by Rob Williams on October 25, 2006 in Digital Cameras
Nikon recently announced 6 new digital cameras, including the S10. This camera is similar in design to their S4 released earlier this year, but has a few notable upgrades. Overall it’s a good camera, but has a few downsides.
The S10 offers five different color modes at your disposal.
Black & White
All color modes work well, the black and white especially. Sepia is a little more rich than I’d like, though.
The S10 is an average camera overall, that’s it. It has it’s highs, and equal amount of lows. I will take the time now to explain exactly what these main points are. First off, the camera is part of the style series, so it’s no surprise that it has a unique shape. The Lifestyle and Professional series focus far more on actual performance and ease of use than to have a sexy body. If you are coming from regular digital camera use, using the S10 will be far different than what you are used to… but it should quickly become natural to hold after some time.
That aside, the picture quality from the camera is subpar. Outdoor photos came through sharp, with some great color, but indoor and macro shots were chancy. 6MP images in general are not going to be ones you will really use for anything other than to resize, because they are very grainy and noisy. At resolutions of 2048*1536 and lower though, you will be able to enjoy relatively clean images.
With the S10 , I have found more image problems than previous models… even the slimline S4. Throughout a single night of testing, I found very noticeable chromatic aberration, purple fringing and noise. Vignetting was also a problem but is not unusual. If you are taking macro or indoor shots, vignetting seems to fade away at around 15mm. Anything lower and you will very likely notice it quite easily.
The camera takes good pictures up to the full focal range, and the 10x zoom is welcomed. Though the image quality at that point is absolutely horrible, it’s nice to capture certain details 200ft away, such as signs or license plates.
As for the shooting capability, I found the camera to be rather slow. Sometimes it would take up to 3 seconds to prepare for the next shot, which doesn’t seem like much, but it is when you are trying to snap photos of something quickly. With the flash off, its a completely different story. In a quick test, while focusing on the same object, the camera took 23 pictures in 30 seconds, at which point it was -really- slowing down. So, that’s not so bad coming from a camera that’s focused on style more than performance.
One of the main problems I found with this camera is the SRP of $479USD. That price is ridiculous for what the camera can do, but luckily enough it has gone way down in price since release. Now, the maximum you will pay is $400, although some e-tailers have it for $320 and under.
For the $300 price range, this makes a good camera for all around use. However, I am not quick to recommend it, unless you particularly enjoy the unique styling. Depending on where you shoot, the image quality can vary between average and good. The color that the camera provides is very good though, so that’s a plus. If you want good image quality for a small form camera, you may want to look at the P3 that we reviewed this past summer.
If you want to get a good camera on a budget, you should shop around. I am not particularly impressed by the Coolpix L series, so you should do your research on the best bang for buck.
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