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You are hereHome > Digital Camera Reviews > Nikon Coolpix S600


   

Nikon Coolpix S600 Review

Review Date: March 24, 2008

Category: Point-and-Shoot

Nikon Coolpix S600

HANDLING & FEEL

The Nikon Coolpix S600 is an ultra-compact and light digital camera with an all-metal body that feels solid and well-built. It is quite attractive and is slim enough to slip into a jeans pocket or small fashion handbag. Measuring 88.5 x 53 x 22.5 mm (3.5 x 2.1 x 0.9 in.), it is exactly the size of a credit card, only 22.5 mm thicker.

The Nikon S600 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.

I like the large rectangular shutter release button and the cool Rotary Multi Selector. Be forewarned that the other controls are on the small side. I have no problems using them but you might want to do a hands-on check if you have large hands and fingers. For example, the OK button in the middle of the Rotary Multi Selector requires finger tip operation. Thankfully, instead of pressing the OK button, you can press the RIGHT ARROW in many cases, which is much easier.

Nikon claims a startup time of only 0.7 sec. That's fast! Press the Power ON button and the lens extends about 18mm and the image appears on the LCD screen -- all in less than 1 sec on my stopwatch.

Shot to shot time is about 2.2 sec. (I took 7 shots in approx. 15 sec.) There is no practical shutter lag. Autofocus is very fast in good lighting conditions though it can sometimes take about 2 sec. in low-light; it is however precise, so you do lock focus.

STYLE
- Colours: overall slate black with chrome accents (I believe a silver model is also available in some countries)
- Looks: fashionable, stylish
FEEL
- Well designed, comfortable enough to hold
- Controls on the small side
DIMENSIONS & WEIGHT
- Ultra Compact: fits in a Jeans pocket or small fashion purse
- Dimensions: Approx. 88.5 x 53 x 22.5 mm (3.5 x 2.1 x 0.9 in.) excluding projections
- Weight: Approx. 130 g (4.4 oz.) without battery and SD memory card
- Takes 1 Li-ion battery EN-EL10 3.7V 740mAh
SPEED OF OPERATION
- Startup speed with lens extending about 18 mm (0.75 in.) and LCD turning on in less than 1 sec. Camera ready to take pictures in about 2 sec.
- Shot to shot time about 2.2 sec.
- No practical shutter lag.

The Terminal compartment is on the top right side of the camera (viewed from the back) with a small rubber "door".

Controls

Nikon Coolpix S600 Top View

The top of the camera has (from right to left) the large rectangular Shutter Release Button and the recessed Power ON/OFF button. The 3 holes are for the built-in microphone and the 5 holes to the far left are for the speaker.

Nikon Coolpix S600 Back View
Back View & Virtual Mode Dial

All other controls are found on the back of the camera, to the right of the large 2.7-in. (230K dots) LCD screen. I appreciate that the camera designer took pains to leave a clear area for where your thumb rests.

There is no Mode Dial but the Mode button together with the Rotary multi selector serve that purpose. Press the Mode button to bring up a virtual Mode Dial on screen, then use the Rotary multi selector to select an option: Shooting mode, High Sensitivity, Scene mode, Voice recording, Movie and Set up.

You can record 10 min. movie clips (with sound) @ 640x480 at 30fps until the memory card is full. 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).

If you just want to view your pics without turning the camera on (i.e. extending the lens), simply press and hold the Playback button for about 3 sec. and Playback will start without the lens extending; when you're done, press the Power button to turn the camera off.

When in Playback mode, the Delete button will delete the displayed picture; to Delete All, you need to access the Menu.

On the bottom far left of the camera is the hard plastic tripod socket. On the bottom right side is the Battery / SD Card Compartment. There is a small latch to secure the battery from falling when the door is opened. Whether you will be able to change battery and card while the camera is mounted on a tripod will depend on the type tripod you use.

LCD & Menus

The Nikon S600 has no viewfinder but has a large 2.7 in. LCD monitor that is bright with 230,000 dots and with a fast enough refresh rate for a smooth display. It has an anti-glare coating that helps in bright sunlight and a wide viewing angle.

You can manually adjust the LCD monitor's brightness in SETUP [5 levels, with Level 3 considered normal brightness].

When in Shooting mode, you can quickly boost the LCD brightness ("Monitor brightness Boost" feature) to the maximum Level 5 by simply holding the Playback button down for about 2 sec. This is quite handy when it's very sunny outdoors and you need a brighter monitor to fight the glare.

The LCD monitor gains up well in low-light (but not in extreme low-light) 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.

SHOOTING MODE

 

SETUP MODE

 

MOVIE MODE

 

VOICE RECORDING MODE

 

SCENE MODE

 

HIGH SENSITIVITY MODE

- ISO 100-2000

 

SHOOTING MENU 1 of 2

- Image mode
- White balance
- Metering
- Continuous
- ISO sensitivity

SHOOTING MENU 2 of 2

- Color options
- AF area mode
- Autofocus mode

SHOOTING MENU ICONS

- All 8 Shooting Menu options summarized on a single page of icons
- ? Help (Tele button) will display a short help description

IMAGE MODE 1 of 2

- 10M*: High (3648*)
- 10M: Normal (3648)
- 7M: Normal (3072)
- 5M: Normal (2592)
- 3M: Normal (2048)

IMAGE MODE 2 of 2

- PC screen (1024)
- TV screen (640)

WHITE BALANCE 1 of 2

- Auto
- Preset manual
- Daylight
- Incandescent
- Fluorescent

WHITE BALANCE 2 of 2

- Cloudy
- Flash

- You can immediately see the effect on the LCD screen

METERING

- Matrix
- Center-weighted

CONTINUOUS

- Single
- Continuous
- BSS

ISO 1 of 2

- Auto (100-800)
- 100
- 200
- 400
- 800

ISO 2 of 2

- 1600
- 3200

- Note: Hi-ISO (available from the Virtual Mode Dial) limits ISO to 2000

COLOR OPTIONS 1 of 2

- Standard color
- Vivid color
- Black-and-white
- Sepia
- Cyanotype

COLOR OPTIONS 2 of 2

- Pastel

AF AREA MODE

- Face priority: focuses on up to 5 faces
- Auto: leave it to the camera to select an AF area to focus on
- Manual: select from 99 AF areas
- Center: camera always focuses on center AF area

AF AREA MODE - 99 FOCUS AREAS

- When Manual AF area mode is selected, pressing the MENU/OK button allows you to position the Af area at one of 99 possible positions on screen
- Note that the area of the screen outside the four marked corners (i.e. edges of screen) cannot be selected

AF MODE

- Single AF
- Full-time AF

SHUTTER SPEED & APERTURE

- Note that the Sshutter Speed and Aperture are displayed only when you half-press the shutter release button

PROGRAM AUTO

- Clockwise from top left: Programmed Auto Shooting mode, Macro ON, Flash OFF, VR, Image mode 10M*, space left for 771 images, ISO 400, Self-timer 2 sec., Vivid color, Preset WB

 

SETUP 1 of 3

- Menus
- Welcome screen
- Date
- Monitor settings
- Date imprint

SETUP 2 of 3

- 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
- Sound settings
- Auto off

SETUP 3 of 3

- Format card
- Language
- Video mode
- Reset all
- Firmware version

SETUP MENU ICONS

- All 15 Menu options summarized on a single page of icons
- Note: on all Menu screens, ? Help (Tele button) will display a short help description

MENUS

- Text
- Icons

WELCOME SCREEN

- None
- COOLPIX
- Select an image

MONITOR SETTINGS

- Photo info
- Brightness

PHOTO INFO

- Show info
- Auto info
- Hide info

DATE IMPRINT 1 of 2

- Off
- Date
- Date and time

DATE IMPRINT 2 of 2

- Date is permanently imprinted on picture

VIBRATION REDUCTION

- On
- Off

SOUND SETTINGS

- Button sound
- Shutter sound

AUTO OFF

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

LANGUAGE

- 23 different languages
- Czech, Danish, German, English, Spanish, Greek, French, Indonesian, Italian, Hungarian, Dutch, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Finnish, Swedish, Turkish, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai

FIRMWARE VERSION

- Ver. 1.0

 

MOVIE MENU

- Movie options
- Auto-focus mode (focus sound will be recorded)

MOVIE MENU ICONS

- Movie options
- Auto-focus mode (focus sound will be recorded)

MOVIE OPTIONS

- TV Movie 640 [640x480 @ 30fps]
- Small size 320 [320x240 @ 30fps]
- 10 min. clips

MOVIE

- Movie Mode, FLash Off, VR On, TV Movie 640 [640x480 @ 30fps], 10 min. clips, Auto ISO

 

VOICE RECORDING

- Max. rec. time depends on the capacity of the memory card used
- Press shutter release button to start/stop recording

 

SCENE MODES 1 of 3

- Active child
- Portrait
- Landscape
- Sports
- Night portrait

SCENE MODES 2 of 3

- Party/indoor
- Beach/snow
- Sunset
- Dusk/dawn
- Night landscape

SCENE MODES 3 of 3

- Close up
- Museum
- Copy
- Back light

SCENE MODES ICONS

- 14 Scene Modes summarized on a single page of icons

 

PLAYBACK MENU 1 of 2

- D-Lighting
- Print set
- Slide show (movies excepted)
- Delete
- Protect

PLAYBACK MENU 2 of 2

- Rotate image
- Small pic.
- Copy

PLAYBACK MENU ICONS

- All 8 options summarized on a single page of icons

D-LIGHTING

- Enhances contrast and brightness in dark areas

HELP

- Toggle the Zoom control to T to bring up Help whenever a ? is displayed on screen

PLAYBACK

 

 

FLASH

- Auto
- Auto with red-eye reduction
- Flash off
- Forced flash (Fill-in flash)
- Slow sync (flash used to illuminate foreground, slow shutter speed used to expose dim background)

EXPOSURE COMPENSATION

- Press Exp. Comp. (Right Arrow) and rotate Rotary multi selector to select a value
- +/- 2 EV in 0.3EV increments
- The effect is seen on screen

MACRO

- On
- Off

SELF-TIMER

- Off
- 10 s
- 2 s

The Nikon Coolpix S600 is an attractive and easy-to-use point-and-shoot digital camera. Its compact form and flush design makes it easy to carry in a trousers pocket, available at any moment to capture a photo. Careful attention to design and intuitive operation make the Coolpix S600 a fun digital camera to use.

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