Touch-screen trifecta: Nikon Coolpix S60 launched

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The Nikon Coolpix S60 adds a unique new offering to the company’s lineup of premium pocket cameras. Boasting an elegantly simple minimalist design, the 10 megapixel, 5x zoom S60 sports Nikon’s first touch-screen camera interface.

Nikon Coolpix S60

The S60 updates Nikon’s ultra-thin wave body design seen in the Coolpix S50/S51/S52 models. Even more stylistically impressive, however, is the new touch-screen model’s stark back panel.

Nikon Coolpix S60

Equipped with physical buttons for power and shutter only, the rest of the S60’s functions are controlled directly on the camera’s 3.5-inch LCD through an icon-based graphical user interface.

“Seamless integration” is a touchstone for the new touch-screen model, with Nikon touting the benefits of several carefully considered shooting mode options that make maximum use of the S60’s unique interface. A customizable home screen with large icons makes fingertip menu navigation on the S60 both clear and inviting.

In shooting mode, a simple tap of the screen engages the S60’s Portrait One-Touch Zoom function, which uses face detection technology to automatically zoom in and properly frame a tap-selected subject. A new AF tracking function seems equally straightforward: tap an area of the frame, and the S60 will lock focus on the selected object or area – even if the shot is recomposed. It’s a system similar to what we’ve seen on some other touch-screen point-and-shoots, but it remains one of the most useful and innovative implementations of touch technology in our view.

Touch interface integration extends to playback mode as well. Using a fingertip or the S60’s included stylus, users can append notes or drawings to images; the Coolpix then saves the marked up file as a copy, leaving the original untouched.

As noted, the S60 sports a 5x periscope-style Nikkor lens with Vibration Reduction image stabilization. Other basic photographic technologies found in the S60 include Nikon’s EXPEED image processing concept and high-sensitivity shooting to ISO 3200.

The S60 is one of the first cameras to earn Nikon’s new Auto Scene Selector. Using the camera’s evaluative metering system, the Auto Scene Selector automatically matches shooting conditions to the best possible settings preset from among a list of options. Likewise, the S60 gets Nikon’s new Blink Warning system, which detects closed eyes in portraits and pops up an appropriate warning message.

On the connections front, the S60 accepts SD/SDHC memory, and an HDMI out facilitates external picture viewing and slide show playback in high definition.

The Coolpix S60 will be available for purchase next month at a suggested retail price of $349.95.

Detailed specifications for the latest Nikon cameras have not been provided yet. We’ll update this story as information is made available to us.

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