Nikon Coolpix S2900 Review
Hailing from the Syle range of Nikon Coolpix digital compact cameras, the pocketable S2900 features a 20 megapixel sensor, 5x optical zoom and video image stabiliser. Available in silver, red, black, purple and purple lineart, the Nikon Coolpix S2900 costs around £80 / $130.
Ease of Use
The Nikon Coolpix S2900 is designed for the image conscious who also want a camera that will do everything for them. It's a simple point and shooter and that's apparent throughout. However, if you're torn between one of the Nikon's in the L series and the S2900, then there are a couple of features that this has that aren't available in similarly priced L cameras.
Most apparent to discerning photographers is the addition of ISO sensitivity in the Main Menu on such a simple point and shooter. There's also the addition of Wind Noise reduction when filming video. The latter point may not sound much, but it will play a major part without you ever really noticing it. Which – ironically – means it's working right. The S2900 is very similar to the larger L31 in terms of function and feature although in addition to the aforementioned features, you also get a slightly higher resolution and lithium ion battery. While the 20 megapixels means slightly less images stored on the memory card than the L31's 16 megapixels, the lithium ion battery will be able to take more of them as it will hold more power than standard batteries.
However, the age old argument of AA over rechargeable has come to an end now that battery technology has advanced enough in rechargeable AA's and lithium ion varieties. Anyone looking to take a camera on holiday will have to weigh up those pros and cons.
|Front of the Nikon Coolpix S2900|
Physically, the Nikon Coolpix S2900 is a lot thinner than the L series of cameras, making it easier to slide in and out of pockets or bags on nights out or days away. The lens sits flush with the body which is thinner thanks to the use of lithium ion rechargeable batteries that lower grade models don't use. Because of this, the camera comes with the charger included in the box. There's also a Quick Start Guide, USB cable and wrist strap. Charging is done via the USB cable which connects the camera to the charging unit.
The layout of the buttons uses the typical Nikon strategy with many of the controls accessible via the right thumb as you would hold it normally. That is except the power button and zoom ring, which are located on the top plate.
A small thumb rest area has been provided for when you're not scouring the menu systems which is situated just next to the direct video recording button.
There are two menus on the Nikon Coolpix S2900 for you to choose from. The Mode Menu is accessed via the green camera button. It brings up a small selection of simple shooting modes such as fully Auto, Smart Portrait, Auto Scene Selector, Manual Scene Menu and Digital Filter Effects. The latter provides the choice of a variety of artistic and nostalgic filter effects. If a small arrow is next to the primary option, then there is a sub-menu to take a look at.
|Rear of the Nikon Coolpix S2900|
The Main Menu can be found by pressing the button marked Menu. It's been split into three sections for camera options, video and settings. In the camera section, you can make adjustments to how the camera handles certain shooting scenarios, such as low light variable light casts and fast moving subjects. The Video Menu only has three options within it for resolution, focusing and the aforementioned Wind Noise Reduction. The Set-up Menu is designed to allow you to make in depth changes to the camera and how it operates. Changes to this area are generally more definite, such as the Language, Formatting the memory card, the Sound settings. The latter is actually one of a couple of sub-menus that can be found here. It simplifies the pages if they organise it this way, so you're not inundated with options as soon as you open the menu system.
Start up time from cold is very fast on the Nikon Coolpix S2900. We managed to get the camera switched on, focused and taking a picture in a fraction over 1.6sec. That's around the average, but very good for a camera at this price point. There's a Continuous shooting mode in the Main Menu and that can shoot seven frames in a ten second period which gives an average of around 0.7fps (frames per second). It took the camera a further 13 seconds to fully download all the pictures from the burst test.
The pictures that you take can be reviewed on the screen located on the back of the camera. This can be done regardless of whether the camera is on or off. If it is on, simply press the blue arrow on the back of the camera. The lens will retract after a while as a safety precaution that it won't get jostled or knocked while not being used. If the camera is off, you still press the blue arrow, but you have to hold it down for longer.
|The Nikon Coolpix S2900 In-hand|
You can review your pictures faster and – arguably – more conveniently by using the zoom switch. If you “zoom out”, it turns the pictures into smaller thumbnail versions of themselves. It's easier to find a picture on a full memory card and some people only ever use this method. It doesn't help checking for focus and other areas of the shot that could have errors, though.
While looking at the pictures, you will notice a small icon of a paintbrush with OK written next to it. Pressing the corresponding button on the back of the camera takes you into a sub-menu called Quick Effects. There are various creative effects you can apply to your photographs to give them a different and unique look. Examples include Painting, Cross-screen, Fisheye and Miniature effect. The latter is great for high vantage point photography onto a town scene as it makes the town, cars and people look like toys.
Pressing the Menu button will take you into the Playback Menu. It's a similar layout to the Main Menu in shooting mode with the exception of only having a tab for Playback options and the previously seen Set-up. In the Playback Menu, you can adjust the overall picture using features such as D-Lighting and Red-eye correction (this technique is different to the pre-flash Red-eye reduction as it uses software to eliminate red-eye) as well as Glamour Retouch and Quick retouch options. On top of the editing, you can also create a Slide-show of your pictures, Protect them, Rotate them, create a smaller version and Copy them.