The S220's performance is fairly slow (as is a lot of its competition). This is most noticeable with the camera's shutter lag. In well-lit conditions, it takes 0.8 second from pressing the shutter release to capture. Dimmer lighting causes the lag to go up to 1.3 seconds. If you're planning to use this camera for children or pets, you'll likely be disappointed unless you're really good at anticipating shots. Its burst speed is pretty good, though, at 1.3 frames per second. The S220's shot-to-shot time averaged 3 seconds without flash and gets only slightly longer with flash at 3.3 seconds.
The best photo results from the S220 come at ISO 80 and ISO 100. As soon as you go up to ISO 200, detail and sharpness are on steady decline. Unfortunately, the camera seems to love ISO 400 when the sensitivity is set to Auto. There are three remaining sensitivities above ISO 400--800, 1,600, and 2,000--that are really not usable for prints. However, if you're in low or dark lighting, you'll be able to capture photos without a flash and although they are ridiculously grainy and void of detail, they aren't without their charm. Just don't look at them too closely.
Colors were not exactly accurate, but were pleasing and fairly natural looking with the exception of blues, which looked too vibrant at times. The dynamic range of the camera seemed limited overall. Highlights were a bigger issue, frequently appearing blown out. Also, the auto white balance was too warm indoors; take the time to use the more accurate presets or the manual white-balance option. Lastly, the lens has some barrel and pincushion distortion, but it is effectively corrected by the camera's Distortion Control option. The lens distortion also creates a fair amount of purple fringing in high-contrast areas, characteristic of this class of camera.
The Nikon Coolpix S220 is what it is: an inexpensive, lightweight, ultracompact camera that takes pictures. Those pictures might not always look too great--especially viewed at full size--but it really comes down to what you're after. If it's capturing the moment to post online for sharing with friends and family and you're sick of using your phone to do it and want more control over the end results, the S220 is an option.
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
|Time to first shot||Typical shot-to-shot time (flash)||Typical shot-to-shot time||Shutter lag (dim)||Shutter lag (typical)|
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
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