Nikon believes that the Coolpix S210 could be one of its bigger sellers this year. It's certainly got a friendly price, costing £140 online. This 8-megapixel compact camera ticks the size and affordability boxes that could see it fly off the shelves, and with technology potentially trickling down from Nikon's stonking higher-end compacts and dSLRs, it certainly has potential to make a heroic charge to the top.
The S210 has a credit card-size width, but it's actually quite chunky: the screen has a raised bezel area that adds depth. The 64mm (2.5-inch) screen feels lost in the frame. This size of screen is becoming something of a disappointment when compared with equally small cameras that sport 69mm (2.7-inch) or even 76mm (3-inch) screens.
At least it's light yet sturdy, thanks to an all-metal frame. The brushed metal front looks good but the gloss effect on the rest of the frame looks unfortunately cheap. The button layout has the standard four buttons and a circular clickpad, all clearly labeled but plasticky. The flat zoom rocker is also lacklustre.
The menu system on the Coolpix has always struck us as clunky. Here, we found that the mode and menu buttons were somewhat counter-intuitive: pressing Mode allowed you to access the setup menu but not scene modes, which are confusingly accessed by pressing Menu. It didn't help that pressing the Menu button had a different result when the camera was set to manual shooting than when it was set to a scene mode.
We use the term 'manual' loosely. Twelve steps of exposure compensation are easily available with one touch from the clickpad, but there is no aperture or shutter priority or option to limit aperture and shutter speeds. White balance and ISO speed, up to ISO 2,000, can be adjusted. We're disappointed to find that optical image stabilisation isn't available -- we've come to expect it on cameras of this size.
As well as red-eye reduction and automatic flash settings, you also get a fill-in flash for photographing backlit subjects, such as a person with bright sun behind them.