Nikon has a proud heritage; the camera of choice for generations of photojournalists and war correspondents, the only camera ever identified in the lyrics of a number one popular music hit, and the imaging tool NASA astronauts took to the moon. The Nikon Coolpix S5 is a stylishly thin ultra compact 6 megapixel P&S (point and shoot) digital camera with a large 2.5″ LCD screen and a 3X optical zoom. The eminently pocketable little S5 does some of the things its predecessors were justly famous for remarkably well, however it drops the ball in a couple of important areas.
The 2.5″ LCD screen is sharp and fluid, but it is so shiny that it is actually mirror like – essentially useless in bright outdoor light (and there’s no optical viewfinder). Battery life may be (for some shooters) the S5’s Achilles heel. I spent part of a long afternoon trying to baby the S5’s dying battery, but I only had 81 images saved to my SD card when the EN-EL8 went belly up (well shy of the 210 exposures Nikon claims). On the plus side, the little S5 is amazingly easy to use, colors have real pop, the zoom is amazingly good, image quality is consistently excellent, AF is fast and accurate, and shutter lag is not a problem. Check back here next week for a full review of the S5.