Expert Review of Nikon Coolpix S4150 Point & Shoot Digital Camera Black
Released in August 2011, Nikon Coolpix S4150 is a compact camera that sports three inches wide, 460,000dot LCD touch screen at the rear of the body, a 14megapixel CCD image sensor coupled with NIKKOR wide-angle zoom lens up to 5x. Currently it is off sale in India. The imaging device offers three different shooting modes namely, Scene, Auto, and Smart portrait. Under Scene mode, you can pick from among twenty modes including macro, portrait, pet mode (that turns shutter noise mute), museum mode (works with shutter noise/flash deactivated) and firework mode. You can also pick smart scene mode where camera will tune itself to the best of settings for a given shot. The camera uses five different flash modes depending on the mode you are using involving red eye reduction/fill flash. The smart portrait mode offers two things, releasing the shutter when the subject smiles and offering blink detection.
S4150 does not offer manual mode, this could have been the reason of it being discontinued. Yet with the camera, you can change other aspects like the ISO sensitivity from 80 to 3200, the exposure compensation, and white balance. You can also create your own white balance. Also, retouching, editing and resizing is available on the camera. These features help users that do not possess software for photo editing nor are much experienced about how to use them. The features provided in the camera editing like adding frames, cartoon stickers, are likely to be used less. Video can be recorded in 720p HD (format 1280x720), VGA (640x480), and QVGA (320x240). There is a provision of zooming in while shooting a video, but that is all the power you have while shooting, touch screen options are absent when you record video. The best format to shoot with is 720p.
Design and Build Quality
Nikon Coolpix S4150 is a lightweight camera weighing 128grams and compact as well with 3.7inches of its longest edge. Overall, the camera feels solid and durable when held once. The touch screen covers majority of the rear, rest of the space is occupied by five buttons namely, scene selection, play back, and video record. The shutter and zoom lie on the top edge. The rest of the functions can only be found via touch screen. The screen resolution is bright, though under the influence of bright sunlight, framing shots may suffer. At times, the screen may not respond well and you would have to use force to get it done.
The S4150 is entirely made of metal and the touch screen lets you control shooting via touch shutter. If you are not getting along with this, you can use the touch AF/AE/subject tracking. The device also has the feature of wind noise reduction available in it. The files can be written to SD/SDXC/SDHC and there is 20MB of internal memory. The camera owns one of the most versatile face detection features. You are offered auto or smart portrait mode. S4150 can detect 12 faces and will focus one closest to the lens that goes for the auto mode, for smart portrait mode works with the maximum of three faces and focuses on the one closest to center of the frame.
Focus and Face Detection
Via touch screen, you can pick any focus point, set it, review and edit in playback mode. The on camera editing lets you retouch the images and add soft focus. The corrected focus and exposure over the touched item is attained automatically. There is a subject tracking AF, which keeps the camera focused over the selected subject. Overall, the focusing is quick. The minimum focusing distance is 10cm, the distance where the Macro mode can get. AF and manual focusing modes are the two basic modes and video with 720p resolution and subject tracking AF can be recorded. During shooting in daylight peak hours or dark lit conditions, the camera will not be able to take nice pictures without tripod and flash. As far as the face detection is concerned, there are two modes namely, auto and smart portrait. The auto mode detects up to 12 faces and locks focus on the one closest to the lens, the smart portrait mode works on three faces at the maximum, focuses on the closest to the centre of the frame in Nikon Coolpix S4150.
Lens and Image Stabilization
Nikon Coolpix S4150 features NIKKOR wide-angle zoom lens. You can zoom up to 5x. The lens provides a focal length range of 26-130mm wherein, you can shoot wide vistas and close up shots as well. The lens is suitably sharp, for macro shots you can get closer only by 10cm. The device has VR (Vibration Reduction) feature that involves boost sensitivity, motion detection, reduced device shake and is backed by Nikon BSS (Best Shot Selector). The BSS feature picks the sharpest of 10 sequential images taken and present it on the screen. VR, generally speaking, is of Lens-shift type, with high ISO (3200) wherein, you can reduce the risk of faded images under low light or fast moving subjects’ situation. The lens aperture range is f3.2 – f6.5.
Screen and Menus
The camera has a touch-screen 3inches wide, a LCD of 460k dot that you can use to frame your shots. There are two menus on-screen, one on the side and other at the bottom. On the side, you have four options, macro, flash, self-timer, and exposure. At the bottom you have AF, ISO, white-balance, video, video AF, wind noise reduction in Nikon Coolpix S4150.
Li-Ion EN-EL19 rechargeable battery pack provides sufficient power for 150 shots that depends upon the use of flash and how long the video recording stays on, as such, only modest battery performance can be achieved. As per the CIPA rating of 190, it is still low. If you want an entire day for shooting, consider carrying a spare. The continuous shoot of stills can be attained with 0.9fps. Nikon Coolpix S4150 can be charged directly from a computer via USB cable provided.
Video can be recorded in 720p HD along with stereo sound. Optical zoom can also be availed during the shoot. You can also view your videos over a HDTV, since the camera has an in-built HDMI connector. The video format is of 1280 x 720pixels and the frame rate at which it is shot is 30fps. Panning can also be done while recording, the output will be acceptable in Nikon Coolpix S4150.
The Nikon Coolpix S4150 comes with a 14MP CCD image sensor. This 1/2.3-inch RGB sensor is placed at the back of 5x optical zoom. The EXPEED C2 processor helps in quick imaging process. The pixel width is 4320 and height is 3240 for the stills. Size of the sensor is 6.16mm (width) x 4.62mm (height). The aspect ratio is 4:3/16:9.
• On camera resizing and retouching is available on Nikon Coolpix S4150
• The camera is durable and lightweight
• The rendered image quality is good
• Scene modes are vivid and many
• The compactness is appreciable
• It has been priced reasonably
• Color reproduction is also fine
• Touch screen is responsive when active
• Some of the menu options are uneasy to comprehend, if you have not opened the manual
• Smile shutter does work but intermittently
• For macro shots, minimum focus distance is 10cm
• CIPA rating for battery is quite low
• From ISO 400 upwards the noise becomes significant
• Some pics may develop smoothened detail or have shadows filled in Nikon Coolpix S4150