Nikon CoolPix S640 digital camera
The Nikon CoolPix S640 possesses impressive specs, but the quality of its images failed to impress us
- Compact and light, great zoom
- Poor overall image quality, overpriced
Although the Nikon CoolPix S640 has impressive specs, the quality of its images was not as good as we were expecting.
Price$ 499.95 (AUD)
The Nikon CoolPix S640 is a standard, pocket-sized point-and-shoot digital camera. It's an ideal camera for social happy snappers, and its quick start-up time makes it great for when you need to whip a camera out of a pocket or handbag to capture a spur of the moment shot. However, we aren't thrilled with its image quality.
Under the hood, the Nikon CoolPix S640 packs a 12.2-megapixel sensor and a 28mm wide, 5x zoom lens. It also has a multitude of settings and shooting modes to choose from.
The Nikon CoolPix S640's design is not eye-catching. The five buttons located on the back of the camera are your run-of-the-mill navigational controls, and they're coupled with a scroll wheel. The wheel can be used to navigate through the menu options as well as control the exposure compensation. Sometimes the buttons are unresponsive and the scroll wheel often gets bumped by your thumb, which can lead to you selecting an incorrect setting.
The camera's image quality was not as good as we expected. Chromatic aberration is a major problem for the Nikon CoolPix S640; we found that purple fringing occurred in lots of photographs taken in many different lighting conditions. There’s is also a lot of image noise in the photographs, which mostly noticeable when a photo is taken without the flash on and it has to compensate by increasing the ISO speed.
Turn on the flash wen you use the camera in dim light and you’ll get much more pleasing results. Chromatic aberration still occurs, but it’s not as bad as it is without flash.
Another disappointing aspect of the Nikon CoolPix S640 is how long it takes to record an image to memory — there is a good 3-4 second delay before you can look at the last image taken. It also takes a few seconds for the image to render properly on the screen in playback mode.
Some of the redeeming features are the camera's intelligent 'scene auto selector' mode, the airbrush tool, motion tracking, smile detection and a 'blink proof' setting. When the camera is in 'scene auto selector' mode, it automatically senses light conditions and chooses the most appropriate program to shoot in. The auto airbrush tool can be used to soften skin tones and make a photo ready for the rest of the world to see!
The motion tracker comes is handy when shooting a moving object, and other focusing aids include face detection and the smile detector. Nikon has taken the hassle out of self timer shots by incorporating a smile detector, which takes a photo when the subject smiles. It's great for self portraits and group shots — and it actually works. Yet another great feature is the ‘blink proof’ setting, which takes two photos a fraction of a second apart in case someone blinks.
Priced at $499, we were expecting a bit more bang for our buck from the CoolPix S640. Its picture quality is just average, as chromatic aberration and digital noise really got the better of our images; its controls need work and it's slow to show images on its screen. The redeeming features, such as the smile detector, hardly make up for the fact that it can be a frustrating camera to use overall. At the same price, you can get the Canon IXUS 120 IS, which produces much better image quality and even has HD video recording, unlike the S640.
If you’re in the market for a lightweight Nikon digital camera, then we suggest the Nikon CoolPix S570. It's essentially the same camera, but it takes great photos and it's cheaper.
Stay up to date with the latest reviews. Sign up to GoodGearGuide’s Gear Daily newsletters
Follow GoodGearGuide on Twitter: @Goodgearguide
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Sony 75-inch UHD TV (X9400C) review: Sony and Android are a winning duo
- 2 LG 55EG960T OLED UHD TV
- 3 Panasonic Viera UHD TV review: good hardware, fragmented software
- 4 Ford Focus ST (2015) review: Absolutely mental styling, engine, handling
- 5 LG 65-inch UHD TV (65UF950T) review
Deals on Good Gear Guide
- Networking, Wireless & VoIP
Deals on Good Gear Guide
Latest News Articles
- 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
- GoPro Hero4 Session: half the size, waterproof to 10 metres
- Sony wants to bring 4K video capabilities to more digital cameras
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
- FTDatabase Marketing ManagerNSW
- FTAccount Manager | Music IndustryNSW
- FTLinux Administrator with AWS & DevopsNSW
- FTSenior Consultant | Project work | National Systems IntegratorVIC
- FTLevel 2 IT Support TechnicianVIC
- FTField EngineerNSW
- FTBusiness Development & Account ManagementNSW
- FTDigital ManagerNSW
- FTManual Test Engineer | Financial Institution | Web testingNSW
- CCE-Commerce - Senior Web Application DeveloperNSW
- FTSystems Administrator - Managed ServicesNSW
- FTMid level IT consultant | Systems Integration & Managed ServicesNSW
- FTSenior Account Manager - PR AgencyNSW
- FTSales SpecialistNSW
- FTProduct Marketing ManagerNSW
- FTAndroid DeveloperNSW
- FTAccount Manager | Client Side - Previous Agency Experience Welcome!!NSW
- FTSystems Administrator | National commercial law firm | MS, AWS & eDiscoveryNSW
- CCMilitary simulation programmer with C# and Unity - 3 monthsNSW
- FT1st & 2nd level IT support all-rounder in beautiful rural BathurstNSW