Nikon Coolpix S10 preview
The Nikon Coolpix S10 is one of a new series of Coolpix digital cameras launched by Nikon and introduced before the start of Photokina 2006. In addition to the series of Nikon Coolpix cameras to which the Nikon Coolpix S10 belongs, Nikon is also presenting a new digital SLR camera: the Nikon D80. In doing so, Nikon has added an interesting series of digital cameras to its range that are sure to arouse the interest of a great many consumers. One can't help noticing that there is still no digital compact camera for serious photographers, a camera where aperture, shutter speed and other functions can be operated manually. A compact camera like this would have a price tag similar to that of Nikon's entry-level D-SLR model, the Nikon D50. We may assume that this is the main reason behind the absence of a segment of advanced compact cameras for semi-professionals. Still, the Nikon Coolpix S10 has some very interesting functions; 6 Megapixels, one for Nikon's new Image Sensor Shift VR (Vibration Reduction) to correct undesired camera movements, a 10x tilting optical zoom (equivalent to 38 - 380mm in a 35mm) and a 2.5 inch format LCD screen. We had the chance to work with a pre-production model, to enable us to describe the camera in greater detail.
Nikon Coolpix S10 - Lithium Ion
The Nikon Coolpix S10 digital compact camera, unlike its predecessor, the Nikon S4 that ran on AA format batteries, has a Nikon EN-EL5 Lithium Ion battery. Naturally, it comes with an original Nikon battery. Nikon has placed a holographic stamp on the battery, so that you can be sure that you have an original Nikon EN-EL5 battery when buying a reserve battery. First, the battery has to be fully charged with the Nikon MH-61 charger that comes with the camera. It takes approximately 2 hours to charge a completely empty EN-EL5 Li-Ion battery. The Nikon EN-EL 5 has a capacity of 3.7V/1100mAh. The Charge light flashes while the batteries are being charged and when the light stops flashing it means that the battery has been fully charged. The battery can now be removed from the charger and placed in the compartment of the Nikon S10 digital Megazoom camera. The compartment is underneath at the level of the LCD screen and is sealed off by a perfectly fitting flap that must be pushed to one side. If, for example, you want to use the Nikon Coolpix S10 camera for studio work or want to show pictures you've saved on a TV screen, you can buy an optional light network adapter, the Nikon EH-62A.
Nikon Coolpix S10 - Secure Digital
The Nikon S10 Megazoom camera comes with approx. 16MB internal memory. It is obvious that this capacity is not enough to save your holiday pics in a 6 Megapixel resolution setting, unless your holiday was such a disaster that it can be summed up in 5 pictures. Like all Nikon Coolpix cameras and even some of Nikon's D-SLR cameras, like the D50 and the D80, the Nikon Coolpix S10 supports the Secure Digital memory card. Except for a few models that support the Memory Stick and xD Picture Card, this little card has become the standard memory card for digital cameras. The advantage of the Secure Digital is the extensive range and often attractive prices. It makes sense to combine the Nikon S10 with a fast memory card of approx 256 or 512MB (83 / 166 pictures with 6 Megapixels); the camera supports Secure Digital with a maximum speed of 10MB/sec. It does not support the recently launched SDHC memory cards, but to b e honest, I don't think that anyone would be interested in the combination of SDHC 4GB and Nikon Coolpix S10 anyway. The SanDisk Ultra II Plus Secure Digital is, however, interesting; it is a quick card with an in-built USB interface that can be placed in a free USB port directly from the camera. Very handy!
Nikon Coolpix S10 - Tilting lens
Just like its predecessor, the S4, the Nikon S10 can turn the lens 180° outwards or up to 90° in the direction of the user to, for example, make a self-portrait. It is useful that as soon as the lens is turned towards the user, the screen gives a mirror image of the final photograph. An even bigger gain is the new Image Sensor Shift VR technology with which the photographer can effortlessly use the large optical range of 38 - 380mm. The tilting lens is not new to Nikon; models like the Nikon Coolpix 4500 and SQ already had a similar concept. The big difference is the optical range, which was 4x optical and is now 10x, including the image stabiliser.
Nikon Coolpix S10 - Zoom button
The zoom button with which the 10x optical zoom is operated has undergone a cosmetic change. Instead of a ring around the shutter release button, the Nikon S10 now has a small switch that can be pressed to the left or right. The optical zoom setting can be shown via the LCD screen which gives you a total zoom range of 40x when supplemented by the 4x digital zoom. It would be difficult to make optimal use of zoom range in mediocre light conditions without some form of stabilisation. Therefore, the Image Sensor Shift VR technology is a very valuable feature in the Nikon Coolpix S10 Megazoom camera.
Nikon Coolpix S10 - Playing over the TV
The Nikon S10 comes with an audio/video cable. By connecting the camera directly to a television with the audio/video cable, you can show the pictures on a large screen instead of the 2.5 inch screen. The inbuilt Pictmotion function makes digital photos even more entertaining. Via the camera, you can set up a great slide show and as an extra you can also add background music. You can choose from five standard pieces of music or add extra music using PictureProject (only for Windows). With a little creativity, the Nikon Coolpix S10 can become a real multimedia camera.
"In practice, the Nikon Coolpix S10 is a handy digital camera to work with. I liked it and although the Nikon S10 is not the smallest Megazoom camera on the block, the format and features are such that the camera adds up to a very interesting combination. I have pleasant memories of the useful innovations with which Nikon scored top points in the past and it reminds me of a time when creativity gained more importance in digital photography. The optical range of 38 - 380mm in combination with the image stabiliser gives an enormous range which can satisfy the user's wishes on all fronts. Although there are few manual settings available to the photographer, it is surprising how much is possible, thanks to the 15 pre-programmed modes and useful composition assistance. Software is becoming increasingly important and ever more intelligent; the Nikon Coolpix S10 is typical of a successful example of this."
Part II : Nikon Coolpix S10 preview