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Cameras

Photos: Go Wi-Fi with the Nikon Coolpix S52c

You can't see them, but Wi-Fi waves are whizzing about your head right now. The 9-megapixel Nikon Coolpix S52c taps into this invisible force with email and wireless photo upload

They're everywhere, you know. The Wi-Fi waves are all around you. They're in your head right now. You'll be wishing you had a tinfoil hat when Wi-Fi microwaves your brain. We're not taking any chances, especially as today we've got our hands on the Nikon Coolpix S52c, a wireless-enabled 9-megapixel compact camera.

The S52c, announced in April, is the follow-up to the S51c. We're convinced Wi-Fi is the future for cameras, so we're keen to see if this wireless snapper lives up to the promise. It packs a 1/2.5-inch, 9-megapixel CCD sensor in a smooth curved body -- which is, incidentally, remarkably resistant to fingerprints.

Features include optical vibration reduction for sharper images and face detection that focuses on up to 12 faces in the frame. The non-protruding Nikkor 3x zoom lens has a wide angle of 38mm, equivalent to a 35mm film camera.

What's with the Wi-Fi? As well as scrambling your brains, the S52c also connects to email or Nikon's own My Picturetown photo-sharing site via wireless LAN. A Qwerty keyboard is included on the screen for adding titles, tags and email addresses. You type with the zippy scroll wheel, which doubles as a clickpad so you can click up and down a row to cut down on scrolling. For our money, the Coolpix range includes the best scroll wheel implementation in the compact market.

The Nikon Coolpix S52c is available now in -- we're not making this up -- 'purplish black', for around £200. Click 'Next photo' for more deets. -Rich Trenholm

The back of the S52c is dominated by a gigantic 76mm (3-inch) LCD monitor, which has bundles of room for that keyboard we mentioned, as well as the Crave Towers ballpit. The scroll wheel/clickpad is on the right, beneath possibly the smallest zoom rocker pad we've ever had the misfortune to lay our thumbs on.

Up top, Nikon gives one-touch access to the photo-brightening D-lighting feature -- we're not sure why -- and email. The good news is that emails are queued if Wi-Fi is not available, which is just as well as the wireless system in our office has the kind of security usually associated with Tom Cruise on a trapeze. How the S52c fares out in the real world with all those Wi-fi waves wooshing around will be tested in an in-depth review coming soon. Tinfoil hats at the ready.