Nikon Coolpix S2 Digital Camera Review

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Testing / Performance

Color*(6.74)

*The Nikon S2 is built for people who don’t want to make lots of manual adjustments to get great pictures with rich color tones. We tested the Nikon Coolpix S2’s ability to capture accurate colors, transferring those breath taking moments into potentially great pictures. After taking several exposures of the GretagMacbeth color chart, we uploaded the images into Imatest imaging software to see just how far off the colors are from reality. Below is a modified chart output by Imatest showing the original color in the inner rectangle, the outer square as the S2’s produced color, and the computer-corrected version in the inner square.

The next chart shows the same information with the squares representing the ideal color from the GretagMacbeth chart and the circles representing the colors output by the Nikon Coolpix S2. The closer these shapes are to each other, the better the camera’s color score will be.

As you can see, there is quite a bit of space between most of the circles and squares. The Nikon Coolpix S2 received an overall color score of 6.74, which is not very impressive at all – even for a compact digital camera. Most slim models exaggerate the reds, but the S2 exaggerates yellows and blues and just about everything in between. The Nikon S2 had a mean color error of 9.01; the lower this number, the better, as it represents a deviation from the ideal. Most point-and-shoots over-saturate colors quite a bit and the Nikon Coolpix S2 held true to this by over-saturating 16.2 percent. Overall, the colors reproduced by the S2 are a bit washed out and lack vibrancy as well as accuracy, however, they may be adequate for some point-and-shooters.

**Still Life Scene

**Below is a lovely still life scene photographed by the Nikon Coolpix S2.

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Click on the image above to view a full-resolution file, but beware of the large link.](https://www.reviewed.com/cameras/viewer.php?picture=NikonS2-StillLifeLG.jpg)

Resolution / Sharpness*(2.98)

*We measure resolution by recording a series of exposures of an ISO resolution chart at various settings and apertures and importing the files into Imatest Imaging Software. The program recognizes the pixels at work in producing the image after the camera has compressed the file. We compare our count with that of the manufacturers’ and assign a designation of "good" if it’s within 70 percent, "very good" if it’s within 80 percent, and "excellent" if it is within 90 percent of the original effective pixel count on the sensor.

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Click on the res chart above to view full scale image](https://www.reviewed.com/cameras/viewer.php?picture=NikonS2-ResLG.jpg)

Since the Nikon Coolpix S2 flaunts 5 effective megapixels on its 1/2.5-inch type CCD, the resultant 2.98 megapixel count following capture and processing doesn’t result well for the user. In fact, this is only 59 percent of the advertised pixel count. This could be due to excessive JPEG compression, while the camera also over-sharpens images within the camera by 13.1 percent. Many photographers like to toy with the sharpening in post-production editing software. However, I doubt any of those photographers will ever own the S2.

Noise – Auto ISO*(4.78)

*While the Nikon Coolpix S2 does offer both automatic and manual adjustment, most users of this camera will opt for the automatic setting. We tested noise levels when the camera chose the ISO itself and it performed adequately, earning a 4.78 overall auto noise score. This is decent news for the point-and-shoot Coolpix S2 user, but they will face problems in low light situations with a limited shutter duration, ISO range, and max aperture.

Noise – Manual ISO*(5.07)

*Most digital cameras should handle noise far better when the ISO is manually selected and the Nikon S2 did not live up to its potential. Below is a chart showing the noise levels produced by the S2 at each ISO speed; the horizontal axis shows the available sensitivity ratings, while the vertical axis displays the resulting noise.

As you can see from the chart above, noise levels were not properly suppressed by the S2 when it reached its max ISO 400 setting, however, at ISO 200 and below, the camera performed well. This means users should expect clean images when shooting outdoors and in profuse lighting, but results will be disappointing in low light situations.

Low Light Performance* (2.0)

*The automatic shutter speed range on the S2 only reaches 2 seconds at its slowest, while the max aperture only opens to f/3.0 at its widest setting. Throw in the camera’s 400 maximum ISO setting and capturing acceptable images in low light with the S2 becomes quite difficult with the S2. We tested the Nikon S2 in the night landscape mode to increase the exposure time and disengage the flash. We shot a sequences of exposures in decreasing light levels of 60, 30, 15, and 5 lux. Two table lamps provide light equivalent to 60 lux. A single light bulb emits about 30 lux. 15 lux is what you’ll get from a soft night light and 5 lux is what you find under your bed.

After a few exposures in the auto mode, it was evident that the S2 wasn’t capturing anything below 30 lux. The images it did get at 60 lux didn’t have the reddish tone that is seen above. So a switch to the night landscape mode added a red hue, but allowed more light into the camera. More photographically-inclined users can also attempt to get better night exposures by manipulating the exposure compensation.

As you can see, all of the charts are quite dark and discolored. The Nikon Coolpix S2 was definitely designed with bright sunshine in mind. All of the pictures are slightly blurry, as the S2 had trouble focusing in this lighting. None of these exposures warranted the Blur Warning that Nikon advertised, which is a little disturbing. And these were shot on a tripod with the ten-second self-timer to avoid camera shake.

**Speed / Timing **

*Startup to First Shot (5.79)

*The Nikon Coolpix S2 takes a ridiculous amount of time to power up. From the moment the lens door is slid downwards, it takes the camera 4.21 seconds to take the first picture. This is very slow, so be sure to have the camera on and at the ready long before any action happens.

*Shot to Shot (9.30) *

In the S2’s continuous shooting mode, it took a picture at an average of every 0.65 seconds. Many point-and-shoots can take 2 or 3 frames per second, but this is okay for the slim models that are under an inch thick.

*Shutter to Shot (7.04)

*Set up your shot and hope it doesn’t move. The Nikon S2 has a shutter lag of 0.48 seconds – and that’s when the battery is full. 

Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

Sections

  1. Testing / Performance
  2. Physical Tour
  3. Components
  4. Design / Layout
  5. Modes
  6. Control Options
  7. Image Parameters
  8. Connectivity / Extras
  9. Overall Impressions
  10. Conclusion
  11. Specs / Ratings

What's Your Take?

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Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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