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You are hereHome > Digital Camera Reviews > Nikon Coolpix S60


   

Nikon Coolpix S60 Review

Review Date: February 9, 2009

Category: Point-and-Shoot

Nikon Coolpix S60

HANDLING & FEEL

The Nikon Coolpix S60 is an ultra-compact and light digital camera with an all-metal body that feels solid and well-built. It is stylish, attractive and is slim enough to slip into a jeans pocket or small fashion handbag.

The Nikon S60 does not have a handgrip (or even "finger grip") and can sometimes be slippery, so the use of the wrist strap is a good idea. The small square besides the lens is the self-timer/AF-assist lamp, easy to block with your fingers if you are not careful.

Besides the Power button and the Shutter Release button, the S60 does not have any other controls! Touch screens are the hot must-have fashion stuff du jour and the S60 has an extra large 3.5-in. touch panel LCD that allows you to tap your way to select the settings you want. In Playback mode, you slide your finger across the LCD à-la-iPhone (though not quite as slick) to scroll through your images.

Press the tiny Power ON button and the camera is ready to take a picture in about 1 sec. The lens does not extend externally.

Shot to shot time is about 1.7 sec. (I took 3 shots in approx. 5 sec.) There is no practical shutter lag. Autofocus is very fast in good lighting conditions though it can sometimes take about 1 sec. in low-light; it is however precise, so you do lock focus.

STYLE
- Colors: various body colors (Espresso Black, Arctic White, Burgundy, Champagne Pink, Platinum Bronze and Crimson Red) available depending on country, with silver/chrome accents.
- Looks: fashionable, stylish
FEEL
- Well designed, comfortable enough to hold, but slippery
- Touch panel: either you love-it or hate-it
DIMENSIONS & WEIGHT
- Ultra Compact: fits in a Jeans pocket or small fashion purse
- Dimensions: Approx. 97.5 x 60 x 22 mm (3.8 x 2.4 x 0.9 in.) excluding projections
- Weight: Approx. 145 g (5.1 oz.) without battery and SD memory card
- Takes 1 Li-ion battery EN-EL10 3.7V 740mAh
SPEED OF OPERATION
- Startup speed with no lens extension required and LCD turning on in less than 1 sec.
- Shot to shot time about 1.7 sec.
- No practical shutter lag.

On the top right side of the camera (viewed from the back) there is a small plastic "door" that rotates out of the way and hides the HDMI Mini Connector (requires use of optional HDMI cable). The USB connector itself is on the bottom of the camera and unprotected.

Controls

Nikon Coolpix S60 Top View

The top of the camera has (from right to left) the Shutter Release Button and the tiny Power ON/OFF button.

Nikon Coolpix S60 Back View

You will search and not find any other control buttons. Instead, the extra large 3.5-in. LCD (230K dots) is a touch panel and allows you to select the settings you want.

The touch panel is a love-it or hate-it proposition. It's cool to be able to scroll through your pictures in Playback mode with a flick of your finger across the screen, but do not expect the virtual controls to work as smoothly as on an iPhone. There is a slight lag that can sometimes be disconcerting and, at times when I am in a hurry, I wished I simply had the usual physical button controls.

As is common on Nikon digital cameras, you can record movie clips (with sound) @ 640x480 at 30fps until the memory card is full as well as Time Lapse movies (up tp 1,800 frames at 640x480 @ 30fps for a maximum playback time of 60 sec., no sound) for special effects. A movie clip is 2GB max. You have a choice of Single AF (focus locks once movie recording starts) or Full-time AF (camera continuously adjusts focus during movie recording, so focusing sound will also get recorded). Electronic Vibration Reduction is available to reduce the effect of camera shake (not available in Time Lapse movies).

When in Playback mode, the Delete virtual button will delete the displayed picture; to Delete All, you need to access the Menu [Home - Menu - Delete - Earse all images].

On the bottom (more or less middle) of the camera is the metal tripod socket. Just besides it, on the right is the Battery / SD Card Compartment. There is a small latch to secure the battery from falling when the door is opened. You will not be able to change battery and card while the camera is mounted on a tripod.

LCD & Menus

The Nikon S60 has no viewfinder but has this extra large 3.5 in. LCD monitor that takes up the whole of the back. The LCD monitor has a wide viewing angle and an anti-glare coating that is supposed to help in bright sunlight though I still find it difficult to view the LCD in very bright sunlight. You can manually adjust the LCD monitor's brightness in SETUP [5 levels, with Level 3 considered normal brightness].

Note that though the LCD measures 3.5-in. diagonally, the actual image area measures 2.7-in. diagonally since a right vertical bar and a left vertical bar are reserved for the virtual controls.

The LCD monitor gains up slightly in low-light (but the image is very grainy) to make it possible to see and compose in somewhat dark conditions. There is an effective AF-assist Illuminator to help achieve focus in low-light. You can display a Framing Grid [Home - Setup - Monitor settings - Photo info - Framing grid] to help keep the horizon level.

SHOOTING MODE

 

SCENE MODES

 

MOVIE MODE

 

 

SHOOTING INFO

- Notice that the two vertical strips of touch controls reduce the image area to 2.7-in. diagonal

SHOOTING ZOOM

- The Zoom is also touch control
- It's positiond a bit low on the screen, which means that you inadvertently activate HOME when you wanted to zoom out

SELF-TIMER

 

SHOOTING MENU 1 of 2

- Image mode
- White balance
- Exposure compensation
- Continuous

SHOOTING MENU 2 of 2

- ISO sensitivity
- AF area mode
- Distortion control

IMAGE MODE 1 of 2

- 10M*: High (3648*)
- 10M: Normal (3648)
- 5M: Normal (2592)
- 3M: Normal (2048)

IMAGE MODE 2 of 2

- PC screen (1024)
- TV screen (640)
- 16:9 (7M)
- 16:9 (2M)

WHITE BALANCE 1 of 2

- Auto
- Preset manual
- Daylight
- Incandescent

WHITE BALANCE 2 of 2

- Fluorescent
- Cloudy
- Flash

- You can immediately see the effect on the LCD screen

EXPOSURE COMPENSATION

- -2.0EV to +2.0 EV in 1/3EV steps

CONTINUOUS 1 of 2

- Single
- Continuous
- BSS
- Multi-shot 16

CONTINUOUS 2 of 2

- Interval timer shooting

ISO 1 of 3

- Auto (64-800)
- High ISO sensitivity auto
- 64
- 100

- Note: Hi-ISO range is from 64 to 1600

ISO 2 of 3

- 200
- 400
- 800
- 1600

ISO 3 of 3

- 2000
- 3200 (5M)

AF AREA MODE

- Face priority
- Center: camera always focuses on center AF area

FACE DETECTION

 

FACE PRIORITY

 

TOUCH AF

- Tap the screen to focus the camera at that point

DISTORTION CONTROL

- On (will reduce size of frame)
- Off

 

SCENE MODES

- Scene auto selector, Portrait, Landscape, Sports, Night portrait
- Party/indoor, Beach/snow, Sunset, Dusk/dawn, Night landscape
- Close-up, Food, Museum, Fireworks show, Copy
- Draw, Backlight, Panorama assist, Voice recording

SCENE MODES HELP

- If you don't know what the icons stand for, touch the "?" and then touch an icon to display the corresponding help screen

 

MOVIE MENU

- Movie options
- Auto-focus mode
- Electronic Vibration Reduction

MOVIE OPTIONS

- TV Movie 640 [640x480 @ 30fps]
- Small size 320 [320x240 @ 30fps]
- Small size 320 [320x240 @ 15fps]
- Time-lapse movie (1800 frames max.)

- Clip of 2GB max.

MOVIE OPTIONS

- Single AF
- Full-time AF (focus sound will be recorded)

ELECTRONIC VR

- Off
- On

 

SETUP 1 of 5

- Choose HOME display
- Welcome screen
- Date
- Monitor settings

SETUP 2 of 5

- Date imprint
- Vibration reduction: turn this ON to enable image stabilization; choose OFF when camera is placed on a tripod
- AF assist: AF-assist lamp lights to enable focus lock in poor lighting
- Digital zoom

SETUP 3 of 5

- Sound settings
- Record orientation
- Auto off
- Format card

SETUP 4 of 5

- Language
- TV settings
- Blink warning
- Reset all

SETUP 5 of 5

- Firmware version

CHOOSE HOME DISPLAY

- Metallic
- Burgundy
- Lights

WELCOME SCREEN

- None
- COOLPIX
- Select an image

DATE 1 of 2

- Date
- Time zone

DATE 2 of 2

 

TIME ZONE 1 of 3

 

TIME ZONE 2 of 3

 

TIME ZONE 3 of 3

 

MONITOR SETTINGS

- Photo info
- Brightness

PHOTO INFO

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

MONITOR BRIGHTNESS

 

DATE IMPRINT

- Off
- Date
- Date and time
- Date counter

VIBRATION REDUCTION

- On
- Off

AF ASSIST

- Auto
- Off

DIGITAL ZOOM

- On
- Off

SOUND SETTINGS

- Button sound
- Shutter sound

RECORD ORIENTATION

- Auto (Camera orientation is recorded when shooting and picture is automatically rotated in Playback mode)
- Off

AUTO OFF

- 30 sec.
- 1 min.
- 5 min.
- 30 min.

FORMAT CARD

 

LANGUAGE 1 of 3

- 24 different languages
- Czech, Danish, German, English, Spanish, Greek, French, Indonesian

LANGUAGE 2 of 3

Italian, Hungarian, Dutch, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Finnish

LANGUAGE 3 of 3

- Swedish, Turkish, Arabic, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai

TV SETTINGS

- Video mode
- HDMI

VIDEO MODE

- NTSC
- PAL

HDMI

- Auto
- 1080i
- 720p
- 480p

 

BLINK WARNING

- On (In Face Priority mode, warns if subject has eyes closed)
- Off

RESET ALL

 

FIRMWARE VERSION

- Ver. 1.0

 

PLAYBACK INFO

- Notice the two vertical strips of touch controls on the left and right side

PLAYBACK MAGNIFY

 

PLAYBACK MENU 1 of 2

- Print set
- Delete
- Protect
- Rotate image

PLAYBACK MENU 2 of 2

- Copy

PRINT SET

- Select images
- Delete print set

DELETE

- Erase selected images
- Erase all images

PROTECT

- Select image to protect

COPY

- from Internal memory to Memory Card
- from Memory Card to Internal memory

The touch panel LCD is the strong selling point of the Nikon Coolpix S60. In fact, there is no escaping it since all controls (except Power and Shutter Release) are touch based. If you like the idea of a touch screen, enjoy finger (or fingertip) control, then definitely check this easy-to-use point-and-shoot camera out.

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