Nikon Coolpix S30 Review

3.5
December 28, 2012 | Matt Grayson |

Image Quality


All of the sample images in this review were taken using the 10 megapixel Fine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 4.5Mb.

The Nikon Coolpix S30 causes a challenging test because it controls everything to do with camera operations. This truly is a camera for the happy snapper family. The sample pictures we got were hit and miss. We found that even using flash on occasion got some camera shake. Colours are recorded nicely but in an effort to maintain a decent shutter speed, it ramps up the ISO and creates a lot of noise in the process. When taken properly, pictures are sharp enough but it takes time sitting there and making sure the conditions are right.

Noise

Because the Nikon Coolpix S30 controls everything, we couldn't adjust the ISO manually, so had to improvise by adjusting the available light then moving it further away. We managed to record from ISO 160 to ISO 400. Not a massive range and we're certain that it's more expansive than that but we couldn't get the camera to go any higher in our circumstances. Because of the lack of control of white-balance, we had to also adjust the colour temperature in Adobe Photoshop.

Even ISO 160 has noise showing through. Edge definition is good, however but there's no denying that coloured noise is present although not in high key areas. It does flood in by the ISO 250 mark though. Edges are broken and the whole picture quality starts to fall apart at this stage. Noise reduction is working overtime to keep it together but in the right (or wrong) conditions, it could get overwhelmed at this stage.

ISO 400 has big blobs of colour attacking the darker and mid-tone areas. Salt and pepper noise is ruining the lighter areas and the contrasty edges of the pictures at this setting.

ISO 80 (160% Crop)

ISO 250 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

 
 

Focal Range

The focal length of the Nikon Coolpix S30 is 4.1-12.3mm or 29-87mm in 35mm terms.

29mm

87mm

Sharpening

We found that the majority of pictures from the Nikon Coolpix S30 are sharp enough for general use but if you wanted to run them through some basic sharpening, it certainly tightens it up as you can see in our sample images.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations

Although we managed to find instances of chromatic aberration, it was really difficult and it only appears at the edges of the frame where the lens isn't at it's best (no lens is). It appears as soft purple or orange lines that blends in quite well with the background so that it's not as noticeable.

Chromatic Aberrations 1 (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations 2 (100% Crop)

   

Chromatic Aberrations 3 (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations 4 (100% Crop)

Macro

As we mentioned earlier, when the pictures are taken properly, it shows.  Take the flash image: Despite the large amount of noise still present, it's sharp and tight with good edge definition. Admittedly, we had some issues hitting the point of focus. The camera would confirm focus and each time we edged in closer. Once the camera couldn't confirm, we edged out to the previous point but then the camera wouldn't focus there any more. Nor would it focus again until we'd moved the camera out past the original start point. It's as though it got stuck because once it started focusing again, we managed to move in and get our macro test image.

Macro

Macro (100% Crop)

Flash

There are only two flash options on the Nikon Coolpix S30; Auto and Off. Red-eye reduction is all done automatically. The camera does record a little colouration in the eye but it can't be helped with the position of the flash. That positioning is to help with underwater photography. It allows a more shadowless shot of marine life and doesn't get covered when being held by two hands underwater. It has a good spread, our wall test is nice and even with no vignetting. We couldn't get a systematic test such as other cameras get because we can't control the flash on the Coolpix S30.

Flash Off - Wide Angle (26mm)

Flash On - Wide Angle (26mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

We found that the Nikon Coolpix S30 does suffer from red-eye and adding the red-eye reduction did reduce it, but only slightly.

Red Eye Reduction

Red Eye Reduction (100% Crop)

Night

When it comes to shooting at night, we'd like to see a mixture of the Auto and Night scene modes. The exposure of the Night scene is perfect but is riddled with noise. On the other hand, the Auto mode is far too dark but has a better noise response making a sharper, clearer image.

Night Auto

Night Auto (100% Crop)

   

Night Scene

Night Scene (100% Crop)

Entry Tags

hd video, hd, review, compact, 720p, hdmi, nikon, beginner, 2.7 inch LCD, coolpix, 10 megapixel, waterproof, dustproof, shockproof, 3x zoom, shock proof, water proof, dust proof, 29mm, s30, Nikon Coolpix S30 Review

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