by Rob Williams on July 4, 2006 in Digital Cameras
Looking for a feature-packed camera that won’t empty your wallet? The S4 features a swivel-lens capable of 10x Optical Zoom, a 2.5″ LCD screen and even includes rechargeable batteries and charger. But does it take quality pictures? Read on..
Before I finish the review off, let’s take a quick look at a few miscellaneous shots to see how this camera shines through. The following picture is in the same area as the graveyard picture from page two, but uses the 6x zoom. It actually turned out far better than I thought it would. Though these people were 200ft away, you would be easily able to recognize them if you knew them.
Night scenes are quite different to take under certain conditions, as they tend to come out blurry more often than not.
Weird.. a SuSE Linux screenshot? Actually, this is a photo of the monitor with the room light off. Monitors are something difficult to capture clear, because they only show up well without a flash. The S4 did a great job with this one though.
The S4 has some fantastic macro capabilities, as seen in these pictures.
For a larger collection of macro shots taken with the S4, you can check out our SteelPad 5L, Microsoft 3000 Wireless Notebook Mouse and NZXT Apollo reviews. The camera was used throughout each of those reviews and give off good examples of what the camera can accomplish.
One problem I did find myself in with the camera though, was using macros where I got -too- close to the object with the camera. For example, take a look at the following picture, from our Nintendo DS review.
Even though I used a flash, you will notice a shadow in the top left corner. This is due to the light bouncing off the object which then bounces off the lens. Because the lens sticks out on the side of the camera instead of the middle, this is an effect I found myself running into often. One way to combat this to an extent is to stand away from the object and then use a 1x or 2x zoom, then take the photo. Because you are further away, the shadow is less likely to occur.
The S4 is easily one of best cameras I have recently used. For a camera that averages $270US, it really packs a punch. As we have seen, the image quality is great, as is the color. The 10x Optical Zoom is a very welcomed feature and provided what we needed for a few distance photos. The 2.5″ LCD is a great addition, but at the sacrifice of no optical viewfinder, which makes it extremely difficult to get the perfect shot on a sunny day.
The turn-on time for the camera could be a bit better. You will need to hold down the power button for around 3 seconds before the camera turns on, and then wait another 2 seconds for the lens to focus on the shot you want to take. Compared to the Casio Exilim EX-Z120 which is ready within 2 seconds. The camera did provide decent shutter lag though, but at larger zooms the speed was slightly decreased.
Given the price range, the S4 packs a punch and is certainly worth a look if you are looking to purchase a new camera. I award the Coolpix S4 an 8 out of 10.
- 10x Optical Zoom
- 2.5 clear LCD
- Great macro capabilities
- Photos have accurate color
- Included rechargeable batteries and charger
- No optical viewfinder
- Slow shutter at larger zooms
- 3 – 4 second start-time to photo snapping
- LCD virtually useless on sunny day
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