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You are hereHome > Digital Camera Reviews > Nikon Coolpix S6 Wi-Fi


Nikon Coolpix S6 Wi-Fi Review

Review Date: July 8, 2006

Category: Point-and-Shoot

Nikon Coolpix S6


The Nikon Coolpix S6 is light and compact. It is thin enough (21mm / 0.8 in.) to be slipped into a trousers pocket or small fashion handbag. As most compact digital cameras do now, the Nikon S6 also uses the Secure Digital (SD) memory card and comes with approx. 20MB of internal memory.

The Nikon S6 comes in an attractive sliver or black body with beautiful chrome accents. It also has a unique sleek and stylish S-curve "Wave" design. One "wave" is a subtle bulge at the lens end, which is most noticeable when you view the camera from the top. The other -- more prominent -- "wave" is the wireless attachment to the right of the lens (viewed from the front).

The lens does not extend out of the camera, providing a flush surface. The lens and AF-assist illuminator are at the very top right (viewed from the front) so be careful not to shade the lens and/or AF-assist illuminator with your finger(s).

The front of the camera can be slippery, and the raised logo many compact cameras usually provide would be welcomed here to provide somewhat of a grip. All that is needed is to move the "COOLPIX S6" logo to the left side (viewed from the front of the camera).

Quick startup (with Welcome screen turned off) is fast at about 1 sec. The Nikon S6 is definitely a "sunny outdoors" camera with good performance when there's enough light and subject contrast to lock focus quickly. Even then, we found a slight practical shutter lag of less than 1 sec. and shot to shot time is average at around 2 sec. In low-light, shutter lag becomes more noticeable, with the AF mostly to blame for most of the lag. Writing to memory card is also somewhat slower than average.

- Colours: overall metallic silver or black with chrome accents
- Looks: Stylish "wave" design, lens does not need to extend out
- Need practice holding and operating
- Small controls on top
- Compact: fits in a pants pocket or small fashion handbag
- Dimensions: 100.5 x 60 x 21mm /
3.9 x 2.4 x 0.8 in.
- Weight: 140g / 4.9 oz.
- Takes 1 Li-ion battery EN-EL8 3.7V 730mAh
- Fast Quick startup speed with camera ready and LCD turning on in about 1 sec.
- Shot to shot time about 2-5 sec. depending on amount of light
- Slight practical shutter lag in bright conditions; noticeable practical shutter lag otherwise

Included in the box is a rechargeable Li-ion battery that can take about 190 shots with LCD ON (CIPA standard) on a fresh charge. An AC Adapter plugs directly into the bottom of the camera -- or plugs into a convenient COOL-STATION cradle,and you place the camera in the cradle to recharge. A fully exhausted battery will recharge in approx. 2 hrs.

The flash has a range of 1 ft to 8 ft. 6 in/ 0.3-2.6m, which is adequate only for close range. You can set the flash to Auto, Auto with Red-Eye Reduction, Off, On (Fill), or Slow Sync.

The Terminal connectors are found on the COOL-STATION cradle.


Nikon Coolpix S6 Top View

From the top view, you can clearly see the beautiful S-curve "Wave" design.

The top of the camera has (from left to right) the One-touch Portrait/D-Lighting button, Speaker (4 holes), Microphone (one hole), Power ON/OFF switch, the Shutter-release button, and the Zoom control. All the other controls are found on the back.

The small control buttons on the top are definitely not for large fingers. I would have preferred to have more surface area on the Power switch (or a "well" around it) and the Shutter-release button to be just a tad closer to the right for my index finger to comfortably reach.

Though unorthodox in design, I nevertheless found the Zoom control responsive to the touch and it will zoom the lens from wide-angle to telephoto in about 2 sec. I counted only 6 intermediate steps.

All other controls are found on the back of the camera. The left side of the camera (viewed from the back) is the Wi-Fi component along the left side.

Controls on the back of the camera are large and comfortable to push. A welcomed innovation is the use of a Rotary Multi Selector (4-Way Arrowpad)-à-la-Apple-iPod. Well, it's not quite the same but works in a similar fashion, allowing you to select items on the MENU by simply using your thumb to rotate the Multi Selector clockwise and anti-clockwise. Pretty cool!

I found the placement of the thumb rest a bit narrow and close to the edge. Overall, the camera's handling and operation takes some getting used to at first and, as always with such compact digital cameras, the use of the wrist strap is highly recommended.

You can record movies with sound (until the memory card is full) at either 640 x 480 at 30fps or 320x240 pixels at 30fps/15fps. You can preset optical zoom before recording a movie, and use digital zoom during movie recording. Sound is recorded for all movie modes, except for time lapse movies.

Video Storage Capacity
(min. sec.)
TV Movie 640* 640x480 30fps 18s 3m 40s 29m 27s
Small size 320* 320x240 30fps 35s 7m 20s 58m 24s
Small size 320 15fps 1m 10s 14m 30s 1h 54m 48s
Pictmotion 320 320x240 15fps 1m 1m 1m
Smaller size 160 160x120 15fps 3m 53s 48m 5s 6h 19m 6s
Time lapse movie* 640x480 30fps 212 frames 1800 frames 1800 frames

There is approx. 20MB of internal memory and no memory card is supplied with the camera. You can select to save images as High (*), or Normal Image Quality, and in different Image Sizes. Even at the highest image quality/image size resolution, file compression is pretty high.

SD Memory Card Storage Capacity (approx. # images)
Quality Pixels 20MB 256MB 512MB 2GB
6M* High 2816x2112 6 85 168 674
6M Normal 2816x2112 13 165 332 1319
3M Normal 2048x1536 25 305 606 2385
PC Screen 1024x768 85 1045 2063 7751
TV Screen 640x480 182 2245 4421 9999

As the above chart shows, at 6M* High, only 6 images can be saved in the 20MB Internal Memory. We recomend that you purchase either a 512MB, 1GB or even 2GB SD card, depending on the number of images you normally shoot in one session. With a 2GB SD card, you may never need to change card ever again.

Nikon Coolpix S6 Back View

FUNCTIONS ACCESSIBLE BY CONTROL BUTTONS (clockwise, starting with Playback button)

Shooting/Playback button: When camera is off, you can simply press Playback button for 1 sec. to view images without opening up the lens


Mode button: displays a virtual Mode Dial on the LCD; use the Rotary Multi Selector to select a mode: Shooting, Scene, Portrait, Landscape, Sports, Night Portrait, Voice Recording, Movie, Wireless LAN.

- Menu: Displays 2 pages of text or 1 page of icons

Delete: Erase image(s)

- Rotary Multi Selector: Flash, Macro, Selftimer (10 or 3 sec.), OK (in the middle)

(Standard) Macro can be selected by pressing the DOWN ARROW key and turning it ON, or choosing it in the Scene Mode menu (Close Up).


The Framing grid and Manual AF area are both available in standard Macro mode, but not when using Macro scene mode.


For some unexplained reason, it seems to be easier to obtain focus lock at the 4cm mark when using Macro scene mode than standard Macro.

- Exposure compensation is accessed thru the MENU and is also available in SCENE modes (except for Fireworks Show). Once it displays, use UP and DOWN ARROW keys or rotate the Multi Selector to dial in a value.
- Once set, the Exposure Compensation Indicator conveniently stays displayed on screen (lower left area) until it is reset to "0"
- Range: -2 EV to +2 EV (in 1/3 EV increments)
- The screen brightness will increase or decrease to reflect the value you use
- Note: in Shooting Mode (but not in Scene Modes) the exposure compensation value selected is retained even when the camera is turned off (so remember to reset to "0" after using it or the next time you turn the camera on, your shots may be over- or under-exposed.)

On the bottom of the camera is the tripod socket, which is plastic threaded. You cannot change battery and card while the camera is mounted on a tripod.

Also on the bottom is the Battery and SD Card Compartment. A nice touch is the presence of a small latch to secure the battery from falling when the battery door is open.

LCD & Menus

There is no viewfinder but I love the huge 3.0 in. LCD monitor with a high 230,000 pixels resolution for a clear display. The refresh rate is fast and gives a smooth display even in low light. You can manually adjust the LCD monitor's brightness in SETUP. The LCD monitor gains up only very slightly in low-light and not at all in extreme low-light.

There is an AF-assist illuminator and I've found auto focusing to be quite fast and precise in bright light, but its low-light performance varies with the contrast of the subject, which is to be expected.

You can also display a Framing Grid [SETUP - Monitor settings - Photo info - Framing grid] of horizontal and vertical lines, which is very useful when you need to align vertical and horizontal lines precisely. The lines are quite thick and a bright yellow/orange, and I would have preferred them to be more discreete [perhaps, provide a choice of line thickness?]. When the grid is displayed, other info displays only for about 5 sec., then disappears. You need to touch the shutter release button to bring the info back for another 5 sec.

Many readers write asking if a digital camera can embed the date into the picture. We usually do not recommend doing so since with digital photography the date is always available in the EXIF info and can be printed out on the print using a DPOF-compatible printer (Nikon Guide to Digital Photography wih the Coolpix S6, pg 57). But if you do insist in embedding the date permanently, you can do so using the Date Imprint feature [SETUP - Date imprint].

Blur Warning evaluates every picture you take and warns you if it thinks the picture is blurred, then gives you the option of saving it anyway or discarding it.

MENU 1 of 3

- Go to SET UP
- Image Mode
- White Balance (Auto, Preset (Custom/Manual), Daylight, Incandescent, Fluorescent, Cloudy, Flash)
- Exposure Compensation (+/- 2 EV in 1/3 EV increments)
- Continuous (Single, Continuous, Multi-shot 16, Intvl timer shooting)

MENU 2 of 3

- BSS (On, Off)
- Sensitivity (Auto, 50, 100, 200, 400)
- Color Options (Standard color, Vivid color, Black-and-white, Sepia, Cyanotype)
- AF area mode (Center, Manual)


- 6M* - High (2816x2112)
- 6M - Normal (2816x2112)
- 3M - Normal (2048x1536)
- PC - PC screen(1024x768)
- TV - TV screen (640x480)


- 99 AF areas
- Press or rotate multi selector to select an AF Area
- Excellent for macro photography of off-center subjects


- All 9 Menu options summarized on a single page of icons
- Note that on all Menu screens, ? Help (Tele button) will display a short help description

SETUP 1 of 4

- Menus (Text, Icons)
- Quick startup (ON disables Welcome screen, OFF)
- Welcome screen (Nikon, Animation, Select an image)
- Date (Date, Time zone)

SETUP 2 of 4

- Monitor settings (Photo info, Brightness)
- Date imprint (Off, Date, Date and time, Date counter)
- AF assit (Off, Auto)
- Sound settings (Button sound, Shutter sound, Volume)
- Blur Warning (On, Off)

SETUP 3 of 4

- Auto off (30s, 1m, 5m, 30m)
- Format card (Quick format, Format)
- Language (see Language screen below)
- Interface: USB (PTP, Mass storage), Video mode (NTSC, PAL), Auto transfer (Off, On)
- Reset all

SETUP 4 of 4

- Firmware version



- 20 different languages


- All 16 Set-up options summarized on a single page of icons


- Clockwise from top left: Shooting (AUTO) mode, Macro ON, Flash OFF, Blur Warning, using SD Card, ISO 50, space for 135 images left, Image Mode 6M*, Exp. Compensation +0.7EV, Vivid Color, Preset WB, BSS ON
- Note: When Framing grid is selected, screen info displays for only about 5 sec., then you need to slightly depress the shutter release button to display info again


- 11 Scene Modes: Party/Indoor, Beach/Snow, Sunset, Dusk/Dawn, Night Landscape, Close Up, Museum, Fireworks Show, Copy, Back Light, Panorama Assist
- Image Mode and Exposure Compensation can also be applied to selected scene modes


- You can select Exposure Compensation in all scene modes, except Fireworks Show
- Exposure Compensation in Scene Modes is reset to 0 on power off


- Photo info
- Brightness


- Show info
- Auto info
- Hide info
- Framing grid


- Press M (Mode) button and rotate multi selector to Movie


- Go to SETUP
- Movie options
- Auto-focus mode
- Electronic VR


- TV movie 640* (640x480 @ 30 fps)
- Small size 320* (320x240 @ 30 fps)
- Small size 320 (320x240 @ 15fps)
- Pictmotion 320 (320x240 @ 15fps - for 60 sec. muvee Technologies Pictmotion slideshow movies with custom transitions and background music)
- Smaller size 160 (160x120 @ 15fps)
- Time-lapse movie* (640x480 @ 30 fps)


I did not try the Wi-Fi capability on the S6 since it is the same as that on the P3. Please see my review of the Nikon P3 for information on wireless transfer of images from camera to my WiFi-enabled laptop.

The Nikon Coolpix S6 is a stylish and elegant compact digital camera with lots of unique and practical in-camera features. Because of the extra large 3-in. LCD monitor, real estate is at a premium and the handling and operation will take some practice to get used to. I suggest you try the camera for yourself first before purchasing. Wireless transfer sets it on a class apart from its many competitors.

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