Nikon Coolpix S01 review

A very small, simple camera to take anywhere

Nikon Coolpix S01 review
The Nikon Coolpix S01 is highly compact, but limited

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In some respects, the Nikon Coolpix S01 is a refreshing change: it's a compact camera that doesn't inundate you with features and options you'll use once in a blue moon. It is what it is, a very simple point-and-shoot, and you can use it to capture those moments you might not normally record due to not having a camera on you at the time.

The Nikon Coolpix S01's size enables you to tuck it into a back pocket, a visor, even a sock while running, giving you the versatility to be able to shoot anywhere, any time.

It's often said that the best camera is the one you have on you, and with the Coolpix S01, Nikon is aiming to wrest that title back from the now ubiquitous smartphone.

But is that a winnable battle? And will a small but limited camera with no potential to expand its capabilities with smartphone-like apps still meet your needs in the medium to long term?

Portability is one thing, but almost anyone who takes pictures wants a little bit of control. White Balance, for instance. And ISO. And Autofocus!

We liked

We achieved nice, strong colours straight from the camera in our sample images, and very good dynamic range results. The Nikon Coolpix S01 is also a pocket camera in every sense of the word

We disliked

The Nikon Coolpix S01 lacks some basic controls such as white balance and ISO settings, which may put you off. Images from the camera are noisy even in bright conditions, and the focal range is too limited.

Final verdict

The Nikon Coolpix S01 is certainly stylish, and its size makes it extremely portable - a pocket camera even when you don't have any pockets.

There's something refreshing about having a basic point-and-shoot camera, a simple creative tool that enables you to focus solely on composition and capturing the moment. Such is the strength of the iPhone and other smartphone cameras.

So while we're willing to overlook the lack of certain commonly used controls, we just can't overlook image quality. The Nikon Coolpix S01's tiny 1/3-inch type sensor didn't produce reliably sharp and noise-free images in our tests, and at this price point we'd probably opt for a smartphone as our carry-anywhere point-and-shoot.