Performance was neither bad nor stellar, though continuous shooting was somewhat slow. The Coolpix S7c took 2.2 seconds to start up and capture its first image, and took 2.1 seconds between subsequent shots without flash, slowing very slightly to 2.4 seconds between shots with the flash turned on. Shutter lag measured 0.7 second in our high-contrast test and 1.7 seconds in our low-contrast test, which are designed to mimic bright and dim lighting situations, respectively. We were able to capture 43 VGA-size JPEGs in just over 31 seconds for an average of 1.4 frames per second in continuous shooting mode. When we switched to the camera's highest-quality 7.1-megapixel JPEGs, we captured 31 shots in about 34.5 seconds for an average of 0.9 frames per second (fps).
Image quality from the Coolpix S7c was generally very pleasing, though as can be expected, at its highest ISO settings, images became rather noisy. Colors were accurate and well saturated, though not oversaturated. Exposures were generally accurate and tended to sacrifice highlights to preserve shadow detail on the most difficult scenes. The automatic white balance did a very good job of serving up neutral colors with our lab's tungsten lights. With the same lights, the tungsten preset yielded a slight greenish cast, so you may as well stick with auto, or if you're ambitious, you can set a custom white balance, which gave us even more neutral results. Like most red-eye reduction systems, the S7c's was hit or miss, and often left at least some color in our subjects' eyes.
At its lowest sensitivity setting of ISO 50, images had plenty of detail, though they weren't the sharpest we've seen. Noise at ISO 50 was essentially nonexistent but began to creep in slightly at ISO 100 and was still only barely noticeable at ISO 200. By ISO 400, it was more noticeable, but still not nearly out of control, though Nikon's noise suppression algorithms seemed to come at the cost of some of the finer details, as the marks on the measuring tape in our test scene began to blur together. At ISO 800, images were still usable for prints, but noise was noticeable, and the numbers on the measuring tape and text in the book on which it lay were blurred beyond recognition. ISO 1,600 yielded extremely noisy images and while the content of the images are definitely recognizable, you'll probably want to stick with lower ISOs if you plan to make prints. Nikon itself nods to this fact, by capping the auto ISO function at ISO 800.
Nikon's Coolpix S7c is a nice ultracompact camera. Though there's still plenty more Nikon can do to make its Wi-Fi functionality more useful, it's done a good job of delivering what it promised in this area. If Wi-Fi doesn't mean much to you, Sony's Cyber Shot DSC-T10 delivers slightly faster performance and comparable or slightly sharper image quality.
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
|Typical shot-to-shot time||Time to first shot||Shutter lag (typical)|
(Longer bars indicate better performance)