Nikon Coolpix S620 review

Started May 5, 2010 | User reviews thread
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breathtakingbluesky New Member • Posts: 8
Nikon Coolpix S620 review

Don't buy this camera if you plan on using flash. See "Problems encountered" below.

I bought this for my wife last summer as a tiny carry-everywhere camera. However she never uses the camera because of the severity of the flash problem.

I use DSLRs so I wasn't expecting the IQ to be very good on the tiny S620, but it is definitely better than I was expecting. The noise is less than I expected (but of course it's still a lot worse than any large-sensor camera / DSLR). The colours are perfectly acceptable. The resolution and sharpness are not bad at all. I give the S620 a good rating for its compactness, light weight, and detailed IQ.

Ease of use is all fine except for its one major drawback which is the killer: you cannot get good results with the flash.

I have now bought her an OLYMPUS E-PL1, and although it's bigger and heavier than the Nikon s620, the Olympus quality is as good as a DSLR, and we have had no problems with indoor/flash photos.


Show-stopper problem. If you use the S620's flash, it fires twice - even with red-eye mode switched off. The first flash is used to evaluate the light of the scene, and the second is to shoot the photo. Now, this would be okay if the delay were mere milliseconds - you wouldn't notice the difference. But, alas there is about 0.3 seconds delay and this is FATAL for people pics! It's just the right amount of time to capture the person blinking due to the first flash. About 4 in every 5 photos are throw-aways because you catch the person blinking.

Ironically the flash level / lighting is nearly always perfect!
It's also ironic that the S620 has face-recognition technology, and tells you that your subject was blinking. So you shoot again and it happens again!

Another effect of this delay is it means you often "miss the moment"... especially with photos of kids. You just can't capture a child walking past you indoors, because he's already past you by the time the second flash fires. Akin to the first digital cams 10 years ago that had terrible shutter delays, that gave the digital cams such a bad name during those few years. But this is now and Nikon should know better than to reintroduce such a delay.

Nikon Coolpix S620
12 megapixels • 2.7 screen • 28 – 112 mm (4×)
Announced: Feb 3, 2009
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