Nikon Coolpix S3700 Review

March 10, 2015 | Jack Baker | Rating star Rating star Rating star Half rating star


The Coolpix S3700 replaces the S3600 as the Nikon’s lower-midrange entry in its Coolpix Style range. The two cameras share almost identical specs, so the S3700 retains the same 20.1MP CCD sensor and 8x optical zoom lens which includes lens-shift Vibration Reduction. HD 720p video recording and semi-automatic panorama capture are also carried over, as are Glamour Retouch post-processing options to help you take more flattering shots of friends and family. The only new feature to appear on the S3700 is built-in Wi-Fi with NFC pairing, letting you remotely control the camera and wirelessly transfer images to your smartphone or tablet. The S3700 is available in red, black, silver, pink, blue and blue line-art colour options for £99/$140.

Ease of Use

Externally the Coolpix S3700 resembles both its predecessor, the S3600, and its equally new sibling, the S2900. Dimensions of 95.9 x 58.0 x 20.1mm and smoothed-off corners make the camera very easy to slip into a tight jeans pocket, whilst a 118g ready-to-shoot weight makes it 7g lighter than the already trim S3600.

Build quality is as you’d expect at this price point. The body is entirely plastic, but it’s reassuringly solid and doesn’t flex. The tripod mount is also plastic, but that’s no big deal since a camera such as this is unlikely to spend much time tied down.

Things are more of a mixed bag when it comes to ergonomics though. The buttons are all well sized and can be pressed without resorting to a thumbnail, and there’s a useful thumb grip between the screen and video record button. However, Nikon hasn’t interrupted the clean design lines on the front by adding a ridge for your fingers to hang on to, so the only gripping point here is the slightly embossed Nikon badge. Factor the silky matt plastic texture and the S3700 is therefore worryingly easy to drop, especially when wearing gloves.

Nikon Coolpix S3700
Front of the Nikon Coolpix S3700

Another ergonomic bugbear is the 2.7” LCD screen. Its 230,000-dot resolution is the minimum you’ll find on a compact camera these days, and it translates to a fairly pixelated viewing experience which won’t show off your shots or even the camera’s menus. But worse than this are the restricted viewing angles. Take a high-angle shot and the screen image turns black, or go for a low-angle composition and the display washes out almost completely. It’s fair to say that this is a common issue with cameras in this price range that’s caused by low-tech LCD monitor technology, but it’s still frustrating and makes it tricky to assess brightness and contrast even when shooting from normal angles.

Thankfully the S3700’s headline built-in Wi-Fi feature is more appealing. You’ll need to download the Nikon Wireless Mobile Utility app (available for Android and Apple) for your mobile device to make the system work. Then just press the dedicated connection button on the camera, located alongside the shutter release, and the S3700 immediately becomes a Wi-Fi hotspot. If your smartphone or tablet is NFC-enabled, you can complete the connection by simply tapping it against the S3700, or otherwise you’ll need to connect manually be selecting the S3700’s wireless hotspot in your device’s Wi-Fi settings. Now you’ll be able to remotely control the S3700, use its optical zoom and snap images. There’s only a small time lag for controls to take effect, and the wireless range is long enough for most practical scenarios. You can also download images off the S3700 to your mobile device for viewing or sharing, with a full-resolution photo taking around twelve seconds to transfer.

Nikon Coolpix S3700
Rear of the Nikon Coolpix S3700

Other aspects of the camera are just as easy to use. All its scene presets and shooting modes are accessed by pressing the Scene button on the rear panel. The corresponding quick-access menu includes the default Scene Auto Selector mode which automatically detects the type of scene you’re focussing on and applies the best settings to capture it. Second on the menu is a sub-menu containing sixteen manually selectable scene modes, including Nikon’s Panorama Assist mode. Next is a batch of nine filter effects that’ll help you get creative with your photography, and then there’s the Smart Portrait system.

Activate this and when you snap a shot containing a face, the camera will automatically soften skin, apply digital foundation make-up, soften the entire image, and adjust colour saturation and brightness. You choose the intensity for each setting beforehand by pressing the arrow buttons on the rear directional dial. The system works surprisingly accurately, although it’s best to steer clear of some of the more extreme settings if you want flattering shots rather than cartoons.

Alternatively, if you’d rather apply these effects to a previously captured image, find the shot in playback mode and press the Menu button on the rear panel. Scroll down to Glamour Retouch and even more touch-up options are available, including chin size adjustment, skin glare reduction, adjustment of eye size, colour, whiteness and under-eye bags, plus options to redden cheeks, add mascara and apply lipstick. Providing your subject is directly facing the camera and fills most of the frame, these effects are targeted accurately at the relevant facial features and can be quite useful, but are great for a laugh as well.

Nikon Coolpix S3700
Top of the Nikon Coolpix S3700

The Smart Portrait mode also includes a nifty feature called Smile Timer. Select this by pressing the self-timer button on the rear panel, then press the OK button alongside it. The S3700 will then detect a face and only fire the shutter when he/she smiles. This is also pretty effective, although the face needs to be fairly prominent in frame and smile blatantly for the camera to detect it and fire a shot.

The final option available via the Scene button is the Auto mode. Think of this as a programmable auto setting, as when you press the Menu button in this mode, you get options for adjusting white balance, ISO sensitivity and the autofocus area. The camera’s continuous shooting mode is found here too, as are image size options. Switch back the default Scene Auto Selector mode and only the latter can be adjusted when pressing the Menu button.

Regardless of which auto mode you choose, you’ll still be able to adjust exposure compensation by pressing the rear panel control to the right of the OK button. This gives up to +/- 2.0EV of exposure compensation, which is reset to normal when you turn the camera off. This is useful in case you forget you’ve made an adjustment, but annoyingly the camera also resets the flash to automatic whenever you restart, which can often result in an unwanted flash burst when you’re not expecting it.

Nikon Coolpix S3700
The Nikon Coolpix S3700 In-hand

Autofocussing is also slightly temperamental. In good light the camera is capable of focussing almost instantly, but it’s also often prone to random bursts of focus hunting for no apparent reason. In low light things get even worse, with the camera usually taking over two seconds to find its mark and often not focussing at all, even with the aid of the focussing lamp.

At least the initial start-up time is usually rapid, capturing a shot in 1.6 seconds. Unfortunately the S3700 finds it tough to keep this pace up though, as the EXPEED C2 image processor can’t save an 8-9MB full resolution image instantly, so you’ll need to wait a second or so before you can view the photo you’ve just snapped. Still, the S3700’s performance is at least quicker than the sluggish Coolpix S2900, despite the two cameras sharing the same pixel count and image processor.

Image Quality

The Nikon Coolpix S3700’s image quality is generally quite high. Accurate exposure metering provides true-to-life brightness and contrast that helps hide the sensor’s underwhelming dynamic range, and the initial impact of shots is helped by vibrant colour reproduction.

You will see a light smattering of grain even in shots taken at low ISO sensitivities, but this is normal for small-sensor cameras and it’s only visible when viewing at 100% image size. Noise is well controlled up to ISO800, with only marginally more grain and detail smoothing than at lower sensitivities. Things do deteriorate noticeably at ISO1600 though, as whilst grain is still not distracting, colour speckling becomes prominent in low light and across neutral tones. ISO3200 is best avoided as images are recorded at less than 4 megapixels, yet still show unsightly noise levels.

With 20.1 megapixels on tap, you might imagine detail would be pin sharp, but sadly that’s not the case. Grain and noise reduction processing end up obscuring fine detail in most shots, to the point where you can zoom out to 50% image size and not lose any detail. This phenomenon is common to many similar cameras though, and at least Nikon’s noise reduction processing is subtle enough to preserve some distant detail in landscape shots, so they don’t appear too painterly.

Optical performance is very good, with no noticeable barrel or pincushion distortion at either end of the zoom range. Chromatic aberration (purple fringing) is minimal too, and you’ll be hard pressed to spot any difference in detail levels between the centre and corners of frame.


The S3700 has a sensitivity range of ISO80 to ISO3200. Noise levels are fairly low up to ISO800, but increased grain and colour speckling mean ISO1600 shots are best viewed at 50% image size or smaller. ISO3200 images are limited to 2272x1704 pixels (3.87MP) resolution, yet still display high levels of image noise that makes them suitable only for email or social media sharing.

ISO 80 (100% Crop)

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

iso80.jpg iso100.jpg

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

iso200.jpg iso400.jpg

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

iso800.jpg iso1600.jpg

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)


Focal Range

The camera’s 8x zoom lens covers a focal length range of 25-200mm when converted into a 35mm camera format. Digital zoom can increase this 4x to give an 800mm-equivalent maximum range, though this simply enlarges the centre of frame and doesn’t give an extra detail.



focal_range1.jpg focal_range2.jpg

File Quality

There are two quality settings at full resolution – fine and normal – resulting in image sizes of approximated 8.5MB and 4.5MB respectively. If you need to save more card space, images can be recorded at 10MP, 4MP, 2MP or VGA 640x480 resolution. There’s also a 14MP 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio and a 15MP 1:1 square setting.

20M High (8.51Mb) (100% Crop) 20M Normal (4.45Mb) (100% Crop)
quality_fine.jpg quality_normal.jpg


Adding some sharpening in does work in some scenarios, but if the camera has been steadied and a low ISO used, the difference it makes is negligible.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

sharpen1.jpg sharpen1a.jpg
sharpen2.jpg sharpen2a.jpg

Chromatic Aberrations

The S3700 lens is high quality and we found difficulty finding any chromatic aberrations. There are one or two when a dark foreground is over a bright background.

Chromatic Aberrations 1 (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations 2 (100% Crop)

chromatic1.jpg chromatic2.jpg


A 2cm minimum wide-angle macro focussing ability is fairly impressive, and you can zoom in on your subject and still maintain focus without having to back away nearly as far as when using the equivalent Canon IXUS 160.


Macro (100% Crop)

macro1.jpg macro1a.jpg


In the default Scene Auto Selector shooting mode you only have the option to turn the flash on or off. Switch to standard Auto mode and you can select: Auto; Auto with red-eye reduction; Off; Fill flash, and; Slow sync. The camera successfully avoids red-eye even without using red-eye reduction, and shooting a white surface from a distance of 1.5m reveals it produces only minor wide-angle vignetting.

Flash Off - Wide Angle (25mm)

Flash On - Wide Angle (25mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

Flash Off - Telephoto (200mm)

Flash On - Telephoto (200mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

The flash didn't produce any red-eye in the photographs whether the red-eye reduction feature was on or off.

Flash On

Flash On (100% Crop)
flash_on.jpg flash_on1.jpg

Red Eye Reduction

Red Eye Reduction (100% Crop)

flash_redeye.jpg flash_redeye1.jpg

Vibration Reduction

Cameras at this price point aren’t guaranteed to offer optical image stabilisation (electronic equivalent systems are no substitute), so it’s great to see the S3700 sporting proper lens-shift Vibration Reduction.

Compared to the £80 Coolpix S2900 which omits VR, the S3700 makes it far easier to shoot sharp shots indoors and in dimmer lighting conditions. It also means the camera can use slightly lower ISO sensitivity settings whilst still avoiding blur from camera shake, consequently reducing noise levels.

Antishake Off

Antishake On
antishake1.jpg antishake1a.jpg


This gives you two options for shooting night scenes: Tripod, and Handheld. The tripod setting restricts the sensor sensitivity to ISO80 and uses a long shutter speed (2 seconds in our case) to capture maximum detail. In Handheld mode that reduced to ¼-second at ISO800, but with a noticeable increase in noise.

Night Scene Tripod

Night Scene Tripod (100% Crop)

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Night Scene Handheld

Night Scene Handheld (100% Crop)

night1.jpg night1a.jpg

Digital Filters

The S3700 includes nine filter effects to help spice up a drab shot. These are previewed in real time and recorded at full resolution. Available effects are: Soft; Nostalgic sepia; High-contrast monochrome; Selective color; Pop; Cross process; Toy camera effect 1; Toy camera effect 2, and; Mirror.



filter_01.jpg filter_02.jpg

Nostalgic Sepia

High Contrast Monochrome

filter_03.jpg filter_04.jpg

Selective Color


filter_05.jpg filter_06.jpg

Cross Process

Toy Camera1

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Toy Camera2


filter_09.jpg filter_10.jpg


Where many cameras now include fully automated sweep panorama modes, the S3700 is slightly more labour intensive.

You snap the first shot, then pan the camera and a translucent overlay of the end third of the image just captured follows you. Line that up over the corresponding features in the adjacent frame and snap the second shot. Do the same again and the camera automatically stitches the three shots together, and, providing you’ve accurately aligned your shots when shooting, the results are seamless.

The advantage to this method is you can zoom in before taking the panorama, which fully automated systems don’t usually allow. However, the end results are still quite small at around 1100 vertical pixels.


Sample Images

This is a selection of sample images from the Nikon Coolpix S3700 camera, which were all taken using the 20 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 22 second movie is 70.6Mb in size.

Product Images

Nikon Coolpix S3700

Front of the Nikon Coolpix S3700

Nikon Coolpix S3700

Front of the Nikon Coolpix S3700 / Turned On

Nikon Coolpix S3700

Side of the Nikon Coolpix S3700

Nikon Coolpix S3700

Side of the Nikon Coolpix S3700

Nikon Coolpix S3700

Rear of the Nikon Coolpix S3700

Nikon Coolpix S3700

Rear of the Nikon Coolpix S3700 / Image Displayed

Nikon Coolpix S3700

Rear of the Nikon Coolpix S3700 / Main Menu

Nikon Coolpix S3700

Top of the Nikon Coolpix S3700

Nikon Coolpix S3700

Bottom of the Nikon Coolpix S3700


Nikon Coolpix S3700

Side of the Nikon Coolpix S3700

Nikon Coolpix S3700

Side of the Nikon Coolpix S3700

Nikon Coolpix S3700

Front of the Nikon Coolpix S3700

Nikon Coolpix S3700

Front of the Nikon Coolpix S3700

Nikon Coolpix S3700

Memory Card Slot / Battery Compartment


The Nikon Coolpix S3700 is a capable camera that performs well in most situations. Well exposed, vibrant images impress right from the off, and noise levels are fairly low up to ISO800. Vibration Reduction is an essential feature when shooting indoors or in low light, so it’s great the S3700 includes it.

Still welcome, but arguably less important, is the in-built Wi-Fi. This works well, especially if you have an NFC-equipped smart device, and makes image sharing a breeze. Remote controlling the camera is fun too, however we doubt this is something you’d use that often.

The same can also be said for the camera’s Glamour Retouch effects. Trouble is, including features of little everyday use when the S3700’s low resolution screen continually frustrates with its poor colour and contrast accuracy does leave the impression that Nikon is getting its priorities wrong. It’s also a pity that the S3700’s autofocussing isn’t more reliable.

Compared to its direct rival, the Canon IXUS 160, the Coolpix S3700 is a more compelling buy. The two cameras are tied in most respects, but the Nikon’s extra features and optical image stabilisation give it a clear edge. However, a Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX220 can be had for just £10 more, yet it also offers Wi-Fi with NFC pairing, plus 10x optical zoom, a better screen and superior image quality in an even smaller package. The same money also buys Panasonic’s Lumix DMC-SZ8 which includes the same sort of toys and a 12x optical zoom range.

Next to these rivals, the S3700 can’t help but look outclassed. Nevertheless, if you’re after a small, easy to use camera that produces acceptable image quality in most conditions, the Nikon Coolpix S3700 is at least worth considering.

3.5 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Design 4
Features 3.5
Ease-of-use 4
Image quality 3
Value for money 3.5

Main Rivals

Listed below are some of the rivals of the Nikon Coolpix S3700.

Canon IXUS 165

The new Canon IXUS 165 is a stylish, slim and affordable point-and-shoot compact camera. Stand-out features include a 20 megapixel sensor, an 8x 28-224mm zoom lens, and a metal body, all for around £130. Read our in-depth Canon IXUS 165 review now...

Fujifilm FinePix T400

The Fujifilm FinePix T400 compact camera offers a 10x zoom, 16 megapixel sensor, 3 inch LCD screen and 720p movies, all for a street price of just £70 / $90. Read our Fujifilm FinePix T400 review to find out if it's a genuine bargain or one to avoid...

Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ9

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ9 is a brand new travel-zoom compact camera. The stylish Panasonic SZ9 offers 16 megapixels, a 10x zoom lens (25-250mm), 3 inch LCD screen, built-in wi-fi connectivity, 10fps burst shooting and 1080p HD movies. Read our expert Panasonic DMC-SZ9 review now...

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX200

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX200 is a slim and stylish compact camera with built-in wi-fi. The WX200 also features a 10x zoom lens, 18 megapixel Exmor R CMOS sensor, 10fps continuous shooting and Full HD movie recording. Priced at around £199, read our Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX200 review to find out if it's worth checking out...

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX60

Entry level cameras don't have to be big and ugly, and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX60 is a case in point. This stylish compact packs an 8x zoom lens, 16 megapixel sensor, 2.7 inch screen and a wealth of beginner-friendly features into its svelte frame. Priced at around £150, read our Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX60 review to find out if its performance matches its good looks...


Effective pixels 20.1 million (image processing may reduce the number of effective pixels)
Image sensor 1/2.3-in.type CCD, total pixels: approx. 20.48 million
Lens NIKKOR lens with 8x optical zoom
Focal length 4.5 – 36.0 mm (angle of view equivalent to that of 25–200 mm lens in 35mm [135] format)
F-number f/3.7 – 6.6
Lens construction 8 elements in 7 groups
Magnification Up to 4x (angle of view equivalent to that of approx. 800 mm lens in 35mm [135] format)
Vibration reduction Lens-shift VR (still images), Lens shift and electronic VR (movies)
Autofocus Contrast-detect AF
Focus range [W]: Approx. 50 cm (1 ft 8 in.) to infinity. [T]: Approx. 1.5 m (5 ft) to infinity. Macro mode: Approx. 2 cm (0.8 in.) to infinity (wide-angle position), (all distances measured from center of front surface of lens)
AF-area mode Face priority, center, manual with 99 focus areas, subject tracking, target finding AF
Monitor 6.7 cm (2.7 in.) diagonal. Approx. 230k-dot, TFT LCD with anti-reflection coating and 5-level brightness adjustment
Frame coverage Approx. 97% horizontal and vertical (compared to actual picture)
Frame coverage (playback mode) Approx. 99% horizontal and vertical (compared to actual picture)
Storage media SD, SDHC, SDXC, Internal memory (approx. 25 MB)
File system DCF and Exif 2.3 compliant
Storage file formats Still images: JPEG. Movies: AVI (Motion-JPEG compliant)
Image size (pixels) 20M (High) [5152 x 3864 (Fine)]. 20M [5152 x 3864]. 10M [3648 x 2736]. 4M [2272 x 1704]. 2M [1600 x 1200]. VGA [640 x 480]. 16:9 (14M) [5120 x 2880]. 1:1 [3864 x 3864]
ISO sensitivity ISO 80 – 1600. ISO 3200 (available when using Auto mode)
Exposure metering Matrix, center-weighted (digital zoom less than 2x), spot (digital zoom 2x or more)
Exposure control Programmed auto exposure and exposure compensation (–2.0 – +2.0 EV in steps of 1/3 EV)
Shutter type Mechanical and CCD electronic shutter
Shutter speed 1/1500 – 1 s, 4 s (Fireworks show scene mode)
Self-timer Can be selected from 10 s and 2 s
Aperture Electronically-controlled ND filter (–3 AV) selection
Aperture range 2 steps (f/3.7 and f/10.5 [W])
Built-in flash Yes
Flash range (approx.) [W]: 0.5 – 2.8 m (1 ft 8 in. – 9 ft 2 in.). [T]: 1.5 m (4 ft 11 in.)
Flash control TTL auto flash with monitor preflashes
USB Hi-Speed USB, Supports Direct Print (PictBridge). Also used as audio/video output connector (NTSC or PAL can be selected for video output.)
Wi-Fi (Wireless LAN) standards IEEE 802.11b/g/n (standard wireless LAN protocol), ARIB STD-T66 (standard for low power data communication systems)
Wi-Fi (Wireless LAN) communications protocols IEEE 802.11b: DBPSK/DQPSK/CCK. IEEE 802.11g: OFDM. IEEE 802.11n: OFDM
Wi-Fi (Wireless LAN) operating frequency 2412–2462 MHz (1-11 channels)
Wi-Fi (Wireless LAN) range (line of sight) Approx. 10 m (10 yd)
Wi-Fi (Wireless LAN) data rates (actual measured values) IEEE 802.11b: 5 Mbps. IEEE 802.11g: 20 Mbps. IEEE 802.11n: 20 Mbps
Wi-Fi (Wireless LAN) security WPA2
Wi-Fi (Wireless LAN) access protocols Infrastructure
Supported languages Arabic, Bengali, Bulgarian, Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hindi, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Marathi, Norwegian, Persian, Polish, Portuguese (European and Brazilian), Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Spanish, Swedish, Tamil, Telugu, 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 40 min (when using Charging AC Adapter EH-70P and when no charge remains)
Battery life1 Approx. 240 shots when using EN-EL19
Actual battery life for movie recording2 Approx. 50 min when using EN-EL19
Tripod socket 1/4 (ISO 1222)
Dimensions (W x H x D) Approx. 95.9 x 58.0 x 20.1 mm (3.8 x 2.3 x 0.8 in.), (excluding projections)
Weight Approx. 118 g (4.2 oz), (including battery and memory card)
Operating environment - temperature 0°C – 40°C (32°F – 104°F)
Operating environment - humidity 85% or less (no condensation)
Supplied accessories Camera Strap, Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL19, Charging AC Adapter EH-70P (A plug adapter is included if the camera was purchased in a country or region that requires a plug adapter. The shape of the plug adapter varies with the country or region of purchase), USB Cable UC-E16

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