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Nikon Coolpix S52c and S52: With or without Wi-Fi

The Nikon Coolpix S52c is the latest in Nikon's line of Wi-Fi-enabled point-and-shoot cameras. Is this 9-megapixel snapper the future? We certainly hope so

Wi-Fi: the liberation of information or cranium-cooking catastrophe? We prefer the former, thrilling at the idea of being able to access the Internet everywhere we go, generate content on the hoof, and share our media with whomsoever we meet. So we were delighted to hear about the launch of the Nikon Coolpix S52c, a Wi-Fi-enabled compact camera. Nikon hasn't forgotten the tin-foil hat wearers among you though, also launching the offline Coolpix S52.

Both boast 9-megapixel resolution. A non-protruding Nikkor lens gives you a 3x zoom with a 35mm equivalent focal length of 38-114mm. An Expeed chip handles the image processing. Featurey goodness includes face-detecting autofocus, in-camera red-eye fix and D-Lighting. A 76mm (3-inch) screen completes the picture, built into the flowing wave-surface design.

So the specs are what you'd expect, but what we're really interested in is the Wi-Fi feature. The S52c doesn't seem much different to its predecessor, the S51c, which failed to back its clever Wi-Fi ability with sound performance as a camera. But if the S52c does pull that off, wireless photography may well be on the way. Of course, public Wi-Fi hotspots don't yet blanket the country, and may in fact be in danger from the explosion of data dongle doodads. But we still think wireless transfer of photos is the future, to do away with the tyranny of proprietary memory card formats -- that means you, Sony and Olympus -- and help usher in the age of unlimited shooting.

The S52 is basically the same as its c-suffixed sibling, but without the Wi-Fi connectability it can afford a slightly slimmer body. No word on pricing yet, but we suspect this may be exclusively available through a certain high street retailer from the end of April.

The Internet-loving S52c will retail at £230, and will be available in plum black -- described rather comically on the Nikon Web site as 'Purplish Black' -- from 16 May. -Rich Trenholm