Nikon Coolpix S4000 Review

3.5
April 30, 2010 | Zoltan Arva-Toth |

Image Quality


All of the sample images in this Review were taken using the 12 megapixel Fine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 5Mb.

During the review, the Nikon Coolpix S4000 produced images of average quality. In natural light, colours were usually spot on, but indoors the auto white balance struggled (see the first example in the Sample Images section, which was shot in incandescent light and came out way too orange). Thankfully, the camera provides for a manual WB setting - a pleasant surprise given its positioning - as well as a number of presets. The lens is commendably sharp in the centre, less so in the corners and along the edges. The rendition of high-frequency, low contrast detail is problematic, as there is a lot of detail smearing due to noise reduction, even at base ISO. The pictures are nevertheless usable through ISO 400 - beyond that, noise starts to take over, with the highest settings of ISO 1600 and 3200 being really bad. On a more positive note, chromatic aberrations are very well controlled, we had to look really hard to find any evidence of purple fringing. Macro performance was a bit disappointing, and the camera is not particularly well suited to night photography, either.

Noise

The base sensitivity of the Nikon Coolpix S4000 is ISO 80, while the highest setting is ISO 3200.

Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting.

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

TThe Nikon Coolpix S4000 has a limited but usable focal range going from true wide angle to moderate telephoto.

27mm

108mm

File Quality

There are two JPEG quality settings available at full resolution; normal and high. On the camera, the latter is denoted with an asterisk next to the megapixel count. The Coolpix S4000 doesn't shoot raw. Here are a couple of 100% crops that show the quality of the two options.

10M Fine (100% Crop) 10M Normal (100% Crop)

Sharpening

The Coolpix S4000 has pretty strong in-camera sharpening. You can of course add some more in a software like Adobe Photoshop, but as these examples show, this will not necessarily lead to more natural-looking results.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

   

Chromatic Aberrations

The Nikon Coolpix S4000 handled chromatic aberrations very well during the review.  In fact, we  had to look really hard to find any evidence of purple fringing. The examples below show what you can expect in the worst case.

Example 1 (100% Crop)

Example 2 (100% Crop)

Macro

The Nikon Coolpix S4000 has a somewhat disappointing macro mode. The close-focus point is 8cm, even at the wide end of the zoom, where most compact cameras can focus down to at least 3cm, and often 1cm.

Macro Shot

100% Crop

Flash

These shots of a white ceiling were taken at a subject distance of 1.5m. The lens itself doesn't vignette much, but engaging the flash can result in some corner shading, especially at wide angle.

Forced Off - Wide Angle (27mm)

Forced On - Wide Angle (27mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64
   

Forced Off - Telephoto (108mm)

Forced On - Telephoto (108mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

And here are some portraits. The full range of flash modes include auto, auto with red-eye reduction, fill flash, slow sync and forced off. Note that some of these may not be available in every shooting mode. As you can see from these examples, the red-eye reduction setting had only a minimal effect.

On

On (100% Crop)
   

Auto/Red-eye Reduction

Auto/Red-eye Reduction (100% Crop)

Night

The slowest shutter speed of the Nikon Coolpix S4000 is four seconds in the Fireworks show scene mode, and even less in the other shooting modes, which is disappointing news if you are seriously interested in night photography. The following example was taken at a shutter speed of ½ second at ISO 400.

Night Shot

Night Shot (100% Crop)

Entry Tags

hd video, hd, 3 inch LCD, 720p, 12 megapixel, nikon, touch-screen, coolpix, touch screen, s4000, nikon s4000, Nikon Coolpix S4000 Review

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