Nikon Coolpix S640 Review

4.0
November 12, 2009 | Mark Goldstein |

Image Quality


All of the sample images in this Review were taken using the 12.2 megapixel High JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 4Mb.

TheNikon Coolpix S640 produced images of very good quality during the review period. This camera handled noise very well, not becoming obvious until the relatively slow speed of ISO 800 and then becoming progressively worse at the fastest settings of ISO 1600 and 3200 - still, not bad for such a small image sensor. The fastest setting of ISO 6400 is best avoided.

Chromatic aberrations in the form of purple fringing effects only appeared in high contrast situations and were generally well controlled. The 12.2 megapixel images were a little soft straight out of the camera at the default sharpen setting and require some further sharpening in an application like Adobe Photoshop, as you can't change the in-camera sharpening level.

Macro performance is excellent, allowing you to focus as close as 2cms away from the subject. The built-in flash worked well indoors, with little sign of red-eye, although it's not powerful enough to illuminate the entire scene at the wide-angle end of the zoom.

Anti-shake works very well when hand-holding the camera in low-light conditions or when using the telephoto end of the zoom range. The disappointing maximum shutter speed of 4 seconds doesn't allow the camera to capture enough light for most after-dark situations.

Noise

There are 7 ISO settings available on the Nikon Coolpix S640. 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)

   

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

 
 

Focal Range

The Nikon Coolpix S640's 5x zoom lens offers a versatile focal range, as illustrated by these examples:

28mm

140mm

Sharpening

Here are two 100% crops which have been Saved as Web - Quality 50 in Photoshop. The right-hand image has had some sharpening applied in Photoshop. The out-of-the camera images are a little soft at the default sharpening setting. You can't change the in-camera sharpening level if you don't like the default look.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

   

File Quality

The Nikon Coolpix S640 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.

12M High (3.95Mb) (100% Crop)

12M Normal (2.36Mb) (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations

The Nikon Coolpix S640 handled chromatic aberrations quite well during the review, with fairly limited purple fringing present around the edges of objects in high-contrast situations, as shown in the examples below.

Example 1 (100% Crop)

Example 2 (100% Crop)

Macro

The Nikon Coolpix S640 allows you to focus on a subject that is 2cms away from the camera. The first image shows how close you can get to the subject (in this case a compact flash card). The second image is a 100% crop.

Macro Shot

100% Crop

Flash

The flash settings on the Nikon Coolpix S640 are Auto, Flash On, Red-eye Reduction, Slow Synchro and Off. These shots of a white coloured wall were taken at a distance of 1.5m.

Flash Off - Wide Angle (28mm)

Flash On - Wide Angle (28mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64
   

Flash Off - Telephoto (140mm)

Flash On - Telephoto (140mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

And here are some portrait shots. As you can see, neither the Flash On or the Red-eye-Reduction settings caused any red-eye.

Flash On

Flash On (100% Crop)
   

Red-eye Reduction

Red-eye Reduction (100% Crop)

Night

The Nikon Coolpix S640's maximum shutter speed is 4 seconds, which is not very good news if you're seriously interested in night photography. The shot below was taken using a shutter speed of 1 second at ISO 400. I've included a 100% crop of the image to show what the quality is like.

Night Shot

Night Shot (100% Crop)

Anti Shake

The Nikon Coolpix S640 has an anti-shake mechanism, which allows you to take sharp photos at slower shutter speeds than other digital cameras. To test this, I took 2 handheld shots of the same subject with the same settings. The first shot was taken with anti shake turned off, the second with it turned on. Here are some 100% crops of the images to show the results. As you can see, with anti shake turned on, the images are much sharper than with anti shake turned off. This feature really does seem to make a difference and could mean capturing a successful, sharp shot or missing the opportunity altogether.

Shutter Speed / Focal Length

Anti Shake Off (100% Crop)

Anti Shake On (100% Crop)

1/6th / 28mm
0.77 sec / 140mm

Entry Tags

compact, review, 12 megapixel, nikon, beginner, 5x zoom, 2.7 inch LCD, coolpix, s640, Nikon Coolpix S640 Review

Tracker Pixel for Entry