Nikon Coolpix S6600 Review

October 22, 2013 | Matt Grayson | Rating star Rating star Rating star Rating star


The Nikon Coolpix S6600 is a back-illuminated 16 megapixel digital compact camera which also boasts an articulated screen, wi-fi capability, 12x optical zoom and FullHD video. As part of the Style range, the Nikon Coolpix S6600's curvy body looks good and is packed with technology. But will it cope in our stringent test? Costing around £199, the Nikon Coolpix S6600 is available in silver, red, black, purple and white.

Ease of Use

It's always nice to see the designers of a camera start from scratch when updating a model. The Nikon Coolpix S6600 is one such example because it looks completely different to the S6500. The new model has a larger, curvier lens bezel – undoubtedly to incorporate the 12x optical zoom inside the thin chassis.  The rest of the camera has been rounded off to carry on the feel which flows around the corners for a fluid, organic look to it.

Because of the movable screen on the back, a few of the buttons have been placed on the top plate in order to retain a reasonable size to them. The Shooting and Playback buttons (used for flicking between taking pictures and replaying them) sit centrally with the sunken power button situated next to the shutter release. On the back and considering the restricted space, a large space has been reserved as a thumb rest.  The rest of the buttons are crammed in underneath, which is a bit unusual. The space for resting your thumb could be halved.

The majority of the space is occupied by the articulating screen. It twists all around so is perfect for self portraits or low/high angle photography. It's great to see a twisting screen on a compact camera, they're so few and far between, but extremely useful.

Nikon Coolpix S6600 Nikon Coolpix S6600
Front Rear

The Nikon Coolpix S6600 is part of a growing number of digital compact cameras that have built-in wi-fi capability. The wi-fi menu is in the set-up section of the Main menu. It can't upload images directly onto the internet, but it can transfer images to your smart phone for you to then upload from there. You can also add a GPS location to your pictures if you're abroad and wish to show friends on Google Maps. There's also an option to use the smart device as a remote control for taking pictures. You have to download the Nikon Wireless Mobile Utility from iTunes or the Google Play store.

The sensor on the Nikon Coolpix S6600 is a back-illuminated type sensor, which – in theory – reacts better in low light. The reason is can do this is all down to the way the sensor is constructed. Traditional sensors have circuitry around each pixel and this in turn blocks light getting onto the photo site. Back illuminated sensors have the circuitry placed on the back of the sensor. Because it's then out of the way, more light gets onto the pixels and increases the performance of the sensor. The name stems from the appearance of the sensor as it sits in the camera. Because the circuitry is at the back, it looks as though it's on backwards and that the light is hitting the rear of what would be a traditional sensor.

There are a number of continuous shooting modes on the S6600. The Continuous Hi mode takes seven frames in just over half a second. Taking reflexes into consideration and any shutter lag, it could probably take around ten frames in a second if it wasn't capped at seven.

Nikon Coolpix S6600 Nikon Coolpix S6600
Front Top

Start up time seems pretty standard at 2.5sec. We've seen a spate of cameras covering a faster time recently and we thought maybe it showed an increase in technology, but it could've just been a coincidence. Saying that, pressing the power off button seems to put a long winded close down of the systems into operation. It must take another two seconds to close the lens, which doesn't sound much, but when you're stood watching it, it's like a case of a watched kettle never boiling.

There are a number of other continuous or burst modes within the menu system such as the pre-shooting cache. Two high speed continuous shooting modes (120fps and 60fps) as well as the BSS (Best Shot Selector) and Multi-Shot 16.

Playback is operated using the button with the arrow icon on the top plate of the camera. It can switch on the playback regardless of whether the camera is switched on or not. If the camera is off, you just need to hold the button down for a few seconds so that it doesn't think you're knocking it while carrying the camera. The display is a standard amount of basic information. It shows simple shooting features, such as the ISO, frame number, flash status, battery level etc. You can change this in the set up part of the Main menu. There's an option to hide it all, show it constantly (the auto mode will lose the info after a few seconds), Add a video frame to it or add a rule of thirds grid.

Nikon Coolpix S6600 Nikon Coolpix S6600
Memory Card Slot Battery Compartment

Pressing ok while the information is on screen will bring up the Quick effects menu and there's options for all types of vintage or retro effects, such as Vivid, High key, Toy camera, multiple cross processing options, cross screen, miniature effect and cyanotype. The latter adds a blue cast that is based on old cyanotype style photography which is the foundation of blue prints. You can access the Quick menu in the Playback menu as well. There's also a D-Lighting option – which is a kind of HDR feature. It gently adds more detail to shadow areas while capping burn out in highlights. You can add red-eye correction and if you like your portraits, there's the Glamour retouch to add a bit of pizzazz to your face.

Upon opening the Nikon Coolpix S6600's box, we were faced with a thick looking booklet which is actually a Quick Start guide and is in multiple languages, so you don't have to read the whole thing. There's also a CD with Nikon ViewNX 2 which is Nikon's editing and tagging suite for your photographs. The camera comes with a lithium ion battery, USB cable and a charging unit. The unit comes in two pieces; the first accepts the USB cable which doubles as a charging cable and it has a two pronged mains connector. This can alternatively be plugged into the second unit which adapts it to the UK connector. There's also a wrist strap to keep it safe while in between photographs.

Image Quality


Low ISO images from the Nikon Coolpix S6600 look nice and smooth with no evident noise even at full magnification. To digress, they're a little over sharpened, but aside from that, there's good rendition and smooth primary colours. ISO 200 also looks good, although we can't help think that it's more down to noise reduction software than the performance of the back-illuminated sensor technology.

Salt & pepper noise starts to show through around ISO 400 but it's not detrimental to the photographs and at normal viewing distance, it's completely unnoticeable.  Edges start to break down at ISO 800 with primary colours starting to become muted and darker areas beginning to blend any detail as noise reduction software ups the ante.

What we have noticed is the distinct lack of colour noise in these images. We can cope with black & white noise because it's manageable to our eyes. There's is a little in the mid-tones at this setting, but it's not too bad. At ISO 3200, colours are starting to merge, detail begins to get lost in the “painted” look of noise reduction and white speckles begin to appear in darker areas.

The S6600 has an ISO hi setting. It's equivalent to ISO 6400, but won't have been regulated by the International Standards Organisation (ISO). Therefore, they can't label it ISO 6400. All but the strongest colour has been washed away by noise reduction, coloured blobs are aggressively trying to invade lighter areas and edge definition is all but a fleeting memory. At normal viewing distance, the pictures look as though they have a slight white noise cast to them.

ISO 125 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

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ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

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ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

iso1600.jpg iso3200.jpg

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)


Focal Range

The focal length of the Nikon Coolpix S6600 in 35mm terms is 25-300mm. These samples below illustrate the wide-angle and zoom extremes of the lens.



focal_range1.jpg focal_range2.jpg

File Quality

There are two resolution options on the Nikon Coolpix S6600 for the top setting. You can use 16 megapixel or opt for the 16 megapixel *. The star represents a higher quality image by compressing less of the JPEG and losing less information as it saves to the card. The resultant files are larger with more detailed. The large file we recorded with 7.3Mb in size, while the 16 megapixel image without the * icon next to it was 3.85Mb in our test.

Fine (7.30Mb) (100% Crop) Normal (3.85Mb) (100% Crop)
quality_high.jpg quality_normal.jpg


In our tests, we noticed that the shot of the eye had a lot of detail missing and that was taken at highest resolution on the lowest ISO setting. Sharpening certainly helps with increasing definition of thin lines, such as eyelashes, but if there's a degree of noise in the picture, it gets exacerbated.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

sharpen1.jpg sharpen1a.jpg

Chromatic Aberrations

Chromatic aberration is present on the Nikon Coolpix S6600. It's normally seen at the extreme edges of the frame, but we did find evidence of it at more central locations if the contrast was hard enough.

Chromatic Aberrations 1 (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations 2 (100% Crop)

chromatic1.jpg chromatic2.jpg

Chromatic Aberrations 3 (100% Crop)



The Nikon Coolpix S6600 has a close-up focusing capability of two centimetres. We would say centre sharpness covers around 65-75% of the frame which is pretty good.


Macro (100% Crop)

macro1.jpg macro1a.jpg


At wide-angle, there's noticeable vignetting without flash and adding flash doesn't get rid of it. At full zoom, all vignetting disappears and using flash stabilises the ambient light while complimenting it.

Forced Off - Wide Angle (25mm)

Forced On - Wide Angle (25mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

Forced Off - Telephoto (300mm)

Forced On - Telephoto (300mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

The Nikon Coolpix S6600 has a standard red-eye reduction option in the flash menu found on the back of the camera. We didn't get red-eye anyway, while using the flash normally, so the use of the red-eye reduction feature is moot in our test.


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

Auto/Red-eye Reduction

Auto/Red-eye Reduction (100% Crop)

flash_redeye.jpg flash_redeye1.jpg


When taking night pictures, you can either select auto and control the ISO, or choose the night scene mode. If you select the latter, you can choose between hand-held and tripod supported, Hand-held selects a faster ISO to freeze the image, while the tripod option will use ISO 125. Therefore, the results from the test were roughly similar.

It does look as though the auto mode has a cap at 1 second exposures. The Night scene mode managed a slightly longer exposure with all the rest of the settings identical. Because of a 1.6sec exposure of a 1sec a little more information is available in darker areas.

Night Auto

Night Auto (100% Crop)

night_auto.jpg night_auto_crop.jpg

Night Scene

Night Scene (100% Crop)

night_scene.jpg night_scene_crop.jpg

Sample Images

This is a selection of sample images from the Nikon Coolpix S6600 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 highest quality setting of 1920x1080 pixels at 25 frames per second. Please note that this 46 second movie is 91.1Mb in size.

Product Images

Nikon Coolpix S6600

Front of the Nikon Coolpix S6600

Nikon Coolpix S6600

Front of the Nikon Coolpix S6600 / Lens Extended

Nikon Coolpix S6600

Side of the Nikon Coolpix S6600

Nikon Coolpix S6600

Side of the Nikon Coolpix S6600

Nikon Coolpix S6600

Rear of the Nikon Coolpix S6600

Nikon Coolpix S6600

Rear of the Nikon Coolpix S6600 / Image Displayed

Nikon Coolpix S6600

Rear of the Nikon Coolpix S6600 / Camera Menu

Nikon Coolpix S6600

Rear of the Nikon Coolpix S6600/ Movie Menu

Nikon Coolpix S6600

Rear of the Nikon Coolpix S6600 / Settings Menu


Nikon Coolpix S6600

Rear of the Nikon Coolpix S6600 / Playback Menu

Nikon Coolpix S6600

Rear of the Nikon Coolpix S6600 / Shooting Mode Menu

Nikon Coolpix S6600

Rear of the Nikon Coolpix S6600 / Scene Mode Menu

Nikon Coolpix S6600

Rear of the Nikon Coolpix S6600 / Quick Effects Menu

Nikon Coolpix S6600

Rear of the Nikon Coolpix S6600 / Tilting LCD Screen

Nikon Coolpix S6600

Top of the Nikon Coolpix S6600

Nikon Coolpix S6600

Bottom of the Nikon Coolpix S6600

Nikon Coolpix S6600

Side of the Nikon Coolpix S6600

Nikon Coolpix S6600

Side of the Nikon Coolpix S6600

Nikon Coolpix S6600

Front of the Nikon Coolpix S6600

Nikon Coolpix S6600

Memory Card Slot

Nikon Coolpix S6600

Battery Compartment


Using the Nikon Coolpix S6600 with its swivel screen is refreshing after the usual run of standard cameras. Let's not beat about the bush, the technology on the S6600 isn't new by any means. It has wi-fi and Eye-fi upload support and HD video, but this is all existing tech. But then it's a sub £200 camera, so what do you expect, really?

Actually, the fact that you have a swivel screen on the Nikon Coolpix S6600 is news enough to suggest that the technology is starting to slide down the ranks, so that more people can enjoy taking those self-portraits ready for upload onto social media.

For a camera sitting slightly higher than the base level, we expect a little effort to be put in the build quality. We're happy enough with the materials used on the Nikon Coolpix S6600. The battery door has no lock, but the times that cameras at this price point do these days is sporadic. It does have a plate of metal on the inside to reinforce it, but there's a degree of play in the hinge that we're unsure about. The screen is nice and bright and strong enough on the arm.

Image quality from the Nikon Coolpix S6600 is a mixed bag. The results are better than we thought they'd be, but we expected more detail for a high resolution camera. We also expected it to be slightly better in the noise performance because of the back-illuminated sensor. Primary colours are punchy, but not over bearing.

We always like to see a camera as cheap as possible and would always like to see it drop a bit. We think the Nikon Coolpix S6600 would be better priced around the £150-175 mark and in time it will most likely drop to this.

If you're an Instagrammer that wants to take self portraits without the inconvenience of a mirror or you want to evenly illuminate your meal for posting online, then the Nikon Coolpix S6600 will deal with that. It even has a selection of retro filters installed.

4 stars

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

Main Rivals

Listed below are some of the rivals of the Nikon Coolpix S6600.

Canon IXUS 255 HS

The Canon IXUS 255 HS (also known as the PowerShot ELPH 330 HS) is a small and stylish new point-and-shoot compact camera. The IXUS 255 HS' stand-out features include a 12 megapixel back-illuminated CMOS sensor, 10x wide-angle zoom lens, full 1080p HD movie recording, 3 inch LCD screen and built-in wi-fi connectivity. Read our in-depth Canon IXUS 255 HS review to find out if this tiny camera is worth the £199.99 / $229.99 price-tag.

Canon IXUS 510 HS

The new Canon IXUS 510 HS is a stylish and well-appointed compact camera. Also known as the ELPH 530 HS, the Canon IXUS 510 HS offers a wide-angle 12x zoom, 10 megapixel CMOS sensor, 3.2 inch LCD touchscreen, built-in wi-fi and full 1080p HD movies. Read our in-depth Canon IXUS 510 HS review complete with full-size sample images and video.

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...

Pentax Optio S1

The Optio S1 is the first model in a stylish new range of compact cameras from Pentax. In addition to its dashing good looks, the Pentax S1 also offers 14 megapixels, a 5x zoom lens, 2.7 inch screen and 720p movies. Available for just £119.99 / $199.95, check out our Pentax Optio S1 review to find out if it's all style and no substance...

Ricoh CX6

The CX6 is the latest travel-zoom camera from Ricoh based around a 10.7x 28-300mm lens. New features for the 2012 model include an even faster hybrid auto-focus system, aperture and shutter priority modes, higher-resolution LCD screen and a 3fps burst mode with auto-focus. Read our expert Ricoh CX6 review to find out if it can keep up with the travel-zoom competition.

Samsung DV300F

The new Samsung DV300F compact camera brings together an innovative 1.5 inch LCD on the front, useful for composing self-portraits, and a wide range of wi-fi connectivity options. The 16 megapixel Samsung PL120 also features a 25mm wide-angle 5x zoom lens, 720p HD video, and a multitude of special effects modes, all for just £179.99 / $199.99. Read our in-depth Samsung DV300F review.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX300

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX300 is an affordable travel-zoom compact camera. A 20x zoom lens, 18 megapixel Exmor R CMOS sensor, 10fps continuous shooting, built-in wi-fi, Full HD movie recording and 500 shot battery life are all on offer. Priced at around £250 / $300, read our Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX300 review to find out if it lives up to its full promise.

Review Roundup

Reviews of the Nikon Coolpix S6600 from around the web. »

The Nikon Coolpix S6600 was announced in August 2013 and is a compact camera with a vari-angle screen - ideal for taking perfectly framed self-portraits as well as shooting high up or low down. It also has a 12x optical zoom lens and 16 megapixel sensor. It is available for around £190.00
Read the full review »


Number of effective pixels 16.0 million
Image sensor 1/2.3-in. type CMOS; approx. 16.79 million total pixels
Lens NIKKOR lens with 12x optical zoom
Focal length 4.5-54.0 mm (angle of view equivalent to that of 25-300 mm lens in 35mm [135] format)
f/-number f/3.3-6.3
Lens construction 9 elements in 7 groups (1 ED lens element)
Digital zoom magnification Up to 4x (angle of view equivalent to that of approx. 1200 mm lens in 35mm [135] format)
Vibration reduction Lens shift
Motion blur reduction Motion detection (still pictures)
Autofocus (AF) Contrast-detect AF
Focus range [W]: Approx. 50 cm (1 ft 8 in.) to infinity, [T]: Approx. 1.5m (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)
Focus-area selection Face priority, manual with 99 focus areas, center, subject tracking, target finding AF
Monitor 6.7 cm (2.7-in.), approx. 460k-dot, TFT LCD with anti-reflection coating and 5-level brightness adjustment
Frame coverage (shooting mode) Approx. 97% horizontal and 97% vertical (compared to actual picture)
Frame coverage (playback mode) Approx. 99% horizontal and 99% vertical (compared to actual picture)
Media Internal memory (approx. 25 MB), SD/SDHC/SDXC memory card
File system DCF, Exif 2.3, and DPOF compliant
File formats Still pictures: JPEG; Sound files (Voice Memo): WAV; Movies: MOV (Video: H.264/MPEG-4 AVC, Audio: LPCM stereo)
Image size (pixels) 16M (High) [4608 x 3456(fine)]; 16M [4608 x 3456]; 8M [3264 x 2448]; 4M [2272 x 1704]; 2M [1600 x 1200]; VGA [640 x 480]; 16:9 [4608 x 2592]; 1:1 [3456 x 3456]
Shooting Modes Scene auto selector, Scene mode (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, Easy panorama, Pet portrait), Special effects, Smart portrait, Auto mode
Continuous Shooting Single (default setting), Continuous H (the frame rate for continuous shooting is about 10 fps and the maximum number of continuous shots is about 7), Continuous L (the frame rate for continuous shooting is about 2 fps and the maximum number of continuous shots is about 6), Pre-shooting cache (the frame rate for continuous shooting is about 10 fps and the maximum number of continuous shots is 5, including a maximum of two frames captured in the pre-shooting cache), Continuous H:120 fps (the frame rate for continuous shooting is about 120 fps and the maximum number of continuous shots is 50), Continuous H:60 fps (the frame rate for continuous shooting is about 60 fps and the maximum number of continuous shots is 25), BSS (Best Shot Selector), Multi-shot 16
Movie 1080(fine)/30p (default setting): 1920 x 1080(High)/16:9, 1080(fine)/25p (default setting): 1920 x 1080(High)/16:9, 1080/30p: 1920 x 1080/16:9, 1080/25p: 1920 x 1080/16:9, 1080/60i: 1920 x 1080/16:9, 1080/50i: 1920 x 1080/16:9, 720/30p: 1280 x 720/16:9, 720/25p: 1280 x 720/16:9, iFrame 720/30p: 1280 x 720/16:9, iFrame 720/25p: 1280 x 720/16:9, 480/30p: 640 x 480/4:3, 480/25p: 640 x 480/4:3, HS 480/4x: 640 x 480/4:3, HS 720/2x: 1280 x 720/16:9, HS 1080/0.5x: 1920 x 1080/16:9
ISO sensitivity (Standard output sensitivity) ISO 125-1600; ISO 3200, Hi 1 (equivalent to ISO 6400) (available when using Auto mode)
Exposure metering mode 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 Mechanical and CMOS electronic shutter
Shutter speed 1/2000-1 s; 1/4000 s (maximum speed during high-speed continuous shooting); 4 s (Fireworks show scene mode)
Aperture Electronically-controlled ND filter (-2 AV) selection
Aperture range 2 steps (f/3.3 and f/6.6 [W])
Self-timer Can be selected from 10 s and 2 s
Flash range (approx.) (ISO sensitivity: Auto) [W]: 0.5-3.0 m (1 ft 8 in. - 9 ft 10 in.); [T]: 1.5-1.8 m (5 ft - 5 ft 10 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
HDMI output Can be selected from Auto, 480p, 720p, and 1080i
I/O terminal Audio/video (A/V) output; digital I/O (USB); HDMI micro connector (Type D) (HDMI output)
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. 3 h (when using Charging AC Adapter EH-70P and when no charge remains)
Battery life¹ Still pictures: Approx. 150 shots when using EN-EL19; Movie recording (actual battery life for recording)²: Approx. 25 min when using EN-EL19
Tripod socket 1/4-in. (ISO 1222)
Dimensions (W x H x D) Approx. 96.9 x 57.1 x 27.2 mm (3.9 x 2.3 x 1.1 in.) (excluding projections)
Weight Approx. 165 g (5.9 oz) (including battery and SD memory card)
Temperature 0°C - 40°C (32°F - 104°F)
Humidity 85% or less (no condensation)
Supplied accessories Camera Strap, Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL19 (with battery case), Charging AC Adapter EH-70P, USB Cable UC-E6, ViewNX 2 CD, Reference Manual CD
Optional accessories Battery Charger MH-66, AC Adapter EH-62G, Audio Video Cable EG-CP16
Wi-Fi (Wireless LAN) standards IEEE 802.11b/g/n (standard wireless LAN protocol)
Wi-Fi (Wireless LAN) communications protocols IEEE 802.11b: DBPSK/DQPSK/CCK; IEEE 802.11g: OFDM; IEEE 802.11n: OFDM
Wi-Fi (Wireless LAN) range (line of sight) Approx. 10 m (11 yd)
Wi-Fi (Wireless LAN) operating frequency 2412-2462 MHz (1-11 channels)
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

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