Nikon CoolPix S630
A 12-megapixel Nikon digital camera with an 11 frames-per-second continuous shooting mode and a 7x optical zoom.
- 7x optical zoom, sturdy, 11 frames-per-second burst mode
- Lens isn't wide enough, images are somewhat soft, scroll wheel and camera shape take some getting used to
The CoolPix S630 isn't one of Nikon's best digital cameras. With sub-par image quality and an unconventional shape, it fails to be anything other than halfway decent. Still, if you're in need of a powerful optical zoom and a versatile continuous shooting mode, this camera will get the job done.
Price$ 499.00 (AUD)
The Nikon CoolPix S630 is a 12-megapixel compact digital camera equipped with a powerful 7x optical zoom lens. It also comes with some handy inbuilt features, including ISO 6400, face and blink detection, distortion control and an 11 frames-per-second continuous shooting mode.
Unfortunately, picture quality was lower than we were expecting from a $500 camera, particularly when it came to image softness. It’s also unconventionally shaped and suffers from a fiddly user-interface. Despite these shortcomings, it remains an acceptable (if uninspiring) point-and-shoot compact camera.
The standout feature of the Nikon CoolPix S630 is probably its 7x optical zoom lens. This makes the S630 more versatile than the majority of compact cameras, which typically offer a 5x optical zoom or smaller. The obvious benefit of a 7x optical zoom lens is that you won’t have to crop your photos as much — which means they’ll retain full image quality. The inclusion of Nikon’s Vibration Reduction system will also ensure that your zoomed-in photos remain blur-free. Often, these ‘systems’ are just hollow marketing pap, but we found Vibration Reduction to be very effective. You can also zoom into subjects while recording in movie mode, which is always handy.
However, the Nikon CoolPix S630’s zoom function is not without its faults. With a minimum focal length of 37mm (equivalent), it is poorly equipped for wide-angle shooting. You’re often forced to shuffle backwards to fit everything into the frame. On top of this, we noticed significant barrel distortion in our panoramic shots, though this can usually be corrected via the camera’s distortion control function. Still, these shortcomings are very disappointing, especially when you consider the zoom’s status as a supposedly flagship feature. As it stands, the 7x optical zoom is merely good, rather than great.
Unfortunately, the bad news doesn’t end there: the S630’s image quality is mixed. Like most digital cameras, the Nikon CoolPix S630 uses inbuilt noise-reduction software to combat graininess at higher ISO settings. Unfortunately, we found that this led to overly soft images, with finer details falling victim to digital smearing. Our shots sometimes lacked the sharpness that one would expect from a 12-megapixel camera.
The Nikon CoolPix S630 provides ISO sensitivities all the way up to ISO 6400, although image quality does begin to suffer at ISO 400 and above. Nevertheless, its output remains fair in optimum conditions and should prove more than suitable for making decent sized prints with. Just be mindful there are similarly priced compact cameras on the market that offer a better imaging performance. (Recent examples include the FijiFilm Finepix F100fd and the Canon IXUS 870 IS.)
To be honest, we weren’t bowled over by the Nikon CoolPix S630’s appearance either. With dimensions of 96.5x57.5x25.5mm and weighing in at 166g, it’s slightly chunkier than the average compact camera (though to be fair, most of them don’t offer 7x optical zooms). While the titanium silver finish is attractive enough, the unit’s body is unusually contoured, with a thick curve on the left-hand side that ends in a thumb-shaped depression. This is supposed to make the camera fit more naturally into the hand, but we found ourselves pining for a standard oblong shape. On the plus side, the build quality of the camera is exceptional. We particularly liked the little metal door the houses the AV port — a nice touch.
In place of a traditional joystick configuration, the Nikon CoolPix S630 uses a spinning scroll wheel for menu navigation. While it remained perfectly responsive during testing, it doesn’t ‘feel’ particularly intuitive, especially when compared to Nikon’s CoolPix S230 which has a touch screen. Thankfully, the menu itself is very user-friendly, with English taking precedence over inscrutable symbols and icons.
Being a point-and-shoot camera, manual features are kept to a bare minimum. Along with the now-obligatory face detection and 16 scene modes, the highlight is probably the continuous shooting mode, which offers an impressive 11 frames per second burst rate (up to 20 frames can be taken with each shutter-release). If you’re a sporting fanatic keen to study the minutia of your technique, this function is bound to come in handy.
All up, the Nikon CoolPix S630 is a mixed bag of a camera that contains its fair share of faults. While it will get the job done, there are similarly priced options on the market that do a better job. A mostly unremarkable effort.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Mazda MX-5 (2016) review: Absolute driving purity
- 2 Sony 75-inch UHD TV (X9400C) review: Sony and Android are a winning duo
- 3 LG 55EG960T OLED UHD TV
- 4 Panasonic Viera UHD TV review: good hardware, fragmented software
- 5 Microsoft Lumia 640 review: Honouring Nokia's legacy
Best Deals on Good Gear Guide
Latest News Articles
- Google Camera 3.2 lets you snap pictures while recording video
- CES 2016: Top 10 trends
- Sony α7S II aimed film-makers and low light photographers
- Canon goes big on resolution with 250-megapixel sensor
- Hey, Saturn, take a selfie! World's biggest digital camera will photograph the universe
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.
- CCApplication Solution ArchitectNSW
- FTFront End DeveloperSA
- FTProject Manager | Permanent role in Canberra | NV1/2 clearedACT
- CCContract Systems Analyst (C++/JAVA/SQL) 160505/SA/971Asia
- CCProject ManagerQLD
- CCSenior Business Analyst - Data ManagementNSW
- FTTechnical Writer - Trading SystemsNSW
- CCAnalyst Programmer (JAVA/Windows Programming) 160428/AP/143Asia
- FTSolution Delivery Manager ( RTTM)NSW
- FTSystem EngineerACT
- FTInfrastructure Project ManagerACT
- CCTechnical ExpertVIC
- FTPMO AnalystNSW
- FTDigital Project ManagerVIC
- CCProduct SpecialistVIC
- CCAccount Manager - Software Solutions - Global IT CompanyNSW
- CCContract Analyst Programmer (JAVA/J2EE/SQL) 160505/AP/951Asia
- CCSenior Project ManagerNSW
- FTTechnology Risk ManagerNSW
- CCChange ManagerNSW
- CCMarketing Communications Specialist - Global IT CompanyNSW
- CCIT Program Delivery Office Lead- Government BackgroundNSW
- FTSolution Architect (Guidewire Billing Center)NSW
- CCPortfolio Manager - Customer Service SystemVIC
- FTSenior Storage Systems EngineerACT