Would you believe if we said, “The camera we got our hands on is smaller than your palm?” The latest from Nikon, the Coolpix S01, indeed is so small that it can easily pass off as a Zippo lighter, not kidding! Let’s find out what it packs in its teeny-weeny shell.
Ooh La La!
Design and features
This camera may come across as gimmicky to you, but going by the specifications, it seems this miniscule shooter does pack oomph. Whatever it may seem, one thing is for sure that it will make fashionistas go “Whoaaaaah!!”, and that’s exactly what the S01 is all about. To make it more appealing, Nikon offers the S01 in five colour variants. Black, white, bright red and shocking pink are commonly used by camera and cellphone manufacturers when it comes to offering products that are funky. For the first time, we’ve come across a camera completely clad in mirror-finish chrome—No! It can’t be substituted for that pocket mirror you carry in your purse!
Available in funky colours and chrome
It's unbelievably tiny!
At 77x 55 mm, this 10 megapixel shooter is incredibly tiny. You’ll feel the shopkeeper is kidding when he says the camera inside is actually the size of the photo printed on the packaging. Moving on to the specifications, the feature set is similar to that offered by entry-level digital cameras. But it’s commendable that Nikon has managed to fit everything in such a tiny form. And this wouldn’t have been possible had Nikon not used a smaller sensor. Unlike 1/2.3-inch type sensors commonly used in digital cameras, the S01 uses a 1/2.9-inch sensor—smaller than the former by around 20 percent. This allows Nikon to use smaller lens. The circumference of the tip of the lens housing is about the size of a two-rupee coin. The lens starts from 29 mm and extends up to 87 mm, which translates to 3x optical zoom. It’s too less to capture distant objects, but just perfect for indoor use and framing portraits.
Shutter release, zoom and playback button
The front of the camera is home to a tiny microphone to capture sound while recording videos, a focus assist lamp and a tiny flash strobe. The strip at the top has the shutter release button, zoom lever and playback button. The side has an eyelet for a wrist strap, or you may want to hook up a lanyard to sling the camera around your neck. A common connector for USB connectivity and A/V out is present at the bottom, covered by a plastic flap. Now, you may ask, “what about the battery and storage?” The Li-ion battery is built-in and so is the storage. You get 7.3GB of storage and it can’t be expanded via memory cards.
2.5-inch resistive touchscreen
The rear of the camera sports a 2.5-inch colour LCD display, which takes up almost the entire area. Squeezing tiny buttons and a D-pad doesn’t make sense in such cramped space. So, Nikon has gone in with a completely touch-driven interface. The only button present is the Home button at the bottom right corner. The S01 is pretty straightforward to use. There’s only the Auto mode for shooting photos and it completely takes care of the exposure, white balance and ISO speed. The only parameters you can tinker with are self-timer, EV, flash mode and image resolution, all available via the Home button. If you’re in a mood for creativity, you can navigate to the ‘Special Effects’ mode and use Sepia, Monochrome, High Key and Low Key filters. What’s more, you get more filters to apply in playback mode. These are available via Filter Effects and include Toy Camera, Soft, Fish eye, Miniature, Vivid and Cyanotype.
The only parameters you can tinker with
Time for some creativity!
You have to switch to Movie mode to shoot videos. The S01 can shoot videos at up to HD 720p with the option to use digital zoom should you want to get close to subjects. Videos are saved in MOV format (MPEG-4 AVC/H.264).
Despite its miniscule form, the S01 is very comfortable to use. It’s designed for single-handed use while shooting. All you have to do is just point and shoot. Even the tiny zoom lever around the shutter release button is within comfortable reach of the index finger. Navigating the UI isn’t necessary unless you want to switch over to video recording mode or change a few settings such as flash mode, EV, image resolution and self-timer. This too is possible single-handedly thanks to the large icons, but it’s safer to grip the camera with both hands while you’re navigating the UI or viewing photos.
Updated 22 May, 2013, 9:02 am IST
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