The Nikon Coolpix S225 is a Jessops exclusive budget compact with 10MP and image stabilisation. Is it the ultimate budget buy? The What Digital Camera Nikon Coolpix S225 review investigates...
Nikon Coolpix S225 review
The Nikon Coolpix S225 is an ultra-slim 10-megapixel compact with a 3x zoom lens and 2.5in LCD. Its specification is identical to the Coolpix S220, but the S225 only comes in silver and is available exclusively from Jessops. The Nikon S225 is very small and light, measuring 89.5 x 55.5 x 18mm, and weighing 117g including battery and card. The body is all aluminium, and despite its low weight it feels very well made. The semi-matt finish is scratch resistant and the monitor is slightly recessed to avoid damage.
The Coolpix S225 is a basic point-and-shoot camera with few features and simple controls. It has the usual D-pad and four other buttons on the back, with a rotary bezel around the shutter button for zoom control. Despite its size, the control layout is uncluttered and leaves room to grip the camera. Shooting modes consist of a basic Auto mode, a scene mode with 17 options (plus a sound recording option), a face-detecting Smile Shutter and a movie mode (limited to 640×480, 30fps with mono sound).
The S225’s main menu is also limited, offering only image size, ISO setting, white balance and drive mode, plus a short list of colour options. There are a few AF mode choices, including manually selectable AF point, centre focus and face priority. There is also a distortion control option, which is just as well because the lens produces a lot of barrel distortion at the wide end. The Nikon S225 has electronic image stabilisation, but it’s not terribly effective.
There are some options in playback mode, including a quick fix function that adjusts exposure, and a D-Lighting function that recovers some shadow detail in high-contrast shots, although as usual it does introduce some image noise. The S225’s performance is fairly good for the price. It starts up in less than two seconds, and shuts down again even more quickly. In single-shot mode it can take a picture every three seconds, although continuous shooting mode is actually slightly slower. The autofocus is very good in normal daylight – it focuses quickly and accurately at all zoom settings, but it performs poorly in low light, and it has no AF assist lamp.
The Coolpix S225’s image quality, unfortunately, is not very good. Exposure metering favours highlights, and the limited dynamic range reduces shadow detail. D-Lighting applied in playback does help a bit, but shadows are still murky. Colour reproduction is generally good, although bright yellows are overexposed. Even the lens is surprisingly poor for a Nikon. It has very low overall sharpness especially towards the corners, and suffers from chromatic aberration and a lot of barrel distortion at the wideangle end. The distortion control feature corrects this, but the lack of sharpness remains a problem.
The Nikon Coolpix S225 is well made, sensibly designed and performs reasonably well. It is lacking in features, but it is very easy to use. It has excellent high-ISO noise control, but unfortunately it is badly let down by poor lens quality and restricted dynamic range.