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Nikon Coolpix S50c Compact Camera

At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder Nikon Coolpix S50c Compact Camera

    TechHive Rating

The Nikon Coolpix S50c compact camera has a few tricks up its sleeve, namely Wi-Fi connectivity, optical image stabilization, and a handy rotary dial that works like a trackball, giving you a fast way to navigate menus. However, while we appreciate such niceties, they don't make up for the S50c's major weaknesses--sluggish shooting performance, poor battery life, and just-okay image quality. (We noted some of the same deficiencies in our review of a newer model, the Coolpix S51.)

The Coolpix S50c felt slow at most tasks, including focusing, zooming in and out, and navigating the menus. It had a particularly hard time shooting extreme close-ups, even in bright settings, because it had trouble focusing on near objects. I also noticed some shutter lag; the S50c is slow compared with similarly featured cameras I've tried. And the battery conked out after only 160 shots--far below the average of 264 shots taken by compact cameras we've tested.

Photos that I shot by a pool under midday sun and pictures that I took indoors without flash both looked fine. The images had decent shadow detail and fairly accurate colors. In our lab tests, though, the Coolpix S50c rated slightly below average. Its color reproduction wasn't as accurate as that of other compact cameras we've evaluated, and its exposure quality wasn't all that great either.

The Coolpix S50c's ability to connect to a wireless LAN is a nice, distinguishing feature. I identified an available wireless network, entered some network settings and then my recipients' e-mail addresses on the camera itself, and eventually uploaded some of my photos to a Nikon site where my friends could view them. The interface for entering these settings is disorganized, however. For example, it has separate areas for setting up a home wireless network and for connecting to a T-Mobile hotspot; the latter shows up as an option (called Coolpix Connect) only when you press the playback button.

As a result, even though the Wi-Fi feature of the Nikon Coolpix S50c allows you to bypass transferring photos to a PC, the process is still too manual for most casual photographers--it doesn't make up for the camera's other shortcomings. You can save some money by skipping the wireless and going with the Coolpix S51, but other cameras outperformed both models.

--Grace Aquino

This story, "Nikon Coolpix S50c Compact Camera" was originally published by PCWorld.

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At a Glance
  • TechHive Rating

    Wi-Fi connectivity and optical image stabilization don't make up for sluggish performance and just-okay image quality.

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