Nikon Coolpix 2200 - digital camera review: Nikon Coolpix 2200 - digital camera

3 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Decent image quality; simple operation; solid macro capabilities.

The Bad Memory card and rechargeable batteries cost extra; few manual controls; no diopter adjustment; slow shot-to-shot time with flash; very slow autofocus in dim light.

The Bottom Line If 2 megapixels is enough resolution for you, this easy-to-use Nikon is a good starter camera, but like its 3.2-megapixel stablemate, it lacks manual controls.

6.4 Overall
  • Design 8.0
  • Features 6.0
  • Performance 6.0
  • Image quality 6.0

Nikon Coolpix 2200

The Nikon Coolpix 2200 is the 2-megapixel twin of the company's Coolpix 3200, with a virtually identical feature set but a price that's about $100 less. It's aimed squarely at the first-time photographer who wants a camera that's easy to use, with lots of fun options but few manual settings to worry about. Although there's no memory card or rechargeable batteries in the box, it's hard to beat the functionality you get for the price. For the whole story on what this camera offers, check out the full review of the Coolpix 3200 . Here we'll take a look at the differences in features between the two models, as well as the Coolpix 2200's performance and image quality.

As does its sibling, the Coolpix 2200 has a 3.5-by-2.6-by-1.5-inch, 7-ounce silver-tone plastic body that is able to make the most out of a minimum number of controls, because manual settings are few and far between. The four-way cursor pad handles most adjustments, including flash options, macro mode, and the self-timer. The only fine-tuning control an ambitious snapshooter is likely to need is the exposure compensation, which is available with other picture-taking and camera options through a well-organized system of menus. There are also 15 useful scene modes, including Sports, Fireworks, Backlighting, Portraits, and Beach/Snow.

The Coolpix 2200 has one fewer resolution setting than its stablemate, offering 1,600x1,200, 1,024x768, and 640x480 pixels, and only two compression options: High and Normal, in 1,600x1,200 resolution only. This camera's 3X zoom lens is a little wider (in 35mm-camera-equivalent terms) at 36mm, compared with 38mm for the 3200, and a little shorter--108mm maximum zoom vs. 115mm. The junior Coolpix's lens is also a little faster but not enough to make a big improvement in low light, with two stops available of f/2.6 and f/5.2 (compared to f/2.8 and f/5.6 for the 3200). Both cameras will take you as close as 1.6 inches in macro mode.

As with its 3.2-megapixel counterpart, the Coolpix 2200's performance is in the middle of the pack. Wake-up time is 3.82 seconds (actually better than the 3200's), but shot-to-shot time without flash is almost twice as long at 2.8 seconds. With flash, we had to wait almost 6 seconds between shots. Burst mode is nothing special, as the 2200 is capable of only three shots in about 1.5 seconds at full resolution, and about 35 photos in 21 seconds at 640x480 pixels.

This shooter's worst benchmark is in shutter lag under low-contrast lighting conditions, which typically challenge even the best autofocus systems. The Coolpix 2200 took a full 2.5 seconds to squeeze off a shot under low-contrast lighting but did much better in contrasty illumination, taking only 0.7 second to snap a picture.

The Coolpix 2200's LCD is difficult to view under full sunlight but does a good job in dim light, producing a noisy picture that is adequate for composing a shot. The LCD shows 96 percent of the full picture area, but the optical viewfinder (which does not have diopter correction for glasses-wearers) displays only 80 percent of the view.

The Nikon Coolpix 2200's 2-megapixel images compared quite favorably to the 3.2-megapixel pictures of its sibling, with two glaring exceptions. Lighter tones were entirely blown out, producing vast, detail-free areas of white in many photos, with lots of blooming. Color fringing was also quite noticeable. Otherwise, pictures were sharp with rich, saturated colors and realistic flesh tones and could easily make good 4x6 prints.

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