What would it take to get you to spend £230 on a compact digital camera? A 10-megapixel sensor? Hmm, they're ten a penny these days. Image stabilisation? A 4x wideangle zoom? Well, we're getting there, perhaps. How about face, smile and even blink detection? No? Well, perhaps the S610's automatic scene mode selection will clinch it...
In a market saturated with perfectly competent compact digital cameras, every maker is looking for features and innovations which will give it an edge over the rest. And the CoolPix S610's list of features is certainly impressive.
The 4x wideangle zoom is a good start. With an equivalent focal range of 28-112mm, it goes usefully wider and longer than the usual 3x zoom. And Nikon's VR system will help cut camera shake in low light and at longer focal lengths -- Nikon claims it will produce sharp shots at up to four shutter speeds slower than usual.
The Active Child mode will be a big selling point for anyone who's ever chased a child around the house with a conventional compact digicam, though it's not really any more effective than the crude and simple alternative -- half-pressing the shutter release to lock the focus and exposure in anticipation of the shot and then waiting for the perfect moment.
Face-detection is very much a must-have in today's market (whether or not it really makes any difference), and the smile detection system is an interesting novelty first introduced by Sony -- the shutter will only fire when the camera detects a smiling face. The S610 also promises to tell you if your subject blinked when you took the shot.