Nikon Coolpix S550 Review

Ultra Compact

Picture
Nikon Coolpix S550 Ease of Use 9
Features 8
Movie Mode 8
Build Quality8
Colours 8
Photo Quality 7
Style 8
Lowlight 8
Macro 6
Value for Money 8
10 Megapixels
5x Zoom
2.5 inch LCD Screen
88 x 51 x 22mm
120g

Overview

The Nikon Coolpix S550 is a 10 megapixel digital camera with a 5x optical zoom lens. It is small enough to slip into most pockets.

Why Buy The Nikon Coolpix S550

Nikon Coolpix S550 If you like the idea of a smaller camera, but would like a bit more zoom power than many pocket compacts offer then the Coolpix S550 may fit the bill. It also scores well for ease of use and comes with many of the more popular features such as image stabilisation and face detection for sharper portraits.

Main Features

Megapixels:
Zoom:
LCD Screen:
Dimensions:
Weight:

10
5x
2.5 inches
88 x 51 x 22mm
120g

HD Movies:
Manual Controls:
Batteries:
Memory Cards:

No
No
Lithium ion
SD/SDHC

Image Quality - See Sample Images Below

Outdoor Scenic Shots in Good Light

One point I like about Nikon cameras is the combination of colour and brightness. This helps to produce vibrant photos as seem in my first test shot. There is a small amount of detail lost from the boats towards the right of the picture. This problem is only likely to become an issue if you plan to make larger prints.

This is another decent effort. Again I like the colours in the shot. Owing to the distant scene this is a tough shot for focusing, but the Coolpix S550 handles the scene well enough.

With the zoom lens fully utilized focusing is not as sharp as in the first two photos. The photo is noticeably softer as you move towards the edges. This is particularly evident in the trees and bushes on the right hand side of the photo.

For my outdoor scenic shots I have an issue with the focusing options offered by Nikon digital cameras. Most other cameras give you an option to select multi point focusing. This means the camera will select a large number of points right across the photo and check they are in focus. My belief is that this helps to produce landscape type shots where focusing is strong for the majority of the photo. Nikon do not normally provide this option and instead use an automatic focusing mode where the camera decides the areas it wishes to focus on.

In this shot focusing again drifts, especially on the right hand side. This may or may not be a problem for you. It will depend on the type of photographs you plan to take and whether or not you plan to make prints larger than the standard snapshot sizes.

Portraits

Working closer to the subject all the focusing issues have gone away. There is plenty of colour in the skin tones and this suggests the Coolpix S550 is able to producing pleasing family snapshots for your album.

This is a good effort. It possible could have been a shade brighter, but on the whole the photo works well.

With flash the photo is not surprisingly a lot brighter. Despite the flash being used the Coolpix S550 has managed to retain plenty of colour in the photo.

Macro, Colours and Noise

I have no problems with the quality of the macro photo, but you need to take into account that the camera can only focus once it is 10cm away from the subject. This may not sound a lot, but it means that most close up shots will need to be cropped to achieve a true close in effect.

As mentioned earlier I like the colours produced by the Coolpix S550. In fact when it comes to reproducing colours in photos Nikon is one of my favourite brands.

The Coolpix S550 handles noise quite well at ISO 400. It is only in more shady areas where the problem becomes apparent. As ISO 1600 noise can be seen throughout the photo.

Summary

If I could have achieved better focusing results with some of more distant test shots I would have been very happy with the Coolpix S550.

See sample images link arrow

Style

The Coolpix S550 is a straightforward, no nonsense digital camera. It is a pretty standard rectangular shape. It is available in blue, black and plumb.

Shutter Lag Times

Shutter Lag Rating Slow

Single Shot
Five Shots
Single Shot With Flash
Five Shots With Flash
Turn on Time

0.59 seconds
9.83 seconds
1.72 seconds
12.2 seconds
2.62 seconds


Shutter Lag Table link arrow

Ease of Use

Ease of Use - Easy Very Good. As with Nikon digital cameras in general it should not take you long to find your way around. The menu design is simple and clear.

Points I Like

Ease of use

Where it Could Improve

Soft focusing on scenic shots

Verdict

The Nikon Coolpix S550 is an effective, pocket sized digital camera. It takes bright, colourful photos. I would like to have seen greater sharpness in my scenic test shots, but aside from that I have no real complaints. The Coolpix S550 also scores well for ease of use.

Product Shots

Front View

Nikon Coolpix S550 Front View

Back View

Nikon Coolpix S550 Back View

Top View

Nikon Coolpix S550 Top View

Sample Menus

menu scene menu

movie menu playback

Top Rated Cameras in this Category

Sony DSC TX55 Rating 85/100

If the touch screen was perfect then the Sony Cybershot DSC TX55 would be a truly outstanding digital camera. As it is picture quality is hard to beat for such a small camera. Style and design is very impressive and the features on offer give you more or less everything you are likely to want in a point and shoot pocket camera and a bit more on top. It can be very hard to find the perfect touch screen so if touch control is important to you then this camera is well worth a place on your short list.

Read Review: Sony DSC TX55 Review

Panasonic DMC FX90 Rating 79/100

Panasonic offers some excellent digital cameras and can normally be replied upon to produce crystal clear photos. As with previous reviews of cameras in the FX part of the range the Panasonic Lumix DMC FX90 just does not match up to those usual high standards. Focusing is softer than it should be and you are likely to see the results of this even with relatively small sized prints.

Read Review: Panasonic DMC FX90 Review

Panasonic DMC FX70 Rating 79/100

The Panasonic Lumix DMC FX70 does not quite match up to the picture quality I am used to seeing from Panasonic digital cameras. It does have a lot of other plus points, but if you are looking for true clarity in your photos there are better pocket cameras around.

Read Review: Panasonic DMC FX70 Review

Related Pages

Nikon Coolpix S550 Review Nikon Coolpix S550 Specification Nikon Coolpix S550 Sample Images Nikon Coolpix S550 Features Nikon Digital Cameras

Review Date

July 2008

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