Nikon’s newest pocket picture rocket is the Nikon Coolpix S620. The S620 is the S630’s little brother, but the differences between the two are minimal. The S620 is an auto exposure only point-and-shoot digicam with a 2.7 inch High Resolution/Wide-Viewing angle LCD, a very good 4x NIKKOR wide-angle (28mm equivalent) zoom.
The camera design mavens at Nikon clearly don’t believe the megapixel wars are over – the S620 generates gargantuan 12 megapixel images, but it’s small enough (2.1×3.5×0.9 inches) to drop in a shirt pocket. The S620 has all the bells and whistles users have come to expect from today’s popular point-and-shoot digicams – like VR (Vibration Reduction) Image Stabilization, face priority AF, smile and blink detection, motion detection, subject tracking, D-Lighting, and Scene Auto Selector (the camera determines what type of picture is being taken and automatically selects the appropriate scene mode). The S620 also provides a high sensitivity setting of ISO 6400.
In the early days of the digital imaging revolution Nikon’s digicams often looked like something out of a Star Trek movie, but stylistically the S620 looks like just about every other ultra-compact digicam out there right now. The S620 is available in a plethora of hip colors including silver, black, purple and pink (my test unit was pink). The camera is very nicely constructed, comfortable to hold (although it lacks any sort of handgrip) and very easy to use.
The menu system is user friendly and easily navigated. All controls are clearly marked and reasonably placed (for right-handed shooters). Focusing speed and response times are impressively quick and shutter lag is noticeably shorter than average. Images are sharp and well exposed and colors are bright and vibrant without being garish, but noise levels (especially above ISO 400) and chromatic aberration (color fringing) are higher than average.
The S620 has a couple of shortcomings and it’s probably not a good choice for those who like to shoot in low/dim light – this camera (like most of its contemporaries) seems to do better in bright outdoor lighting. The S620 provides about the same balance of dependably good pictures with little user input and dead simple ease of use as many of today’s popular auto-exposure only digicams, but it’s smaller, lighter, and cheaper than many of them and sports a true wide-angle zoom. The S620 should appeal to casual photographers looking for a stylish ultracompact digicam and hikers/bikers/backpackers/travelers who want lots of photographic power in a small lightweight package.
We’ll have our full review of the Nikon Coolpix S620 up very soon.