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Nikon Coolpix S210

Thin is in
(by Conrad H. Blickenstorfer)

The wholesale switch to digital cameras has made something possible that was never possible before: ultra-thin cameras. Without the need to accommodate a standard roll of film, a digital camera can be made much thinner. The cost of designing ever thinner cameras is the only limit, and one that Nikon was willing to tackle with the new Coolpix S210 camera, introduced in January of 2008. Casio has generally been setting the standard with its "Card" series of ultra-slim cameras with a footprint roughly that of a credit card, but cameras like this new Coolpix are moving in.

What do you get?

The Coolpix S210 is certainly a good-looking camera. It has nicely crafted aluminum body and comes in four colors: plum, graphite black, cool blue and brished bronze. It measures 3.6 x 2.2 inches and is just 0.7 inches thick (or, rather, thin). Without battery it weighs 3.5 ounces, next to nothing.

The tech specs are standard for this class: the S210 is a 8-megapixel camera with a 3X optical zoom, and a 2.5-inch high resolution (230k pixel) LCD with anti-reflective coating so you can see it in sunlight. The display also ha a 170 degree viewing angle both horizontally and vertically. This means you can look at it from any angle without color shifts or the picture disappearing.

Anti-shake and image stabilization are rapidly become standard features even in lower cost digital cameras, but it's not always easy to figure out what type of stabilization a camera has. The S210 has what Nikon calls "Electronic VR Image Stabilization" which we here at generally call digital blur reduction. The camera increases sensitivity and decreases shutter time to take sharper and clearer pictures in low light conditions or when shooting a moving subject (the S210's sensitivity goes as high as ISO 2000). The S210 also uses Nikon's EXPEED image processing for noise reduction and optimal signal-to-noise ratio. Like all camera manufacturers, Nikon has its bag of tricks and features that are available pretty much across the latest Coolpix lineup. The company calls them Nikon In-Camera Innovations, and the S210 benefits from:

  • In-Camera Red-Eye Fix
  • D-Lighting, and
  • Face Priority AF.
In-Camera Red-Eye Fix automatically detects and corrects the dreaded red eye effect which often happens when you use the flash. D-Lighting compensates for excessive backlight or insufficient flash illumination in images in playback mode,and Nikon's Face-Priority auto focus automatically finds and focuses on up to a dozen people's faces within a frame, trying to come up with optimal exposure of all faces in a portrait shot.

Operating the Coolpix S210 is simple. This wasn't always the case with Olympus cameras in the past, but the company has come a long way. The S210 uses the industry-standard hardware controls layout with a dual-duty navigation disc surrounded by four clearly marked buttons. The menu displays and icons are improved and simplified, making operation self-explanatory.

The S210 is a point & shooter with 15 scene modes. They are Face-Priority AF, Portrait, Landscape, Sports, Night Portrait, Party/Indoor, Beach/Snow, Sunset, Dusk/Dawn, Night Landscape, Close Up, Museum, Fireworks Show, Copy, Back Light, and Panorama Assist.


The Coolpix S210 is a elegant, small and handy 8-megapixel camera that fits anywhere, yet has a large and razor-sharp 2.5-inch LCD that remains quite readable outdoors thanks to an anti-reflection coating. The design is clean and uncluttered, and the four available colors are quite attractive.

The S210 is a point & shooter without manual control. It offers 15 scene modes and also includes a slew of Nikon's in-camera goodies and technologies. The S210 is priced right at US$179 and is definitely a welcome addition to the Coolpix lineup.

We like:

  • Hi-res 2.5 inch screen wide-angle display with anti-reflective coating
  • Elegant, slender Aluminum body
  • Digital image stabilization
  • Face recognition mode
  • Full speed VGA movies with sound
Not so much:
  • No optical zoom during movies
  • Still a bit thicker than Casio and others
Specifications Nikon Coolpix S210
Status Added 01/2008
Camera Type Ultra-Slim
Size 3.6 x 2.2 x 0.7
Weight (oz.) 3.5 without battery and card
Effective Pixels 8.0 mp
CCD Type 1/2.5-inch
Max pixel size 3264 x 2448
File formats JPEG, WAV, AVI
Compression fine, normal, basic
Movie recording (best) til full, with audio
Max movie pixels 640 x 480 with sound at 30fps til full (digital zoom only)
Voice recording til ful + voice clips up to 20 seconds
Lens 6 elements in 5 groups
Focal length 6.3-18.9mm (38-114mm)
Zoom (optical/digital) 3X/4X
Image stabilization Electronic vibration reduction
Aperture f/3.1 - f/5.9
Focus modes Face-Priority AF, Auto and AF-assist illuminator
Focus minimum/macro 1.0 feet, 4 inches
Shutter speed 1/2000 to 1 sec (4 sec om Firework mode)
Sensitivity (ISO) auto;64/100/200/400/800/ 1600/2000
Autofocus system Contrast-detect AF with AF-assist illuminator
Metering unknown
White-balance modes auto/6 presets (manual, daylight, incandescent, fluorescent, cloudy, flash)
Shooting modes 15 modes: Face-Priority AF, Portrait, Landscape, Sports, Night Portrait, Party/Indoor, Beach/Snow, Sunset, Dusk/Dawn, Night Landscape, Close Up, Museum, Fireworks Show, Copy, Back Light, Panorama Assist
Exposure compensation +/-2EV in 1/3 steps
Viewfinder Type none
LCD size 2.5" LCD (230k)
LCD type outdoor viewable, anti-reflection coating, 170 degree viewing angle
LCD construction fixed
Flash type built-in
Flash range unknown
Flash modes 5 (auto, red-eye, off, fill, slow sync)
Camera internal memory 52B
Storage Medium SD Card
Battery type EN-EL10 Li-ion pack
CIPA Battery life (LCD/off) 220 images
List Price US$179.95

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