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Home arrow Digital Camera Reviews arrow Nikon > arrow Nikon Coolpix S570 & S640 Combined Digital Camera Review
Nikon Coolpix S570 & S640 Combined Digital Camera Review

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Digital Camera Review by: Katrina Putker 

 

Nikon recently released an attractive new batch of Coolpix S-series compact cameras onto the market, two of which being the S570 and S640 retailing for $349.00 and $499.00 respectively.

Due to the extensive list of shared features and design qualities of the two new mid-range Nikon compacts, Buy-n-Shoot has decided to comparatively review the units in a single article to help users best decide which of the two may be the better option for them and indeed, it’s unlikely to be a decision easily made.

So, let’s start with first impressions then and indeed one could be forgiven for initially mistaking the 570 for the 640 or visa versa as the units are strikingly similar when set side-by-side.

Firstly, the colour varieties differ only slightly with both models available in Australia in black, silver or pink and the 570 also offering a red model.

In terms of size and weight, the two units are almost on par with the 640 proving marginally smaller at 91 x 55 x 20.5mm (compared to 92 x 56.5 x 21.5mm) and some 10 grams lighter (at 110g) so in reality, the difference is practically negligible.

Design-wise these two Coolpix models are the equivalent of identical twins that, if you look at them a little closer and for long enough, have small but determinable differences setting them apart.

From the front, their Nikon and Coolpix brandings, lens and flash positions, wrist strap connection and AV output points are identical where the location of their AF lamps and built-in microphones are not. Much like freckles on the face of said identical twins.

From the back, the differences are equally as subtle. The positioning of the shooting mode, playback, delete and menu buttons is the same on both models along with the four-way multi selector and ‘ok’ apply selection button.

The 570’s buttons (aside from power and shutter) are slightly larger than on the 640 – a point to note for those with bigger finger and thumb pads – where the 640’s multi selector doubles as a scroll wheel, the motion of which iPod, iPhone and some DSLR users are likely to be familiar with.

Both units present a 2.7-inch, 230,000-dot TFT LCD screen with anti-reflective coating that helps to ensure full visibility in bright sunlight.

The 640 goes one better with an antifouling and water repellent layer to further help protect the screen against smudging and fingerprints, which gives it a greater slipperiness as compared to the 570 making it easier to wipe clean and a little less susceptible to the elements.

The 640’s screen is also air gapless, which means that the protective outer layer is fixed closer to the LCD itself in order to provide better overall contrast.

Another notable difference between the 570 and the 640, not so much in terms of design but certainly in terms of functionality, is the speaker.

On the 570 it rests directly adjacent to the thumb grip where it is camouflaged among the eight small grip dots provided, where on the 640 it goes almost unnoticed on the body’s left-hand edge.

It’s in the actual playback of movies however where the difference between the two becomes far more pronounced.

At its highest volume setting, the 640 doesn’t compete with the sound quality or the amplification of the 570, perhaps surprisingly given the price difference between the models and generally, you wouldn’t expect any feature to decrease in quality as you progress through a manufacturer’s line up.

For those who record a lot of movie snippets and review them on camera frequently, this may be a relevant matter but for most consumers it may well be a non-issue.

Both units suffer a degree of sound distortion, which is to be expected in compact cameras, and record at dimensions of either 320x240 or 640x480 (default.)

The 570 offers users the choice between either 15 or 30 frames per second at each setting along with the option of electronic vibration reduction, while the 640 only allows for recording at the higher quality 30 frames per second but without the option of electronic vibration reduction.

Each unit enables the user to elect how the camera will focus when recording, either with the default single AF, which locks focus at a certain point or full time AF where the camera will continually shift focus as it requires. The downside with the latter being that the noise of the lens constantly shifting can ultimately detract from the end quality of the movie being recorded.

Let’s talk figures now and look at some of the specs each of these Coolpix units has to offer starting with the generous megapixel count: 12 for the S570 and 12.2 in the S640.

Both units boast 28mm wide-angle lenses with 5x optical and up to 4x digital zoom. They share the same set of 16 scene modes, which includes portrait, landscape, sports, backlight, food, beach/snow, close-up and party/indoor to name a few.

The 640 also offers subject tracking to enable the user to firstly choose a subject for the camera to focus on – generally, but not necessarily, a person - and then watch as it follows the subject while it moves within frame. This proves a handy feature particularly when shooting young children or animals that can often be difficult subjects due to their constant movement.

The 570 has 47MB of internal memory as opposed to 45MB in the 640 while the 640 is a little more swift in the start-up department having one of the quickest times amongst cameras in its class taking just 0.7 seconds.

Speaking of speed, Buy-n-Shoot is yet to have seen a compact camera that focuses as quickly as the 640 does.

Nikon rightfully brag that it can lock focus as quickly as DSLRs are famed for doing and indeed, this is one very enticing feature for those who demand speed and efficiency from their compact camera. While the 570 is not as fast, it certainly doesn’t lag in the focus department either.

In terms of image quality, there doesn’t seem to be much between the two.

Where the 570 produces quite punchy, saturated colours the 640 favours a more true-to-life representation. As a result, images from the 570 tend to be brighter than those produced with the 640, which offers more as-you-would-see-it type photographs.

Both units repeatedly produce sharp, clear images although the 640 is marginally better when zoomed in to one hundred percent. At standard sizes however, the naked eye cannot easily tell the difference between the two.

The 640 does outperform the 570 at full 5x optical zoom though by maintaining good contrast and sharp lines where the 570 produces softer edges and tends to wash out some of its previously well-saturated colour.

In reality however, unless you’re comparing images taken by the two units side by side, there isn’t much to complain about with the image quality of either.

You pay a little more for the 640 and resultantly, you get a little bit better image quality but consumers are highly likely to be just as happy with the 570 assuming that is the option better-suited for their budget.

Besides, image quality can also be quite a subjective thing and where some users will prefer the natural-look available from the 640, others will better enjoy the punchiness offered by the 570.

A clever little feature both of these Coolpix models present is smart portrait mode, which, without the user semi-depressing the shutter, automatically determines when human subjects are in frame and delays firing the shutter until it detects the subjects are smiling.

One subject can smile but both the 570 and the 640 will not automatically fire the shutter until all subjects are determined to be smiling. Aside from being quite clever and proving to work effectively on most occasions, smart portrait mode is exceptionally handy for self and group portraits especially if one of the subjects is operating the camera.medal-gold-r.jpg

If you enjoy the appearance of smooth, airbrushed skin, then you will also love the ability of these cameras to delicately soften and even out skin tones without affecting the sharpness of a subject’s eyes or teeth etc.

All-in-all both the S570 and S640 are slim, stylish units from the Nikon Coolpix range that offer ease-of-use, great portability and excellent image quality for compact cameras within this affordable price range.

Across the board, both units are prove reliable whether used for basic point-and-shoot or more user-determined operation and while yes, the S640 is slightly ahead of the S570 in terms of some extra functionality, speed and image quality, you will pay that little bit more for those privileges.

Both units are highly recommended.

 

 S570 Ratings & Specifications

Appearance rating 4 stars
Functionality rating 4 stars
Image quality
3.5 stars
Lens quality
4 stars
View finder / LCD screen 3.5 stars
Value for money 4.5 stars
RRP (AUD) $349
SPACER.GIF  
Effective Pixels 12 Million mega pixels
Image Sizes 8 Sizes
Lens - zoom wide [mm] 28mm (35mm equivalent )
Lens -zoom tele [mm] 140mm (35mm equivalent )
Lens - Optical Zoom Yes, 5x
Resolution Settings From 640 x 480 to 4000 × 3000
Shooting Modes Auto mode, Scene modes, Scene auto selector, Smart portrait mode, Movie mode
Scene Modes Portrait, Landscape, Sports, Night portrait, Party/indoor, Beach/snow, Sunset, Dusk/dawn, Night landscape, Close-up, Food, Museum, Fireworks show, Copy, Backlight, Panorama assist
Face Detection Yes, up to 12 faces
Manual Focus No
Auto Focus Yes
Focus Range [cm] 45cm - infinity
Aperture Range F=5.0-25.0mm / F2.7-6.6
Aperture Priority No
Macro Yes
Macro Range [cm] 3cm - infinity
Shutter Speeds Auto
Shutter Priority No
ISO Auto (auto gain ISO 80-1600),Fixed range auto (ISO 80 to 400, ISO 80 to 800), Manual selection: ISO 80, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200
LCD Monitor Yes
LCD Size 2.7"; 230,000-dot, TFT LCD anti-reflection coating
Viewfinder No
Flash Auto, Auto with red-eye reduction, Off, Fill flash, Slow sync
Hot Shoe No
White balance Auto, Preset manual, Daylight, Incandescent, Fluorescent, Cloudy, Flash
Self Timer Yes, 2s and 10s
Movie Options Yes. Limited only by memory card size.
Video Out Yes
Storage Type SD memory cards
Storage Included [Mb] 47MB Internal Memory
Image / Audio Formats Compressed [JPEG (EXIF )], mono/wav file, AVI movie
Connectivity USB
Power Source AC Adapter EH-62D
Battery Options Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL10
Dimensions 92 x 56.5 x 21.5 mm
Weight 120g

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

S640 Ratings & Specifications

Appearance rating 4 stars
Functionality rating 4 stars
Image quality
4 stars
Lens quality
4 stars
View finder / LCD screen 4 stars
Value for money 4 stars
RRP (AUD) $499
SPACER.GIF  
Effective Pixels 12.2 Million mega pixels
Image Sizes 8 Sizes
Lens - zoom wide [mm] 28mm (35mm equivalent )
Lens -zoom tele [mm] 140mm (35mm equivalent )
Lens - Optical Zoom Yes, 5x
Resolution Settings From 640 x 480 to 4000 × 3000
Shooting Modes Auto mode, Scene modes, Scene auto selector, Smart portrait mode, Movie mode, Subject tracking mode
Scene Modes Portrait, Landscape, Sports, Night portrait, Party/indoor, Beach/snow, Sunset, Dusk/dawn, Night landscape, Close-up, Food, Museum, Fireworks show, Copy, Backlight, Panorama assist
Face Detection Yes, up to 12 faces
Manual Focus No
Auto Focus Yes
Focus Range [cm] 45cm - infinity
Aperture Range F=5.0-25.0mm / F2.7-6.6
Aperture Priority No
Macro Yes
Macro Range [cm] 2cm - infinity
Shutter Speeds Auto
Shutter Priority No
ISO Auto (auto gain ISO 100-1600),Fixed range auto (ISO 100 to 400, ISO 100 to 800), Manual selection: ISO 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400
LCD Monitor Yes
LCD Size 2.7"; 230,000-dot, wide viewing angle TFT LCD anti-reflection coating, antifouling and water repellent layer
Viewfinder No
Flash Auto, Auto with red-eye reduction, Off, Fill flash, Slow sync
Hot Shoe No
White balance Auto, Preset manual, Daylight, Incandescent, Fluorescent, Cloudy, Flash
Self Timer Yes, 2s and 10s
Movie Options Yes. Limited only by memory card size.
Video Out Yes
Storage Type SD memory cards
Storage Included [Mb] 45MB Internal Memory
Image / Audio Formats Compressed [JPEG (EXIF )], mono/wav file, AVI movie
Connectivity USB
Power Source AC Adapter EH-62F
Battery Options Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL12
Dimensions 91 x 55 x 20.5 mm
Weight 110g

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Nikon

 

The history of Nikon dates back to 1917 when three of Japan's leading optical manufacturers merged to form a fully integrated optical company. By the end of the century Nikon would have accumulated an immense poll of know-how and experience to become a world leader in not only optics and imaging but also industrial equipment and health and medicine sector.

Today Nikon designs, develops, manufactures and markets a gamut of optical, photographic and optoelectronic products globally. You will find them at work in virtually every corner of the earth. If it has something to do with light, Nikon has something to do with it.

The driving force behind Nikon is technology. Not only in manufacturing and assembling the finest lenses or most comprehensive photography system in the world, but also in making the glass itself. That is why Nikon products have gained worldwide customer satisfaction, and even professional recognition worldwide.

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