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Nikon Coolpix S630 review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £245
inc VAT

The S630 has a lot in common with Olympus’s ?-7000.

It too has a 12-megapixel, ½.3in sensor, which is a lot of pixels to pack into such a small space. It also has the same lens, which not only provides the same impressive 37-260mm focal range and disappointing f/3.5 aperture, but also looks and sounds identical. There’s little to choose between the cameras for size and shape. The S630 makes up for a smaller screen (from 3in to 2.7in) by adding a wheel for quick adjustments.

The S630 costs £50 more than the ?-7000 but is a poorer camera in many respects. Its performance is even slower, taking almost three seconds to power up and capture a shot, and 2.7 seconds between shots. Continuous shooting crawled at 0.4fps. The autofocus was generally responsive and accurate except in low-light telephoto photography, where it was hopelessly unreliable. We also found that the orientation sensor often failed to detect when the camera was held in portrait mode and tag the photos so that a PC displays them correctly.

In our outdoor test shots, the S630 and ?-7000 were hard to tell apart. Both exhibited flattering colours and sharp detail in the centre of the frame, but chromatic aberrations made edges look vague and gave halos of discoloration to high-contrast lines. However, even in brightly lit shots at ISO 64, noise was visible in darker areas of the S630’s photos. It handled highlights less successfully than the ?-7000, too, turning bright areas of green foliage a lurid yellow. When low light demanded higher ISO speeds, shots looked blotchy and blurred even after we downscaled to two megapixels.

Olympus’s easy-to-use ?-7000 is far from perfect but it shows up the S630 as flawed and overpriced. If you want great picture quality from a compact camera, we strongly recommend Fujifilm’s FinePix F100fd.

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