Nikon has just unleashed the latest version of its Wi-Fi ultracompact camera, the Coolpix S52c. As has become custom, they'll also offer a version without the "c" designation, called the S52, which doesn't include the Wi-Fi capabilities. Both cameras will sport a 9-megapixel sensor, a 3-inch LCD, a 3x optical zoom, a 38-114mm equivalent lens, an optical image stabilization system, and will support sensitivity of up to ISO 3200. Both will also carry over the distinctive, sleek, extremely pocketable body design.
According to Nikon, this year's models should have improved signal-to-noise ratios thanks to the company's Expeed image processor, though we'll have to see it in our lab to believe it. One nice sign is that Nikon set the auto ISO control to top out at ISO 800 (or ISO 2000 in the high-sensitivity auto mode), and they have a tendency to put a strict cap on ISO when it comes to the trade off between noise and image quality. For example, in the company's SLRs, they call the highest sensitivity settings Hi1 and H2 rather than ISO 3200 or ISO 6400. The reason they give for this is that they feel that the image quality diminishes at that point so they switch to the Hi nomenclature. I wouldn't be surprised if we end up seeing usable image quality up to ISO 800 in the S52 and S52c, though ultimately, we'll have to wait and see. Nikon also includes its usual array of in-camera D-Lighting photo editing features, as well as in-camera red-eye fix and Face-Priority AF, which can find up to five faces in a given scene and use them to determine focus.
The S52c will work with Nikon's myPicturetown, in addition to letting you e-mail photos directly from the camera. The my Picturetown service gives you 2GB of free storage for your images, and has tools in the program that let you send photos to your Flickr account, or to a friend's Blackberry so that they're viewable on those mobile devices. Both the S52 and S52c also include Pictmotion, which lets you create slide shows with transitions and music. As with previous incarnations of their Wi-Fi cameras, the Coolpix S52c will include 6 months of free T-Mobile Hotspot service and will work at Starbucks with the roaming agreement between T-Mobile and AT&T as America's coffee monolith switches for its wireless access.
According to Nikon, the S52 will be available in Crimson Red and Midnight Black and cost about $250, while the S52c will be available in Vibrant Black for about $280. Both should be in stores this May.