The Nikon Coolpix S600 has a 10 megapixel resolution producing photos that can be printed as large as the 8x10” that most home photo printers support or slightly larger. As shown in Figure 3, this camera has a large 2.7 in. high-resolution (230K pixels) LCD monitor. The monitor is bright and clear with a good wide viewing angle.
The screen is viewable in bright sunlight. When in the shooting mode you find that you need a little extra brightness, you can quickly boost the LCD brightness by holding down the Playback button for a few seconds. This is a good thing because this Nikon has no view finder, so you always have to rely on what you see on the screen for picture taking.
With almost every digital cameras today offering large megapixels counts, it becomes apparent that the lens in a digital camera is now of greater importance than megapixels. This Nikon has an excellent 4x wide-angle zoom-NIKKOR glass lens (28-112mm equiv). The wide-angle lens is a welcome surprise in a camera of this size. It is a useful feature making this Nikon a good vacation camera that can capture landscapes at their best.
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Figure 3: Large LCD screen.
The optical VR (vibration reduction) image stabilization is also a great feature. Many people think that vibration reduction is only useful for photographers with shaky hands, but in fact, it was created to reduce blur in low light settings. Taking photographs in low light means slower shutter speeds, resulting in more blur. The VR neutralizes the camera shake resulting in more stable shots and sharper images. VR can also be useful for reducing blur in action shots and it stabilizes the image on the display for easier framing of the picture.
Another feature of this Nikon is its ISO 3200 capability. As you probably know, higher ISO means better pictures in lower light. Although, as expected for a camera of this type, the amount of noise in the picture increases with the higher ISOs.
The S600 also has face-priority that automatically detects and focuses on people’s faces in the frame. It has macro shooting from as close as 3 cm (1.2”). The included Nikon's D-Lighting is also a very valuable feature since it allows for on the spot fixes inside the camera of underexposed shots or shots taken with excessive backlight. This allows you to use D-Lighting to rescue some dark shots. This is done in-camera and a copy of the picture is made leaving the original untouched. The S600 also has in-camera red-eye fix that works quite well to keep your pictures red-eye free.
This camera uses the small SD memory cards that have become popular for digital cameras. It also supports SDHC cards which allow you to purchase higher capacity memory cards. The camera comes with 45 MB of internal memory, so one of your first purchases will be a larger capacity SD card.
PictBridge support is built-into this Nikon, so if you have a PictBridge printer you can go directly from the camera to the printer. If your computer or printer has a SD memory card slot you can also remove the card from the camera and insert it into the computer or printer for immediate transfer of the photos. Otherwise you will use the camera’s included USB cable and software to move or copy your photos to the computer.
Nikon supports the enprinting of date/time right on the photograph. This feature is becoming increasingly rare, but some people love it and it provides great documentation for things like insurance photos or accident documentation.
Besides taking good photos, the S600 also records movies at either 640x480 or 320x240 at 30 frames per second. You can record 10 minute movie clips with sound. The only limitation for number of movies is the size of your memory card. The other limitation is that you can’t zoom in the movie mode.
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Figure 4: Battery and SD memory card shown in the camera.