Nikon Coolpix S6200 Review

November 8, 2011 | Mark Goldstein | Rating star Rating star Rating star Rating star


The Nikon Coolpix S6200 is a new travel-zoom camera featuring a 10x zoom lens with a versatile focal range of 25-250mm. Key features of the S6200 include a 16 CCD sensor, 2.7 inch LCD screen, 720p high-definition movies with stereo sound, lens-shift vibration reduction, a range of special effects, 1.2fps burst mode, and advanced Night Landscape and Portrait modes. Available in red, pink, silver, blue and black, the Nikon Coolpix S6200 costs £179.99 / €209.00 / $229.95.

Ease of Use

The Nikon Coolpix S6200 compact camera has a conservative yet still appealing design, with the all-plastic body finished in a glossy black coating that's helpfully rubberised on the front half, aiding your grip on the camera. At 25.4mm thick the S6200 is pretty slim for a camera with a 10x zoom lens, but note that the camera does measure over 60mm deep when the zoom is fully extended. At 160g it's also a light camera, and easily fits in both the palm of your hand or a shirt pocket.

The 10x lens dominates the front of the S6200, offering a versatile focal range of 25-250mm, wide enough for city and landscapes and long enough for close up and personal candids. The lens has a fairly fast maximum aperture of f/3.2 at the wide-angle end but a rather slow f/5.8 at full telephoto. The slim built-in flash positioned to the top-right, looking from the front. An AF assist lamp completes the front of the S6200

The S6200's is pleasingly quick in operation. Start-up time is almost instant, with the camera ready to go in less than a second, and it's also something of a speed demon when it comes to focusing on your subject, with a claimed focusing time of just 0.28 second. In practice the Nikon S6200 is quick to find focus regardless of the lighting conditions or which end of the zoom range you're using. In addition, the subject tracking scene mode successfully detects, tracks and focuses on the main subject, making it easier to capture fast-moving subjects successfully.

Nikon have included their excellent VR (Vibration Reduction) image stabilisation system to help prevent camera-shake, an essential feature nowadays, which is turned on and off in the Setup main menu. In practice the VR system makes a noticeable difference to the sharpness of the images, as shown in the examples on the Image Quality page, but don't expect to get sharp results every time at the longer focal lengths without the use of a suitably fast shutter speed. Thankfully leaving the anti-shake system on didn't reduce the battery-life too much, with the camera managing just under 250 shots using the supplied Lithium-ion rechargeable battery. The S6200 can be charged using the USB socket on a computer or via the main power using the included AC adapter.

Nikon Coolpix S6200 Nikon Coolpix S6200
Front Rear

In addition, there are a range of other functions and modes that also help to prevent camera shake. High ISO light sensitivity up to ISO 3200 at full resolution throughout the range reduces the risk of blurred images, while the Motion Detection option automatically detects and compensates for both camera and subject movement. The Best Shot Selector (BSS) mode automatically selects the sharpest of up to 10 sequential shots.

The Night Portrait mode takes consecutive shots which expose the portrait subject and background separately, then immediately combines the exposures to create a blur-free portrait. The Night Landscape mode combines a series of five consecutive shots taken at a fast shutter speed into a single image with reduced noise, useful when taking handheld shots. The Backlighting mode offers an in-camera high dynamic range (HDR) function, merging several images of the same scene to achieve a single image with a broad range of tonal detail. All of these options and the Vibration Reduction system can be used at the same time if so desired.

There aren't too many external controls and buttons (just 10 in total) on the Coolpix S6200, reflecting the fact that this is a point and shoot camera with no real manual controls. On top of the camera are the left and right stereo sounds mics, small recessed On/Off button, shutter release button and tactile push/pull zoom lever.

On the bottom the S6200 has a memory card slot allowing the use of either SD, SDHC or SDXC cards, and there's also 32MB of internal memory, which can store 7 images at the highest quality level. The memory card slot is shared with the battery compartment. There's also a plastic tripod socket which is inconveniently located in the far-left corner of the camera.

Nikon Coolpix S6200 Nikon Coolpix S6200
Side Front

The rear of the S6200 is quite traditional in design, with all of the controls located to the right of the large LCD screen. The 2.7 inch LCD monitor has a standard resolution of 230k dots, with five levels of brightness, an anti-reflection coating and a fairly wide viewing angle.

To the right of the LCD screen is a handy dedicated button for starting and stopping movie recording. The Nikon Coolpix S6200 can record 720p HD quality video complete with stereo sound. It offers 1280x720, 960x540 and 640x480 pixel movies all at 30 fps and saved in the Quicktime .mov format. An HDMI Mini port allows the S6200 to be easily connected to a HDTV, although no suitable cable is supplied in the box. You can also use the 10x optical zoom lens during recording, complete with the optical vibration reduction system and autofocusing, although the lens is painfully slow in operation, presumably to avoid recording the noise of the zoom mechanism.

The Scene/Camera button on the rear provides access to the various shooting mode. In addition to the default Auto mode, there are 19 scene modes to choose from, including the clever Scene Auto Selector, which automatically recognizes the scene in your picture from 6 presets (Portrait, Landscape, Night Portrait, Night Landscape, Closeup and Backlight) and adjusts the camera settings accordingly. New to the S6200 is the Effects mode, which shoots both still images or movies using a special effect, such as Soft Focus and Nostalgic Sepia. You can also use one of the in-camera filters to enhance your photos after you have taken them, with filters including Cross Screen, Fisheye and Miniature Effect. Alongside the Scene/Camera button is the self-explanatory Playback button.

There's a round navigation wheel with a central OK button on the rear, a nice touch that can be used to scroll through menu settings and pictures, but which doesn't really serve any other purpose. The four corners of the wheel also double up to access the flash, exposure compensation, macro and self-timer settings (starting at 12 o'clock and going clockwise). Below the navigation wheel are the self-explanatory Menu and Delete buttons. Unfortunately there's no quick way to change the ISO speed or other key settings, forcing you to delve repeatedly into the mostly intuitive menu system.

Nikon Coolpix S6200 Nikon Coolpix S6200
Memory Card Slot Battery Compartment

D-Lighting is a long-standing Nikon technology that brightens the shadow areas of an image, and on the S6200 it can be applied to an image after it has been taken. Face-priority Autofocus can detect up to 12 faces in a scene just so long as they're looking directly at the camera, whilst In-Camera Red-Eye Fix automatically processes the picture to remove red-eye. Blink Warning alerts you if someone in the frame had their eyes closed, and the Smile Timer automatically takes the picture when a smile is detected. The Skin softening function magically makes your subject look 10 years younger by smoothing out any perceived imperfections, and the Creative Slider instantly adjusts the brightness, saturation and colour tone of an image.

The standard continuous mode can shoot at 1.2fps at full 16 megapixel resolution, which is a rather average performance for this class of camera. There is also a Multi-shot 16 mode that quickly takes 16 low-resolution photos and arranges them into a single image.

Once you have captured a photo, the Nikon Coolpix S6200 has quite a good range of options when it comes to playing, reviewing and managing your images. You can instantly scroll through the images that you have taken, view thumbnails (up to 16 onscreen at the same time), zoom in and out up to 10x magnification, apply D-Lighting, the Skin Softening feature, 4 different Filter Effects and Quick Retouch (improves the contrast and saturation), set the print order, view a slide show, delete, protect, rotate, hide and copy an image, plus create a smaller version and choose your favourite images.

The Monitor Settings menu option toggles between various views, including showing detailed settings information about each picture, such as the ISO rating and aperture/shutter speed, framelines and no information. Unfortunately there is no histogram available during either composition or playback. If you have never used a digital camera before, or you're upgrading from a more basic model, reading the well-written and easy-to-follow manual before you start is a good idea. Thankfully Nikon have bucked the recent trend of not providing hard-copy manuals by supplying it in printed format.

Image Quality

All of the sample images in this Review were taken using the 16 megapixel Fine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 6Mb.

The Nikon Coolpix S6200 produced images of above average quality during the review period. The 1/2.3 inch, 16 megapixel sensor used in the S6200 produces noise-free images at ISO 160 and 200, with ISO 400 also looking good, although there's some grain at 100% magnification and slight loss of saturation. ISO 800 shows some quite obvious noise, softening of fine detail and further loss of saturation, and ISO 1600 is even noisier, although still OK for small prints and web images. The fastest setting of ISO 3200 seems to have been included just to look good on the list of specifications.

The S6200 handled chromatic aberrations quite well, with some purple fringing effects appearing in high contrast situations. The built-in flash worked well indoors, with no red-eye and good exposure. The night photograph was disappointing, with the maximum shutter speed of 4 seconds limiting what you can achieve after dark, although the effective Night Landscape mode does partially make up for this. The Vibration Reduction system works very well when hand-holding the camera in low-light conditions or when using the telephoto end of the zoom range.

Macro performance is not great, only allowing you to focus as close as 10cms away from the subject. The images were soft straight out of the S6200 and ideally require some further sharpening in an application like Adobe Photoshop, as you can't change the in-camera setting. The various Special Effects offer a variety of creative options, with more available during playback.


There are 7 ISO settings available on the Nikon Coolpix S6200. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting.

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 S6200's 10x zoom lens offers a very versatile focal range, as demonstrated by the examples below.



File Quality

The Nikon Coolpix S6200 has 2 different image quality settings available, with Fine 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 Fine (6.12Mb) (100% Crop) 14M Normal (3.4Mb) (100% Crop)


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 soft at the default sharpening setting and benefit from some further sharpening in a program like Adobe Photoshop. Unfortunately you can't change the in-camera sharpening level.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)


Chromatic Aberrations

The Nikon Coolpix S6200 handled chromatic aberrations fairly well during the review, with some purple fringing present around the edges of objects in certain high-contrast situations, as shown in the examples below.

Example 1 (100% Crop)

Example 2 (100% Crop)


The Nikon Coolpix S6200 offers a Macro setting that allows you to focus on a subject that is 10cm away from the camera when the lens is set to wide-angle. 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


The flash settings on the Nikon Coolpix S6200 are Auto, Auto/Red-eye Reduction, Off, On and Slow Sync./Red-eye Reduction. These shots of a white coloured wall were taken at a distance of 1.5m.

Forced Off - Wide Angle (25mm)

Forced On - Wide Angle (25mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

Forced Off - Telephoto (250mm)

Forced On - Telephoto (250mm)

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)


The Nikon Coolpix S6200's maximum shutter speed is 4 seconds in the Fireworks scene mode, which is not great news if you're seriously interested in night photography. The shot below was taken using a shutter speed of 4 seconds at ISO 80. I've included a 100% crop of the image to show what the quality is like.

Night Shot

Night Shot (100% Crop)

Night Landscape

The Nikon S6200 has a Night Landscape mode that increases the ISO to produce sharper results, although at the expense of greater noise.

Night Landscape

Night Landscape (100% Crop)

Vibration Reduction

The Nikon Coolpix S6200 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.

Shutter Speed / Focal Length

Anti Shake Off (100% Crop)

Anti Shake On (100% Crop)

1/10th sec / 25mm
1/4th sec / 250mm

Special Effects

The new Effects shooting mode offers a variety of creative options, as shown by the examples below.




Nostalgic Sepia

High-contrast Monochrome


High Key

Low Key


Selective Color (Red)


Colour Options

The five Color options provide some degree of customisation over the look of the S6200's pictures, with Standard being the camera's default setting.




Black and White





Sample Images

This is a selection of sample images from the Nikon Coolpix S6200 camera, which were all taken using the 16 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 quality setting of 1280x720 at 30 frames per second. Please note that this 16 second movie is 12.6Mb in size.

Product Images

Nikon Coolpix S6200

Front of the Camera

Nikon Coolpix S6200

Front of the Camera / Lens Extended

Nikon Coolpix S6200

Isometric View

Nikon Coolpix S6200

Isometric View

Nikon Coolpix S6200

Rear of the Camera

Nikon Coolpix S6200

Rear of the Camera / Image Displayed

Nikon Coolpix S6200

Rear of the Camera / Turned On

Nikon Coolpix S6200

Rear of the Camera / Main Menu

Nikon Coolpix S6200

Rear of the Camera / Shooting Modes


Nikon Coolpix S6200

Top of the Camera

Nikon Coolpix S6200

Bottom of the Camera

Nikon Coolpix S6200

Side of the Camera

Nikon Coolpix S6200

Side of the Camera

Nikon Coolpix S6200

Front of the Camera

Nikon Coolpix S6200

Front of the Camera

Nikon Coolpix S6200

Memory Card Slot

Nikon Coolpix S6200

Battery Compartment


The Nikon Coolpix S6200 is a solid if slightly unexciting travel-zoom compact camera that offers enough features and image quality to satisfy the point-and-shoot user without breaking the bank.

The super-slim S6200 gets a longer, more versatile 10x lens for 2011, which captures everything from wide-angle landscapes to close-up and personal candid shots, all without making the overall camera too much bigger or heavier. As with its S8200 big brother, the S6200's image quality is still only just above average, delivering acceptable results in terms of noise from ISO 100-400 and becoming all too apparent at ISO 800, with the faster settings of 1600 and especially 3200 not really worth using.

Stand-out features are few and far between, with the 2.7 inch screen, 720p movies, 1.2fps burst shooting and a range of special effects all being effective but rather run-of-the-mill for this class of camera. The clever Night Landscape and Portrait modes can't make up for the S6200's general lack of pizzazz.

Which leaves us with a small, versatile and easy-to-use point and shoot camera that, while it doens't offer too many headlines features, will be able to handle most of the shooting situations that its users will throw at it. If you want a camera that just gets on the job without too much fuss, then the Nikon Coolpix S6200 is well worth considering.

4 stars

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

Review Roundup

Reviews of the Nikon Coolpix S6200 from around the web. »

Great specs really help the Nikon Coolpix S6200 compact superzoom to stand out from the crowd. The fact that they're married to a keen price and great image quality is the icing on the cake.
Read the full review » »

The S6200 has a 16 megapixel and a 10x optical zoom lens, offering a 35mm equivalent of 25 - 250 mm. There are 18 scene modes as well as Scene Auto Selector. Other features include special effects and filters and smart portrait system with Smile Timer, Skin Softening and in-camera red-eye fix.
Read the full review »


*1 Not compatible with Multi Media Card (MMC)
*2 Based on CIPA Standards for measuring life of batteries
*3 Based on CIPA Guidelines, DCG-005-2009

Effective pixels 16.0 megapixels
Image sensor 1/2.3 type RGB CCD sensor
Lens Optical 10x zoom, NIKKOR lens; Focal length:4.5-45.0 mm (35mm [135] format equivalent to 25-250 mm); Aperture: f/3.2-5.8; Lens construction: 8 elements in 8 groups (1 ED glass element)
Digital zoom Up to 4x (35mm [135] format equivalent to approx. 1000 mm)
Focus range (from lens) Approx. 50 cm (1 ft. 8 in.) to infinity (at wide-angle setting), approx 1.1m (3ft 6 in.) to infinity (at telephone setting), Macro mode: approx. 10 cm (3.9 in.) to infinity (at the widest angle setting)
Vibration Reduction (VR) Lens-shift type (for still images and movies)
ISO sensitivity (Standard output sensitivity) ISO 80, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200 (4608 x 3456), Auto (ISO 8 to 1600), Fixed range auto (ISO 80 to 400, 80 to 800)
LCD monitor 6.7 cm (2.7-in.), approx. 230k-dot, TFT LCD monitor (QVGA), clear color panel, anti-reflection coating, brightness adjustment
Storage media Internal memory (approx. 74 MB), SD/SDHC/SDXC/UHS-I memory card1
Movie 720p: 1280 x 720 (30 fps), iFrame 540: 960 x 540 (30 fps), VGA: 640 x 480 (30 fps)
Interface/Direct print compatibility Hi-Speed USB/PictBridge/mini HDMI
Power sources Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL12 (1050 mAh), AC Adapter EH-62F (option)
Power source Battery: Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL12 (3.7 V, 1050 mAh); Battery performance: Approx. 250 shots (with EN-EL12 )
Number of shots per charge2 (battery life) Approx. 250 frames with EN-EL12
Dimensions (excluding protrusions)(W x H x D) Approx. 93 x 56.7 x 25.4 mm
Weight3 Approx. 160g/ 5.7 oz.
Supplied accessories Camera Strap AN-CP19, Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL12, Charging AC Adapter EH-69P, UC-E6, EG-CP16, ViewNX 2 CD-ROM
Optional Accessories Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL12, Battery Charger MH-65, AC Adapter EH-62F

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