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.
88 x 51 x 22mm
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.
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.
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.
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
Single Shot With Flash
Five Shots With Flash
Turn on Time
Ease of Use
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
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.
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