Nikon CoolPix S60

Touch-screen camera with 5x optical zoom.

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Nikon CoolPix S60
  • Nikon CoolPix S60
  • Nikon CoolPix S60
  • Nikon CoolPix S60

Pros

  • Touch screen works quite well, pictures sharp, looks good

Cons

  • Very noisy images, some chromatic aberration, slow to start up

Bottom Line

A solid touch-screen compact camera, the Nikon CoolPix S60 will suit users after a simple yet stylish and sophisticated compact.

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Jumping onboard the touch-screen bandwagon is Nikon with its latest compact camera, the CoolPix S60. Featuring a touch-screen control setup along with the traditional slim Nikon design, this unit is a solid camera that takes good snaps and operates quite smoothly. It is definitely one of the better touch-screen options in the camera space right now.

The touch-screen interface Nikon has implemented ranks quite highly overall. It still has its share of issues — a lack of sensitivity at times — but its performance is nonetheless acceptable. It still isn't as efficient as a regular set of buttons, but users who want the cool-factor of a futuristic interface should be satisfied with this unit. One interesting thing to note is all the controls are touch-based except the shutter and power; even the optical zoom is controlled via the screen.

Images captured by the S60 are fine although they have a few issues, most notably with noise. Even at the base level of ISO 100 our test shots were noticeably grainy and had some prominent white speckling across the cityscape. Ramping the sensitivity up saw a sharp increase in noise; at ISO 400 and beyond they become almost unusable.

This is a big shame because in most other respects the S60 did well. There was a little chromatic aberration evident in the form of haloing on high-contrast edges but it wasn't too severe and corner softening was kept to a minimum. Noise aside, our test shots were sharp and crisp, satisfying our expectations of the 10-megapixel sensor. They should be fine for most print sizes assuming you keep the sensitivity low.

Colour balance was quite typical for a compact camera, meaning primary shades were a little over-saturated. Unfortunately, there are no colour modes onboard the camera itself and no custom white balance, so if you're dissatisfied with the output you'll have to tweak photos in post processing. Exposure could have been a little better, too, with some detail lost in shadowed areas.

In our speed tests, the S60 was generally a strong performer. Its shutter lag was minimal at 0.06 seconds and the delay between shots was just 1.8 seconds. However the burst mode was a touch sluggish at two frames per second and the start-up time was just under three seconds, which is quite slow by today's standards.

This unit appears to be targeted strictly at entry-level photographers and it has little in the way of features. There are 19 scene modes, as well as the basics like face detection and sensor-shift stabilisation supporting the 5x optical zoom lens. There is no advanced functionality but that's to be expected.

We felt the screen was of fairly good but not exceptional quality. Being the only thing on the back of the S60 it can afford to be large, so its size of 3.5in is no surprise. It does, however, attract quite a few fingerprints. Our test unit came in a dark purple/pink colour and looked quite stylish.

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