Nikon Coolpix S32 review

Nikon Coolpix S32 is an affordable waterproof camera. You can bring it down to 10m (33 ft) of water and it should be able to survive drops from 1.5m (5 ft). It features 13 megapixel sensor and 3x optical zoom. It also record full HD video and comes in several happy color variations.

GENERAL SPECIFICATION

  • Announced: 2014.
  • Type: Waterproof compact
  • Dimensions: 108 x 66 x 40 mm (4.25 x 2.6 x 1.57″)
  • Weight: 175g (with battery)
  • Sensor: 1/3″ (4.8 x 3.6 mm), 13 MP (4160 x 3120 pixels)
  • ISO range: 125 – 1,600 (only AUTO ISO available)
  • Image stabilization: No
  • Dust and moisture protection: Yes (10m)
  • Flashlight: Built-in
  • Continuous shooting: 4.7 fps
  • LCD screen: 2.7″, 230,000 dots
  • Memory card: SD/SDHC/SDXC
  • Battery: Li-Ion EN-EL19
  • Video: 1920×1080 (30p), VGA 640×480 (30p, 15p)
  • Connectors: USB 2.0, micro HDMI

CONSTRUCTION, HANDLING AND MENU SYSTEM

Nikon S32 is entirely made from plastic all the way around except for the top ring around the lens which is made from metal in order to protect it if it falls. It is available in several colors: pink, blue, white and yellow. It appears not all colors are available in all markets what’s a bit weird decision.

Using Nikon S32 is very easy. There are very few controls on it – on the top there are shutter and movie button and on the back multi-way controller and four buttons whose functions corresponds to the one displayed on the LCD.

S32 has only pure automatic shooting mode. Actually there is a bunch of scenario shooting modes like macro, food, pets etc but they all are automatic. Even the most basic controls like exposure compensation are not even called that way; it is labeled as “brighter/darker” and there is no ISO control, not even white balance. It is obvious this camera is made for children or adults without absolutely any desire to master even the most basic settings and as much this is good from their perspective you completely rely on what the camera is capable by itself.

NIKON COOLPIX S32 LCD

LCD unit on Nikon S32 has 2.7″ diagonal and 230,000 dots. Viewing quality is average at best and viewing angles are pretty bad – you won’t see anything if you try to hold it above your head and take some pics over the crowd in a concert or similar.

SENSOR AND IMAGE QUALITY

Image quality is relatively OK concerning how affordable and basic this camera is. Colors have a natural saturation and automatic white balance does excellent job even in difficult night conditions. This is very important since there is no white balance control whatsoever.

Image sensor uses older CCD technology which results in pretty high noise and even stronger noise reduction. The result is nothing new – complete lack of fine details in photographs in all ISO values. Typical owners of this camera will probably never notice it, but keep this information in mind before purchasing it. Night shots also have a lot of noise, but at least white balance is solid and you can get usable shots if needed.

NIKON COOLPIX S32 LENS

3x optical zoom is nothing to write home about; it covers 30-90mm range in 35mm equivalent and has F/3.3-5.9 aperture (not that great fot low light shooting).

MEMORY AND BATTERY

Nikon S32 supports standard SD/SDHC/SDXC memory cards. Li-ion battery is typical for such camera – you can get around 200 shots on a single charge.

Both battery and memory card share the same compartment. In the same place you can find two connectors – micro HDMI and USB. USB is used for charging as well as transferring images to PC, but it is not a standard connector – you get a special cable in the retail package. Personally, I hate such solution since this cable – once lost or damaged is hard to find. It’s not something all IT stores would have in stock.

VIDEO RECORDING

S32 offers full HD video and mono sound recording. Similar to photo mode, videos have correct exposure and realistic colors. Sadly, once you start recording video, optical zoom is disabled. You can only use digital zoom and that one is absolute disaster. S32 doesn’t have optical stabilization so videos will be very shaky most of the time.




NIKON COOLPIX S32 REVIEW CONCLUSION 

Altogether, Nikon S32 left me with impressions of a camera built for children or amateurs who have no intention to learn even the very basics of photography. It is pure point and shoot and there is a market for such cameras. Image quality is actually quite usable thanks to good white balance. If you use your images only for social networks, print in small formats and use camera only a few times a year S32 will work just fine.

NIKON COOLPIX S32 PRO:

  • Extremely easy to use
  • Good automatic white balance
  • Waterproof
  • Affordable
  • Li-Ion battery

NIKON COOLPIX S32 CONS:

  • Noise reduction
  • No optical image stabilization
  • Only digital zoom during video
  • Proprietary USB cable
  • Not a single manual control of anything except EV compensation

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