Nikon's COOLPIX S2600 arrives with a low price tag, yet promises enough functionality to please the entry-level shooter. The question is, how does it perform in the WDC test?
There used to be a time where if your budget for purchasing a new compact camera was any lower than around £100, you were certain to have to make sacrifices in some area of performance, if not more . However, almost all manufacturers offer at least one model in this price bracket that has a full specification and is capable of capturing good images, tailored to the entry-level photographer. One such camera is Nikon’s S2600.
Nikon COOLPIX S2600 Review – Features and Design
Anyone looking to purchase a camera around the £100 mark is likely to be an entry-level user or someone who places an emphasis on style, and the S2600 caters for both. The compact features a body which is just 19.5mm thick, making it readily pocketable, yet doesn’t compromise of specification. The camera features a 14MP 1/2.3in CCD sensor and 5x NIKKOR optical zoom, covering a focal range of 26-130mm. The lens itself is supported by vibration reduction technology, although it’s of the lesser Electronic variety rather than the optical. Other elements of the specification worthy of note are the ISO range of 80 to 1600 – extendable to 3200 in reduced resolution mode – as well as an LCD screen measuring in at 2.7in and with a resolution of 230k-dot.
As is often the case with entry-level compacts, the majority of the camera’s capture control are controlled by the camera itself – the camera features a scene auto selector mode which assesses the subject matter and chooses from 18 pre-determined scene modes for the one best suited to the subject. The scene auto selector is also supported by both motion detection and subject tracking modes for sharp images, whilst Nikon EXPEED C2 image processor is also present
As aforementioned, the Nikon S2600 manages to cram a full specification in to a noticeably slim body, measuring just 19.5mm thick. As well as being readily pocketable, the S2600 is also available in a host of striking colours so will no doubt appeal to the style conscious. Outside of the strikingly slim design, the rest of the S2600 is a relatively simple affair. The rear of the camera features a dpad for mode access, whilst noticeably a large button also features for dedicated access to the camera’s HD video recording functionality. One final point of note is that while the slim design is certainly striking, the body itself doesn’t feel particularly sturdy, and certainly feels akin to its low price tag.
Performance, Image Quality and Verdict
Nikon COOLPIX S2600 Review – Performance and Image Quality
When purchasing a compact camera towards the low end of the price
range, it’s reasonable to expect certain compromises. One such
compromise is seen on the LCD screen of the COOLPIX S2600 – at just
2.7in and with a resolution of 230k-dot it’s well in line with the low
end of the market and behind several of it’s competitors.
S2600 is relatively capable in use. Focus speeds aren’t the fastest,
with the camera hunting for focus in tricky lighting conditions,
although well-lit scenes don’t generally pose much of a problem. The
camera’s menu system appears basic on first sight, yet this doesn’t take
away from the compact’s usability. The S2600’s buttons also feel
somewhat basic, with a plasticky feel, although once again they’re well
laid out and assist simple operation of the camera.
image quality is one area in which the S2600 fails to excel. While
exposures are generally reliable, requiring little intervention from the
photographer, the S2600 suffers with regards to dynamic range – shadow
detail is generally well preserved, yet highlights all too readily blow
out, even in well-lit scenes.
Another image flaw evident with the
S2600 is fringing – in areas of high contrast between light and dark,
in particular towards the edges of the frame, details develop either a
purple or green outline that is visible even when viewed at native
It’s not all negative however – colour rendition is
generally good and true-to-life, whilst white balance is also reliable.
It’s also true that the majority of these flaws – apart from fringing -
will only cause major problems when inspecting images close up rather
than from a wide angle.
Nikon COOLPIX S2600 Review – Verdict
There was a time when a
sub-£100 compact camera would barely be worthy on consideration if you
were in the least bit serious about your photography. These days,
however, there are a great deal of cameras around that price point that
offer both an impressive specification and good results, and thus
represent excellent value for money. While the S2600 certainly has a
full specification, the hallmarks of compromise are all too readily
evident in build and image quality, and although it is by no means a bad
compact camera there are better options available.
SD, SDHC, SDXC
2.7in, 230k-dot TFT LCD
1/2.3in CCD, 14MP
Martix, center-weighted, spot
Rechargeable Li-ion (EN-EL19)
80 – 1600, 3200 in reduced resolution
5x optical zoom, 26 – 130mm, f/3.2 – 6.5
93.8 x 58.4 x 19.5mm
4 – 1/2000 sec