Nikon Coolpix S3000 review: Nikon Coolpix S3000

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Typical Price: £100.00

Nikon Coolpix S3000

(Part #: CNETNikon Coolpix S3000)
3 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Appealing design and styling; handy 4x wide-angle zoom; good value for money.

The Bad Fine detail can become mushy; no optical image stabilisation; tendency to overexpose photos.

The Bottom Line The Nikon Coolpix S3000 is designed to be an affordable, stylish and fun camera, so it's hardly fair to expect cutting-edge technology. Even so, its basic specs are very similar to those of countless other compact cameras on the market, and it's such a modest improvement over the outgoing Coolpix S220 that its release really just seems like a routine marketing exercise

6.5 Overall

Nikon's made the Coolpix S3000 'fun and easy' in a bid to let you capture great pictures without having to waste time with options and menus. It's the successor to the popular Coolpix S220 and part of Nikon's new compact-camera range for spring 2010. For around £100, you get a slim and stylish camera with a 12-megapixel resolution and a 4x wide-angle zoom.

Colourful character
The S3000 looks good. It comes in a choice of seven different colours (silver, pink, green, black, blue, red and orange), and it's just 19mm thick, which makes it really easy to carry around. The shiny metal finish on the front makes it look more expensive than it actually is, while, around the back, it has a smooth, elegant, matte black finish and larger buttons than usual, as part of Nikon's plan to make it easy to use.

There's some distortion and chromatic aberration, but the S3000's lens isn't at all bad for the money. But the camera does tend to overexpose somewhat, and it smoothes over some fine details (click image to enlarge)

There are five modes, toggled by a button on the back of the camera. The auto mode gives you some manual control over the camera's settings. The 'scene' mode lets you select scene modes manually, or you can leave the camera to do it automatically. There are also 'smart portrait', 'subject-tracking' and movie modes.

The 4x wide-angle zoom offers the kind of scope you don't always get with cameras of this size and price. Also, the USB charging system is handy -- you can charge the battery using the supplied mains adaptor, or by plugging the camera into a powered USB port on a computer.

Have we met before?
Unfortunately, the S3000 just feels like a rehash of countless other Coolpix compact cameras. There's nothing new here apart from the styling and perhaps a couple of pieces of technology that may or may not make a difference to your pictures.

The rear of the S3000 is home to a 67mm (2.6-inch) LCD display, as well as large, user-friendly buttons

The picture quality itself is alright, but only just. Considering the S3000 is a budget camera, the lens is quite sharp, but it's the processing that's the problem, as it so often is with small sensors. Even at ISO 80, finer textures, like grass or brickwork, begin to get smoothed over as the camera tries to decide what's noise and what's detail. You won't notice this in ordinary-sized prints, but you will if you blow them up to A4 size or larger.

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