Nikon Coolpix S1 Digital Camera Review

Nice and thin!


If you are looking for a small light weight digital camera that takes excellent photo’s… this is it for you.


Compact design, easy to use, and light weight.


Not good enough to low light conditions…

For some time I have wanted to get a compact, lightweight, and cool looking digital camera that I can take anywhere. I cannot take my big and expensive Olympus C-8080 everywhere because do not want to damage or carry it. Sometimes I just want a camera that I can hide in my pocket. So I went to CompUSA for another hunting session, and after hours of search and tests, I came home with this Nikon Coolpix S1 digital camera.

It cost me around $330 plus tax but I know it will be worth every penny. Nowadays, I am interested in the Canon Digital Rebel XT / EOS 350D digital camera, but I have to save enough for it first (plus my wife would kill me if I get it while I have the C-8080).


The Coolpix S1 has a 2.5 inch LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) screen; I wish this camera had a viewfinder so I would save battery life. The LCD is 110,000-dot amorphous silicon TFT and it is bright and clear even in some bright environments; the brightness can also be easily adjusted.


This camera is powered by an EN-EL8 lithium-ion rechargeable battery. This is a rechargeable battery pack that provides about 200 to 220 pictures before having to charge it again. The CoolStation MV-11 that is included in the package can fully charge the battery really quickly. I did not buy an extra battery pack because the original battery can last long enough before needing to recharge again.


The Coolpix S1 also uses intelligent technology to help ensure balanced exposure and sharpness. The new D-Lighting function can literally turn throwaway shots into frame-able memories. It can be selected in Playback mode which will automatically compensate for insufficient flash or excessive backlighting in order to obtain balanced exposure throughout the frame.


The Noise Reduction System (NR) of this camera is very efficient and useful. The noise reduction system minimizes image noise in high ISO shots, low-light images, and long exposures. With Noise reduction on, the shoot may take a bit longer than usual, but it is definitely worth the wait. I always use NR when I am in an environment without appropriate lighting.


The Coolpix S1 has a pretty good movie mode that records video clips at 640 x 480 pixels @ 15fps (max). The nicest of all is that it can also record audio with the video. Now the length of video you can record depends solely on the memory card you are using. Recording time remaining is displayed on the LCD screen and decreases as you record. This camera can easily be connected to a TV, using the included video cable, to share the fun with friends and family.

I did take some video clips of my family just to test it and it turned out very nicely. The clips are not of the highest quality but they are decent enough for everyday use. Of course, if you want a high-quality video, you would just get a camcorder.


The sensitivity range provides the ability to slightly change images without reducing the quality and details. Sensitivity options are Auto, and ISO 50, 100, 200, & 400. This camera’s range of sensitivity choices goes along nicely with the White Balance feature and other image adjustment controls. I usually like to leave the ISO setting to Auto, but I do play around with the manual settings once in a while to get the perfect shot.


This camera has a total of 7 white balance (WB) settings: Auto, and presets such as Daylight, Incandescent, Fluorescent, Cloudy, and Speedlight (flash), and a Custom (manual) setting. I hardly ever change my WB settings, because I like to just point and shoot. I leave my setting at Auto and forget about it, but there are times when I need to play around with the manual settings to get the shot I want.


The Nikon Coolpix S1 takes about two seconds to startup. The shutter fires very quickly and it takes about a second or two at most (maybe more in bad lighting). Autofocus (AF) is also pretty fast and accurate most of the time in good light conditions. The AF system gets the picture in focus (in good lighting) in less than a second. The AF system hardly ever lags to get the pictures in focus, and in low light situations, it takes a little longer than usual.


I have been using this Nikon Coolpix S1 digital camera for about three weeks now, and it has given me a wide range of high-quality pictures. I take it everywhere I go, and it gives me great-looking pictures. It fits perfectly in my shirt or pant pockets.

I like to take a lot of pictures, especially of my family and the beautiful Mother Nature. I like to visit places and capture all their beauty. My mom has a beautiful flower garden and I usually go to her place and take close-ups of the pretty flowers and other wonderful plants. I usually take my Olympus C-8080 to take close-ups but I tried it with this new camera and I am amazed at the quality from such a small camera. I use the built-in flash, even during the day, to light up all parts of the object I am capturing which this camera allows me to do that without any problems.


I bought a little carrying and storage case for this camera and thus far I have not had a scratch on it anywhere. So if you want to protect your investment, I suggest you purchase a good case for this camera. For great quality pictures, you should not touch the camera lens with your fingers (you do not want fingerprints on the lens… do you?). Keep the LCD clean at all times and when storing, cover the LCD with a piece of cloth to prevent scratches. Or wrap the camera in something to protect it.

I also purchased a lens cleaning 2-in-1 pen which helps me get the dust and fingerprints off in just a couple of seconds from the lens and the LCD. I would highly recommend purchasing some sort of lens cleaning apparatus to take full advantage of this camera’s potential.


The image quality the Coolpix S1 provides is amazing and is better than most of the compact digital cameras I have seen and used. The color is accurate which can easily be customized in the menu settings. I usually use the highest (5 MP) resolutions for my pictures because I sometimes want to crop and edit pictures; this gives me that flexibility and quality to do so. I am still pretty new to digital photography and digital cameras, so I do not know everything in detail about this camera but I can tell you this, every picture I have taken with this camera turned out quite nicely. I have never had a ruined picture in the time I have used it.


Unfortunately, I did find some things that might be considered cons such as the corners of the images are soft, sometimes the skin tones can be pinkish, has very limited low light capabilities, the flash is a very short range, and battery life could have been better. These are some minor problems for me as I really do not use this camera for high-quality pictures. I would have preferred the battery life and flash range to be a little bit greater, but I guess the reduced size also reduced the efficiency of some features.


I am not saying that this is the perfect compact camera for everyone, but from my experience, I can say that it will not fail to provide you with excellent pictures. I have tried the Sony 8 Megapixel camera and my Olympus C-8080 and this camera has speeds very close to those semi-professional digital cameras. This camera will last you a long time and help you secure your memories in excellent quality almost every time.


Resolution5 Megapixels
Optical Zoom3x
Digital Zoom4x
Camera TypeStandard point and shoot
Image Resolution640 x 480
2592 x 1944
2048 x 1536
1024 x 768
Video Resolution640 x 480 (vga)
320 x 240 (qvga)
160 x 120
Video Speed15 frames per second
Video FormatQuicktime
ISO SpeedAuto
Aperture Rangesf3 / f5.4 (w/t)
Shutter Speed2 - 1/350 seconds
White BalanceAuto
Preset (Sunny, Cloudy, Fluorescent, and Incandescent)
Compatible MemoryBuilt-in and SD Card
Exterior ColorBlack
USB Cable
Video Cable
Cradle / Docking Station
Hand Strap
Lithium Battery
AC Adapter
LCD Panel Size2.5 inches
LCD Panel Resolution110,000 pixels
 Dimensions3.5 (W) x 0.8 (D) x 2.3 (H) inches
 Weight0.26 pounds