With their digital compact cameras, Nikon put the emphasis primarily on user-friendliness and the wide array of automatic actions that the camera or better said: the intelligent built-in software carries out, ensures digital photography is as easy and straightforward as possible. Do not expect things such as aperture priority or many intensive manual setting options; the Nikon Coolpix S6 simply isn't that type of camera. Future owners of a Nikon S6 will sometimes find themselves baffled by the remarkable performances of Nikon's intelligent software. The D-Lighting function, for example, ensures an image that suffers from too high contrast will be corrected flawlessly afterwards, whilst not affecting the original image. The ratio between the shadow areas and the bright light areas will be stabilised; after having applied this effect, you will thus see a certain amount of detail return in the dark areas. Numerous images taken in practice proved time and time again to show surprising details to their best and fullest effect.
Nikon S6 - Taking photographs
The Nikon S6 is a manageable digital camera that allows you to capture all sorts of moments. The user also has the option to capture active moments; with an image speed of 2.2 images per second in the highest quality you are able to capture fast moments quite decently indeed. It takes approximately 2.5 seconds to empty the buffer, after which the camera is able to capture the next series of a maximum of 3 images. When the internal memory is being used, it takes significantly longer to empty the buffer. Whilst the Coolpix S3 still featured a shutter speed of a maximum of 1/350e, the Nikon S6 offers a slightly faster shutter speed of 1/500e. Naturally, use of the flash during the capturing of a series of images will slow you down, but it must be said that the Nikon S6 truly takes its time; the camera needs no less than 5 seconds before it is ready for a next shot.
Nikon Coolpix S6 - Optical zoom lens
With its 3x optical zoom, the optical range doesn't really jump out. After all, the internal optical zoom lens does have its limits, and it will simply not be profitable or even feasible for Nikon to equip the Nikon S6 with more wide-angle or tele. The distortion that the zoom lens shows is primarily visible in the 35 mm mode; a typical wide-angle effect. Upon zooming in to tele, however, it quickly disappears. In the standard mode, we also find the chromatic aberration to be more clearly present, although the purplish edges around the contrast rich subject do vanish rapidly when capturing a tele image. The sharpness of the images we took during our tests proved to falter somewhat; it is particularly in the corners that they tend to become a little soft, although this is not unusual with this type of internal zoom lenses. It should be said that this effect is only noticeable in enlargements.
Nikon Coolpix S6 - ISO settings
Nikon have decided not to equip their Nikon Coolpix S6 with high ISO values. That is: the ISO value can be set from 50 up to 400 ISO. The latest trend seems to be raising the ISO value to 800, 1600 and even 3200 ISO, but as can be expected, the high ISO values not always lead to the desired result, which is, of course, the perfect image. With an occasional exception, the digital compact cameras all produce high amounts of noise at 800 ISO. Whilst the Nikon Coolpix S6 performs exceptionally well indeed up to ISO 200, noise - and with it, the noise reduction - does take its toll at 400 ISO. Nevertheless, the range of different ISO images can still easily be used for a print.
Nikon S6 camera - White balance
The Nikon S6 camera offers an excellent rendition. The automatic white balance experiences an occasional hiccup when dealing with fluorescent light, but the colour cast is quickly conquered by a light exposure correction and the setting of a correct white balance.
The colours are properly saturated, and exaggerated slightly in mainly the red and blue shades. Although this may sometimes lead to somewhat pinkish skin tones, they are not significantly less in quality. Images with high contrast suffer faintly from overexposure in mainly the light areas; they show a loss of detail. The shadow areas tend to clog up, but Nikon have stepped in with an effective solution; the D-Lighting function. When applied to the aforementioned obstacles, this function offers an excellent image editing solution.
Nikon Coolpix S6 - Quick buttons
When looking at the ergonomics of the Nikon S6 camera, we see that Nikon have clearly succeeded in incorporating their experience into the design. The handy quick buttons that have been positioned around the LCD display allow a fast switch between record mode and play mode, and the intelligent software can be accessed virtually directly. Personally, I am particularly taken by the integration of the help functions, which seem to connect to each other perfectly. This ensures the wide array of extras that the camera offers does not come across as a burden, but as a handy resource that can be accessed and consulted whenever needed.
Nikon Coolpix S6 Wi-Fi - Wireless Camera Setup software
It goes without saying that one of the camera's most remarkable features is the option for wireless transfer. Transferring or printing the data wirelessly requires the presence of a LAN (local-area network) that standard supports the IEEE 802.11b/g. The Nikon Coolpix S6 can be used both in a Windows and a Mac environment. By using the supplied Wireless Camera Setup software, and connecting the camera, only once, to a computer that is part of the network, a profile can be created. The camera is able to store a maximum of nine profiles, which ensures several networks can be supported. After the profile has been set up, the wireless transfer can take place. Creating a profile is simple, provided you have all the necessary information at hand. Working with Wi-Fi is fun, it does of course cost slightly more time compared to the fast USB connection, but it remains a pleasant introduction.
Nikon S6 digital camera - Videoclip function
In addition to the capturing of 6 Megapixel still images, the Nikon Coolpix S6 is equipped with a video clip function. These video clips are recorded with audio, and feature a highest resolution of 640 x 480 pixels (VGA - TV mode), which suffices to play back your images full-screen via a television. The optical zoom cannot be used, although the user does have the option of the digital zoom. To guarantee the video quality, the Nikon S6 comes with an electronic vibration reduction.