Nikon Coolpix S640 review: Nikon Coolpix S640

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CNET Editors' Rating

3.5 stars Very good
  • Overall: 7.2
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Nice design; easy to use; excellent photo quality up to ISO 200; improved autofocus and start-up performance.

The Bad High-ISO settings not worth using; no HD video.

The Bottom Line The Nikon Coolpix S640 may not be a standout camera, but it's no slouch either.

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The Nikon Coolpix S640's MSRP is $50 more than its linemate, the S570. But that $50 buys you optical image stabilization, some slightly improved shooting performance, and a couple extra shooting options. Otherwise, it's the same simple and stylish camera with a wide-angle lens, 5x zoom, and consistently very good photo quality below ISO 400. The only thing keeping this very good camera from being better is the lack of an HD-quality movie mode. If you're fine with its VGA-only mode, then the S640 is a better-than-basic ultracompact camera.

Key specifications Nikon Coolpix S640
Price (MSRP) $249.99
Dimensions (WHD) 3.6x2.2x0.8 inches
Weight (with battery and media) 4.8 ounces
Megapixels, image sensor size, type 12 megapixels, 1/2.3-inch CCD
LCD size, resolution/viewfinder 2.7-inch LCD, 230K dots/None
Lens (zoom, aperture, focal length) 5x, f2.7-6.6, 28-140mm (35mm equivalent)
File format (still/video) JPEG/Motion JPEG (.AVI)
Highest resolution size (still/video) 4,000x3,000 pixels/ 640x480 at 30fps
Image stabilization type Electronic
Battery type, rated life Lithium ion rechargeable, 270 shots

Available in pink, red, white, and black versions, the S640 is a slim, lightweight camera that can be easily slipped into a pants pocket or small bag. Its metal body gives it a sturdy, high-end feel. Its lens specifications add to that feel, hitting all the things good to find on an ultracompact camera--28mm-equivalent wide-angle with a maximum aperture of f2.7 and a 5x zoom range. The only disappointment is that when zoomed out, the aperture goes down to f6.6, making low-light shots iffy when the lens is fully extended. (It was a little more acceptable on the S570 since it was cheaper.) You'll also have to be aware of your finger placement when using the flash, as the bulb is located high on the left side and easily blocked.

Its controls are fairly standard and easily learned with little effort. On its top are the power and shutter release buttons with a zoom control around the release. On its back to the right of the bright LCD and below the thumb rest are buttons for changing shooting modes; playing and editing images; accessing photo, video, and system setting menus; and deleting pictures. There's a dial for quickly moving through settings and photos and it acts as a directional pad for navigation and setting exposure, flash, timer, and macro. Again, it's all pretty straightforward. The dial moves a bit freely; however, there are stops you can feel when using it.

The S640 uses a version of Nikon's four-way VR Image Stabilization that includes optical image stabilization. It will also use high ISO settings and shutter speed adjustments along with motion detection to help with handshake and motion blur.

Another nicety about the S640 is that the camera can be charged via a USB cable.

General shooting options Nikon Coolpix S640
ISO sensitivity (full resolution) Auto; 80; 100; 200; 400; 800; 1,600; 3,200; 6,400
White balance Auto, Manual, Daylight, Incandescent, Fluorescent, Cloudy, Flash
Recording modes Auto, Scene Auto, Scene, Smart Portrait, Subject Tracking, Movie
Focus area modes Face priority, Auto, Manual, Center
Metering Multi, Center-weighted
Color effects Standard, Vivid, Black & White, Sepia, Cyanotype
Burst mode shot limit (full resolution) 10 photos

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Quick Specifications See All

  • Digital camera type Ultracompact
  • Optical Zoom 5 x
  • Optical Sensor Type CCD
  • Sensor Resolution 12.2 Megapixel
  • Image Stabilizer optical
  • Optical Sensor Size 1/2.33"