The mode menu is simple, offering just four options – auto (which includes automatic scene selection), scene, sport continuous/high ISO/smile mode, plus movie. The scroll wheel really comes into its own when using the menus and is also nice to use when reviewing shots in playback mode.
Controls are simple and the scroll wheel makes a big difference with menu options
Switch on is fast and the Coolpix S630 is ready to shoot in around two seconds. However, it takes several seconds to settle down between shots and the AF system is sluggish. In most cases, the camera will take care of your settings, although some flexibility is built in.
The AF system can be set to Single AF, where it only kicks in when the shutter is half-pressed, or Fulltime AF, which continuously focuses. The latter is good for tracking fast-moving subjects, but it does eat into your battery power. There is no spot metering, but preset manual white balance is available.
The LCD screen and display are disappointing. With just camera mode, IS status, file size and number of shots remaining appearing on the screen, Nikon offers only a minimum amount of shooting information. Yes, screens can get cluttered with icons, but it would be nice if Nikon gave you the option of several display modes.
Bizarrely, the battery level icon only appears when battery power is running down – a bit like having a fuel gauge which only kicks in when your petrol tank is half full. Furthermore, while most LCD screens are not great when used in bright sunlight, we found the Coolpix S630’s to be one the worst and it was often a case of take a shot and hope it works out.
Limited on-screen information is a drawback
Zooming was also a pain. If you want to shoot at the extreme ends the zoom, no problem, but try framing a subject between these points and the lens jerks and jumps around, making composition difficult.
Realistic photo examples?
It's all well and good taking test photos of bright sunny days, but I imagine most Reg readers take, for the most part, the kinds of photos I do: shots of our friends and family. These photos are often taken - gasp - indoors.
I have a Coolpix S560 and it is utterly incapable of taking a clear, unblurred shot indoors on the automatic settings. "I think there's something wrong with your camera" is something I've heard a lot. Now yes, I can bump up the ISO by going through a few menus. But if I'm going to make my own judgments about light for every shot I may as well use an old 35mm Nikon.
Is this camera an improvement? Who knows!
Come on Reg - let's see some real-world photos. We don't all spend all our time in sunny parks, much as we might like that.
# HA HA
£100 cheaper does everything here better and HD video...