Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W180

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W180 review

Sony's Cyber-shot DSC-W180 is a largely automatic compact digital camera for people who want something that's simple to use and easy to carry in a pocket. It has a 10.3-megapixel CCD sensor, a 2.7in LCD screen, and a 3x zoom lens (35-105mm, 35mm equivalent).

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W180 is 92mm long, 54mm high and 19mm deep. It has a sparse array of controls on its rear (two buttons, a zoom control and a 5-way menu controller), and this is in keeping with what you can do with the camera. That is to say: not much (you can't change the shutter or aperture values yourself).

It does have a Program Auto mode, though, in which you can change the ISO speed and white balance for yourself. But changing settings isn't the point of this camera. It's designed to be a 'no fuss' camera that's easy for anyone to use. The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W180 even has on-screen descriptions for its shooting modes (for example, it will tell you that macro mode is useful for focusing on very close objects).

Camera reviews and digital photography advice

A sliding switch on the rear of the unit, which puts the camera in shooting, playback or video mode, sits just below the zoom buttons. There is plenty of room for your thumb to the left of the switch and this makes the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W180 comfortable to hold in a conventional fashion, and it means you won't be inadvertently pressing any settings buttons.

The menu button sits just below the thumb position. You need to refer to the menu if you want to change the shooting mode. You can select from Auto, Program Auto and from one of seven scene modes.

We used the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W180 in auto mode for most of our tests, as we think this is the way most people will use the camera. In this shooting mode, the camera produced pictures that were vibrant and well detailed.

When scrutinised at the their full resolution, the pictures looked feathered and soft, so you won't want to crop them too close if you decide to edit them on your computer. When viewed at the native resolution of a 22in monitor (1680x1024), for example, the pictures looked very well defined. You'll get well defined prints up to A4 size.

Colours were a little on the rich side, but this isn't an overly bad thing as it made our photos look quite vibrant. The camera struggled a little when taking photos in bright sunlight: it slightly underexposed many of our shots. On a typical day, with some cloud cover, it produced well-balanced colours and brightness.

Blue skies, in particular, came out vibrant and images had plenty of contrast.

For close-ups, the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W180's macro mode is very useful. You can't focus closer than 5cm from your subject as, which is a slight drawback; 5cm is still nice and close and you will end up with a narrow depth of field and a nicely blurred background.

Macro mode produced some well rendered shots, with good clarity.

In low-light conditions the camera will use a slow shutter speed, but the built-in image stabilisation helps. We took relatively clear photos even at a shutter speed of 1/8th of a second. The Program Auto mode allows you to bump up the ISO speed, but not by much - it only goes up to ISO 400. Pictures become more feathered at ISO 400. This is very noticeable when you view your photos at their full size.

Shot-to-shot speed isn't a highlight of the Cyber-shot DSC-W180, as it takes a couple of seconds to process each shot before letting you take the next shot. This can be frustrating. It takes approximately three seconds for the camera to be ready to shoot from the moment you switch it on.

The focusing performance of the camera was a little off in dark conditions, but it was fast and accurate when there was plenty of light. More often that not, it focused on the object we intended and not a background object. It also has face detection and a smile shutter. It detects faces with ease, but the sensitivity of its smile shutter often confused frowns for smiles. (You can adjust the smile shutter, however.)

At £120, the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W180 is good value if you want a small camera that can take vibrant photos with reasonably good clarity. Just don't buy this camera thinking it will give you super-crisp photos that you can print at A3 size. The main disadvantage of this camera is that it uses Memory Stick Duo storage instead of a more common SD card.


Sensor type: 1/2.3in CCD;
3x optical zoom;
lens aperture range: 3.1-5.6;
105mm zoom (telephoto);
ISO 100, 200, 400;
optical image stabilisation;
Maximum shutter speed: 1/2000;
built-in flash; Auto Flash, Flash Off, Forced Flash, Slow Sync;
Auto, Program mode;
Supported memory media: Memory Stick Pro Duo;
USB 2.0, Video out;


The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W180 digital camera is small and easy to use, and it produces decent quality snaps for printing at up to A4. But it's a little slow, it doesn't always focus properly in low-light conditions, and it uses Memory Stick Pro Duo instead of SD storage.


Canon PowerShot S90

Canon PowerShot S90 Review

The Canon PowerShot S90 is the latest of the "S" series point and shoot cameras that Canon created in 1999 when they released the PowerShot S10. The S10 had more features, better construction and better image quality than Canon's other small digital cameras. The "S" series continued for several years, gathering a reputation for sophistication, through the S80 in 2005. Then Canon stopped releasing them; it appeared that the "S" series was at an end. However, over the past year there were rumors that Canon was bringing back the "S" with an innovative small camera optimized for low light performance. The result was the PowerShot S90.

As it turns out, the S90 is good in low light, for a non-DSLR camera, and packs in plenty of other interesting innovations. It has the same 10 megapixel 1/1.7 inch sensor as the PowerShot G11, which DCR's reviewer, Jim Keenan, recently stated produced the best image quality of any compact digital camera he'd ever reviewed. Hopefully this is an additional sign that camera manufacturers have decided that it's time to end the megapixel race, at least as far as Point and Shoot cameras are concerned.

The PowerShot S90 is also equipped with a very fast f/2.0 lens - fast than the f/2.8 maximum aperture of most high quality Point and Shoot cameras, including the G11. Theoretically, this means the S90 can shoot at lower ISOs in dim conditions. It has Canon's latest DIGIC IV processor. It also has an interesting control ring around its 3.8x zoom lens, can shoot in RAW, and has manual exposure controls including aperture and shutter priority. While the S90 is fairly expensive for a Point and Shoot camera, it's priced less than the G11. Let's take a closer look at this interesting and innovative little camera.


The Canon PowerShot S90 is a fairly small camera with a smooth finish that makes it easy to slide in and out of a pocket or a purse. It has a combination metal/plastic exterior that feels pretty solid. It measures 3.9x2.3x1.2 inches and it weighs 6.17 ounces - not an ultracompact, but comfortable to carry.

The bottom of the camera contains a metal tripod mount and a sliding plastic door to the memory card/battery compartment. Separate compartments for the HDMI and A/V ports are located on one side and covered by sturdy plastic latches. I get the impression the S90 would survive a few drops (though you really don't want to drop a fine, expensive camera like this now, do you?). The camera comes in black only.

Ergonomics and Controls

The S90 is fairly heavy for its size. While its 1.2 inch width and thumb rest at the rear makes it possible to get a good grip, its surface is slippery, so it's not a camera you'd want to shoot with one hand.

At first glance the S90 looks very simple. Its front is smooth and uncluttered, without a visible flash. Around the lens is a control ring that users can assign one of many different shooting functions. Next to the lens is the auto focus assist lamp and a pinhole for the microphone. The top of the camera contains a pop-up flash, which, when set to auto, will pop up when the camera's processor believes it to be required. The flash can also be set to always off or always on. The top also contains the on/off button, the shutter button with wraparound zoom control, a circular selector dial and a button called "ring function" which enables you to assign functions to the lens control ring.

The rear of the S90 is largely taken up by its 3.0 inch LCD. To the right of the screen is a four-way circular control panel that also has a control ring around it. Pressing up accesses exposure compensation, right the flash controls, down the self-timer and delete (in photo review mode) and left the camera's macro mode. The function/set button in the center of the panel accepts menu selections and brings up the function shortcut menu. Around the panel there are buttons for displaying information on the LCD, activating the menu, printing images and reviewing photos and movies. The rear of the camera also contains the speaker and thumb rest.

Canon provides a comprehensive 179 page user guide. While I don't mind looking at a user guide on the computer, it's comforting to have a paper copy with you while out taking pictures, especially when you're just getting to know your camera.

Menus and Modes

The S90 uses Canon's two menu system - a main menu accessed by the menu button and a shortcut menu accessed by the function/set button. The main menu contains of three columns - one for shooting settings, one for camera settings, and one for any individual menu settings you choose to register. The function shortcut menu contains numerous options. You can opt to have the menu choices accompanied by a brief explanation.

The top circular selector dial interacts with the menu system, with different menu options becoming available depending on the mode selected by the dial. Here are the shooting modes available to users of the PowerShot S90:

Auto: The camera chooses from 22 variables including scene modes, "i Contrast" (contrast compensation), servo AF (which keeps focus adjusted on moving objects), face detection and continuous optical image stabilization.
Program: Once you are in program mode, pressing the function/set button will allow you to access a menu containing many shooting functions such as light metering, white balance, ISO, drive modes (such as continuous shooting), image recording size (including RAW mode), exposure and focus bracketing and Canon's "my colors" mode, which lets you make numerous adjustments to the color.
Tv (Shutter Priority): This allows the user to set the shutter speed (from 15 seconds to 1/1600 second) while the camera selects what it considers to be the appropriate aperture value. When in this mode the shutter speed is adjusted by the lens control ring.
Av (Aperture Priority): This allows the user to set the aperture value (from f/2.0 to f/8.0) while the camera selects what it considers to be the appropriate shutter speed. In this mode, the aperture value is adjusted by the lens control ring.
M (Manual): This allows the user control over all the camera's functions including shutter speed and aperture value.
C (Custom): This allows use of your registered menu settings.
Movie: When in this mode, you can choose to record at 640x480 and 320x200, both at 30 frames per second. You can incorporate color accent and color swap features into your movies as well. Maximum movie length is an hour with a maximum recording size of 4GB. Canon recommends a class 4 SDHC memory card.
Scene: This allows 18 scene modes, including stitch assist for making panoramas, "color accent," "color swap," and "nostalgia" in which colors are faded.
Low Light: Canon recommends using this for candlelit or similarly lit scenes, with the camera automatically setting a low shutter speed and high ISO, up to 12,800 (lowering the resolution to 1824x1368 pixels, about 3 megapixels).


The S90 has a 3.0 inch LCD with very high resolution (461,000 dots) that can be adjusted to five brightness levels. The screen is bright, colorful, sharp, and fluid. In case you couldn't tell - I really enjoyed using it. The S90 does not provide a viewfinder.


The PowerShot S90 is a fine camera in every respect, with quick and responsive performance, excellent image quality outdoors and very good image quality indoors as well. It's a very appealing camera to those who want close to DSLR image quality in a small, pocketable package.

My only qualm about the S90 is that its optical zoom is very limited. With many very good compact ultrazoom cameras available, from Canon and others, equipped with 10x and 12x optical zooms, why should a consumer settle for a compact camera with only 3.8x optical zoom that's considerably more expensive? A shorter zoom range could mean better control over lens distortions, so keep reading to see if the trade for a smaller zoom pays off.

Shooting Performance

The S90 starts up and shuts down in only a second or two. There's about a three second delay between pictures, but after 15 consecutive shots the camera did not stop to write to the memory card. As shown in the table below, the S90's shutter lag (press-to-capture, pre-focused) was 0.02 seconds, or virtually non-existent.

Its auto focus acquisition (press-to-capture, no pre-focus) was 0.53 seconds, about average for a Point and Shoot camera. The S90 is slow in continuous shooting mode, managing only 1 frame per second, but the number of pictures it can take in that mode is limited only by the memory card capacity.

Shutter Lag (press-to-capture, pre-focused)

Camera Time (seconds)
Fujifilm FinePix F70EXR 0.01
Canon PowerShot S90 0.02
Kodak EasyShare Z915 0.05
Nikon Coolpix S620 0.07

AF Acquisition (press-to-capture, no pre-focus)

Camera Time (seconds)
Nikon Coolpix S620 0.28
Fujifilm FinePix F70EXR 0.42
Canon PowerShot S90 0.53
Kodak EasyShare Z915 0.94
Continuous Shooting

Camera Frames Framerate
Fujifilm FinePix F70EXR 3 2.6 fps
Nikon Coolpix S620 3 1.7 fps
Kodak EasyShare Z915 3 1.6 fps
Canon PowerShot S90 ∞ 1.0 fps

The S90 has a fairly powerful flash. Canon specifies a range of 1.6-21 ft. (50cm-6.5m) at wide angle and I found this to be the case. The flash can be set to auto, flash on, flash off and slow synchro, which slows shutter speed to brighten the background. The menu also has a setting for red eye reduction, which uses the auto focus assist lamp. I found flash recharge time to be short, not more than five seconds.

The S90 uses the NB-6LD rechargeable lithium-ion battery which Canon says should last for 220 shots. After shooting 154 photos and four videos the battery still had plenty of life.

Lens Performance

The S90 uses a Canon lens with a focal length of 6.0-22.5mm , f/2.0-4.9 (35mm equivalent: 28-105mm). The lens can focus as close as 2.0 inches (5cm) in macro mode. Lens sharpness is very good, with only minor softness in the corners. I noticed a small amount of chromatic aberration.

I also observed minor barrel distortion at wide angle and pincushion distortion at maximum zoom.

Video Quality

The S90 records movies at two resolutions, 640x480 and 320x200, both at 30 frames per second. The movies are smooth with good color. While optical zoom isn't available in movie mode, I found that digital zoom did a good job. It's kind of surprising that Canon did not include HD capability, considering the relatively high cost and overall quality of the camera. Quality of the lower-res video capture, however, is very good.

Image Quality

The S90 produced some very good images - sharp with strong colors. Contrast was good with infrequent overexposure in strong light, which is a problem with most Point and Shoot cameras. Even indoors the camera performed well and I enjoyed being able to take pictures in low light situations without having to use the flash.

The PowerShot S90 has white balance settings for auto, daylight, cloudy, tungsten, fluorescent, fluorescent H, flash, underwater and a user-defined custom. I mostly used auto white balance though occasionally I found that auto was a bit yellow under incandescent light and used the tungsten setting.

Auto White Balance, 3200k incandescent light

Exposure bracketing is available if the lighting is tricky and you're not sure whether the camera is exposing the photo correctly.

Image quality is very good through 400 ISO, with some softness present at 800 ISO and more at 1600 ISO, though I found pictures at 1600 ISO to be very usable. There's a slight flattening of color up through ISO 1600, but not so much that small prints at the higher ISO settings can't be used.

It's important to emphasize that since the S90 has a maximum aperture of f/2.0 it will be able to take photos at lower ISOs than other Point and Shoot cameras.


I enjoyed taking pictures with the PowerShot S90. It takes excellent photos outdoors and very good pictures indoors as well. It has a high quality lens with minimal distortion. Leaving the flash off in most low light shooting situations was another bonus. It features excellent build quality and is quick and responsive.

Canon's smart auto mode works well, but the S90 has so many options it won't be long before most users migrate to its program and manual modes. The lens control ring may seem like a gimmick but it does make it easier to fine tune your shots once you take the camera out of auto mode.

I would have liked more optical zoom, and I'm surprised that Canon did not include HD movie capability. However, that doesn't take away from the fact that the S90 is an excellent point and shoot camera - one of the best around.


Compact size
Excellent build quality
Very good images
Fast lens


Not much optical zoom
No HD movie mode


Nikon Coolpix S70

Nikon Coolpix S70 Review

The feature set also includes 720p (1280x720) HD video capture at 30 fps, an effective 12.1 megapixel CCD image sensor, NIKKOR optics with a 5x optical zoom, Touch Shutter and Autofocus, Vibration Reduction image stabilization (a combination of optical and electronic methods), macro shooting, and active D-Lighting to improve detail in high-contrast and dark areas of an image.

The real headline-grabber, though, is still that OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) monitor for playback, framing, and control of the camera. According to Nikon, it "offers the benefits of vivid color reproduction, sharp contrast and the absence of afterimages."

An OLED draws much less power than an LCD, especially because it doesn't need to be backlit, and is designed to offer more dynamic range, deeper blacks, and weigh less than a traditional LCD. This adds up to a display that is smaller, brighter, and holds a better tonal range. All in all, it is supposed to give you a better image on screen and save you some battery life in the process.


A lot of comparisons can be drawn to the Nikon Coolpix S60, the S70's predecessor, because of its slim profile, touch panel LCD, 5x optical zoom, and touch auto focus. Much has been retained from the first generation, but the S70 differs in resolution from the S60's 10 megapixel sensor to the S70's 12.1 megapixels, Touch Shutter, OLED monitor and a sliding lens cover that starts the camera up.

Both the S60 and S70 have an internal lens that does not extend. They share almost the exact same dimensions (S70 has a 0.8 inch depth, and the S60 has a depth of 0.9 inches), but weighs less (S70 weighs 4.9 oz., while the S60 is 5.1 oz.).

The Coolpix S70 sports your classic boxy point-and-shoot look and feel, and features a rubberized front panel for your hand's grip. A chrome-like finish wraps around the edges of the aluminum alloy camera body. With only a few changes that can be made to exposure like ISO, white balance, and exposure compensation, the S70 is almost entirely automatic.

Ergonomics and Controls

Nikon left only a shutter button and the sliding cover over the lens to make all other controls digital. With the lack of buttons, the S70 relies entirely on the touch screen OLED for menus and control over shooting options.

The camera is small, measuring 2.4x3.8x0.8 inches, but has a weighty feel to it because of its metal construction. Although there is a rubberized (faux-leather like) right front panel for handholding the S70, it will go mostly unused because of the large OLED on the back is mainly designed for four finger holding, instead of a hand rest for your trigger finger.

Menus and Modes
The OLED monitor seems expansive, as it is larger than most LCD screens, with the exception of other touch screen digital cameras. Everything is controlled via the back monitor, including all settings, playback, shooting mode, etc. There are four shooting mode options that can all be selected by clicking on the green camera icon on the top left of the screen, or via the Home button in the bottom right:

Easy auto: A completely automatic shooting mode that selects the optimum settings for shooting and exposure. All you need to do is press the shutter.
Auto mode: The most manual of the shooting modes, allowing you to control things like white balance, exposure compensation, ISO, continuous shooting, flash, etc.
Scene mode: There are 17 different scene modes that range from sports to a panorama assist.
Movie mode: Shoots 720p (1280x720) HD video at 30 fps, with sound.
The menu system of the S70 is attractive and easy to navigate, though you're not likely to use them heavily since this is such an automatic digital camera. The easiest way to change the camera settings is in the Auto mode, where there are several boxes surrounding the monitor that help you change different settings. For example, there is the Green Button in the corner to change the shooting modes with a Playback button under it to review your images. There is also a mock zoom lever icon that operates zoom function which to be honest, is extremely sluggish and unresponsive.

One unique feature of the Coolpix S70 allows the user to adjust image brightness by use of slider bars in different Scene modes such as Portrait and Night Landscape.

Overall, the menus are laid out logically and are easy to understand, even for a first-time user, although it may take a few minutes with the camera to get used to the Touch Shutter.

At the beginning of this review I mentioned the benefits of the OLED technology utilized by the S70, such as power saving and better image playback. For the most part, the S70's monitor somewhat achieves this.

It is 3.5 inches in a wide 16:9 aspect ratio, but still plays back images in the standard 4:3 aspect ratio. After using the camera and checking out the images I captured, I could not, at all, tell the difference between it and your standard LCD screen. This may be because the 288k dot resolution is a little low. I ran into a few instances when an image appeared to be in focus on review, then later when I uploaded it to a computer screen, was obviously blurry. A boost in resolution may have helped me distinguish whether or not my images were properly focused.

I also found the functionality of the touch display to be unreliable. I say this because I had trouble occasionally enacting certain functions, such as changing the shooting mode, and I found myself pressing more than a few times on the same spot before it would work. It left me wanting the haptic feedback of the Samsung TL225's touch monitor that I reviewed last month.

As far as framing and playback of the images are concerned, it's easy to frame them up, but playback is a little stilted as well. When you are using the swiping action, used for when you want to peruse through your different images, it didn't work every time I swiped. This might be a result of oils left by the human hand. My overall impression of the display is that Nikon should be commended for adding this new technology, but should have offered more in terms of resolution and touch control.

The Nikon S70 is a snapshot camera, with nothing much in terms of control. It is a camera that relies heavily on the use of the touch screen for all operations, big or small, and shouldn't be looked at to push the limits of speed or fast processing

While the OLED display does work well in various lighting conditions, including overcast and sunny days, the low resolution of the monitor makes it only comparable to higher resolution LCDs. It's important to bring up the touch screen in terms of performance, because you have to rely heavily on it to get anything done, and that is what really bogs it down. With the mere lack of buttons, there is no way of getting around using the touch screen, which can make the S70 frustrating when you are using it out in the field.

Conversely, when we are talking pure numbers, especially when it comes to performance, the S70 is a middle-of-the-road performer. Probably the fastest thing about the S70 is its start up time. The camera is powered up by slipping down the lens cover. It takes something like a half to one second to fire up the OLED monitor.

Shooting Performance
The raw numbers from the S70's lab test still reflect it to be a moderate performer, both in the field and a controlled environment. Shutter lag good, in fact, only second to its competition, rifling in at .02 seconds. It handily beats the Samsung TL225. AF acquisition was as sluggish in the field as it was in the lab, with lab results at about 0.67 seconds, reflecting for me in the field less than a second to a few seconds to get a sharp image in low-light conditions. Continuous shooting mode, which gives you two images at the speed of 1.5 fps, is also moderate.

Shutter Lag (press-to-capture, pre-focused)

Camera Time (seconds)
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FP8 0.01
Nikon Coolpix S70 0.02
Canon PowerShot SD940 IS 0.03
Samsung TL225 0.04
AF Acquisition (press-to-capture, no pre-focus)

Camera Time (seconds)
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FP8 0.27
Canon PowerShot SD940 IS 0.34
Samsung TL225 0.41
Nikon Coolpix S70 0.67
Continuous Shooting

Camera Frames Framerate*
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FP8 3 2.2 fps
Nikon Coolpix S70 2
1.5 fps
Samsung TL225 7 1.0 fps
Canon PowerShot SD940 IS ∞
0.9 fps

*Note: Continuous shooting framerates are based on the camera's fastest full-resolution JPEG continuous shooting mode, using the fastest media type available (300x CF, SDHC, etc.). "Frames" notes the number of captures recorded per burst before the camera stops/slows to clear the buffer.

There are three auto focus options: Touch Shutter, Touch AF/AE, and Subject Tracking. Touch Shutter is an automatic shooting option that lets you touch any part of the screen to lock focus and capture an image without having to do a half shutter press like most cameras to get pre-focused. This can be bad or good - good in the sense that it cuts down on shooting time, but bad since the image sometimes came out blurry, especially in macro mode.

Touch AF/AE was pretty cool, and offered the most control over shooting. With Touch AF/AE you touch the OLED on your subject anywhere in the frame and the S70 will focus on that element. Once focused, you have to press the shutter. Tracking does its job, too. You can select a moving element, such as flying flag or a boat steaming in the background to keep an eye on its focus, and then press the shutter.

I also used the different versions of flash control: Auto, Auto with red-eye control, fill flash, off, and slow sync, and they were effective for the most part. At the wide-angle of the focal range you can fire flash up to 11 feet, and extended to telephoto, the flash is effective up to 8 feet.

The battery life of the Nikon S70, according to CIPA standards, is 200 shots before you need to recharge the Li-ion EN-EL12 battery. With one day of field shooting taking probably less than 200 shots, I didn't run the battery down very much. It seems that the OLED does in fact improve battery life compared to a regular LCD.

Lens Performance
The Coolpix S70 gets a 5x optical zoom, which is 28-140mm with a maximum aperture range of f/3.9-5.8. When shooting at wide angle you can see a noticeably prevalent barrel distortion in the center of the frame, which appears circular.

When I shot at the telephoto 140mm, I didn't find a problem with pincushion distortion, which can sometimes happen at an extended focal length. Also, I couldn't find any evidence of chromatic aberration like purple fringing at wide-angle or in contrasty images.

Video Quality

The Nikon S70 has an okay movie mode, recording at resolutions up to 720p HD. Video at the highest setting is pretty good compared with other compacts and pocket camcorders I have used.

The S70 has different resolutions for video capture, including 640x480 at both 30 or 15 fps, and 320x240 at 30 or 15 fps.

Image Quality
The images right out of the box are somewhat saturated, especially reds, blues, and yellows. Unlike other point-and-shoots, the S70 has no real control over different color options, leaving you with a default setting for all shooting. This would be all well and good if the saturation issue wasn't there.

Since you can't control metering at all, you have to rely on the S70 to properly expose every frame, which can often lead to over-exposed images in contrasty scenes. Although we found that the camera didn't always reproduce colors faithfully, images out of the camera are sharply focused.

The camera's white balance can be changed manually in auto mode, giving you options of preset manual, daylight, incandescent, fluorescent, cloudy, and flash. The daylight and incandescent worked well, especially daylight for outside work, and Incandescent for indoor shots.

Auto white balance under our studio incandescent lights was predictably poor. As you can see in the image from our lab test, the image is very warm. The same is true for fieldwork, especially in poorly lit scenarios, where auto white balance would sometimes overexpose sky details and foreground elements.

Auto White Balance, 3200k incandescent light

ISO performance was relatively good from ISO 80 to about ISO 400. Once I hit 800, it image quality declined as a lot of grain was introduced to my images. This isn't unusual of a small sensor with high pixel density.


There are plenty of features we liked about the Nikon S70, including the Touch Shutter, 720p HD video capture, great image sharpness, compact and sleek design, and power conserving OLED with great functionality any lighting condition. But these positives just don't outweigh some of its issues, like lack of manual control, price tag, over-exposed images, and a somewhat unreliable touch screen that isn't supplemented with physical buttons.

It is a great idea, in theory, to throw in an OLED instead of a common LCD as a touch viewfinder/display. It certainly out-performs a standard LCD in bright sunlight, but it doesn't really shine against the competition because its resolution is only average.

What the Coolpix S70 offers is minimal user input and a touch-only interface. There's a certain audience for that kind of camera, and the S70 isn't necessarily a bad choice for that demographic. An expansive touch display and faux-leather grip scream style, and the technology has a lot of potential. But for your $250-300, you'd be much better served by a camera that's more focused on practical usability.


Small, lightweight and attractive
HD video capture
OLED viewfinder/display is a good idea
OLED provides power saving functionality
Touch Shutter


Image quality is inconsistent
Touch screen can be difficult to use
Over-exposed images
Little manual control options
OLED has too small of a resolution