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Nikon CoolPix S630

>> Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Nikon CoolPix S630 is a little thicker than usual for Nikon's S-series cameras. That extra depth is for the 7x zoom lens out front, but it doesn't stop this camera from easily fitting in a pocket or small handbag. Available in five colors black, blue, purple, silver, and red it looks more stylish head on than from the back where things get more functional. The right side swoops out a bit leaving a large thumb rest that was appreciated more and more while using the zoom ring around the shutter button on top of the camera.

Below that are the Mode and Play buttons followed by a scroll wheel or directional pad and two more buttons for the settings menu and deleting photos while shooting or in playback. Controls are very straightforward and even if the menus aren't much to look at, they're easy to navigate and a simple tug to the right on the zoom pulls up the Help system. Plus, you can get through them as fast or slow as you want with either the scroll wheel or directional pad.

General shooting options Nikon Coolpix S630
  • ISO sensitivity (full resolution) Auto, Fixed-range auto (ISO 64-200, 64-400); 64; 100; 200; 400; 800; 1,600
  • White balance Auto, Daylight, Incandescent, Fluorescent, Cloudy, Flash, Manual
  • Recording modes Auto, Scene, Scene auto, Sport continuous, High sensitivity, Smile, Movie
  • Focus Face priority AF, Auto AF, Manual AF, Center AF
  • Metering Matrix, Center weighted
  • Color effects Standard, Vivid, Black & White, Sepia, Cyanotype, Pastel
  • Burst mode shot limit (full resolution) 4 photos
When it comes to shooting controls and options, Nikon CoolPix S630's feature set is not terribly deep, making it inadequate for anyone wanting to experiment. It has taking simple snapshots down cold, however. Recording modes are kept pretty lean with Auto giving you the most shooting control, including the ability to limit the ISO range the camera uses.

There are three specialized shot modes, too. Smile mode, which snaps a picture whenever it picks up on a smiling face, includes a Blink Proof setting that'll fire off a second shot in case it detects the subject blinking (and it works, but the person has to be fully facing the camera). A Sport Continuous mode works well for capturing action, but does lower the resolution to 3 megapixels and increase the sensitivity to a minimum of ISO 640.

This not only creates some extra image noise, but it'll also cause outdoor or well-lit photos to overexpose. Lastly, there's a High Sensitivity mode for low light shooting, but it too drops photos to a 3 megapixel resolution and sets the ISO range from 640 to 3,200. (To be fair, the thorough instruction manual warns about these things and explains how and when best to use the special settings.)

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