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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 on COOL-STATION cradle



Wednesday, June 28, 2006 - Here's what I receive in the box:

  • Coolpix S6 Wi-Fi (Black body)
  • No Memory Card included, but 20MB of internal memory [Nikon sent me a 256MB and a 512MB SD memory card for the review]
  • Wrist Strap
  • Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL8 and AC Adapter EH-64 with power cable
  • Interface Cables: A/V; USB
  • English and French Instruction Manuals: Quick Start Guide; Nikon Guide to Digital Photography
  • Software CDs: PictureProject 1.6; Wireless Camera Setup Utility 1.1

Optional Accessory:

  • I also received the optional Printer Adapter PD-10 for wireless printing

The Nikon Coolpix S6 features the no-hassle Wi-Fi wireless transfer of images from camera to PC from its bigger brother, the Nikon Coolpix P3. It is compact in size but super slim at only 21mm (0.8 in.) thin, and can therefore easily slip into a jeans pocket. Note that its domensions are pretty much dictated by the huge 3-in. LCD monitor, and there is just enough space for a few important controls at the back.

First thing you'll notice is the stylish S-curve "Wave Design" and overall feeling of quality. The build is excellent. There is a wonderful iPod-like Rotary Multi Selector wheel instead of the traditional 4-Way Arrows Selector. You can still press each N-S-E-W end to navigate MENU items, but a clockwise or anti-clockwise flick of the thumb is so much easier, faster, and way cool!

The lens does not protrude but since it is located at top right (viewed from the front), it can be quite easy to place your finger(s) in front of it, as in the picture below.

Fingers protruding into image area

It takes a little bit of trial and error before you get comfortable holding and operating this camera properly. There's just not enough real estate to hold it the way we are used to doing.

As is becoming more and more common now with digital cameras, the Nikon S6 includes approx. 20MB of internal flash memory, and so a SD memory card is not included in the box. I got a 2GB SD memory card at Staples (Business Depot) for under $100 CDN that can store approx. 674 6M* High images.

Included in the box are a Li-ion battery EN-EL8 that can take approx. 200 pictures (CIPA Standard) and an AC Adapter EH-64 that plugs directly into the camera -- or into the convenient COOL-STATION MV-15 (also supplied) -- and will recharge a new or fully exhausted battery in about 2 hours.

The Nikon S6 "Auto" mode is more correctly labelled "Programmed Auto" or P mode. In this mode, you have access to the ISO, WB, and Exposure Compensation. The shutter speed ranges from 2-1/500 sec. Fireworks Show scene mode will go down to 4 sec.

A note about the Macro mode. Macro is supposed to go down all the way to 4 cm (1.6 in.) and it does, but only if Macro is selected from the Scene Mode menu. The standard Macro available from the Multi Selector does not seem to be consistent: sometimes it will focus that close and at other times, it won't. But if I then switch to Scene Mode macro, the subject snaps into focus. Standard Macro, however, has the advantage over Macro scene mode in that you can use the Manual AF areas to focus on an off-center subject while keeping the camera rock steady on the tripod.

Another thing to note is metering. The specs at the back of the manual lists 4 metering modes: 256-segment matrix, center-weighted, spot and spot AF area. However, I was not able to find where you can select these settings. The EXIF info shows the metering used is multi-pattern. So, I fired off a question to Nikon Technical Support and got the following answer within 24 hours:

"The camera does have those modes but they are a part of scene modes and not selectable."

OK, so I took a photo in every Scene Mode and the EXIF info all displayed "Multi-Pattern."

Another email to Nikon Technical Support elicited the following answer:

In "Auto" shooting Mode with Digital Zoom at the 1.2 to 2.0x range it will use Center-weighted metering.

In "Auto" shooting Mode with Digital Zoom at the 2.1 to 4.0x range it will use Spot Metering.

In Portrait Scene Assist Modes, and with Guides displayed it will use Spot AF Area Metering.

There you have it. Note that since I received the answer after I had already returned the camera, I was not able to confirm this.

Anyway, this is just to let you know that these metering modes are simply "not [manually] selectable."

One scene mode that is especially well implemented is the Panorama Assist scene mode which allows you to take a number of panoramic shots and line them up precisely on screen by overlaying the semi-transparent previous image on screen. And, you don't have to be restricted to go left-right or right-left only, you can also go up-down and down-up. Exposure is fixed with the first shot.



Then, in PictureProject, simply select the pictures you've taken and click on Edit - Make Panorama.... Arcsoft Panorama 3 launches. You can just take the defaults choices or even fine tune where the images join together. I stitched together 3 images to produce the "wide-angle" picture above. This is one of the best Panorama implementation I've seen so far.

Nikon PictureProject 1.6

Nikon PictureProject 1.6

The Nikon PictureProject software is now version 1.6. PictureProject is quite good, allowing the usual basic image editing: you can remove red-eye and edit the photo as to brightness, color booster (for people or nature), sharpness, straighten, photo effects (B&W, Sepia) and D-Lighting.

One-touch D-Lighting

D-Lighting increases brightness (Low, Normal or High level) to the dark areas of your image. D-Lighting can be applied in camera at the touch of a button [the Portrait AF button at top left] in Playback mode, but you cannot decide on which level to choose (the camera decides for you) and, like digital zoom, it is really a post-processing action so you don't have to commit yourself to a particular level in camera (though a copy of the image is made, which takes memory card space). Since you can apply D-Lighting at any time, what I recommend is to apply D-Lighting to an image in PictureProject (unless you are printing directly from camera to printer).

Wi-Fi Wireless Transfer

When I reviewed the Coolpix P3 back in March 2006, software installation, copying the wireless settings to the P3, and the whole transfer process was hassle-free.

This time, however, my laptop was giving me problem so I was not able to re-test the Wi-Fi features. So, I will simply point you to the Nikon P3 review for the wireless experience.

The Nikon Coolpix S6 is easy to use and has lots features like D-Lighting, Face-Priority AF, and Panorama scene mode that actually help you take better pictures. If you love Wi-Fi technology, then this compact and stylish digital camera should certainly be on your list.

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