Nikon Coolpix S800c Review
Menus and Playback
Shooting Mode Menu
When you press the green camera icon on the main live view screen you'll get to this - the shooting mode menu.
In effect, this is the S800c's version of the exposure mode dial that you might find on a more conventional compact camera.
The options in this menu include:
- Easy Auto: point-and-shoot with automatic scene selection; some menu options locked up
- Auto: still automatic, minus the scene selection; all menu options available
- Scene: choose from portrait, landscape, sports, night portrait, party/indoor, beach, snow, sunset, dusk/dawn, night landscape, close-up, food, fireworks, black & white copy, backlighting, easy panorama, and pet portrait
- Special effects: select from soft, nostalgic sepia, high-contrast monochrome, high key, and low key
- Smart Portrait: the camera detects faces and takes pictures when someone smiles; blink detection and skin softening features are also available
- Movie mode: record Full HD video with stereo sound; more on this later
Shooting and Setup Menus
This is the shooting menu, where you can set things like ISO, drive mode and white balance on a single large, clear tiled interface. Note 'setup' at lower right.
|If you press 'setup' you'll arrive here, in the setup menu from where you can access less frequently-needed settings.|
The shooting menu is where you'll set the image size, touch functionality (the camera supports touch focus and shutter, naturally), ISO sensitivity, burst mode, and white balance. The only manual control on the camera is for white balance - a 'preset' option lets you use a white or gray card to get accurate color in unusual lighting.Here are the items of interest in the shooting menu:
- Vibration Reduction: choose from standard or hybrid image stabilization, or turn it off entirely; do note that hybrid VR may reduce image quality
- Shutdown timer: how long the camera waits before turning off while it's in standby mode (the choices are 1 - 12 hours, or off); when the camera shuts off, all unsaved data is lost
- Blink warning: the camera will display a warning screen if one of your subjects had their eyes closed when a photo is taken
- GPS options: as I've mentioned, the S800c has a built-in GPS, which records the longitude and latitude of where a photo was taken; these options let you turn the GPS on and off, set the clock, or read assisted GPS (A-GPS) from a memory card (you download this data from Nikon's website)
During my shooting with the S800c, the GPS feature worked pretty well. Once turned on, it took about 30 seconds for the camera to figure out where I was (in a fairly open area). Initial versions of the S800c had a rather nasty bug that put the wrong location data into photos, but that's been rectified by firmware updates. The one thing that baffled me was that the camera doesn't actually display the location when you view an image in playback mode. You'd think with the power of Android at their disposal, Nikon could display a map, or at least the coordinates!
|This is the playback view. Note the icons on the right for Wi-Fi and sharing.|
As you'd expect on a device like this, you can swipe from photo to photo, without delay. You can also pinch to zoom in, and use your finger to move the image around. If you want to see thumbnails, reverse the pinch-to-zoom gesture.
Note that the Coolpix S800c tells you absolutely nothing about the photos you've taken. You'll have to find another app to do that, or just use your PC. As I mentioned earlier, the S800c can get a little weird with photo organization at times.
The Coolpix S800c has the standard Nikon playback mode (more or less). The interesting features here include:
- Quick Retouch: enhances contrast and saturation, with three levels to choose from
- D-Lighting: brighten dark areas in a photo
- Filter effects: apply digital filters, such as vivid color, selective color, cross screen, and miniature effect to photos you've taken
- Skin softening: remove blemishes and wrinkles from people pictures
- Image sharing: This lets you send your photos to just about any destination (depends on what apps you have installed)
Two things you won't find: redeye reduction and movie editing. That said, since the images and videos are stored in the Android file system, third party apps can be used to add features like those, and much more.
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