The Nikon Coolpix S3300 is an entry level pocket camera. It has 16 megapixels and a 6x zoom lens. It can also shoot HD movie clips. The Coolpix S3300 scores highly for ease of use. It is available in silver, black, pink, purple and brown.
Compared with other digital cameras at this price point the Coolpix S3300 has the following:
The big attractions of the Coolpix S3300 are its ease of use, small size and low price tag.
Megapixels and Zoom
Both the 16 megapixels and the 6x zoom lens give you a little extra power over a lot of cameras in this category. The lens has a minimum focal length equivalent to 26mm in 35mm format. This gives you flexibility to photograph wide scenes as well as being able to zoom in on subjects.
The Coolpix S3300 is compatible with SD, SDHC and SDXC memory cards. There is also a small amount of memory (42mb) built into the camera. This is only enough for storing a few emergency shots or giving the camera a quick test.
Power comes from a lithium ion rechargeable battery. Nikon estimates you should be able to take up to 210 shots before the battery needs to be charged.
You can record High Definition movies. Your movie clips have a maximum resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels and a top recording speed of 30 frames per second. Not all digital cameras at this price level are capable of recording in HD.
The LCD screen is 2.7 inches. This is a standard size for this type of camera.
The pre programmed scene modes available are Back Light, Beach, Close Up, Copy, Dusk/Dawn, Fireworks Show, Food, Landscape, Museum, Night Landscape, Night Portrait, Panorama Assist, Party/Indoor, Pet Portrait, Portrait, Snow, Sports and Sunset.
For close up shots the Coolpix S3300 can focus from 5cm away from your subject.
Picture Quality Summary
Picture quality is about standard for a cheaper pocket camera. The Coolpix S3300 can handle most snapshot opportunities providing you avoid really challenging lighting situations where flash cannot be used. Some of the shots lacked some of the clarity I found from some similar digital cameras such as the Panasonic Lumix DMC FS40, but any imperfections in picture quality you are likely to see will be minor until you start increasing print size.
Outdoor Scenic Shot 1
The Coolpix S3300 copes well with the amount of contrast in the shot. It manages to show good levels of detail in both the lighter and darker areas of the photo. It finds it harder to produce sharp focus in areas of similar colour such as the branches of the trees and the brickwork on the building. These areas could do with looking a bit crisper.
Outdoor Scenic Shot 2
Compared with other cameras in this class the Coolpix S3300 performs well in this test. This is one of the tougher tests, especially for the cheaper cameras. Therefore if you are looking for a digital camera to photograph lots of sweeping landscapes or groups of people this camera could be a good choice.
Outdoor Scenic Shot 3
Looking at a large print this picture takes on a bit of a hazy look. This is not likely to trouble you a great deal unless you want to make a larger sized prints. If you do that you are likely to see the resolution is just lacking a little.
The colours and brightness produced in this shot works well. As with other test shots picture quality is good enough for snapshot sized prints without quite matching the clarity offered by the best cameras in this category.
Moving in closer removes improves overall picture quality. Bringing your subject closer helps the Coolpix S3300 to produce a sharp shot without any haze at all. The colours look natural too.
Indoor Portrait With Flash
The Coolpix S3300 produces a fairly strong burst of light from the flash unit. This certainly helps to produce a very bright picture, but there is also a danger that if you get too close to your subject the burst of light will look harsh and wash colour from the shot.
Indoor Portrait Without Flash
Despite the indoor lighting being good the shot is not quite in sharp focus. Although you can produce a print that looks sharp in these conditions you are likely to need to revert to flash for more or less all indoor shots.
This is another shot where the colour and brightness packed into the picture is impressive. Again this is a decent effort for this level of camera although if you see yourself taking lots of close up shots other cameras have an edge.
Nikon digital cameras are very strong when it comes to the combination of brightness and colour that they produce. As mentioned above this is something that can help to lift your photos and it helps to give them a more vibrant look.
Noise levels are controlled well. You are only likely to see noise when you are struggling with poor light or there are shady areas in your scene.
Panasonic DMC S5 Rating 84/100
If you are looking for a cheap pocket sized digital camera it is difficult to find one offering better picture quality than the Panasonic Lumix DMC S5. It is such a small camera and very easy to use. It is almost the ideal snapshot camera if you do not want to spend a great deal of money.
Read Review: Panasonic DMC S5 Review
Panasonic DMC S3 Rating 84/100
The Panasonic Lumix DMC S3 is an excellent value for money pocket camera. It is very hard to beat when compared alongside its direct rivals. Picture quality and features have an edge over many of its competitors while the rapid response times are also a big plus point. If you are looking for a cheaper compact digital camera then you can’t go far wrong with the Lumix DMC S3.
Read Review: Panasonic DMC S3 Review
Canon Powershot A2400 IS Rating 83/100
The Canon Powershot A2400 IS gives you a clear choice between a camera that has the edge when it comes to picture quality and ones with the latest bells and whistles. Picture quality is likely to be hard to beat at this price point.
Read Review: Canon Powershot A2400 IS Review
Review Date: April 2012
The picture quality produced by the Nikon Coolpix S3300 is not quite as impressive as some of its closest rivals, but it is difficult to beat when it comes to ease of use. So if you are looking for an inexpensive digital camera that is very simple and straightforward this could well be the camera for you. Picture quality is perfectly acceptable if all you need is snapshot quality and the longer than standard zoom is a useful little bonus.
Ease of Use:
Value for Money:
57.8 x 94.8 x 19.5mm
SD, SDHC, SDXC
Single Shot With Flash:
Five Shots With Flash:
Turn on Time:
The Coolpix S3300 feels even smaller in the hand than it really is. The one problem I encountered with the design of the camera is the positioning of the focus illuminator lamp. This lamp projects a beam of light that makes it easier for the camera to focus in lowlight. Owing to its position in the top corner it is very easy to block the light with a finger.
Unlike the focus illuminator lamp the flash unit is positioned well away from stray fingers.
LCD Screen Quality
LCD screen quality has improved in recent times. This screen is easy to read in most situations, although direct sunlight will cause problems.
Turn on Time and Shutter Delay
Shutter delay times are slower than the best cameras in this category. A single photo was timed at 0.5 seconds and five at 7.79 seconds. Turning on the flash unit causes the camera to slow down further. With flash the times were 1.61 seconds for a single shot and 23.83 seconds for five photos.
This is another area where it is now quite difficult to differentiate between a lot of digital cameras. Although the Coolpix S3300 is a lightweight camera the build quality still seems to be good.
The Coolpix S3300 has a standard layout of buttons and controls. On the top of the camera is a on / off button and a ring for zooming in and out. The shutter button sits inside the zoom ring.
Towards the top on the back of the camera is a button to control shooting movies. Moving down are buttons to access the shooting mode and reviewing photos. After these comes the main control section. This has controls for setting flash, exposure compensation, turning on macro mode and activating the self timer. In the centre of this area is a button to confirm a setting. At the bottom are buttons to access the menu system and delete photos.