Nikon Coolpix S2600 Review

December 14, 2012 | Matt Grayson | Rating star Rating star Rating star Half rating star


The Nikon Coolpix S2600 is a compact camera in the Style range of cameras, boasting a 14 megapixel CCD sensor, 5x optical zoom, 19.5mm thin body, 720p HD video recording and an EXPEED C2 image processor. Targeted at the point and shoot crowd, the Nikon 2600 features a multitude of automatic modes to make picture taking easy. Priced around £65, the Nikon Coolpix S2600 is available in pink, red, gold and black.

Ease of Use

As part of the Style range of digital compact cameras, the Nikon Coolpix S2600 is a good looking slip of a camera that's a mere 19.5mm from front to back. That makes it easy to slip into a pocket when you're not taking pictures. The 5x optical zoom is small and unobtrusive. The camera comes with an image stabiliser but it's not optical which reduces the size of the lens as well. The e-VR (electronic Vibration Reduction) uses a mixture of features to get the steadiest shot such as High ISO, Motion Detection and Best Shot Selector. High ISO will choose an ISO setting appropriate to get a still shot. It will use anything up to ISO 3200 which could cause problems with noise. Best Shot Selector will take ten pictures and choose the best from the ten. Motion Detection most accurately describes what the system is supposed to be doing. It works by compensating for camera and subject movement. Only a slim flash and AF beam transmitter accompanies the lens on the front.

On top of the Nikon Coolpix S2600, the brushed metal body is split through the middle by a chrome strip. The strip is home to the power button; a small, round button circled by a green power light. The larger shutter release button sits atop the zoom rocker. It's all going on at the back though. This is where you'll spend most of your time so it makes sense to put everything here.

At the top a small light blinks to indicate the flash is charging up. Next to this is a small thumb rest and next to that is the direct video button. The main control buttons are sat in the usual formation of a command ring with an OK button in the centre and four buttons surrounding it. The green camera button selects the mode that you'd like to shoot in. There are three options: Auto, Scenes and Smart Portrait.

Nikon Coolpix S2600 Nikon Coolpix S2600
Front Rear

There are 19 scenes to choose from. Well, 18 if you don't include the first Scene priority mode. This mode will analyse the picture you're shooting and select the correct scene such as selecting macro when it sees a closely focused object.  There are a few modes that have direct access so in the heat of the moment you're not rooting around the menu systems trying to change something. On the command ring you can access flash, self-timer, exposure compensation and the macro mode. If you decide to go in the menu after all, the button is situated at the bottom of the camera across from the delete image button. Once in there, use the command ring to navigate your way through.

There are three tabs in the Nikon Coolpix S2600's main menu: Shooting, Video and Set-up. Playback has its own menu which we'll look at later. In the Shooting menu, you can change typical shooting options such as the resolution, white-balance, ISO and drive. There's also more in-depth modes such as Colour modes, AF area mode and Autofocus mode selection.  The latter chooses between continuous focusing or not. Should you choose continuous, this is good for moving subjects as it will anticipate where the subject will be and follow the focus. However this is a drain on the battery so it's best to turn it off when you're not shooting a moving target.

To help with moving subjects, you can also adjust the focus mode to reflect your photography. Choosing this option has five options: Face priority, Auto, Manual, Centre and Subject tracking. The last option will help with the continuous focus as when it locks on the subject, it will stay with it regardless of where it moves in the frame.

Nikon Coolpix S2600 Nikon Coolpix S2600
Side Front

The Nikon Coolpix S2600 seems to be well built considering the price it is. The casing looks metal but sounds a little more like plastic when tapped. We think it's metal though. The screen is surprisingly small at 2.7 inches. A typical size is 3 inches on today's cameras and although the difference is negligible, numbers are what customers see. The screen is bright and clear. It doesn't suffer any motion blur or purple banding when it encounters a bright light in an otherwise dark scene. The battery compartment is located on the bottom of the camera. It takes a dedicated lithium ion battery and the memory card slots in by its side. The S2600 accepts up to SDXC cards. We'd like to have seen a lock on the battery door but you can't have everything. Nikon are well known for putting flimsy rubber covers on the USB ports of their lower specification cameras and the S2600 is no different.

Nikon have perfected the menu system on their digital compact cameras to make them as easy to use as possible. Even a complete newcomer to photography will be able to get hold of it easily thanks to the clear and concise user interface.

Start up time is noticeably slower by around half a second. The main issue with this response is the focusing. We tested the Nikon Coolpix S2600 several times and it took us a few attempts to get the camera focused before it took a picture. Continuous shooting isn't too bad for a camera in this class. It takes pictures at around 1fps (frames per second) although looking at the milliseconds that it recorded, given enough time, it was taking longer than a second to take a picture meaning there would be an overlap after around 20 seconds. It took a further eight seconds to download these ten full size 14 megapixel fine setting pictures to the memory card using the EXPEED C2 processor.

Nikon Coolpix S2600 Nikon Coolpix S2600
Memory Card Slot Battery Compartment

In playback mode, the pictures will be displayed one at a time. They can be scrolled through using the command ring and pressing left and right. Alternatively you can press up and down to perform the same action. The information on the screen will show basic shooting info such as date & time, file number, resolution setting and position of the image in the folder. These are all basic details and can be turned off in the Main menu under Monitor settings if you wish.

The zoom can be used on the pictures you've already taken. Zooming in is useful to ensure focusing is correct (called pixel peeping) while zooming out will display the images as a thumbnail grid. You can perform this action three times and still show thumbnails. Doing it again shows a calendar and you can select the date you wish to view. In the menu you can rotate the picture, change the size to a small picture, add a voice memo to the picture you were on when you went into the menu or copy the image from card to camera or camera to card. This last option is particularly useful if you have to use the internal memory and wish to download your pictures via card reader.

IN the box, you get the camera, lithium ion battery, charger and cable (the cable doubles up as the USB cable for downloading to the computer direct from the camera), video cable to view pictures and video on a tv and there's also a wrist strap. The large looking booklet is only a Quick Start Guide and is in multiple languages. The full manual is on a separate disc included in the box. A second CD holds installation software drivers for ViewNX2 which is Nikon's own photo viewer.

Image Quality

All of the sample images in this review were taken using the 14 megapixel Fine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 5Mb.


The Nikon Coolpix S2600's low ISO performance is pretty good. The edges are sharp with no mottling caused by image degradation. Colours don't appear to be as solid as they could be from a really good low ISO performance but there's no sign of colour noise in the pictures. Moving up through the scale, even at ISO 100 (the first step from the lowest ISO 80 setting), it's possible to see small dots of noise showing through on dark areas.

Images start to appear a little softer at ISO 200 although there's still no colour noise showing through. The good news is that the black dots don't get any worse until ISO 400 where they exacerbate and coloured blobs start to form around them. Edge sharpness also begins to break down at this stage.

The problems get worse and at ISO 800 noise control has removed a lot of colour from the image in a bid to reduce the amount of colour noise showing in the pictures. It doesn't work that well so by ISO 3200 the resolution is dropped to remove a lot of noise from the image by not using pixels. We found big lumps of bright blue in dark areas. Using this setting should be done as a complete last resort.

ISO 80 (100% Crop)

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

The zoom on the Nikon Coolpix S2600 is 5x optical. That works out at 4.6-23mm or 26-130mm in 35mm terms.



File Quality

The Nikon Coolpix S2600 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.

16M High (6.14Mb) (100% Crop) 16M Normal (3.26Mb) (100% Crop)


Adding a sharpening tool to the pictures in editing does increase the sharpness of the images. However, we found that on some occasions – especially when there's evidence of noise – the sharpening simply increased the obviousness of the noise in the picture.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)


Chromatic Aberrations

The lens on the Nikon Coolpix S2600 does produce traces of chromatic aberration (purple fringing) but it's not that noticeable. On very high contrast edges, it can be quite strong but it's also possible that it could be lens flare. On lower contrast edges, while chroma is still present, it's not as strong.

Chromatic Aberrations 1 (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations 2 (100% Crop)


Chromatic Aberrations 3 (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations 4 (100% Crop)


The macro capability of the Nikon Coolpix S2600 is 10cm (4inch). It's not that powerful for close up work although the centre of the edge is nice and sharp. There's also minimal quality drop off towards the edges of the frame. The only thing that gets in the way of the image being a really sharp result is the digital noise.


Macro (100% Crop)


Shooting at wide-angle does create a slight vignette at the corners of the frame which disappears by the time you get to full zoom. Using flash simple deepens the shadow area of the vignette at wide-angle and actually creates a slight one at full zoom.

Flash Off - Wide Angle (26mm)

Flash On - Wide Angle (26mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

Flash Off - Telephoto (130mm)

Flash On - Telephoto (130mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

We also got red-eye when using flash. This does go when using red-eye reduction. However, it's a pre-flash system and the iris is only a fraction smaller on our test shot. Red-eye should still have been present which suggests a correction software program is also being used.

Flash On

Flash On (100% Crop)

Red Eye Reduction

Red Eye Reduction (100% Crop)


While the Nikon Coolpix S2600 does have a night scene mode, it does everything it can to ensure a steady shot without using a tripod. The unfortunate side of this means that it ramps up the ISO in order to get a faster shutter speed. Our test shot used an ISO of 400 which isn't actually that bad. However, the image suffers from loss of quality. There's no means to change the white-balance in the scenes so under street lights, the cast is stronger as the camera got confused.

Switch over to auto and there's a benefit of using a lower ISO, which in turn uses a slower shutter speed. A tripod would be necessary. However, the longest shutter speed available in auto mode is one second which – in our case at least – isn't long enough.

Night Auto

Night Auto (100% Crop)


Night Scene

Night Scene (100% Crop)

Sample Images

This is a selection of sample images from the Nikon Coolpix S2600 camera, which were all taken using the 14 megapixel Fine JPEG setting. The thumbnails below link to the full-sized versions, which have not been altered in any way.

Sample Movie & Video

This is a sample movie at the highest quality setting of 1280x720 pixels at 30 frames per second. Please note that this 29 second movie is 113Mb in size.

Product Images

Nikon Coolpix S2600

Front of the Camera

Nikon Coolpix S2600

Front of the Camera / Turned On

Nikon Coolpix S2600

Isometric View

Nikon Coolpix S2600

Isometric View

Nikon Coolpix S2600

Rear of the Camera

Nikon Coolpix S2600

Rear of the Camera / Image Displayed

Nikon Coolpix S2600

Rear of the Camera / Turned On

Nikon Coolpix S2600

Rear of the Camera / Shooting Modes

Nikon Coolpix S2600

Rear of the Camera / Main Menu


Nikon Coolpix S2600

Rear of the Camera / Main Menu

Nikon Coolpix S2600

Rear of the Camera / Main Menu

Nikon Coolpix S2600

Rear of the Camera / Main Menu

Nikon Coolpix S2600

Top of the Camera

Nikon Coolpix S2600

Side of the Camera

Nikon Coolpix S2600

Side of the Camera

Nikon Coolpix S2600

Front of the Camera

Nikon Coolpix S2600

Front of the Camera

Nikon Coolpix S2600

Memory Card Slot

Nikon Coolpix S2600

Battery Compartment


Using the Nikon Coolpix S2600 is very easy to do. The camera has a svelte body that can be easily pocketed when not in use. The menu systems are easy to navigate and the buttons are clearly labelled. The camera is aimed at the absoluter beginner and to that end, the UI is splendid. The camera doesn't have anything going for it in terms of new tech, features or a unique selling point, but that's not what it's been built for. There are cameras out there at a higher price point for the tech-savvy. This is a simple point & shoot at point & shoot prices.

The build quality is decent although we suspect more plastic is used in this to ensure a low price. If not then that's great and it means the cost of materials has dropped. 12 months ago, a camera of this specification would be around the £100 mark. We have suspicions that the low price could also be a reaction to the popularity of camera phones. Small compacts are taking a hit because no-one wants to carry what is effectively two cameras; a camera and a camera phone. If a price drop is the answer then that's good news for us consumers.

Image quality from the Nikon Coolpix S2600 is ok in places. We like the results we got in sample images although they are ultimately flawed. Some pictures are riddled with noise which is unfortunate. Even when shot at the lowest ISO we found evidence of it. Let's be fair though, this was when viewing at full magnification. Viewing at normal distance, the pictures look good enough for everyday use. Interestingly, some of the issues we found, we don't normally see on other Nikon compacts such as vignetting on flash images and red-eye. Then issues we do normally find are dealt with better such as chromatic aberration. Ultimately, image quality should be better than a mobile phone, which is what Nikon seem to be trying to out-sell, but we're unsure.

If this is your first foray into digital photography and you know little or nothing about cameras then you'll appreciate the simple layout and ease of use of the Nikon Coolpix S2600. If you're a little more advanced, you may wish to look for a camera with more to it. The S2600 is worth its money because it's expendable. It's a camera for use on holiday – where it will excel – and it doesn't matter too much if it gets damaged because it doesn't cost that much. If you're a person in that situation then take a look at the Nikon Coolpix S2600.

3.5 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Design 3.5
Features 3.5
Ease-of-use 4.5
Image quality 3
Value for money 4.5

Review Roundup

Reviews of the Nikon Coolpix S2600 from around the web. »

The Nikon Coolpix S2600 was released in February 2012 and is designed to be an easy to use digital compact camera that's exclusively available from Argos for £69.99 in purple, pink, silver and black.
Read the full review » »

The nuts and bolts of the COOLPIX S2600 are thus – the camera, which at time of review was available for around £80 on a high street near you, features a 14MP 1/2.3in CCD sensor, combined with a 5x NIKKOR optical zoom covering a focal range of 26-130mm in equivalent terms.
Read the full review » »

There used to be a time where if your budget for purchasing a new compact camera was any lower than around £100, you were certain to have to make sacrifices in some area of performance, if not more . However, almost all manufacturers offer at least one model in this price bracket that has a full specification and is capable of capturing good images, tailored to the entry-level photographer. One such camera is Nikon's S2600.
Read the full review »


Product name COOLPIX S2600
Type Compact digital camera
Effective pixels 14.0 million
Image sensor 1/2.3-in. type CCD; total pixels: approx. 14.48 million
Lens 5x optical zoom, NIKKOR lens
Focal length 4.6-23.0mm (angle of view equivalent to that of 26-130 mm lens in 35mm [135] format)
f/-number f/3.2-6.5
Construction 6 elements in 5 groups
Digital zoom Up to 4x (angle of view equivalent to that of approx. 520 mm lens in 35mm [135] format)
Vibration reduction Electronic VR
Autofocus (AF) Contrast-detect AF
Focus range (from lens) [W]:Approx. 50 cm (1 ft 8 in.) to infinity, [T]: Approx. 80 cm (2 ft 8 in.) to infinity Macro mode: Approx. 10 cm (4 in.) (wide-angle position) to infinity
Focus-area selection Face priority, auto (9-area automatic selection), center, manual with 99 focus areas, subject tracking
Monitor 6.7 cm (2.7-in.), approx. 230k-dot, TFT LCD, and 5-level brightness adjustment
Frame coverage (shooting mode) Approx. 97% horizontal and 97% vertical (compared to actual image)
Frame coverage (playback mode) Approx. 100% horizontal and 100% vertical (compared to actual image)
Media Internal memory (approx. 39 MB), SD/SDHC/SDXC memory card
File system DCF, Exif 2.3, and DPOF compliant
File formats Still images: JPEG Sound files (Voice Memo): WAV Movies: AVI (Motion-JPEG compliant)
Image size (pixels) 14M (high image quality) [4320 x 3240(fine)] 14M [4320 x 3240] 8M [3264 x 2448] 4M [2272 x 1704] 2M [1600 x 1200] VGA [640 x 480] 16:9 [4224 x 2376]
Shooting Modes Auto, Scene (Scene auto selector, Portrait, Landscape, Sports, Night portrait, Party/indoor, Beach, Snow, Sunset, Dusk/dawn, Night landscape, Close-up, Food, Museum, Fireworks show, Black and white copy, Backlighting, Panorama assist, Pet portrait), Smart portrait
Continuous Shooting Single (default setting), Continuous (Up to 8 frames at about 0.9 fps), BSS (Best Shot Selector), Multi-shot 16
Movie HD 720p (default setting):1280 x 720/approx. 30 fps, VGA:640 x 480/approx. 30 fps, QVGA:320 x 240/approx. 30 fps
ISO sensitivity (Standard output sensitivity) ISO 80, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200 Auto (auto gain from ISO 80 to 1600) Fixed range auto (ISO 80 to 400, 80 to 800)
Metering 256-segment matrix, center-weighted (digital zoom less than 2x), spot (digital zoom 2x or more)
Exposure control Programmed auto exposure with motion detection and exposure compensation (-2.0 to +2.0 EV in steps of 1/3 EV)
Shutter Mechanical and charge-coupled electronic shutter
Speed 1/2000-1 s 4 s (when scene mode is set to Fireworks show)
Aperture Electronically-controlled ND filter (-2.6 AV) selection
Range 2 steps (f/3.2 and f/8 [W])
Self-timer Can be selected from 10 and 2 second durations
Range (approx.) (ISO sensitivity: Auto) [W]: 0.5 to 4.5 m (1 ft 8 in. to 14 ft) [T]: 0.5 to 2.2 m (1 ft 8 in. to 7 ft 2 in.)
Flash control TTL auto flash with monitor preflashes
Interface Hi-Speed USB
Data Transfer Protocol MTP, PTP
Video output Can be selected from NTSC and PAL
I/O terminal Audio video output/digital I/O (USB)
Supported languages Arabic, Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hindi, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese (European and Brazilian), Romanian, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, Vietnamese
Power sources One Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL19 (included) AC Adapter EH-62G (available separately)
Charging time Approx. 2 h 10 min (when using Charging AC Adapter EH-69P and when no charge remains)
Battery life (EN-EL19) Still images*: Approx. 220 shots Movies: Approx. 1 h 35 min (HD 720p (1280 x 720), the maximum file size for a single movie is 2 GB or the maximum recording time for a single movie is 29 minutes, even when there is sufficient free space on the memory card for longer recording.) *Unless otherwise stated, all figures are for a camera with a fully-charged Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL19 operated at an ambient temperature of 25°C (77°F).
Tripod socket 1/4 (ISO 1222)
Dimensions (W x H x D) Approx. 93.8 x 58.4 x 19.5 mm (3.7 x 2.3 x 0.8 in.) (excluding projections)
Weight Approx. 121 g (4.3 oz) (with battery and SD memory card)
Temperature 0°C to 40°C (32°F to 104°F)
Humidity Less than 85% (no condensation)
Supplied accessories Camera Strap, Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL19 (with battery case), Charging AC Adapter EH-69P, USB Cable UC-E6, Audio Video Cable EG-CP14, ViewNX 2 Installer CD, Reference Manual CD
Optional accessories Battery Charger MH-66, AC Adapter EH-62G

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