Nikon Coolpix S2800 Review
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The Nikon Coolpix S2800 is a slim point and shoot digital compact camera. It sports a 20 megapixel CCD sensor, 5x optical zoom, Creative filters and a face retouching system to improve portraits. It’s a camera designed for day to day use, but will it keep up in our full test? Priced at around £80 and exclusively for Argos, the S2800 is available in purple, red, silver, black and pink.
Ease of Use
Sliding effortlessly into the Style range of cameras like an Alligator sliding into a river (though arguably not as dangerous) is the Nikon Coolpix S2800. It's a slim point and shoot camera with a range of features designed to get the best possible results from as many photographic situations as possible. On the front is a modest 5x optical zoom which starts at a wide-angle setting of 26mm in 35mm terms. That should get a decent vista in shot, but should you require a wider scene, the S2800 has a Panoramic mode in the Scene menu. Sitting just to the side of the lens is a small flash unit which has a distance of 13ft (4m) in ISO auto.
Nikon have tried to shrink buttons and switches in order to preserve space and get the camera as small and slim as possible. It's only 19.8mm deep which is great for portability as it simply slides into a pocket or bag. The camera is powered on using the small button on top of the camera that has a small green ring around it. This lights up when the camera is on so you know it's powered up. The shutter release sits to the right and by comparison is considerably larger, though is still considered small. The zoom switch wraps around the shutter release for operating the aforementioned zoom.
On the back, the screen occupies the left side of the camera and at 2.7 inches is on the smaller side by today's standards. Still, this is a sub £100 camera and that has to be remembered when looking at specifications. The operation buttons are to the right of the camera as per almost any other digital camera in existence. It's a case of if it isn't broken, then don't fix it because the layout of the S2800 is typical of digital compact cameras. The green camera button gives access to the modes available on the S2800. There are five sub-menus available which is one extra to what you'd find if you went for a similarly priced model in the L (Lifestyle) range of Nikon Coolpix.
You can choose the Auto Scene mode which will automatically select the mode for the camera to be in depending on what the camera sees in the frame. Below that is the manual Scene menu with 18 options. A couple of those options also house variations of those scenes, such as Night landscape which offers Hand-held or Tripod based shooting. Below this is the Digital effects menu, which is the additional feature we mentioned. You can add interesting and currently trending filters to the pictures you take such as Painting, Pop art, Toy camera and several Cross process modes. Should you take the picture and then decide you want to add a filter after, you can do this in the revision stage of taking the picture. Just press ok when it says on the screen or when you're in Playback, it's the same process.
The Main menu is accessed via the Menu button at the bottom of the camera. It's split into three sections for Shooting options, Video and Set up. The Shooting section is designated with a camera icon and allows you to change the resolution, white-balance, ISO or focus options. The video menu allows you to adjust the film quality, focus modes and wind noise reduction. The Set up menu is the intensive menu that changes core features of the camera such as the time & date, monitor settings, sound settings, power down timer and card format options.
Starting the camera up from the off position takes a little under three seconds to power up, focus and take a picture. That's slow by today's standards. Cameras recently decreased their times from around the 2.5 sec mark to just under 2 sec. For a modern camera to take nearly 3 sec to do the same job isn't very inspiring. The Nikon S2800 does have a continuous shooting mode. In the first second it takes two pictures but then slows down to one every 1.5 sec or so. That's not a precise figure, but we got 9 frames in a ten second period, which averages out at around 0.9fps (frames per second).
Playback can be operated on the S2800 regardless of whether the camera is switched on or not. If it's not, you simply have to hold down the playback button (designated by a blue arrow) for a few seconds. The image will be brought up full size on the screen with some basic shooting information that will disappear after a few seconds. If you took a photo and decided after that you wanted to add the digital filters, you still can by pressing the Ok button. It will transport you into the Digital Filter menu system. There are 32 to choose from although the bulk of the options available are duplicates of the same options. You can also press the Playback button once you're already in Playback and bring up a kind of Mode menu. It allows you to select how to view the photographs. There are four options: Play (default), Favourites, Auto Sort and List by Date.
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In the Main menu, the Shooting and Video tabs that are present when in Recording mode have been replaced with one Playback tab. The Set-up tab remains and retains all the same features. The Playback tab allows you to modify and edit the picture you're currently looking at in a variety of different ways, such as a Quick retouch, adding D-Lighting, Red-eye correction and Glamour retouch as well as other features such as determining the print order, creating a slide-show and protecting precious images.
Upon opening the box, you'll find a Quick Start Guide which is looks big, but is in several languages. The full Manual is on the enclosed CD which also features ViewNX 2, a simple editing system from Nikon. Below this is the camera and lithium ion battery. Because the battery is rechargeable, the camera comes with a charging unit which is capable of being used in multiple countries by attaching or removing the UK three pin adapter. A USB cable plugs into the charging unit and then to the camera. There's also a wrist strap to prevent dropping the camera.