The Nikon Coolpix S51 is a lovely looking and stylish camera that combines 8.1 effective megapixels of imaging performance with a 3x zoom Nikkor ED lens.

When shooting with the Nikon Coolpix S51 you can compose and then later view your shots on a generous 3in LCD monitor.

The Nikon Coolpix S51 comes in a variety of colours and incorporates Optical lens shift (which compensates for camera shake) and a high sensitivity mode up to ISO 1600 for shooting in poorly lit areas. So far, so good? Well, to be honest, no not really.

Nikon has launched a camera that has the same basic features as most other digital cameras in this price bracket. But what about the new features and extras that all the other new cameras have? What about the ISO6400 capabilities of the Fujifilm F50fd, or the Casio Exilim Z1200 with its truly handy, one press, best shot button. And what about something as simple as the great 15m flash range from the Pentax Optio M40? Not in the Nikon Coolpix S51.

Unfortunately not only does the Nikon Coolpix S51 not have anything special to bring to this photographic party, but it actually doesn't even handle the basics very well. For an 8.1Mp camera, the shutter lag is shameful. In the time the shutter had reacted to us depressing the shot button, not only had our subject moved out of frame, but we had also forgotten what it was we were shooting in the first place.

And the Nikon Coolpix S51's amazingly sloth like abilities don't end there. In playback mode you have to wait an age before the, admittedly very useful, scrollwheel can be used.

This sluggishness has affected another very important factor - battery life. The Nikon Coolpix S51 has a battery life of only 150 shots, as compared with the Pentax Optio M40 at 220 shots, the Fujifilm F50fd at 250 shots, and the Casio Exilim Z1200 at 340 shots*.

Now that's quite a problem.

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Nikon Coolpix S51: Specs

  • 8.1 Megapixel. 3 x Optical Zoom equivalent to 35-105mm range. 3.0 in. LCD viewfinder. ISO 100-1600. AVI Video Capability. 13Mb internal memory, card slot takes SD memory card, rechargeable lithium battery with charger. WxHxD 92.5 x 59 x 21 mm. Weight (no battery) 125g
  • 8.1 Megapixel. 3 x Optical Zoom equivalent to 35-105mm range. 3.0 in. LCD viewfinder. ISO 100-1600. AVI Video Capability. 13Mb internal memory, card slot takes SD memory card, rechargeable lithium battery with charger. WxHxD 92.5 x 59 x 21 mm. Weight (no battery) 125g

OUR VERDICT

If you can put up with an amazingly slow camera that you will need to recharge after each use, then the resulting pics are fine, well lit and sharp. Just make sure you don't try and snap any children, pets or anything with an attention span shorter than an average lifetime. And even then, there are still much better cameras than the Nikon Coolpix S51, at cheaper prices.

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