Slotting in the Nikon Coolpix range just below the S630, the 'swift and stylish' S620 compact camera boasts 12 megapixels, a 0.7-second start-up time, a 4x wideangle zoom, ISO 6,400, 'vibration reduction' and some fancy autofocus technologies. But you can get some good cameras for the S620's asking price of around £220, so is it worth it?
The more-expensive S630 proved somewhat disappointing. While the technology in the S620 is much the same, the camera itself is a different kettle of fish. For a start, it's a good deal smaller than the S630, so, while the controls are no bigger, they do seem more in tune with the camera's dimensions. And the S620's round buttons have a classier look and feel.
The start-up time is impressive too. This camera can be out of your pocket and ready to shoot in an instant -- ideal for grabbing those impromptu shots. The 4x zoom has a shorter range than the 7x lens on the S630, but its wideangle capability more than makes up for that in day-to-day use. This neat, speedy and practical little camera is rather appealing, although it's slightly too fat in the body to be considered a super-slim.
The S620's pictures are sharp, with good colours, although there's a fair amount of barrel distortion in our test shot. The autofocus is fast -- unlike some earlier Coolpix models -- and the exposure metering is reliable. The ISO 6,400 maximum needs to be taken with a pinch of salt, though -- fine details start sliding into a soupy mush long before this.
While the S620's smile-detection mode worked pretty well during some tests, it's just as confusing as that of the S630. This time, the camera took shots as soon as it detected a smile, whether or not the shutter button was pressed. And, in blink-detection mode, when the S620 is supposed to take two shots and keep the best, it baffled us by taking just one picture and displaying a warning that the subject had blinked. No doubt the manual and some more experimentation would have made these modes clearer eventually, but this stuff should be idiot-proof.