Nikon Coolpix S3000 review

This budget snapper looks great, but could be easier to use

Nikon Coolpix S3000
Can small and light camera produce great photos?

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nikon coolpix s3000

Still-image performance is reasonable for the money, with a few caveats. The 12-megapixel sensor delivers large and detailed images.

In terms of other aspects of image performance, it's more of a mixed bag. Colours are generally accurate and rich, but the smaller sensor does mean noise is quite noticeable at higher ISO settings (see the next page).

But the biggest issue we noticed was a tendency to overexpose in brighter sunlight. Certainly, it's easy enough to reduce exposure compensation to deal with this, but we wonder how many of the 'point and click' target market will actually bother (or have the confidence) to do this.

Nikon coolpix s3000

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OVER-EXPOSED: Bright sunlight seems to confuse the little Nikon and overexposure and blown out details are the result

At the same time, we noticed some underexposure while shooting landscape shots on a blustery, changeable day – all of which suggests that the metering system on the Nikon Coolpix S3000 is rather basic and built down to a price.

Nikon coolpix s3000

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WIDE ANGLE: The wide angle lens is very handy when shooting landscapes or city scenes

You sometimes need to change AF settings to get consistent results too, and again, we worry that the target market may not have the confidence or inclination to do this.

These quibbles aside, we were generally happy with the image performance considering the Nikon Coolpix S3000 costs under a hundred quid.

Lens performance is fine for the money and, as mentioned, the wide-angle flexibility and 4x zoom comes in handy when shooting landscapes and cityscapes.

Nikon coolpix s3000

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LANDSCAPE: The camera can be tempermental, but get the exposure right and you're rewarded with surprisingly good images for a sub-£100 compact

As is often the case with compacts in this price bracket, advanced exposure adjustments are limited. The camera lacks a PASM dial, but it's easy enough to adjust ISO and white balance via the menus, and Exposure Compensation can be adjusted via the rear Mode dial (once you've located the tiny, silvery icon).

Nikon coolpix s3000

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PORTRAIT: Skin tones are accurate and warm, without looking artificial. The numerous portrait mode options are useful (if you need them)

As mentioned, ISO performance is fine up to ISO 800, then image quality really begins to deteroriate, but no more so than on any other sub-£100 compact.

If you want HD video, you'll need to get the Nikon Coolpix's bigger brother, the S4000, because the S3000 only shoots in basic movie mode.