Nikon Coolpix S4150 Review

January 30, 2012 | Matt Grayson | Rating star Rating star Rating star


Recently, Nikon announced a number of new digital compact cameras sporting all sorts of innovative features and technology. The Nikon Coolpix S4150 is no exception with an EXPEED C2 processor, 14 megapixel CCD sensor, 5x optical zoom lens, touch-screen interface, 720p HD video and subject tracking auto-focusing. As part of Nikon's Stylish range, the S4150 certainly has the good looks to fit into the lineup with its curves and funky colours. The Nikon Coolpix S4150 costs around £180 and is available in black, silver, red and purple.

Ease of Use

In terms of innovation, the Nikon Coolpix S4150 is one of the less interesting new models from the recent launch. That's not to say that it's a camera that should be swept under the carpet and forgotten about. In profile, the S4150 is a slim and pocketable model with curved ends that then bulk out to house the touch-screen LCD on the back. It would look nicer if the black plastic back wasn't present, to give the camera an ultra-thin exterior.

We're undecided on the two-tone paintwork. One half says that a one-colour model would look better but the half that stays up late watching Pimp My Ride likes the two-tone styling. The lens on the front of the Nikon Coolpix S4150 is pretty small despite the large bezel that surrounds it. A slim flash sits satisfyingly away from the glass to ensure a lack of red-eye whenever it's used. On the top, the two buttons for power and shutter release are small with a delicate zoom wrapped around the latter.

On the back, the design mocks the S6150 - a higher spec model - with three buttons situated down the right side of the 3 inch touch-screen. Above the top button is a small resting place for your thumb when you're taking pictures. There's no rubbery material to provide grip but there is a small raised area in the moulding of the case to catch onto.

The three buttons are for direct video recording, modes and playback. If you use the video recording button it will go straight into recording. Changing the resolution must be done in the menu on the screen. Zooming is possible when shooting video and in normal circumstances it can't be heard. However, when either end of the zoom range is reached, there's a clicking noise that can prove annoying after a while. Picture quality doesn't look too good even though it's HD quality,a lthough at 720p, it's not Full HD.

There are only 3 shooting modes on the Nikon Coolpix S4150 which are accessed by pressing the middle button on the back. You can choose from auto, scene modes or smart portrait. Auto mode gives the most options in the menu system and we found that it will cope with all but the most extreme modes.

Nikon Coolpix S4150 Nikon Coolpix S4150
Front Rear

There are two menus on screen which is part of Nikon's attempt to simplify their range of digital compact cameras. It has worked with the layout taking on a thumbnail approach. Both menus are opened using the touch-screen; one on the side and one on the bottom. On the side, the menu has only four options for flash, self-timer, macro and exposure compensation. On the bottom, the menu displays resolution, touch-screen AF options, ISO, white-balance, video resolution, video AF, wind noise reduction and an access to the Set-up menu.

Compared to other digital compact camera menus, the Nikon seems sparse. However, it appears that everything that a user needs is available. Remember, the S4150 is aimed at someone who only wants to point and shoot and won't know or care about expanding features. For that reason, it's actually quite an intelligent move on Nikon's part. It makes the S4150 more appealing to new comers to photography and the happy snapper crowd.

The Nikon Coolpix S4150 is built to a decent standard. It's not breaking any ground but the front is made of metal with a plastic back. The lens is a NIKKOR  type but doesn't feature any ED elements. That could cause problems with sharpness and chromatic aberration - our performance tests will show any of that up.

The touch-screen isn't the most sensitive we've used. The problem that any touch-screen has these days is that most people own a smart phone with an ultra-sensitive touch operation. Anything less than this and it feels lacking. The Nikon is nowhere near as sensitive as it could be. Reviewing images is a pain - especially when trying to delete selected pictures. We found that if you try to tap the picture to mark it for deletion, most times the pictures will keep scrolling and the picture won't be selected at all. Of course, that's using fingertips which is the most convenient way. The actual and most effective way is to use the touch pen that's included with the camera. Using this will avoid the previous issues, but we think it's rare that anyone will use it, especially on a night out.

Nikon Coolpix S4150 Nikon Coolpix S4150
Front Top

The battery and memory card share the same compartment on the bottom of the S4150. The battery is a lithium-ion type EN-EL19 and also fits the Coolpix S3100, S100, S2500 and S2550. The cover to the battery compartment could be a bit stronger, but there's a metal plate to reinforce it and it does a good enough job. It flips out quite far compared to some other cameras which means it gets out of the way when retrieving the battery, but it's more susceptible to being caught.

The USB port is situated right next to the battery compartment. Being on the bottom of the camera poses a problem - it has to be laid on its back to be linked to the computer or charged. This increases the chances of scratching the screen, which is unfortunate. The S4150 can be charged directly from a computer if you need it to be.

Our tests of the shutter lag found that the Nikon Coolpix S4150 is a bit slower than other digital compact cameras. A typical lag is around 0.08 seconds, but the S4150 showed consistent real-life results of between 0.18 and 0.24 seconds. It sounds insubstantial but could be the difference between successfully capturing a baby smile or a dog turning away or missing the moment altogether.

The S4150 only has one drive mode which is located in the bottom menu on the screen. We managed to record 8 shots in 10 seconds giving  a continuous shooting speed of 1.2fps (frames per second). It's not a bad result for this type of camera and it's a continuous speed. Some cameras will spurt 3 or 4 pictures out in 1 second then slow down for the buffer to catch up.

The fastest we could get the Nikon Coolpix S4150 to start up and take a focused picture was 3.5 seconds. The actual start up time isn't that bad but if you press the shutter release button to focus and shoot before the camera is ready, it won't do anything.

Nikon Coolpix S4150 Nikon Coolpix S4150
Side Front

To enter the playback menu, press the bottom button on the back of the S4150. The most recent picture you took will be displayed on the screen and you'll see a menu arrow at the bottom. To the right is a tab with a star on it. Here you can give your pictures star ratings to prioritise them and make them easier to find when you're looking for them on your computer using ViewNX. You can also view your favourite pictures by pressing the playback button again. We really like the idea of the auto sort mode in the same menu. It divides the pictures up depending on the mode you were in when you took the picture.

Erasing pictures on the Nikon Coolpix S4150 isn't an easy feat. The pictures scroll along nicely for you to look at them and deleting one or all is an easy enough thing to do. Erasing selected pictures can be difficult though. You have to scroll through the pictures by swiping the pen or your finger along the screen - much the same way you view pictures on a smart phone. To delete selected pictures simply tap the one you wish to delete and a small tick will appear in the top left corner. However, should you create any type of movement on the screen with the pen or your finger when selecting the picture, the camera assumes you wish to move onto the next picture. It took us 5 minutes to delete 55 pictures.

The documentation included in the Nikon Coolpix S4150 box includes the basics needed for getting you going. All the in-depth information is found on the user manual that's on the included CD. Another CD holds the ViewNX 2 software which is Nikon's tagging and basic editing program. You certainly don't need to install it, but if you don't have anything like it, it can make life easier. You also get the appropriate chargers which connect to the USB cable to reduce cables and allow charging from a computer.

There's also a USB cable for linking directly to a television, however the cables on the opposing end are analogue so you lose the digital video quality straight away. Also, there's only a white audio cable meaning the sound will be mono. Considering Nikon are pushing the video capability with stereo sound, they don't give you the option to see it out of the box.

It seems bad to end on a negative point, especially as the Nikon Coolpix S4150 is a nice little camera. There's plenty going for it features-wise so don't write it off until we've got through the image quality test.

Image Quality

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

When we took our time with the Nikon Coolpix S4150 we were happy enough with what we got but if we were simply snapping, the results were more hit and miss. Low ISO is satisfying but not great. At full magnification, we found that there's still a degree of detail loss and even at ISO 80 we could see signs of salt and pepper noise creeping in to low key areas.

The macro mode is poor at 10cm. Other digital compact cameras at a similar specification are closing to at least 5cm. By contrast it makes the subject look tiny on the Nikon screen. We do like how the S4150 records colours. The sensor records colour accurately and the processor does a great job of boosting them slightly without over-saturating them. What we also liked was the scene modes option of adjusting the image using the slider on the right. For example, when we chose the foliage setting, we could manipulate the saturation to ultra vivid (which bordered on garish) to black & white and several in between. We liked using the step down from the most saturated and also the partially desaturated effect.


As we said earlier, even at low ISO, we can detect some noise in the form of black dots on darker surfaces. Edge definition is ok but could be better. Interestingly, this doesn't change at all through to ISO 400 where there's a massive shift. It's as though the noise reduction software has kept everything in check but finally buckled at ISO 400. Green blobs appear in dark areas and the pictures take on a slight cast to them.

By ISO 800, these green blobs of colour have changed to blue and purple and they start to creep in to mid-tones. At ISO 1600, the colour invasion is more defined and yellow colours start to show in lighter areas as well. By ISO 3200, the whole picture is awash with purple colour. All dark areas have been consumed while the mids and lights are trying to maintain elbow room but having a lot of trouble. This problem adds a strong colour cast to the final shot.

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 Nikon Coolpix S4150's 5x zoom lens offers a fairly versatile focal range, as demonstrated by the examples below.



File Quality

The Nikon Coolpix S4150 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.

14M High (5.58Mb) (100% Crop) 14M Normal (3.15Mb) (100% Crop)


We're happy enough with how sharp the focusing on the Nikon Coolpix S4150 was but running the pictures through a standard sharpen in Adobe Photoshop improved them a bit more.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations

The difference between an ED lens and a standard lens can be seen in typical examples such as the chromatic aberration test. Nikon don't fit the S4150 with any ED lens elements and it shows, with harsh purple and blue lights.

Example 1 (100% Crop)


The actual close focusing on the Nikon Coolpix S4150 is poor compared to other equal models at only 10cms but the results yielded are at least sharp. There's a mild amount of drop off towards the edges of the frame but it's to be expected.

Macro Shot

100% Crop


There are five flash modes on the Nikon Coolpix S4150. They are auto, red-eye auto, flash off, flash on and slow sync. We only noticed the mildest amount of red-eye at full magnification in the shot without but this wouldn't affect normal viewing. The red-eye reduction managed to eradicate that without any problems.

Without the flash on, there's a mild amount of vignetting in the corners at wide-angle but this gets worse with the flash in use. Zooming in to full telephoto helps but this isn't always a realistic option.

Forced Off - Wide Angle (26mm)

Forced On - Wide Angle (26mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

Forced Off - Telephoto (130mm)

Forced On - Telephoto (130mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

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


On (100% Crop)

Auto/Red-eye Reduction

Auto/Red-eye Reduction (100% Crop)


There's no particular night shot unless the Nikon Coolpix S4150 uses the flash so we plumped for the auto mode. We selected the white-balance and chose a low ISO to force a long shutter speed of one second. The picture is nicely sharp with no indication of noise caused by heat from neighbouring pixels.

Night Auto

Night Auto (100% Crop)

Sample Images

This is a selection of sample images from the Nikon Coolpix S4150 camera, which were all taken using the 14 megapixel High 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 quality setting of 1280x720 at 30 frames per second. Please note that this 23 second movie is 90.7Mb in size.

Product Images

Nikon Coolpix S4150

Front of the Camera

Nikon Coolpix S4150

Front of the Camera / Lens Extended

Nikon Coolpix S4150

Isometric View

Nikon Coolpix S4150

Isometric View

Nikon Coolpix S4150

Rear of the Camera

Nikon Coolpix S4150

Rear of the Camera / Image Displayed

Nikon Coolpix S4150

Rear of the Camera / Turned On

Nikon Coolpix S4150

Rear of the Camera / Quick Menu

Nikon Coolpix S4150

Rear of the Camera / Setup Menu


Nikon Coolpix S4150

Rear of the Camera / Scene Mode Menu

Nikon Coolpix S4150

Top of the Camera

Nikon Coolpix S4150

Side of the Camera

Nikon Coolpix S4150

Side of the Camera

Nikon Coolpix S4150

Front of the Camera


The Nikon Coolpix S4150 is a camera that has to be placed into context. With this being a new release, it's easy to fall into the trap of thinking that it's going to offer a lot for a relatively cheap price. But what Nikon have released here is predominantly a happy snappy camera that looks nice and is easy to use. Couple that with the convenience of a touch-screen and you have a camera that a lot of people will be interested in.

What we have to look at more critically, though, is the actual image quality. Sure, the type of person that would buy the Nikon Coolpix S4150 probably won't be interested in the dynamic range or the ISO settings being accurate, but ask a happy snapper what they look for in a camera and they all say the same thing: “I just want it to take good pictures.” And that's where we'd hesitate to recommend the S4150. As we mentioned earlier, if all the different elements that make up a picture are perfect, the camera can take good photographs. However, in real life situations with complex lighting, low light or if you just need to be fast, the S4150 simply can't keep up or deliver the goods. We also don't think many people will use the pen to operate the touch-screen, but without it, the LCD screen is difficult to use.

If you're looking for a digital compact camera that works well in all situations without having to put too much thought into it, then you may want to skip the Nikon Coolpix S4150 and look at spending a little bit more to get an upgraded model such as the S6150.

3 stars

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

Review Roundup

Reviews of the Nikon Coolpix S4150 from around the web. »

Released in August, the Nikon Coolpix S4150 is a mid priced compact in the Coolpix range, with a 3 inch, 460k-dot touch control LCD screen, 14 megapixel CCD image sensor and NIKKOR wide-angle 5x zoom lens.
Read the full review » »

For anyone after a cheap and cheerful snapper, this is one to consider, but take a look at the Coolpix S6150 before deciding what to buy where a small amount extra buys you a better camera.
Read the full review » »

Nikon’s Coolpix S4150 is a stylishly svelte snapper that plays host to a neat wide zoom lens, 3-inch touch screen and is replete with Nikon’s latest snapping technology. We put it through its full What Digital Camera test to see how it performs.
Read the full review » »

The Nikon Coolpix S4150 is a compact digital camera with a 5x optical zoom lens, 14 megapixel sensor and 3 inch touch screen. Daniel Bell reviews.
Read the full review »


Effective pixels 14.0 million
Image sensor 1/2.3-in. type CCD; total pixels: approx. 14.48 million
Lens 5x zoom NIKKOR; 4.6-23.0 mm (35mm [135] format picture angle: 26-130 mm); f/3.2-6.5; Digital zoom: up to 4x (35 mm [135] format picture angle: Approx. 520 mm)
Focus range
(from lens)
50 cm (1 ft 8 in.) to infinity (∞), Macro close-up mode: 10 cm (4.0 in.) to infinity (∞)
Monitor 7.5 cm (3-in.), approx. 460k-dot, wide-viewing angle TFT LCD with touch screen control and anti-reflection coating
Storage media Internal memory (approx. 20 MB), SD/SDHC/SDXC memory card*1
Image size (pixels) 14M (High) [4320 x 3240?], 14M [4320 x 3240], 8M [3264 x 2448], 5M [2592 x 1944], 3M [2048 x 1536], PC [1024 x 768], VGA [640 x 480], 16:9 [4224 x 2376]
Vibration Reduction (VR) Electronic VR
ISO sensitivity ISO 80, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, Auto (auto gain ISO 80-1600), Fixed range auto (ISO 80-400, 80-800)
Interface Hi-Speed USB
Power sources Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL19 (supplied), Charging AC Adapter EH-69P (supplied), AC Adapter EH-62G (optional), Battery Charger MH-66 (optional)
Battery life*2 Approx. 160 shots with EN-EL19 battery
(W x H x D)
Approx. 95.0 x 56.8 x 19.9 mm (3.8 x 2.3 x 0.8 in.) excluding projections*3
Weight Approx. 128 g (4.6 oz) with battery and SD memory card*3
Supplied accessories*4 Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL19, Charging AC Adapter EH-69P, USB Cable UC-E6, Audio Video Cable EG-CP14, Stylus, Strap, ViewNX 2 CD
Optional accessories AC Adapter EH-62G, Battery Charger MH-66

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