The Nikon Coolpix S3000 is a slimline pocket sized digital camera. Apart from its small size the biggest attraction is likely to be its ease of use. This is also one of the cheapest pocket cameras available from one of the big name brands. In my view a few compromises have been made when it comes to picture quality in order to keep the price down. So your decision as to whether to buy or not may well revolve around whether or not you want to pay more for some extra picture quality.
The Coolpix S3000 handles well. It is a neat little camera and I like the simple design. Nikon have incorporated a wide angle lens. Apart from that the emphasis is more of simplicity than features, although you do get access to image stabilisation.
55.9 x 94.3 x 19mm
Image Quality - See Sample Images Below
Outdoor Scenic Shots in Good Light
On the whole focusing in sunny conditions is very good indeed. Focusing is sharp as you move out towards the edges of the shots too. I also like the contrast in colours and the brightness of the shots.
Sun glare is handled fairly well, but I did notice some flare and purple fringing in places.
The lens operates effectively enough at both wide angle and tele photo extremes. Focusing remains good when these settings are used. I did detect a hint of darkness creeping into the corners of shots taken with the lens zoomed all the way out.
The outdoor portrait is the best of my three portrait test shots. The photo is sharp and the colours have a natural look to them.
I had a problem when using flash. Despite rerunning the test I could not get the Coolpix S3000 to focus sharply. None of the other cameras I was testing at the same time encountered this problem. I can only say the result is disappointing. This leads me to wonder how effective the camera is when flash is required.
It is not often that the shot taken without flash produces a better result indoors than the one taken with it. This is the case here. In fact I am impressed at the way the Coolpix S3000 is able to produce a sharp photo in the conditions.
Macro, Colours and Noise
I struggled with my macro test shot. According to the specification the Coolpix S3000 should be able to focus from 8cm from the subject. I found it difficult to get a reliable focus for my test at less than 12 cm. Even then the quality was below what I was expecting.
As with other Nikon digital cameras it is not so much the colours in the photos that I like, but the brightness. Nikon seems to be able to inject added brightness that other manufacturers find it difficult to do. This helps to give the photos an extra boost.
Noise tends to creep into shady areas of my test photos a bit quicker than I have seen with other cameras I have reviewed recently. Skies can also have a slightly grainy look when you start to increase print sizes.
The Coolpix S3000 is a bit hit and miss in places. It is easy to overcritical. If all you are looking for is small snapshots then a lot of the problems are unlikely to be an issue, although I would still be concerned about focusing with flash, macro shots and the darker corners.
You should have no problem slipping the Coolpix S3000 into a pocket. It is under 20mm wide and there are not many smaller cameras available. It comes in plum, black, silver, blue, green and orange.
Shutter Lag Times
Single Shot With Flash
Five Shots With Flash
Turn on Time
Ease of Use
Nikon produces some of the simplest digital cameras around. The Coolpix S3000 is no exception. There are a limited number of features available and this helps to make the menu system very easy to use. The screens are also very easy to read.
Points I Like
Ease of use - 3 inch LCD screen - High Definition movies - colours - shutter lag times
Where it Could Improve
Macro mode - shutter lag with flash
You could also consider the Canon IXUS 105. The IXUS 105 is a little larger, but in my view has a slight edge when it comes to picture quality.
Top Rated Cameras in this Category
Nikon Coolpix S9300 Rating 86/100
For a camera that is small enough to take anywhere the Nikon Coolpix S9300 has a lot of features packed into it. If you are planning to take a holiday GPS tracking will tell you where you were when a picture was taken. The length of the zoom lens also gives you plenty of scope when it comes to picture opportunities. Although there is plenty of completion in this category the picture quality on offer here combined with the features makes this camera very attractive indeed. Recommended.
Read Review: Nikon Coolpix S9300 Review
Canon Powershot SX260 HS Rating 86/100
The Canon Powershot SX260 HS is one of the very best digital cameras in this category. In fact if you are happy to miss out on features such as 3D photography and 360 degree panoramas it is very hard to beat. It has a great set of features packed into its relatively compact body size and picture quality helps to make it stand out from the competition. Although it is one of the more expensive cameras in this field it still offers good value for money.
Read Review: Canon Powershot SX260 HS Review
Panasonic DMC SZ1 Rating 84/100
If you are looking for a simple, pocket camera that gives you some extra zoom and takes high quality snapshots the Panasonic Lumix DMC SZ1 is a very good choice. Compared to other cameras with similar features available at around the same price this camera has the edge when it comes to picture quality. It takes sharp, colourful photos and offers excellent value for money. Recommended.
Read Review: Panasonic DMC SZ1 Review