stop-motion movie takes a series of 640 x 480 frames for playback at 15 frames per second.
- AF Mode: Sets the AF mode to Single AF or Full-time AF. Full-time AF means that the camera is constantly adjusting focus, while Single AF mode only adjusts focus with the first press of the Shutter button.
- Electronic VR: Enables the Electronic Vibration Reduction
mode, choices are Auto or Off. If set to Auto, the camera will automatically
apply VR when the OK button is pressed outside of a menu in Shooting mode.
- Print Set: Allows you to create digital print orders for printing on a DPOF or PictBridge device.
- Slide Show: Automatically plays back captured images on the memory card or internal memory. You can set the frame interval and designate whether the show loops.
- Delete: Allows you to erase all images or selected images from the memory card or internal memory.
- Protect: Write-protects the current image (or removes protection), preventing it from being deleted or manipulated in any way except with card formatting.
- Transfer Marking: Marks the current image for transferring to a computer
once connected. You can opt to mark all images or select images.
- Rotate Image: Rotates the current image in 90-degree increments clockwise or counterclockwise.
- Small Pic: Creates a smaller copy of the current image. Choices are 640 x 480, 320 x 240, and 160 x 120.
- Copy: Copies files between the internal memory and memory card.
Setup Mode: This mode allows you to change a variety of camera settings, and is accessible through each of the camera menus.
- Menus: Sets how menu screens are displayed, as a text list or as icons.
- Quick Startup: Lets you disable the welcome screen and startup sound for faster startup.
- Welcome Screen: Lets you choose the welcome screen that appears when the camera is powered on. Choices are Nikon, Animation, or Select an Image (to set one of your images for welcome display).
- Date: Sets the camera's internal clock and calendar. You can also set the time zone for home and travel destinations.
- Monitor Settings: Controls the information and image displays on the LCD monitor for Playback and Shooting modes. Options are Show Info, Auto Info (information displayed only five seconds), Hide Info, and Framing Grid.
- Date Imprint: Lets you imprint the image capture date and time over the image. Options are Off, Date, Date and Time, and Date Counter (number of days between shooting date and selected date, such as a child's birthday).
- AF Assist: Sets the AF Assist light to Auto or Off. If set to Auto, the light automatically illuminates in dark shooting conditions to help the camera focus.
- Sound Settings: Accesses the camera's Button, Shutter, and Startup sound options.
- Record Orientation: If enabled, this option records the image with the camera orientation, so that vertically-framed images are automatically rotated in image playback.
- Auto Off: Sets the period of inactivity before the camera will shut itself off. Options are 30 seconds or 1, 5, or 30 minutes. Regardless of the option selected, the monitor will remain on for three minutes when menus are displayed, and 30 minutes during a Loop slide show.
- Format Memory / Format Card: This option formats either the internal memory or any inserted memory card, erasing all files (even protected ones).
- Language: Sets the menu language to one of 20, with English as the default.
- Interface: Sets the USB, Video, and Auto Transfer interface options. USB choices are Computer or Printer, Video choices are NTSC and PAL, and Auto Transfer lets you mark all images for transfer.
- Reset All: Resets all camera settings to their defaults.
- Firmware Version: Displays the camera's current firmware version.
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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.