Nikon COOLPIX S610

Compact camera with 28mm wide-angle lens.

Nikon COOLPIX S610
  • Nikon COOLPIX S610
  • Nikon COOLPIX S610
  • Nikon COOLPIX S610
  • Expert Rating

    3.50 / 5

Pros

  • Good colour balance, wide-angle lens, 4x optical zoom with stabilisation, lightning quick start-up time

Cons

  • Extremely slow shot-to-shot time and shutter lag, chromatic aberration issues

Bottom Line

Nikon's CoolPix S610 would have been quite an impressive unit if it wasn't for its extremely slow shutter speed and shot-to-shot lag. As it stands it still captures fairly good snaps and has some nifty features, but can be irritatingly slow at times.

Would you buy this?

Following in the footsteps of the CoolPix S600, Nikon’s new compact, the S610, is a pretty similar unit. It is stylish and offers a 4x optical zoom wide-angle lens along with a 10-megapixel sensor. It also brings a large 3in screen to the party, but it does suffer a fair bit in terms of speed and there are some image quality issues that mean it doesn’t score top marks.

Paradoxically the S610 is both one of the fastest and slowest cameras we’ve tested. From power-up it takes just over a second until you’re capturing your first shot, which is incredibly speedy. However, shutter lag is close to 0.2 seconds and shot-to-shot time is an extremely poor 3.6 seconds. The burst mode is also quite sluggish, capturing right on two frames per second. All of this amounts to a camera that can be ready in a flash but is frustrating to use once it’s on.

With its 28mm wide-angle lens, 4x zoom and vibration reduction, the S610 is a pretty flexible unit. In our image quality tests it performed decently without being outstanding. Pictures were quite detailed; they looked a touch soft straight out of the camera but this wasn’t really problematic and the clarity will be fine for most print sizes. There was, however, a fairly hefty amount of chromatic aberration in the form of purple fringing in shots taken outdoors.

Colour balance was the most impressive part of the shots, with rich accurate hues that weren’t overly saturated or bright like on many other consumer cameras. They were still vivid and will produce excellent prints but reds, blues and greens were all well controlled.

Noise was a fairly significant factor at times. ISO 100 and 200 produce clean snaps, but at ISO 400 there is a slight drop in clarity and this continues all the way up to the totally unusable ISO 1600 and ISO 3200. We’d recommend sticking to the lower settings with this unit as anything above ISO 400 suffers some fairly hefty detail loss.

The S610 has most of the standard features you’d expect from a camera in this class. Face detection is present and it can track up to 12 faces, which should make group shops a breeze. Along with this is the afore-mentioned vibration reduction as well as the automatic scene mode that picks the appropriate setting for the current situation.

Aesthetically the unit is fairly nice. Our review model was a dark violet colour and was one of the more original looking cameras we’d seen recently. It sports a gigantic 3in LCD on the back, which is quite impressive. We’ve always been a big fan of large screens as they make framing shots easier and this one is of a fairly good quality with a fast refresh rate and decent sunlight performance.

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