Nikon CoolPix S52c

Stylish compact camera with Wi-Fi

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Nikon CoolPix S52c
  • Nikon CoolPix S52c
  • Nikon CoolPix S52c
  • Nikon CoolPix S52c

Pros

  • Wireless connectivity, stylish design

Cons

  • Very sluggish performance, noise not particularly well controlled

Bottom Line

Nikon's CoolPix S52c is a good option if Wi-Fi connectivity sounds useful for you. However, it is extremely slow at times, which becomes frustrating in some shooting scenarios.

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Much like its predecessor, the CoolPix S51c, the Nikon CoolPix S52c is a stylish camera that distinguishes itself from the pack by offering Wi-Fi connectivity. Aside from that it is a fairly standard compact model, offering decent image quality and some basic features but little in the way of advanced photography options.

Sporting a 9-megapixel sensor, this unit is fine for producing prints up to about A4 size. The level of detail captured is a little low compared to other cameras with similar resolutions, but it was far from disappointing. Edges were generally sharp with only minor blurring, and clarity in areas of detail was acceptable. There was a reasonable amount of chromatic aberration during our tests, with the corners of the frame coming out quite soft. Fortunately purple fringing was kept to a minimum, with only minor discolouration on bright edges in our outdoors shots.

Colour balance was as we expected, with some strongly saturated hues, particularly in the primary colours. Blues and greens were notably over-saturated, while reds were a touch paler than normal. This balance makes for some good-looking outdoor shots, but those who are after accuracy rather than vibrancy will probably be disappointed.

Image noise performance was moderate. There was some minor speckling even at ISO 200, but it wasn't noticeable at most magnifications. It isn't until you hit ISO 800 that the shots become blotchy and start to be unsuitable for even smaller prints.

Sadly, in our speed tests the S52c was a horrible performer. It took anywhere between three and five seconds to start up and exhibited 0.2-.025sec of shutter lag. There was also a delay of over 2.5sec between shots; the burst mode was also relatively sluggish at two frames per second.

The camera's Wi-Fi capabilities are fairly impressive. It seems to only support WEP-key enabled networks as it wouldn't work with our WPA key, but once we had everything configured properly the process was simple. At any time you can hit the mail button, which brings up a keyboard and allows you to enter an email address. The camera then prompts you to connect to any surrounding wireless network and uploads the photo to Nikon's PictureTown service, before mailing a link to the designated email address. This is a pretty nifty function for travellers or people who want to share pictures on the spur of the moment.

Aside from that feature, the S52c is fairly standard. It offers face detection along with some basic colour and scene modes. Nikon's Vibration Reduction makes a comeback. It is fairly good, but not outstanding, at eliminating hand shake.

Aesthetically this camera follows the trend of past S series units, offering a stylish, curved design that is sure to appeal to fashion-oriented users. It is a sturdy camera, but the screen has a nasty habit of attracting finger prints. We also disliked the placement of the lens, which is in the top corner; you'll often find your fingers getting in the way if you have large hands.

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