Nikon Coolpix S630 review: Nikon Coolpix S630

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Typical Price: $499.00
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3.5 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good 7x optical zoom in a compact body. Fast 11 frames per second burst mode.

The Bad No wide-angle optics. Seems to dislike people with glasses. Noise issues.

The Bottom Line The S630 is a decent compact camera if you need speedy burst shooting in a small body with 7x optical zoom. Apart from that, there's little else to recommend this camera considering the disappointing image quality and expensive asking price.

7.2 Overall

Design
Clad in a sleek brushed silver, the S630 doesn't exactly deviate from the tried and true design blueprint from earlier Coolpix cameras. At the back is a glossy 2.7-inch LCD which takes up most of the real estate, flanked by the standard control buttons and a scroll wheel which is used for alternating between menu options and photos in shooting and playback mode respectively.

Warning: curves ahead.(Credit: Nikon)

The shutter button is positioned within easy reach at the top of the unit, and the power button sits alongside it, slightly recessed into the body. While the S630 isn't a show-stopper, its slightly bulbous curve that is 2.3cm at its thickest point sits comfortably in one hand.

At AU$499 it's definitely appealing to the more style-conscious customer who wants a little extended reach from their pocket-sized camera. In Australia, the S630 will only be available in silver.

Features
The S630 houses a 7x optical zoom which is all the more surprising given the compact form factor, but its lens is 37-260mm which is a little disappointing as it's definitely not wide-angle. There's also a 12-megapixel sensor inside, 16 scene modes, and Nikon's vibration reduction mechanism (image stabilisation).

Ramping up the ISO capability on its compact range, Nikon has chosen to make the S630 capable of shooting at ISO 6400 — a ridiculous number that produces noise even on the highest level dSLRs, let alone on cameras with much smaller sensors.

The real differentiating point of the S630 from other compact cameras in its ilk is its burst rate — Nikon claims that up to 11 frames per second can be captured in sport continuous mode, ideal for capturing those precious pancake-flipping moments.

Performance and image quality
Setting aside our excitement about culinary exploits for a moment, we found that the S630 was generally quick, but not astoundingly so. Start-up time was less than 1.2 seconds, though shot-to-shot time slowed down considerably and we frequently had to keep pressing the shutter button to elicit some sort of response.

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