Nikon Coolpix S3000 review

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Nikon's S series combines a decent specification with low prices, but how do they fair up on the WDC testing bench?

Pros: Price, compact size
Cons: Poor image quality, extremely basic user interface

Nikon's S-series compact cameras promise the combination of affordability and advanced imaging courtesy of the brand's digital imaging heritage. The S300 resides at the extreme of the affordable end of the market, currently available for around £100, though the specification belies the price tag. The model features a Nikkor 4x optical zoom, ranging from 27-108mm in equivalent terms, while a 12MP sensor also features. A maximum ISO 3200 is available at full resolution, while several image capture technologies are present, including motion detection for sharp images, Best Shot Selector technology (picking the best shot of ten shot sequentially), as well as a smart portrait system and a scene auto selector. The S3000 also features a 2.7in, 230k-dot LCD screen, though this is by no means the highest specified LCD screen on the market.


The first thing that strikes you about the S3000 is how light and slim it feels in the hand. Weighing in at just 116g, the S3000 is one of the lightest cameras on the market, while also managing to cram the 4x protruding zoom in to a body just 19mm thick. The compact is also available in a range of seven vibrant colours, alluding to it's appeal at the entry level end of the market. This is further supported by the simple button layout and basic range of shooting modes, with these laid out in a simple and intuitive manner.

This entry-level targeting and specification is evident when the camera is in use - the menu system is simplified in the extreme, while scene modes and the like occupy capture ahead of more manual functionality. The S3000 focuses relatively promptly and reliably, generally selecting a decent point of focus more often that not. Metering is a bit more of an issue, however, with the S3000 providing confused results more often than not.

Unfortunately, image quality is generally on the whole fairly disappointing. White balance is unreliable, while softness and fringing dominate the corners of the frame. However, when the S3000 gets it right, it's capable of good results


Compact System Camera Reviews

Scores

Scores
Design 17/20
Image Quality 15/20
Performance 16/20
Value 16/20
Features 16/20
Overall Score 80%