No longer is the term 'budget' shorthand for 'total rubbish'. Nowadays, many big-name manufacturers are coming up with low-cost cameras that don't skimp on performance or features. At around £90, the slim, 12.1-megapixel Nikon Coolpix S2500 could well be a contender.
Thin black, silver, red, pink line
The S2500 is small and lean, but there's nothing unique or innovative about its appearance. It has a metallic front and a plastic back, and comes in black, silver, red and pink versions.
The top features only two buttons -- a power switch and a shutter button encircled by a zoom ring. The rear houses a 2.7-inch LCD monitor and a collection of buttons, including the usual five-way pad.
The 230,000-pixel screen isn't the best we've ever seen. It's rather low-res, has a yellowish tint, and makes it difficult to see subjects clearly if you're holding the camera at an angle, rather than face-on.
Despite the S2500's diminutive size and price, Nikon has managed to squeeze in a high-resolution sensor that's capable of capturing images at 12.1 megapixels. The Nikkor lens has a fairly wide angle and a 4x optical zoom, providing a 35mm equivalent focal length of 27-108mm.
As well as staple features, such as a built-in flash, the S2500 comes with a selection of welcome extras, including an anti-blur function, vibration reduction and motion detection.
There are five basic shooting modes -- auto, movie, smart portrait, subject-tracking and scene. The movie mode is standard-definition only. Smart portrait uses a blend of technologies, such as 'smile timer', 'blink proof', 'skin softening' and 'red-eye fix' to make your human subjects look less visually offensive. The subject-tracking mode attempts to keep a moving target in focus at all times. Finally, the scene mode lets you choose from 17 different optimised settings to suit your shooting situation.