Nikon Coolpix S70 review: Nikon Coolpix S70

Performance for the S70 is below average for an ultracompact at its price. It takes two seconds to wake up and shoot. Subsequent shots will leave you waiting an average of 2.1 seconds between them, jumping to 2.7 seconds if you use the flash. Shutter lag is noticeable in good lighting conditions at 0.6 second; in dim lighting it takes 1 second to focus and capture. The S70 has a full-resolution continuous shooting speed of 0.4 frames per second. With these numbers, it's definitely more suited to portraits and landscapes than shooting anything in motion.

The photo quality from the S70 is very good for a snapshot camera, but it is disappointing if you're going strictly by price. Snapping photos below ISO 200 is where it's at its best, producing reasonably sharp photos with good fine detail. Its photos are still fairly good at ISO 400, but at ISO 800 and higher there's noticeable color shifting, which is a shame since detail is still decent. The camera lets you limit the auto ISO range to either 80-200 or 80-400. If you're in daylight or bright conditions, I recommend locking it down to 80-200. Again, it did perform well through ISO 400, but it's at its best below ISO 200. It can shoot at full resolution up to and including a sensitivity of ISO 1,600, but the results don't look good in low-light conditions.

Its colors are not terribly accurate, but are nonetheless pleasing and reasonably natural. Exposure was generally OK, though clipped highlights were common, as they are with most compact cameras. The white balance presets worked well, but the auto white balance leans toward warm. For a 28mm-equivalent wide-angle lens, the S70 has no discernible barrel or pincushion distortion at the camera's widest or longest lens positions, respectively. Chromatic aberration in high-contrast areas of photos was a fairly regular occurrence. The blue/purple fringe is easily seen in prints of 8x10 inches or larger, but if you're viewing pictures at smaller sizes on a computer screen or printing at sizes below 8x10, you'll probably never notice.

Its video quality is very good and on par with other cameras in its class. However, there's only digital zoom while recording.

The Nikon Coolpix S70 will certainly turn heads with its flashy design, slick touch-screen interface, and internal wide-angle 5x zoom lens. If you're after $400 worth of photo quality and performance though, those aspects of the S70 fall short of the rest of the package.

Shooting speed
(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)  
Canon PowerShot SD960 IS
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T900
Samsung DualView TL225
Canon PowerShot SD980 IS
Nikon Coolpix S70

Typical continuous-shooting speed
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

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Quick Specifications See All

  • Release date Oct. 29, 2009
  • Digital camera type Ultracompact
  • Optical Zoom 5 x
  • Optical Sensor Type CCD
  • Sensor Resolution 12.1 Megapixel
  • Image Stabilizer optical
  • Optical Sensor Size 1/2.3"