One year ago Nikon introduced a camera for people who want something really tiny they can carry everywhere. The Nikon Coolpix S01 was about the same size as a credit card but offered real point-and-shoot camera performance for those who wanted something easy to carry that had better quality than a Smart Phone. Nikon’s new Coolpix S02 builds on the original with a larger touchscreen LCD display, a better sensor, and full HD video.
Nikon Coolpix S02 Key Features & Specs:
- 13.2-megapixel 1/3.1-inch CMOS sensor
- 3x 30-90mm f/3.3-5.9 optical zoom lens
- 2.7-inch 230k-dot touchscreen LCD display
- Sensitivity: ISO 125-1600
- 1920 x 1080 full HD video
- Built-in flash
- Memory: 7.3 GB internal
- Built-in, non-removable battery
Size was the defining characteristic of the Nikon S01 so when Nikon made the new S02, they kept the dimensions the same – a very dainty and easy to pocket 3.1 x 2.1 x 0.7 inches (78.7 x 53.3 x 17.8mm). That’s really small – the S02 is actually shorter than a credit card and thinner than most point-and-shoots. Just to get an idea of how small it is, take a credit card out of your wallet and put it next to a point-and-shoot camera or just hold it in your palm. Tiny, huh?
Improvements to the S02 are mostly internal and performance-related. The optics remain the same – a pretty straightforward 3x 30-90mm f/3.3-5.9 optical zoom lens. The new sensor is the main upgrade. The S01 had a 10-megapixel CCD sensor, which Nikon upgraded to a 13-megapixel CMOS imager in the S02. Not only does the new sensor improve image quality, but it also allowed Nikon to bump the S02’s video from 720p HD to 1920×1080 full HD.
Externally, the S02 looks pretty much the same as the S01. However, if you compare the back of the cameras you’ll notice the S02 has a larger LCD display – increased from 2.5 inches to a more standard 2.7 inches. In order to keep the camera so small, Nikon gave the S02 a non-removable battery and 7.3 GB of internal memory (charging and downloading are done via USB cable). Also, there are almost no external controls on the S02. There’s a shutter release, an on/off button, a play button, a zoom lever, and on the rear of the camera there’s a “Home” button. Most of the controls are accessed via the touchscreen display – you can even take pictures by just touching your subject on the screen, just as you would with a Smart Phone.
Obviously, the S02 wasn’t designed for professional photographers or serious enthusiasts. It’s pretty much a pure point-and-shoot with minimal bells and whistles – unless you count the size as a bell and/or whistle. But people who want a simple affordable point-and-shoot camera that’s really easy to carry and use, should take a look at the Coolpix S02. It really is tiny and with the new sensor and full HD video, the basic performance is on par with other, much chunkier P&S cameras. Even though I’m usually interested in more expensive cameras with high-end and performance, I’m really curious about the S02 and I’d like a chance to play with it. I only wish it had built-in Wi-Fi so you could share photos and videos on social networking sites with a Smart Phone. That’s an obvious feature for a camera like this and I expect we’ll see it in the Coolpix S03.
The Nikon Coolpix S02 will come in white, pink, blue and silver. It’s scheduled to be in stores and at online dealers later this month (September, 2013). The suggested retail price is US $179.95.