Nikon Coolpix S2600 Review

3.5
December 14, 2012 | Matt Grayson |

Image Quality


All of the sample images in this review were taken using the 14 megapixel Fine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 5Mb.

Noise

The Nikon Coolpix S2600's low ISO performance is pretty good. The edges are sharp with no mottling caused by image degradation. Colours don't appear to be as solid as they could be from a really good low ISO performance but there's no sign of colour noise in the pictures. Moving up through the scale, even at ISO 100 (the first step from the lowest ISO 80 setting), it's possible to see small dots of noise showing through on dark areas.

Images start to appear a little softer at ISO 200 although there's still no colour noise showing through. The good news is that the black dots don't get any worse until ISO 400 where they exacerbate and coloured blobs start to form around them. Edge sharpness also begins to break down at this stage.

The problems get worse and at ISO 800 noise control has removed a lot of colour from the image in a bid to reduce the amount of colour noise showing in the pictures. It doesn't work that well so by ISO 3200 the resolution is dropped to remove a lot of noise from the image by not using pixels. We found big lumps of bright blue in dark areas. Using this setting should be done as a complete last resort.

ISO 80 (100% Crop)

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

 
 

Focal Range

The zoom on the Nikon Coolpix S2600 is 5x optical. That works out at 4.6-23mm or 26-130mm in 35mm terms.

26mm

130mm

File Quality

The Nikon Coolpix S2600 has 2 different image quality settings available, with High being the highest quality option. Here are some 100% crops which show the quality of the various options, with the file size shown in brackets.

16M High (6.14Mb) (100% Crop) 16M Normal (3.26Mb) (100% Crop)

Sharpening

Adding a sharpening tool to the pictures in editing does increase the sharpness of the images. However, we found that on some occasions – especially when there's evidence of noise – the sharpening simply increased the obviousness of the noise in the picture.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

   

Chromatic Aberrations

The lens on the Nikon Coolpix S2600 does produce traces of chromatic aberration (purple fringing) but it's not that noticeable. On very high contrast edges, it can be quite strong but it's also possible that it could be lens flare. On lower contrast edges, while chroma is still present, it's not as strong.

Chromatic Aberrations 1 (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations 2 (100% Crop)

   

Chromatic Aberrations 3 (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations 4 (100% Crop)

Macro

The macro capability of the Nikon Coolpix S2600 is 10cm (4inch). It's not that powerful for close up work although the centre of the edge is nice and sharp. There's also minimal quality drop off towards the edges of the frame. The only thing that gets in the way of the image being a really sharp result is the digital noise.

Macro

Macro (100% Crop)

Flash

Shooting at wide-angle does create a slight vignette at the corners of the frame which disappears by the time you get to full zoom. Using flash simple deepens the shadow area of the vignette at wide-angle and actually creates a slight one at full zoom.

Flash Off - Wide Angle (26mm)

Flash On - Wide Angle (26mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64
   

Flash Off - Telephoto (130mm)

Flash On - Telephoto (130mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

We also got red-eye when using flash. This does go when using red-eye reduction. However, it's a pre-flash system and the iris is only a fraction smaller on our test shot. Red-eye should still have been present which suggests a correction software program is also being used.

Flash On

Flash On (100% Crop)
   

Red Eye Reduction

Red Eye Reduction (100% Crop)

Night

While the Nikon Coolpix S2600 does have a night scene mode, it does everything it can to ensure a steady shot without using a tripod. The unfortunate side of this means that it ramps up the ISO in order to get a faster shutter speed. Our test shot used an ISO of 400 which isn't actually that bad. However, the image suffers from loss of quality. There's no means to change the white-balance in the scenes so under street lights, the cast is stronger as the camera got confused.

Switch over to auto and there's a benefit of using a lower ISO, which in turn uses a slower shutter speed. A tripod would be necessary. However, the longest shutter speed available in auto mode is one second which – in our case at least – isn't long enough.

Night Auto

Night Auto (100% Crop)

   

Night Scene

Night Scene (100% Crop)

Entry Tags

hd video, hd, compact, review, 720p, wide-angle, hdmi, nikon, beginner, 2.7 inch LCD, 5x zoom, 14 megapixel, coolpix, 26mm, Nikon Coolpix S2600 Review, s2600