Expert Review of Nikon Coolpix S6300 Point & Shoot Digital Camera Black
Booming after A490/495, Nikon Coolpix S6300 was launched in January, 2011. It is a point and shoot, 10MP sensor, 3.3x optical zoom camera having a 2.5 inch LCD display. With few features, friendly handling and easy usage; this compact cam can be more vividly used for occasional photography that requires an average excellence at a decent rate. Powered by AA batteries, it has a VGA 640x480 pixels video shooting quality and many utility features such as smart auto mode, 13 scene recognitions, versatile timers, face detector, good control on ISO sensitivity, white balance, my color during exposures, sun detection and ability to adjust automatically according to varying light conditions. Available in 3 colors: silver, black, red; it has provisions for SDHC, SDXC card slots. Blur reduction mode, four types of flash and a four way control pad are also available in this cam. Before looking in the details, you must have an idea of usage that you are going to make of the cam because availability of other models such as Canon PowerShot A1200, Sony CyberShot, Nikon COOLPIX L24, etc. with many additional and advanced features may grab your needs. But in case you don’t want to hike your budget up, A800 can serve as perfect.
Design and Build Quality
Similar to the preceding Canon models, Canon PowerShot A800 is also a strong and sturdy digi cam but lacks a little in smart looks if compared. The traditional wedge shape with firm and secure grip is accompanied by a slightly bulging front panel for ease to fingers. It has a small sized bezel and the AF illuminator located to the opposite of flash needs to be taken care of from being smashed by fingers. Instead of square buttons as on A490/A495, it has round buttons which are more catchy and easy to use. There’s a 4 way control pad for navigating menus, one touch activation of flash, self-timer, exposure compensation and macro focusing. It is surrounded by two buttons: one that toggles through all the available options of the screen and the other which is used to activate the func menu. Above it, lays a playback button and a zoom rocker.
Its top panel is clear and clustered only with a lozenge shaped power button and a shutter release. The zoom controls are located on the rear panel while the bottom contains battery and memory card compartments. Besides them, is a tripod bush which does not allows changing of battery while the cam is mounted. USB connections can be made from the lower right part of the body design but to connect it to the TV, an AVC-DC300 cable needs to be purchased since it is not accompanied in the box. Canon PowerShot A800 enjoys Canon’s smart flash system and a built in flash having 3m range at a wide angle lens setting. Thus, fill in shadow details during daylight, bright illumination for subjects, 4 flash modes: auto, forced on, off, slow synchro; AF illumination LED; automatic red eye detection, elimination and correction; pose good flash abilities of this model.
Focus and Face Detection
Canon PowerShot A800 has quick responsiveness to both, individuals or scenes as the main subject. It uses a default Face AiAf system to detect, track, set focus and expose according to the faces in the main frame. Thus working with two AF modes, its A490 having 5 AF areas is fast and reliable both in spotting faces as well as detecting edges when there are no individuals involved in the picture. For more sharp point and focus, there is a center AF and focus lock that can be enabled by pressing the right control button or when the shutter is pressed half way down. This gives more access while choosing one of the AF region sizes.
Justifying its price rate, A800 takes about two seconds to get ready to shoot as soon as it is switched on. It has got a 3.3x optical zoom lens, ranging between 6.6-21.6mm having an equivalent of 37 mm to 122mm. This offers a subtle closeness to the subjects of your shoot. The full zoom range is divided into five discrete steps that can be set by nudging a rocker. It is a good option for those looking forward to short zoom range which is less time consuming and less noisy while changing from full zoom to maximum telephoto. But those who want even faster speeds and high zooming have to switch on to other high budget cams available. During video recording, instead of 3x optical zoom, one can use a 4x digital zoom but its quality then degrades to a considerable extent.
An important aspect to be kept in mind before opting this cam is, what use one has to make out of it. Because, the lack of image stabilization and apt wide angle in A800, inhibits the images to get clear details of panoramic landscapes, extremities of interiors, group shots and also gives poor results during low light photography. Though, it may not be an issue of concern for users generally shooting in good light or clicking individuals. There’s a blur reduction scene mode which takes care of camera shakes by setting high ISO sensitivities and fast shutter speed in accordance to the motion detected. However, the 2M images with 1600x1200 pixels may not seem to be of the quality required. This mode automatically selects the best settings required for the shoot, prior to its surroundings and don’t pain the novice shooters to bother about it.
Lens and Image Stabilization
The Nikon coolpix S6300’s Nikkor-branded 10x optical zoom offers a range from a 25mm-equivalent wide angle to a 250mm-equivalent telephoto, along with the 4x of digital zoom. This camera helps to keep images as blur free as possible with lens-shift vibration reduction feature that rectify the effect of camera shake while clicking stills or shooting movies. This camera features ED glass for sharper images straight from the camera and Vibration Reduction technology to keep shaky movement as still as possible.
Screen and Menus
Canon PowerShot A800 has got a 2.5 inch LCD screen that sounds a bit smaller but is perfectly adequate synchronizing with its price range. It displays bright colored images with 115 thousand pixels. To have a clear image view, it requires a straight on look because of its narrow angle else the image gets dark when looked from the sides. The Func menu covers all the basic operations such as ISO sensitivity, white balance, image size, picture quality, color combinations, continuous shoot and metering mode. All this is accessible by just pressing the central button on the control tab. A special Hints and Tips option explains all the functions of Canon’s A series. This menu quickly overlays the image display by arranging all the options at the bottom and the right side of the screen.
The screen arrangement is basically divided under two tabs: one for shooting settings and the other for camera settings. Both of these are actually the least used by the cam user. AF mode, digital zoom, flash, display overlay come under shooting settings while formatting, date and time, power saving etc. come under the latter category. A shooting mode having 3:2 guides and grid lines, playback mode with detailed overlays and standard choices, exposure information and histogram etc. give highlights to the menu arrangement of Canon PowerShot A800.
Canon PowerShot A800 gets powered by two AA batteries which are able of capturing about 300 shots and is almost double of Canon’s previous A series models. They are replaceable and if NB-3AH NiMH is used in place of them, the number of shots can even rise upto 500. Though advantageous, but the size, weight, environmental danger and slow flash recycling of AA alkaline may need your concern. Behind the battery slot, there is also a provision of SD (HC, XC) inlets as well.
Its exposure system runs using Digic III processor and is basically divided into three modes. The auto mode; identifies the type of scene whether landscape, portrait, include faces or not etc. and sets itself automatically by displaying the best required icon at the top of the screen. This makes it convenient for the user to select the scene mode. In case if smart auto system fails in identification, it sets to default auto exposure. The program mode is used to set ISO sensitivity, white balance, color recognition, metering mode, continuous shooting, image size etc.
Absence of sunset and smile recognition is compensated by 13 scene modes including kids and pets, super vivid, poster effect etc. having image resolution of 1600x1200 pixels with good ISO sensitivity ranges. A Face self timer scene mode detects the new face entry in the frame and shoots up to 10 frames. There are also many other timer options that can be customized to about 30 seconds.
Video mode enables it to shoot at around 30 frames per second with a VGA resolution of 640x480p. Saved in AVI using motion JPEG codec, a VGA movie of about half an hour or max 1 hour can be stored on a 4GB card. Though, lack of image stabilization creates poor quality but fast responses to sun, low light and changing illuminations satisfy to an extent. It also has a continuous shooting mode which captures 10MP images at 0.8fps.
With ISO sensitivity ranging from 100-1600, clear still images are captured its 10MP sensor with a maximum size of 3648x2736 pixels. They are stored in JPEG formats. The normal and fine compressions produce 3MB images having print ability of about 12x9 inches.
It is a low budget point and shoot package giving fair snap quality, white balance and ISO sensitivities. Though none of the USP is very unique or lavishing but considering the price, it is a smart choice with all Canon’s basic features, AA batteries, and appreciable real life performance and less noisy.
Slow shooting performance, 3x optical zoom, low resolution LCD, lack of image stabilization, electronic vibration reduction system etc demanding features are missing in this model because of the cheap price rate.