15:00 TOKYO: Nikon today announced three new digital cameras, the Coolpix 2100, 3100 and SQ. This article is a quick preview of the new three megapixel, three times optical zoom Coolpix SQ. A totally radical design and another new approach from Nikon, the SQ has a flat square profile with their trademark twisting lens design. In forward shooting mode it's wacky looking but oh-so Nikon. This preview is based on an early pre-production model, as such I won't be presenting any image samples or a particularly in-depth analysis of performance.

Nikon Coolpix SQ - Quick Preview

The SQ is the first Coolpix to not have a numerical designation, it's also the slimest Coolpix. And yet you instantly know it's a Nikon because the designers have once more managed to implement the swivelled lens system in a completely different design. The entire body is metallic with a strong click-into-position swivel mechanism.

Major features

  • RGB color filter array
  • New menu system
  • Improved matrix metering (1005 segment RGB algorithm from D1x / F5)
  • Improved Auto White Balance (from D100)
  • Faster AF, Auto five area or manual nine area auto focus
  • Color database built into camera for more accurate green, blue and skin tones
  • New LCD with rear reflective, better in bright light, better viewing angles
  • PC screen (1024 x 768) / TV screen sizes (640 x 480)
  • Date imprinting (on the bottom right corner of the image)
  • Multi-shot 16-2
  • TV movie (640 x 480), B&W movie (320 x 240), Sepia movie (320 x 240)
  • Custom welcome screen
  • No '1/4 image quick view', instead directly into a shooting priority play mode
  • Camera can be powered into play mode by holding play button
  • Up to 6.0x playback zoom with cropping feature
  • Pic enhance playback menu (Halo filter, Monochrome filter, Sepia filter)
  • Faster operation, much faster playback and browsing
  • Supports direct printing via USB
  • Comes with 'Coolstation' dock (double charger / USB / video out / one button transfer)

Side by side

Here you can see the Coolpix SQ beside Minolta's ultra-slim DiMAGE Xi. The SQ measures up at 83 x 85 x 25 mm and 216 g (loaded) compared to the DiMAGE Xi's 85 x 72 x 20 mm and 155 g (loaded).

The Coolpix SQ beside Minolta's DiMAGE Xi

Camera elements

A completely new styling approach by Nikon, and a non-numerical designation The lens swivelled to a front shooting position
It's quite slim, although still thicker than Minolta's DiMAGE Xi Behind the compartment door are slots for the EN-EL2 battery and Compact Flash card, Type I
The SQ in its 'Coolstation' dock, a single button on the front can be used to initiate transfer Note the battery charge slot allowing batteries to be charged without the camera (useful!)

Lens swivel positions

The images below indicate the limits of movement for the swivel lens as well as some of the 'click lock' positions throughout this range (any 90 degree position).

Camera display / menus

Unforunately the camera I had was so early it only displayed 'System Error' when powered up (not too handy). If and when I get an updated camera I'll add a complete breakdown of all menu options and hopefully some captures of the display and menu modes.