Posted October 2, 2005.
Reviewer: Yacht shooter (Marina del Rey, CA) - See all my reviews I took delivery of my S4 yesterday afternoon and put it through it's paces. The quality of the camera and the lens are absolutely terrific. However, when shooting indoors: it won't focus or yield a non-blurred image when shooting indoors in available light. If you're willing to use a flash all the time, it's fine, except for the fact that you can't turn off the "in camera red-eye correction" which sometimes leaves people and animals with a white hole where the pupil should be. In other words, the camera takes out the red, but it doesn't always insert the black pupil! If you shut off the red eye correction, then you get the glowing red eyes people hate to see. Hey Nikon, make the in-camera red eye correction a "feature" that can be turned on or off, independent of the multiple flash red eye correction.
NOTE: This is also the case with the Nikon 7900 that I bought for my wife but returned a day later because she couldn't use it to do indoor snapshots of her beloved animals. As she said, "With white pupils, the animals looked like they has lost their souls." What a shame because it too is a wonderful design. Outdoors there's an even more severe problem with the S4: I have more than a thousand pictures of yacht races and boats on a commercial website; all taken with a Nikon 8800 that I'm crazy about. Today I tried shooting boats with the S4 and it was a complete bust. It was a classic cloudy bright day with terrific glare off the water and sky; and it was nearly impossible to use the S4's LCD finder to compose my pictures.
What good is a 10x zoom if you can't aim the camera??? And before you ask, I did adjust the screen brightness from dim to very bright, and no matter which setting I used I ran into the same problem. On the other hand, when standing in some shade, I did a terrific telephoto shot of a parrot's head from about 10' away that when blown up to 11x14" showed every head feather clearly. I returned the S4 to my long suffering camera store and bought a Canon SD550. I've already satisfied myself that it does fine indoors where focusing and available light shots don't seem to be a problem (although it too produces red eye, but not nearly as bad as the S4's); and the optical finder makes taking my yacht pictures a snap (no pun intended). An 11x14" enlargement of a dock shot was crystal clear, with bright realistic colors.
Please Nikon, realize that doing away with the optical finder to make the screen 1/4" higher is a DUMB thing to do; unless you want to deliver the entire serious amateur and professional market for compact cameras to Canon. Please give us a revised S4 that has an optical finder, available light capabiilties equal to the Canon SD550, and either 2 separate redeye controls, or only the customary flashing light. And while you're at it, why did you add your terrific Vibration Reduction mechanism (fabulous on the Nikon 8800), only to the movie mode of the S4? DOUBLE DUMB. The vibration reduction feature is really needed whenever you're using a 10X lens; please give it to the S4's successor for still pictures also. Please understand, I've been using Nikons for more than 40 years and I love them.
But to cause me to return both an S4 and a 7900 in the same week means that you're now doing some things terribly wrong. Please get back on track as soon as you can!!! ========================================= From Amazon.com:.
Posted October 5, 2005.
Reviewer: R. Thompson "sixseven" (Novato, CA USA) - See all my reviews I had this camera backordered through Amazon and received one of the first ones. I have used Nikon SLR cameras for roughly 25 years and have high standards and expectations for their products. My initial reaction to the camera is that the lens is fantastic, but the overall design is lacking. It's as though it was rushed to market. First the size.
I use my Contax U4R for that. The layout is also not as good as with the Contax, nor is it as intuitive. I find myself always putting my fingers on the wrong places, esepecially on the LCD screen. This is not a camera where everything feels naturally placed; then again, there's not a lot of room to work with here. I guess my preference would have been for Nikon to make the camera slightly larger and easier to handle, with a viewfinder and VR to boot.
Besides those issues I do like the camera. The biggest limitation of "pocketable" cameras tends to be the limited zoom range. I was recently on a sailboat and a cruise ship, wanted to get photos of things I saw on shore, but didn't have the zoom range (with my Contax) to get close enough to the subject. The Coolpix S4 certainly solves this issue. I find the images the camera produces to be quite sharp, without excessive edge enhancement.
I've been surprised at the quality of images from situations with relatively low light where I've switched off the flash. The speed of operation with the camera is quite good; it starts quickly, is very responsive, and doesn't lag between shots. Two caveats: first, I dislike the zooming system on the camera. Specifically, I would like the ability to defeat the digital zoom in the menu system. This camera doesn't allow that, so when you reach the limits of the optical zoom there is a "grey zone" where it's difficult to tell whether or not you're in optical or digital zoom mode.
Second, use AA lithiums with this camera. This is not really a "caveat" or limitation of the camera, but you will be amazed at the battery life you get using these batteries. Why four out of five stars given the issues I've described? The Coolpix S4 is the only camera in this size range with a 10X zoom lens. Though it has its' limitations that lens truly distinguishes this camera, and sets it apart from the pack. ========================================= From Amazon.com:.
Posted October 15, 2005 Reviewer: M. L. Harper (Athens) - See all my reviews The S4 is my second Nikon digital camera. Someone ganked my first one, a Coolpix 3100. I took that one to Costa Rica, Panama, back through Costa Rica and up into Nicaragua, taking somewhere around 3000 pictures along the way. I dropped it (in it's case) into the ocean one time and thought it was surely done for, but it came back and served me faithfully for more than a year after getting back to the states before it "disappeared".
I took it to the zoo today and filled my entire 1 gig card. After reviewing the pictures, I am pleased to say that I am quite happy with it's performance. It functions almost exactly like my 3100 did, except it has the awesome addition of a 10x optical zoom and a few extra megapixels. The pictures seem at least as good of quality as my 3100, I think I'm being very critical though. The image sharpness is excellent and the focusing works quite well once you figure out which modes it needs to be set to for that particular subject.
Just being able to turn it however you need it makes lining up your shots so much easier. And being able to zoom as far as it does comes in handy more often than I had imagined. For example, the animals at the zoo are never really close enough to get the shot I wanted. The ability to zoom so far gets your picture right up in the animals face. And if you want to use the digital zoom, you can get a full frame of an animals eye or nostril, or whatever.
If you know how to operate a Nikon or you have the sense and intelligence to learn how, you are not going to find a more convenient little camera that can do all the things this one can. Super zoom, awesome macro mode, video with sound(nearly an hour w/ 1 gig), all in a tiny pocket sized package...Nikon...
There is no image displayed on screen of my nikon s4. Somebobody can help me?.
Than you in advance..
I too am disappointed with all indoor and lowlight photos. All too often the zoom on maximun is very grainy and there's no depth to the images. Pity it has no viewfinder because the LDC screen in bright summer (bright)sunlight one sees absolutely nothing so shooting IS REALLY a hit and miss affair. Sunny daylight pictures are good especially after the rain when the atmosphere is clean.The daylightng function tends to redden the picture especially if taken by flash. For it's size and the zoom it has it's adavtanges but the quality of the images are disappointing...
Dear Carlos, Did you get this problem solved? Interestingly, I have the similar problem and hence would like to know how you got it solved. Was CCD a problem, and you had to replace it? Please advise. Regards, Atul..
Hey I am facing the same problem with my S4.There is no image on LCD I can see other things like setting and mode etc. but when I click pictures it comes black. Plz help me immediately ....