Nikon Coolpix S33 Review

November 5, 2015 | Matt Grayson |
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Image Quality

All images were taken at the full resolution which produces images around 5.8Mb. The Nikon Coolpix S33 has no option to reduce the image quality while retaining the same resolution.

Noise

The Nikon Coolpix S33 has no manual override for the ISO settings, so in order to get different performance readings, we had to manipulate the amount of light available to force the camera to up the ISO. It means that there's no set routine to the ISO test that we conducted on the camera. In fact, the test starts as high as ISO 450. That's with the studio light blasting onto the subject. Colours are good at this setting and the picture looks clear despite being around 2 stops darker than the lowest setting the camera can work at. Zoom in to full magnification and you can see the noise reduction and sharpening that are taking place, which is a shame. Even at this relatively low setting, noise is still starting to creep in.

Noise gradually gets worse through each image with more information being lost with every step we took. ISO 640 displays a loss of fine detail that was still visible at the lower setting. The shininess of the camera bellows at ISO 450 are no longer visible. We did have problem with the focusing system and that's because we were gradually reducing the light on the picture to get the ISO up. The camera struggled because of this even with the AF emitter switched to Auto in the Set up menu.

The Nikon Coolpix S33 continues to battle ISO and the small leap to ISO 800 doesn't show any loss of image quality from the previous setting. As we moved the lights away to get the subject darker, the camera brightened the image. The ISO 1000 test shot is a lot brighter than the previous settings. It's possible to see a mild blue cast on the black side of the camera bellows. These pictures were taken at night, so it's not any stray daylight. The final setting of ISO 1600 was taken in almost pitch black which is why the picture is out of focus. However, it's the amount of noise that we're mostly interested in. Given the purple cast covering most of the picture, it's unlikely that there would be much detail in the finer parts of the picture.

ISO 450 (100% Crop)

ISO 640 (100% Crop)

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ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 1000 (100% Crop)

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ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

 
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Focal Range

The Nikon Coolpix S33 has a modest 3x optical zoom which is an equivalent 30-90mm in 35mm terms. 

30mm

90mm

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Sharpening

The Nikon Coolpix S33 produces sharp results straight from the camera. It is possible to increase the sharpness using an editing suite such as Adobe Photoshop. One thing that drops the quality of the image is the higher resolution that the camera chooses to get an image with no blur.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

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Chromatic Aberrations

For the price of the Nikon Coolpix S33, chromatic aberration is controlled marvellously. In fact, we had trouble finding any and what we did find was minimal. We've seen worse results than this on cameras more expensive.

Chromatic Aberrations 1 (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations 2 (100% Crop)

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Macro

Close focusing on the Nikon Coolpix S33 is 5cm. It's perfect for underwater photography where you need to get close to a subject such as an Anemone, but can't get perfectly still to be 1cm away. The sweet spot is quite wide and softly degrades towards the edges of the frame. Again it's a better result than some that we've seen on more expensive cameras.

Macro

Macro (100% Crop)

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Flash

There's no vignetting with the flash turned off and this is the same at full zoom and wide-angle. Any variances in natural light are stabilised and balanced with the flash in use and it's very intelligent for a camera at this price point.  Light is balanced, stable and the same exposure as the ambient light.

Flash Off - Wide Angle (30mm)

Flash On - Wide Angle (30mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64
   

Flash Off - Telephoto (90mm)

Flash On - Telephoto (90mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

The Nikon Coolpix S33 has no red-eye reduction feature and in our tests we did get red-eye on the pictures. The main cause of this is arguably the flash being located so close to the lens.

Flash On

Red Eye Reduction (100% Crop)

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Night

In the Scene menu which is accessed by pressing the button with the pink icon on the screen, the first option is for Night landscapes. We took a photograph at night in that mode and in Auto to see what the differences were. We used a tripod on both images and a 10 second self timer. We discovered that the Nikon Coolpix S33 actually used a lower ISO and produced a brighter image in Auto mode. It's entirely possible that the camera – being a tough type – will have to assume that you're off on some adventure and you don't have the luxury of a support for the photograph. It therefore has to raise the ISO in order to not have a slow shutter speed and ruin the shot. That being said, on both images, the noise ruins a lot of the detail and the noise reduction does the rest.

Night Auto

Night Auto (100% Crop)

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Night Scene

Night Scene (100% Crop)

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