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HolidayBuyer's Guide

ISO comparison

Macro

Burst shooting

Fringing

Zoom range

Lens distortion

Color

Nikon's D-lighting

Special Effects mode

Digital filter effects

The S6200's 16-megapixel resolution means little in terms of quality. The photos are generally soft, noisy, and lack detail when viewed at full size. Those things only increase when you start using higher ISO sensitivities. Also, while colors are good at and below ISO 400, they start to appear slightly washed out and muddy from noise above that sensitivity. This, combined with the increased softness, means that indoor and low-light photo quality just isn't very good. So, basically what you have is a camera not unlike many lower-end point-and-shoots: good to very good when you have a lot of light, but disappointing as soon as you head indoors.
Caption by / Photo by Matthew Fitzgerald/CNET
If you like to shoot close-ups, the S6200 does OK. It can focus as close as 4 inches from a subject, but the 16-megapixel resolution will let you enlarge for a closer look. Again, though, the results are somewhat soft and could use some sharpening with software.
Caption by / Photo by Joshua Goldman/CNET
The S6200 can continuously shoot at a decent rate of 1.2 frames per second for eight frames. Focus and exposure are set with the first shot, though, so it's not ideal for fast-moving subjects.
Caption by / Photo by Joshua Goldman/CNET
Fringing is a bit of issue in high-contrast areas of photos (so are blown-out highlights for that matter). You can see some purple fringing around the player in the foreground, but there's so much on the ref's jersey that it makes it look purple. In general, though, this is much less noticeable when viewed at small sizes; this is a 100 percent crop from the previous slide.
Caption by / Photo by Joshua Goldman/CNET
For as small and inexpensive as it is, the camera's lens has an impressive range going from an ultrawide-angle 25mm to 250mm (35mm equivalent), or a 10x zoom.
Caption by / Photo by Joshua Goldman/CNET
Going by both my anecdotal test shots and our lab tests, it looks like Nikon is slightly over-correcting barrel distortion on the S6200's ultrawide-angle lens causing a bit of pincushioning (top). The lens itself has OK center sharpness, but gets noticeably softer off to the sides and corners. It was particularly bad in the upper-left corner of my test camera.
Caption by / Photo by Joshua Goldman/CNET
Colors are pleasing from the S6200. It seems to pump up some reds and blues, but otherwise, subjects were bright and natural. However, that changes as more noise is introduced above ISO 400. The auto white balance is somewhat yellow-green under fluorescent light and warm under incandescent. If you're shooting under unnatural light, I recommend switching to the Auto shooting mode and selecting a preset or taking a quick manual reading.
Caption by / Photo by Joshua Goldman/CNET
If you end up with an underexposed shot or some shadow details you'd like to improve, you can use Nikon's D-lighting feature in playback to improve brightness and contrast.
Caption by / Photo by Joshua Goldman/CNET
To spice up your shooting, the S6200 has a Special Effects mode. Options include Soft, Nostalgic sepia, High-contrast monochrome, High key and Low key, which let you brighten or darken tone, and Selective color (pictured) that creates a black and white image, but keeps the color you specify.
Caption by / Photo by Joshua Goldman/CNET
Available in playback is a set of filter effects you can apply to a copy of your photos. That means you'll have to shoot first and then hope that your results will look right after you apply the effect. The included effects are Cross screen (produces starlike rays from bright subjects), Miniature effect, Painting, Fisheye, Selective color, and Soft (pictured).
Caption by / Photo by Joshua Goldman/CNET
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