Pros Big, brigh LCD; good quality 6 megapixel images, amazing macro mode, powerful zoom
Cons Relatively short battery life
Summary There is no doubt that the Coolpix S4 brings innovation and style. It provides an excellent mix of customizability and usability. The swiveling CDD is an excellent touch, and the 10x zoom in such a small package is astounding. Image quality is great in all light settings; I usually use the camera on its default setting (normal quality 6 megapixels), however, for higher-quality images it can be bumped up to a higher-quality 6 megapixel mode. After an extensive search for a good camera in the $300-$400 range, I decided on the Coolpix S4. There are three problems that I saw consistently in reviews of this camera which I will discuss below.
1. The 10x zoom is useless without image stabilization.
- Many reviewers (often ones who haven't actually handled the camera) claim that shaking hands mean that any image taken with the 10x optical zoom will be blurred. I find that I can take images even at 10x with no blurring, even without a tripod.
2. Lack of viewfinder makes taking pictures in bright sunlight difficult.
- LCDs are actually more accurate than the cheap viewfinders on most digital cameras. I find that the LCD on the Coolpix S4 is bright enough on its default setting to be clearly visible, even in direct sunlight.
3. Short battery life
- This is the reason I give the camera a 9 (rather than a 10). Though I can't quote a figure in hours, it seems that the battery life is relatively short. However, since the Coolpix S4 is powered by 2 AA batteries, they are easy to replace. I've also read that battery life is extended significantly if you pop for the $30 rechargable batteries and charger (I haven't tried this, so I can't confirm it).
Pros tthe lens tilt feature, and small size
Cons low light without flash, for get it.
Pros I'm 66 yrs old, the swivel viewfinder works great for low angle shots without having to bend over or squat to get shots of the grandkids. The zoom is excellent, picture quality is satisfactory. Purchased in 1995.
Cons Lost the viewfinder, no image to look at..the swivel mechanism must somehow electronicly disconnected from the body. Sent it to an authorized repair service in 2008. It gave up again. Same problem. No swivel viewfinders for me again.
Summary With the exception already noted, this is an excellent camera for an amateur like me...I'm very disappointed it turned out the way it did.
Pros None. There is nothing I like about this camera.
Cons No image stabilization.
Summary I own or have owned 5 point and shoot digital cameras. Nikon should be embarrassed that they ever put this thing on the market. A 10x optical zoom and no image stabilization. With incredibly slow shutter speed it almost impossible to take a picture without getting a blur warning. The LCD screen is so dim you cannot see it in any day light conditions. It broke almost immediately and I had to send it in for repair. Just plain junk. I literally can't believe that Nikon did this.
Pros Swivel lens makes quick self-photos a breeze; features are nice and easy to use; good photo quality, including night shots if you can keep it still; big LCD screen.
Cons Cheap internal parts involving lens makes this camera an income-maker for the repair shop; lens cap apparatus is cheap and breaks easily; goes through AA batteries (would be better with a rechargeable pack); screen is hard to see in bright daylight.
Summary You can look through the other reviews for pros and cons of this camera's various features and functions. But the bottom line is, Nikon is building these cameras (as well as the next generation Coolpix S10, it appears) with parts that are subpar in quality.
I bought this camera because of its ease of use, the cool swivel lens that allows me and my wife to do self-photos without having to ask a stranger to do so, and the tech specs like 6 MP and great zoom lens. And I fell in love with it after it bounced around Europe with us for two weeks, taking fantastic shots around every corner. I was heartbroken when it developed a lens problem (venetian blind effect) not long after we got back. A trip to the local camera repair store (who had to send it off to Nikon) set us back about $140 and three weeks absence. When we got it back, it worked for about another month or two, then developed ANOTHER lens problem; this time it takes nothing but black photos.
Giving up on this one but still in love with the S4, I decided to search on eBay for used ones, many of which are going for less than another repair would cost. To my dismay, about a third of the ones on eBay are being sold for "parts and repair" as they have lens problems, also! I'm also spotting many of the similarly designed S10s with the same kinds of problems.
This makes me seriously question the quality of Nikon and, in particular, their Coolpix line. I will go with a different manufacturer for my next camera.
By the way, anyone want to buy a lightly used, twice broken Coolpix S4 for "parts and repair"? ;-)