The Nikon Coolpix S4300 is a sleek ultra-compact camera with the bonus of a 3-inch 460,000-dot touchscreen.

Intended as an unthreatening point and shoot, the Nikon S4300 is slim enough for most pockets and simple enough for novices to fully exploit.

Priced at £150 in the UK and $170 in the US, the petite Nikon Coolpix S4300 features a 16 megapixel CCD sensor and 6x optical zoom, which extends from a usefully wide 26mm to 156mm.

Sadly the maximum apertures are average, at f/3.5 at wide angle and f/6.5 when fully zoomed in, but the camera does boast lens shift vibration reduction to reduce camera shake.

Nikon Coolpix S4300

The Nikon Coolpix S4300 is designed to be easy to operate, with just three buttons on its back- one to start HD video recording, another to view photos and the third to select between Auto mode, the 20 different Scene Modes, six Special Effects modes and Smart Portrait mode.

Everything else is found through on-screen displays that feature reasonably large on-screen buttons.

Nikon Coolpix S4300 review

The Nikon S4300 comes with a 2-inch long black plastic stylus, but the on-screen buttons are large enough to be operated with a finger.

The 3-inch LCD touchscreen can also be used for touch shooting, subject tracking and touch autofocus/auto exposure.

Nikon Coolpix S4300 at a glance
Sensor size:
16MP 1/2.3-inch CCD
Storage: SD card, 74MB internal memory
LCD screen: 3-inch, 460k dot touchscreen LCD
Dimensions: 95.5mm x 58.9mm x 20.8mm, 139g

Thanks to its "rapid menu system" and the simplicity of the touchscreen, Nikon claims that the S4300 is "designed for capturing fleeting moments as soon as they happen" with "super-fast start up" and one touch movie recording.

The pared down simplicity of the menus and numerous automatic modes make the Nikon Coolpix S4300 perfect for anyone wanting their camera to completely simplify the photo taking process. However, those wanting manual control over images should look elsewhere.

Build quality and handling

As a dedicated touchscreen camera, the Nikon Coolpix S4300 has very few physical controls, and navigation overall is simple.

The top of the camera features the on/off button, shutter release and zoom rocker, and the back houses just three buttons and the touchscreen. Located on the bottom of the body is the battery/SD card compartment and AV-out port.

Nikon Coolpix S4300 review

The camera's three buttons access image playback, start HD video recording and enable you to select shooting modes. All the camera's other features are accessed via the touchscreen. The Nikon Coolpix S4300 also includes a plastic stylus for use on the touchscreen.

The Scene button provides access to the Nikon Coolpix S4300's controls, with the choice of Auto mode, Scene Modes, Special Effects modes or Smart Portrait. When in each of these modes, on-screen buttons enable you to alter flash, self-timer and exposure compensation settings and activate macro focusing.

Nikon Coolpix S4300 review

A further on-screen Menu button provides access to all other settings, including image size, touchscreen settings, ISO sensitivity, white balance and so on.

Using the stylus, navigation of the touchscreen menus is swift and responsive, but those with big hands may find it hard to operate the touchscreen with their fingers, because some on-screen buttons aren't particularly large. Another potential issue is that the stylus is small and very easy to lose, especially considering there's nowhere on the camera to attach it.

Nikon Coolpix S4300

Overall, the Nikon Coolpix S4300 feels well built, with no flex in the body or lens mountings and sturdy covers for the battery compartment and AV-out port.

Although the camera is small, it fits nicely in the hand, and you can operate the touchscreen comfortably with either hand while supporting the camera with the other.