Nikon Coolpix S700

      Photo Review 8.5

      In summary

      A high-resolution, slimline digicam with features and performance that will suit snapshooters.Nikon’s Coolpix S700 has many of the same features as the Coolpix S510 model – including the EXPEED image processor – but sports a higher-resolution (12.1 megapixels effective) image sensor and larger LCD monitor. Its zoom lens covers a marginally longer focal length range (equivalent to 37-111mm in 35mm format) and supports closer focusing than the S510. Designed primarily for snapshooters, it’s available in ‘Titanium Silver’ and ‘Urban Black’. . . [more]

      Full review


      Nikon’s Coolpix S700 has many of the same features as the Coolpix S510 model ““ including the EXPEED image processor ““ but sports a higher-resolution (12.1 megapixels effective) image sensor and larger LCD monitor. Its zoom lens covers a marginally longer focal length range (equivalent to 37-111mm in 35mm format) and supports closer focusing than the S510. Designed primarily for snapshooters, it’s available in ‘Titanium Silver’ and ‘Urban Black’.

      Some minor design modifications distinguish the two cameras. The S700’s lens mounting is slightly smaller and more solid-looking. The flash has been moved away from the lens axis to minimise red-eye. The microphone grille has five holes (rather than three) and is positioned beside the flash where it’s less likely to be covered by a fingertip. The self-timer/AF-assist lamp is located in the top corner of the front panel.


      Aside from the larger LCD monitor on the S700 (which is nice, but not hugely better than the S510), the controls on both cameras are identical and both use the same EN-EL10 rechargeable battery. However, the battery/card compartment on the base of the S700 is smaller, allowing the tripod mount to be centrally positioned.


      A multi-connector beside the tripod socket allows the camera to be connected to a computer, TV set or printer via the supplied USB/AV cable. The S700 is also marginally heavier than the S510 and its power consumption is slightly higher ““ as you’d expect from a 12-megapixel model. (Both cameras use the same EN-EL10 rechargeable lithium-ion battery.)

      Whereas the Coolpix S510 uses lens-shift VR stabilisation, the S700 relies on a sensor-shift system, which appears to achieve many of the same objectives but doesn’t quite match the lens-shift system’s efficiency. Only two VR modes are supported: On and Off, the former making constant adjustments to counteract both vertical and horizontal shake. The sensor-shift system can’t be used for shooting movies so an electronic VR mode is provided in the movie menu. However, its disabled for time-lapse and stop-motion recordings.

      The Coolpix S700 includes a new distortion correction function, which can adjust images with barrel distortion to ensure they both display correctly on the LCD and record without distortion. This function is also provided on the new Coolpix P5100, which we hope to review shortly. The setting is found in the shooting and High Sensitivity sub-menus but it can’t be applied to the scene modes or movie recording. It appears to work by cropping the edges of the frame, which reduces resolution.

      You can’t use the Continuous shooting mode when the distortion correction function is switched on. Nor can you use the Best Shot Selector (BSS) function, where the camera records up to 10 shots while the shutter release is held down and automatically selects the sharpest. Focus, exposure and white balance are fixed on the first frame of a sequence of shots and the flash defaults to the off setting.

      Other features common to the latest Coolpix cameras include Face-priority AF, In-Camera Red-Eye Fix and D-Lighting, all of which would be useful for snapshooters. Up to 12 human faces can be identified in the Face Priority mode. The S700 also sports the same Colour Option settings and time zone system for date and time settings as the S510 and has the same GUI for making adjustments. Flash output is non-adjustable in both cameras. Menu design is also the same in both cameras. Some sample menu screens are shown below.


      The same 15 scene mode settings are also provided, although in the Close-up mode, the S700 can focus to 6 cm, while the S510 stops at 15 cm. (Many digicams will focus down to 1cm in macro mode, however.) The Panorama Assist mode in both cameras covers shooting only. The actual stitching process must be carried out with the supplied Panorama Maker software (or a similar application).

      Shooting with the High Sensitivity mode restricts the top ISO setting to 1600 ““ as it does in the S510. When Auto ISO is set, the top sensitivity is ISO 1000, with a default setting at ISO 64 unless low light levels are detected. If you wish to use the top sensitivities of ISO 2000 and 3200, they must be engaged via the ISO Sensitivity sub-menu. When ISO 3200 is selected, the image size drops to 5M (2592 x 1944 pixels) and the image mode is displayed in red. (Resolution is automatically restored to the previous setting when lower ISO values are engaged again.)

      Image files are saved as JPEGs, with seven sizes provided and two compression levels at the highest resolution but only one thereafter. Compression ratios are essentially the same as in the S510 and, like the S510, the S700 has a high-resolution 16:9 setting. Typical file sizes are shown in the table below.

      Image Resolution


      File Size


      High (4000*)

      4000 x 3000



      Normal (4000)

      4000 x 3000



      Normal (3264)

      3264 x 2448



      Normal (2592)

      2592 x 1944



      Normal (2048)

      2048 x 1536



      PC screen (1024)

      1024 x 768



      TV screen (640)

      640 x 480




      3968 x 2232


      The Coolpix S700 supports the same range of movie settings as the S510 and also lacks widescreen recording capabilities. Typical clip lengths and frame limits for the various movie modes are shown in the table below.

      Movie setting

      Image size & frame rate

      Maximum recording

      (1GB memory card)

      TV movie 640

      640 x 480 pixels at 30 fps

      14 min. 40 sec.

      Small size 320

      320 x 240 pixels at 30 fps

      29 min. 20 sec.

      Small size 320

      320 x 240 pixels at 15 fps

      57 min. 20 sec.

      Smaller size 160

      160 x 120 pixels at 15 fps

      189 min. 40 sec.

      Time-lapse movie

      640 x 480 pixels at 30 fps

      1800 frames per movie*

      Stop-action movie

      640 x 480 pixels at 5, 10 or 15 fps

      1800 frames per movie*

      * – regardless of memory card capacity

      Video clips are recorded with monaural sound but both time-lapse and stop-action movies are silent. Video quality was similar to the Coolpix S510 model.

      LCD screen quality on the test camera was similar to the S510 model but the design of the monitor, which sits slightly proud of the camera body, appeared to make it more susceptible to finger-marks. Sensible menu design with clear icons and legible text made the LCD usable for changing camera settings in bright outdoor conditions. Playback quality was good enough to confirm exposure accuracy in indoor lighting ““ but not good enough in bright conditions.

      Still shots from the test camera looked good, with natural-looking colours and saturation levels. Imatest confirmed that colours were more accurately recorded and saturation better controlled than the Coolpix S510. Lateral chromatic aberration was also low but resolution was slightly below expectations for a 12-megapixel camera, although plenty of detail was captured in test shots. As expected for a high-resolution digicam with a small image sensor, resolution at ISO 2000 had declined sharply.


      Coloured fringing was barely noticeable.

      White balance performance was better than average, especially under fluorescent lighting. However the fluorescent pre-set over-corrected colours and produced images with a noticeable blue cast. The auto setting failed to remove the orange cast of incandescent lighting but came close enough to require a modest level of correction in editing software. Both the pre-set and manual measurement system delivered neutral colours with incandescent lighting while manual measurement produced excellent results with fluorescent lighting.

      The slim, tiny flash on the S700 was not particularly powerful and required an ISO setting of 400 before the flash could illuminate an average-sized room. However, flash balance was well controlled and exposures between ISO 400 and ISO 3200 were very evenly balanced. Image noise became visible at ISO 800 and shots looked slightly softer than at ISO 400. Colour reproduction and contrast remained good right up to ISO 3200, although noise granularity became progressively more obvious as sensitivity was increased. At the ISO 3200, images were printable up to snapshot size (but no larger).

      Close-up performance was competent ““ but not spectacular. At the closest focusing point (6 cm), depth of field was very shallow, even at the wide lens position. Greater depth of field was obtained at bigger distances, especially in bright conditions. Lens flare was relatively low in moderate backlighting. Digital zoom shots were rather soft and artefact-affected.

      The test camera powered up in less than a second and we measured an average capture lag of 1.3 seconds when Vibration Reduction was engaged and 0.9 seconds with VR switched off. Pre-focusing reduced the lag time to less than 0.1 seconds. In continuous shooting mode, the test camera recorded six 8M shots at intervals of one second then slowed to one shot every 1.5 seconds as images were processed. Swapping to the 12M High setting reduced the capture rate to one frame every 1.4 seconds for three shots only.


      Resolution at low sensitivity settings.


      Resolution at ISO 2000.




      Auto white balance with incandescent lighting.


      Auto white balance with fluorescent lighting.




      Digital zoom.


      ISO 64


      ISO 800


      ISO 3200





      Image sensor: ‘1/1.72-inch’ type Interline CCD sensor with 12.43 million photosites (12.1 megapixels effective)
      Lens: 7.9-23.7mm f/2.8-5.4 zoom (37-111mm in 35mm format)
      Zoom ratio: 3x optical, up to 4x digital
      Image formats: Stills ““ JPEG (Exif 2.2); Movies – AVI /WAV
      Image Sizes: Stills ““ 4000 x 3000, 3264 x 2448, 2592 x 1944, 2048 x 1536, 1280 x 960, 1024ø—768, 640 x 480, 3968 x 2232 (16:9); Movies ““ VGA/QVGA at 30 fps, QVGA/QQVGA at 15 fps plus time-lapse and stop-action (VGA resolution)
      Shutter speed range: 4-1/1500 second
      Image Stabilisation: Image sensor shift VR
      Exposure Compensation: +/- 2EV in 1/3 EV steps
      Focus system/range: Contrast-detect AF with AF-assist illuminator and Face-priority AF; range ““ 50 cm to infinity; macro to 6 cm
      Exposure metering/control: 256-segment matrix, centre-weighted and spot metering; Program AE plus 16 scene pre-sets
      ISO range: Auto (ISO 64-1000), ISO 64, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 2000, 3200
      White balance: Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Incandescent, Fluorescent, Flash, WB Preset (manual)
      Flash modes/range (ISO auto): Auto, Red-eye reduction, Flash cancel, Anytime flash, Slow sync.
      Sequence shooting: 1.2 fps to memory capacity
      Storage Media: Approx. 52MB internal memory plus SD/SDHC expansion slot
      Viewfinder: n.a.
      LCD monitor: 2.7-inch, 230,000-dot wide viewing angle TFT LCD with anti-reflection coating
      Power supply: EN-EL10 rechargeable lithium-ion battery (C.I.P.A. rated for 150 shots/charge)
      Dimensions (wxhxd): Approx. 89 x 54 x 23 mm
      Weight: Approx 130 grams (without battery and card)





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