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Nikon CoolPix S630 review: Nikon CoolPix S630

Nikon CoolPix S630

Joshua Goldman Managing Editor / Advice
Managing Editor Josh Goldman is a laptop expert and has been writing about and reviewing them since built-in Wi-Fi was an optional feature. He also covers almost anything connected to a PC, including keyboards, mice, USB-C docks and PC gaming accessories. In addition, he writes about cameras, including action cams and drones. And while he doesn't consider himself a gamer, he spends entirely too much time playing them.
Expertise Laptops, desktops and computer and PC gaming accessories including keyboards, mice and controllers, cameras, action cameras and drones Credentials
  • More than two decades experience writing about PCs and accessories, and 15 years writing about cameras of all kinds.
Joshua Goldman
4 min read

The Nikon Coolpix S630 is a nice camera. In fact, it's so nice it borders on bland, but is saved from being so by a 7x optical zoom. The photo quality is pleasant enough (though not perfect), its design is excellent, and it has a respectable set of shooting options. It could be a little faster, but otherwise the S630 is just a good compact with some extra zoom range and there's nothing wrong with that.


Nikon CoolPix S630

The Good

Excellent design; 7x optical zoom in a compact body; ISO range limiter; good photo quality up to ISO 400.

The Bad

Slow performance; photos can look over-processed, soft.

The Bottom Line

The Nikon Coolpix S630 puts a little extra zoom in your pocket, but you might not find the high-resolution photos it shoots out pleasurable.

The S630 is a little thicker than usual for Nikon's S-series cameras. That extra depth is for the 7x zoom lens out front, but it doesn't stop this camera from easily fitting in a pocket or small handbag. Available in five colors--black, blue, purple, silver, and red--it looks more stylish head-on than from the back where things get more functional. The right side swoops out a bit leaving a large thumb rest that was appreciated more and more while using the zoom ring around the shutter button on top of the camera.

Below that are the Mode and Play buttons followed by a scroll wheel/directional pad and two more buttons for the settings menu and deleting photos while shooting or in playback. Controls are very straightforward and even if the menus aren't much to look at, they're easy to navigate and a simple tug to the right on the zoom pulls up the Help system. Plus, you can get through them as fast or slow as you want with either the scroll wheel or directional pad.

When it comes to shooting controls and options, the S630's feature set is not terribly deep, making it inadequate for anyone wanting to experiment. It has taking simple snapshots down cold, however. Recording modes are kept pretty lean with Auto giving you the most shooting control, including the ability to limit the ISO range the camera uses. There are three specialized shot modes, too. Smile mode, which snaps a picture whenever it picks up on a smiling face, includes a Blink Proof setting that'll fire off a second shot in case it detects the subject blinking (and it works, but the person has to be fully facing the camera). A Sport Continuous mode works well for capturing action, but does lower the resolution to 3 megapixels and increase the sensitivity to a minimum of ISO 640. This not only creates some extra image noise, but it'll also cause outdoor/well-lit photos to overexpose. Lastly, there's a High Sensitivity mode for low-light shooting, but it too drops photos to a 3-megapixel resolution and sets the ISO range from 640 to 3,200. (To be fair, the thorough instruction manual warns about these things and explains how and when best to use the special settings.)

Performance is on the slow side for the S630. It takes just shy of 4 seconds from power on to first shot. Its shot-to-shot time is 3.1 seconds; using the flash adds 0.3 second to that time. Shutter lag is OK at 0.5 second in bright conditions and 0.8 in dimly lit situations. In its regular continuous shooting mode at full resolution, the camera can capture 0.8 frames per second.

The S630's photo quality is good. If you're viewing photos primarily on a computer monitor, digital photo frame, or making prints up to 10x13 inches, you likely won't be disappointed. Viewed at full size, however, offer-center subjects can look over-processed and soft, where you'll also see an increase in purple fringing and ghosting. Center sharpness and fine detail are very good, though, as is color. Typical for its class, the lower ISOs are best on this camera, which is why it's nice to see the inclusion of an ISO limiter in Auto mode for keeping sensitivity below ISO 200 or ISO 400. Noise suppression starts making things soft and smudgy at ISO 400, but you still can get a decent photo at ISO 800--good enough for small prints or Web use at least.

If you were considering an average compact point-and-shoot with a more typical 3x zoom, the Nikon Coolpix S630 is a nice (there's that word again) step up. It's not particularly fast and the photos are merely good, but it is an excellent design, has a very good feature set, and it's easy to use.

Typical continuous-shooting speed (in frames per second)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

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Nikon CoolPix S630

Score Breakdown

Design 8Features 7Performance 6Image quality 6