Nikon Coolpix S3600 review

Nikon updates its big-selling entry-level Coolpix 'Style' offering

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Our Verdict

If you're looking for a small, stylish and simple snapper and aren't too demanding when it comes to low light image quality or continuous shooting speed, the S3600 deserves to be on your shortlist.


  • Reasonable image quality in good light
  • Reliable autofocussing
  • Creative effects
  • Vibration Reduction


  • Slow image processing
  • Basic LCD screen
  • Underwhelming dynamic range
  • ISO3200 shots only captured at 4MP
Ratings in depth:
Nikon Coolpix S3600 rating
Nikon Coolpix S3600 rating
Nikon Coolpix S3600 rating
Nikon Coolpix S3600 rating
Nikon Coolpix S3600 rating

The S3600 is Nikon's entry-level offering in its super-slim Coolpix Style range. It replaces the popular S3500, but you'll have a tough job telling the two apart.

The S3600 has the same 20.1-megapixel resolution and ISO80-3200 sensitivity range as its predecessor. It'll also shoot at the same continuous rate of 1.1 frames-per-second for a 6 shot burst, and can record 720p HD video.

The two cameras do differ optically though. The S3600 now gets an 8x zoom optic with a 35mm-equivalent focal range of 25-200mm, giving more telephoto reach and a slightly increased wide-angle ability than the S3500. Lens-shift Vibration Reduction is carried over to help tame any camera shake.

Nikon Coolpix S3600
The S3600's 8x zoom gives an effective focal range of 25-200mm.

With 18 different scene mode settings on tap ranging from snow to fireworks, the S3600 should make it a breeze to capture tricky subjects.

When you want to get creative, effects like Selective Colour can record one colour in a scene and turn other hues monochrome, whilst the Toy Camera setting gives photos a retro vibe.

But the S3600's standout feature is its Smart portrait system. This manages to detect a face, shoot only when he or she smiles, alert you to any blinking and offers touch-up options for producing more flattering shots.

Nikon Coolpix S3600
The S3600 is available in silver, black, blue and pink finishes, as well as pink line-art and red in some markets.

The S3600 is available in silver, black, blue and pink finishes, as well as pink line-art and red in some markets.

Build Quality and Handling

The S3600 may be one of Nikon's cheapest compact cameras, but it feels more cheap and cheerful than cheap and nasty. The camera's casing is solid and well put together, whilst tapered corners and compact 97.1mm x 57.9mm x 19.9mm dimensions make it easy to slip the camera into a tight pocket.

Operating the S3600 is a simple and painless process with a typical array of buttons to control essential camera functions. The buttons themselves are on the small side, but are generally easy to press, except for the small and recessed power button which requires a thumbnail prod to activate.

Nikon CoolPix S3600
The tapered corners and slim body make the S3600 easy to slip into your pocket.

You also get a dedicated video record button with a raised profile that doubles as a thumb rest. This is all you can really use to grip the S3600 by though, as the rest of the silky-smooth casing can easily slip out of your hand on a cold day.

Nikon Coolpix S3600
The 2.7-inch 230,000-dot screen is weak, with poor contrast and viewing angles.

Dominating the rear panel is a 2.7", 230k-dot LCD monitor. It's not exactly the last word in outright resolution, so expect menus to look a bit pixelated. However, what really leaves a lasting impression is the atrocious viewing angles and poor contrast reproduction. Consequently you'll have no idea whether the camera's nailed the correct exposure until you get home.

Tech Specs

Product TypeCompact Camera
Battery Size SupportedProprietary Battery Size
Maximum Video Resolution1280 x 720
Effective Camera Resolution20.1 Megapixel
Wide AngleYes
Product FamilyCoolpix
HD Movie ModeYes
Memory Card SupportedSecure Digital (SD) Card, Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC), Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) Card
Image StabilizationDigital, Optical
Optical Zoom8x
Digital Zoom4x
Brand NameNikon
FeaturesFace Detection, Live View, Continuous Shooting Mode, Motion Detection
Screen Size6.9 cm (2.7")
Video FormatsMotion JPEG (AVI)
Viewfinder TypeNo
Weight (Approximate)125 g
Image Sensor Size1/2.3" (6.16 mm x 4.62 mm)
Maximum Image Resolution5152 x 3864
Display Screen TypeLCD
Height58.4 mm
Width99.1 mm
Depth20.3 mm
Focal Length4.50 mm to 36 mm
Image FormatsJPEG
Focus ModesAuto, Manual
ManufacturerNikon Corporation
Product ModelS3600
Product NameCoolpix S3600 Compact Camera
Product LineCoolpix
Exposure ControlProgram AE

Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part NumberVNA554E1
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing InformationBecome a stylishly sharp shooter with the 20-megapixel COOLPIX S3600. Its slim body is packed full of features, making it the carry-anywhere camera that always gives you stunning shots.

An 8x optical zoom with up to 16x Dynamic Fine Zoom¹ gets you close to the action and an extensive retouch menu means you can add fun effects or use Glamour Retouch to make sure everyone looks great. Scene Auto Selector optimizes settings for you, so you can focus on framing fabulous photos, while Lens Shift VR counters the effect of camera shake for sharper images.

Pick the perfect camera color to suit your lifestyle and take superb shots with ease with the COOLPIX S3600 - where style meets substance.
Package Contents
  • Coolpix S3600 Compact Camera
  • Camera Strap
  • Rechargeable Li-Ion Battery EN-EL19
  • Charging AC Adapter EH-70P
  • USB Cable UC-E6
  • Software CD-ROM
Limited Warranty1 Year