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Nikon Coolpix S570 review: Nikon Coolpix S570

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The Good Good lens specifications; Smart Portrait System works well; nice design, feature set.

The Bad Middle-of-the-road performance; ISO 1,600, 3,200 not worth using.

The Bottom Line The Nikon Coolpix S570 is a respectable ultracompact camera, despite average point-and-shoot performance and some high-ISO overpromising.

7.2 Overall
  • Design 8
  • Features 7
  • Performance 6
  • Image quality 7

The Nikon Coolpix S570 is a solid camera offering at the popular $199.99 price point. Simple and stylish, the camera has a bright, wide-angle lens and 5x zoom helping it standout from the competition; as does its consistently good photo quality below ISO 400. A new specialty mode for portraits and its pedestrian shooting performance make the camera best suited for still subjects and landscapes, though. Also, despite its capability to keep shooting at full resolution in low-light conditions (the sensitivity goes up to ISO 3,200), doesn't mean you'll like the results.

Key specifications Nikon Coolpix S570
Price (MSRP) $199.99
Dimensions (WHD) 3.6x2.2x0.8 inches
Weight (with battery and media) 4.8 ounces
Megapixels, image sensor size, type 12 megapixels, 1/2.3-inch CCD
LCD size, resolution/viewfinder 2.7-inch LCD, 230K dots/None
Lens (zoom, aperture, focal length) 5x, f2.7-6.6, 28-140mm (35mm equivalent)
File format (still/video) JPEG/Motion JPEG (.AVI)
Highest resolution size (still/video) 4,000x3,000 pixels/ 640x480 at 30fps
Image stabilization type Electronic
Battery type, rated life Lithium ion rechargeable, 220 shots

Available in pink, red, blue, and black versions, the S570 is a slim, lightweight camera easily slipped into a pants pocket or small bag. The metal body gives it a sturdy, higher-end feel than its price might suggest. Its lens specifications add to that, hitting all the things good to find on an ultracompact camera.

Its controls are fairly standard and easily learned with little effort from the user. On top of the camera are the power and shutter release buttons with a zoom control around the release. In back to the right of the bright LCD and below the thumb rest are buttons for changing shooting modes, playing and editing images, accessing photo, video, and system setting menus, and deleting pictures. There's a directional pad for navigation and setting exposure, flash, timer, and macro. Again, it's all pretty straightforward.

One thing that might be confusing is S570's four-way VR Image Stabilization. The name may lead you to believe it has optical or mechanical stabilization, but it has neither. It's completely electronic, relying on high ISO settings and shutter speed adjustments along with motion detection to help with hand shake and motion blur.

General shooting options Nikon Coolpix S570
ISO sensitivity (full resolution) Auto, 80, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1,600, 3,200
White balance Auto, Manual, Daylight, Incandescent, Fluorescent, Cloudy, Flash
Recording modes Auto, Scene Auto, Scene, Smart Portrait, Movie
Focus area modes Face priority, Auto, Manual, Center
Metering Multi, Center-weighted, Spot
Color effects Standard, Vivid, Black & White, Sepia, Cyanotype
Burst mode shot limit (full resolution) 5 photos

Shooting modes on the S570 are aimed squarely at snapshooters. The Auto mode gives you the most control with selections for ISO, white balance, exposure compensation, focus area, light metering, and color effects. You can also pick drive modes: single shot, continuous, Best Shot Selector, and Multi-shot 16. Best Shot Selector fires off up to 10 frames and then saves the sharpest image, while Multi-shot 16 compiles a sequence of 16 shots and puts them all in a grid on one photo. There are 15 scene modes with nothing out of the ordinary as well as Scene Auto Selector, Nikon's automatic scene-recognition mode. What is unique is the Smart Portrait System that gets its own spot in the shooting-mode menu. It combines Nikon's previously available Blink Warning, Smile Shutter, In-Camera Red Eye Fix, D-Lighting, and Face Priority AF features into one mode and adds a new Skin Softening component. This type of mode is available from other manufacturers, but Nikon's implementation is fast and works well.

Performance for the S570 is average for its class teetering on the edge of slow. It takes two seconds to wake up and shoot. Subsequent shots will leave you waiting an average of 2.2 seconds between them, jumping to 3.8 seconds if you use the flash. Shutter lag is noticeable in good lighting conditions at 0.6 second; in dim lighting, it's a bit better at 0.8 second. The S570 has a full-resolution continuous shooting speed of 0.6 frames per second. These numbers really drive home that this camera is better for still subjects than moving targets.

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