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70 of 70 people found the following review helpful
The Nikon Coolpix S52 9MP Digital Camera (Midnight Black)is a great all-around point and shoot camera. The performance is impressive and the value is best in class. Canon seems to get all the attention in this space, but I like the Coolpix family of cameras best out of point and shoot models in this price range. For $200, you get a great camera with quality pictures and an awesome interface.

The screen on this camera is Truly AWESOME, 3 inches of clear and durable optical lens quality glass. This camera has the nicest screen out of a point and shoot out there. I mean it is BIG. If you're anal like me, you'll want to get a screen protector. But careful handling of my S50 has proven to me that the glass is very durable and not easily scratched.

Functions And Features

There are some interesting functions, included red-eye correction and image cropping. Once again, most people will be loading their pics on their computers and then dealing with those edits. Still, it's nice to be able to do them.

The control wheel lets you scroll through your photos when displaying them on the screen for review. It only takes one button to delete a picture. It's also easy to access all the menu functions. Switching between camera mode and video recorder mode is just as easy, and reviewing your pictures via play mode is accomplished with one button as well.

The zoom on this camera is internal as with all S50 and S51 models. That means no waiting for the lense to zoom in and out, and no worries about the mechanical issues with those external lens extension cameras. This is a huge plus for this camera, and helps to maintain the slim profile. It also makes this camera MUCH thinner than some of those super-slim ones when they are turned on and the lenses are sticking out.

There are thinner cameras, but none of them are as affordable and as packed with features as this one.

Picture taking is good, and if you get a faster memory card it will be faster. The Auto settings are good enough for most basic uses. But low light and nighttime situations just don't perform as well with auto. So the short answer is, if you have to shoot in low light, set the ISO manually! There's also a "High ISO" option that seems to work ok, but setting it to 1600 seemed to speed up my shooting time.

For those that want increased digital zoom, I would caution you that that feature is usually a gimmick. The 3X optical zoom is more than enough for point and shoot use and yields clear pictures even at full zoom. Digital zoom just uses software to zoom in to the already captured image, but technically it doesn't zoom at all. So with that in mind, I can live with 3X optical zoom. Always compare cameras to each other with the optical zoom in mind.

This unit also comes in other colors such as green and red. If you must have the newer wireless features, you are going to want to get the Nikon Coolpix S52c 9MP Digital Camera Zoom with Wi-Fi (Vibrant Black), which has a wireless network card inside it and can upload pictures without hooking up to your computer. I've gotten to test this wireless model and it does perform well, but in general I don't think this feature is a critical one for me and I would still choose this basic model.

This is an update to the S50 and S51 versions and adds more megapixels (9M!) so that you can produce prints up to 16X20. Just keep in mind, almost nobody buying this camera is trying to produce prints that large! But more megapixels never hurt anybody. :)

The video recording features are pretty much the same as the S50 and S51 models. The video quality is great, but obviously you have to be somewhat forgiving on the sound quality. The quality of your recordings absolutely depend on your memory card quality and speed. And rest assured, this card is SDHC compatible so choose a nice class 6 card till a faster class hits the consumer market. And also keep in mind that your computer probably isn't SDHC compliant (unless it's very new) so get a set with and SDHC reader included or transfer pics from your camera and not from the card.

Comparing The S52 To The Competition

The body of the camera is nice and thin. When you consider that the lens is internal and does not protrude, this guy is thinner than almost everything out there, including the Casio Exislim.

When choosing between this camera and other options, you need to be aware of a few points. The Sony Cybershot T300 10.1MP Digital Camera with 5x Optical Zoom (Black) is a nice camera that also performs well and perhaps has a better responding auto-detection mode for low light situations. But I tested the S52 by setting the ISO manually to 1600. The results were somewhat surprising and produced better quality pictures in low light than Sony's auto setting. Obviously you can also manually set the T300's ISO, but the differences are negligible at that point.

Other things to consider is that you must use Sony's proprietary Memory Pro / Duo, which is more expensive with fewer speed options available. The T300 has a thin body, but the sliding lens cover adds considerable thickness and I personally find it annoying. In addition, the T300 is much more expensive and not even close to the S52 in terms of value.

The Nikon Coolpix S600 10MP Digital Camera with 4x Wide Angle Optical Zoom (Slate Black) has a widescreen capability that may appeal to some and 1 megapixel more for a total of 10. When you add in the greater zoom magnification, that camera is a great option for many people. Just keep in mind that the S600 does have an externally articulating lens, so it's much less compact than the S52 when actually in use. I am just too hooked on this internal lens to use the S600 often.

The only real cons you should be aware of is that your battery will need to be recharged after a few full days of use. That is pretty normal, but it did annoy me at first that I didn't have a spare battery. So get yourself a spare battery and keep it charged. Probably good advice for any camera. The other con is that you have to buy a little case for this camera, which seems like something that should be included.

Review your options with a mind towards the kind of shooting you need to do. Bottom line, get yourself this camera if you want to have a nice camera for everyday general use. This camera is durable, easy to use and loaded with features.

Enjoy.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
I needed a VIP gift for a person so important that other people carry their camera and shoot their pictures for them. And so I began testing little cameras.
I ended up keeping this one for myself.
Why? Well, after shooting 1500 pictures with this camera, I can tell you.
First, small and sleek, beautifully designed, the optics are internal with no lens to protrude. It carries in a pocket like a hundred dollar bill.
Second, a 3 inch LCD that makes it so easy to check focus, or review pictures. A huge and useful viewing screen. There is no optical viewfinder or any need for one.
Image quality is very good, and Nikon handles noise and high ISO speeds so very well.
The shake reduction really works: and I can shoot from a fast moving car at high ISO speeds with no noticeable blur. The higher speed is predictably grainy, but the grain is pleasingly mild.
Battery life is good, 150 shots or so. When I feel serious, I carry a second charged battery.
If you like, turn off the flash and turn off the the synthetic camera sounds from "settings", and you have a very discreet camera that would please James Bond.
The auto focus works well, even without the focus assist lamp.
At first I had a few shots where the focus would not lock.
Then I found that the secret to focusing seems to be holding the camera still. After I discovered that, I had no more focus problems.
I also found that the macro mode continuously focuses. It draws a little more from the battery, but can be useful for faster shooting.
The color saturation is very good, even the auto white balance works, and the image you see is what you capture.
Nikon means good images. I am Happy. Well, almost...
....
The time to focus an image can run to 2 seconds or so.
The time to write an image to the SD card can be 3 seconds or more, even with high speed cards. In fact, there does not seem to be any difference in write speed between high speed and regular cards.
Expect to have to concentrate while shooting, which may not be a bad thing after all. Not quite "point and shoot", but "hold down the shutter release half way to focus, then frame and shoot".
It suits me, but I am from the old school of the manual camera.
Another annoyance is that the lens stays open while reviewing pictures, and can easily get smudged by a wandering fingertip.
The power switch is not well defined by touch, and is easily turned on accidentally. I learned to set the display timeout to go to standby mode in 30 seconds to save battery life in case of accidental turn on.
So, if you are patient and can live with a few annoyances, you will have a sleek little camera that goes anywhere and gets the most use.
I really like it after all.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on August 27, 2008
I purchased this camera about 5 weeks ago, just before leaving on a 3 week overseas trip, so had little time to familiarize myself with the majority of the numerous features. But the camera is easy to use, at least as far as the basic "point and shoot" practice goes. I'm very pleased with the large display, although it sometimes still is hard to see the shot when in a bright outdoor setting. But I typically could make out some basic outlines, as opposed to my previous p & s pocket size Minolta camera (S2), where the display was useless in any lighting conditions brighter than daytime outdoor with a full cloud cover. That, as well as the fact that the battery charge on the Minolta seemed to last for fewer and fewer shots, even on replacement batteries.
A viewfinder (on the Nikon) would be nice in those very bright outdoor situations, but I guess that that is the trade-off for getting a screen that is almost the size of the camera (I'm not kidding: it's 2 3/8 inches wide on the camera which is 3 3/8 wide overall). I'm very pleased with the quality of the shots (I took about 200), some of which were shot from a moving train, and still seem sharp.
My main reason for writing this review is to make others aware of two things: 1. The camera comes with its own battery charger. The reason I bring this up is that no-where in the written specs on Amazon did it say anything on this topic. Furthermore, somewhere on the Amazon website it also drew attention to "Customers who purchased this (camera), also purchased the following:" one of which was a battery charger. I went to the Nikon website, and got the impression that a charger was included, which is what I would have expected. Since I could not afford the time it would take to order a battery charger once I received the camera and found no charger, I phoned Amazon customer service to ask the question. That person came back on line after researching this for several minutes, and told me that the camera did NOT come with a charger. So I of course ordered the charger (from a different supplier than the camera, all thru Amazon). Both Amazon and this second supplier were very accomodating in giving me a refund, as well as (Amazon) refunding my s & h charge, but it still cost me some $7 for return shipping.
The second issue is the tight fit of this camera in the Nikon Coolpix leather case (also offered by Amazon, from yet a third supplier). It is very easy to inadvertently turn the camera on when pushing the camera into the case, and evidently the camera stays "on" until the battery is totally discharged. Nikon had no suggestions / never heard of this problem. I managed to pound out the top of both sides of the case enough to not have that happen again.
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on August 2, 2008
I was so excited to receive my brand new CoolPix S52 (Eco-Green), and the photos were really quite excellent. I was also pleased that it was very easy to learn how to use the various camera features. HOWEVER, when I used the movie or voice recording modes there was a very high level of awful static sound recorded EVERY TIME. I upgraded to the best memory card I could find, and that did not make a bit of difference.

Naturally, I returned the camera under Warranty (with sample video/audio) to Nikon TWICE for repair or replacement. To my dismay, they returned it to me both times stating "Your unit was thoroughly checked and was found completely within the factory standards". They also said not to expect the sound quality to be excellent because it didn't have a "sophisticated microphone". Maybe so, but it shouldn't be so poor that you cringe when you listen to the playback.

I was so disappointed that I sold the camera used and replaced it with a Canon PowerShot SD850 IS (Digital Elph) Canon PowerShot SD850 IS 8.0 MP Digital Elph Camera with 4x Optical Image Stabilized Zoom that I am extremely happy with (both photos and sound are fantastic).

Bottom line - if recording movies is important to you, don't buy this camera. It will be a big disappointment and a waste of money. If you decide to buy it, be sure to test the movie and sound recording modes soon after you receive it to be sure you are satisfied.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on September 14, 2010
Verified Purchase
I've used this for a couple years now. Maybe someone is reading this review looking to buy a used one.

Well my first one arrived with burned out pixels and I promptly returned it. But Amazon's return policy was excellent and the second one arrived without issue. I was actually very impressed with how Amazon handled the situation and it gave me confidence to buy my plasma TV from them more recently.

Overall this thing will take a good picture, if you have the knowledge to pick the best scene mode and you understand the camera's limits. It has a small lens that is protected in your pocket. Unfortunately the battery door on mine has VERY poor fit tolerances (OK I'm a manufacturing engineer... but still). The door barely stays closed and comes open in my pocket all the time. My friend has the same one and his screen broke. And just last week the silver trim plate fell off, I had to superglue it back on.

The good:
- very portable and 9MP size
- decent low light performance (if you know which scene mode is appropriate)
- image stability helps
- takes cheap SD cards
- Nikon software and firmware good
- screen OK in all but the most sunny of days.
- survived two years of abuse, barely

the bad:
- battery life downright poor especially if using the flash. Get the extra battery.
- Nikon build quality VERY disappointing. This is the reason I recently bought an Olympus E620. I had two Nikon point and shoots with questionable build quality and I refuse to reward them with DSLR business after that.
- battery door design
- my olympus P&S with 5x zoom was much more handy than this 3x lens and folded down just as compact
- sometimes hunts to focus and bootup speed could be a hair faster

I use many point and shoot and prosumer DSLR at work (cannon elph, sony, Nikon D40, Fuji S3, S6, etc.) and I find the Cannon Elph series to be the most reliable, tough, easy to use, and the best macro focus too.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 13, 2008
If you need quick, good resolution pics, this is a fine small camera. Very bright screen. Good battery life. Easy to whip out of a pocket or case. Much quicker to adjust exposure, flash, ISO than my more expensive Nikon. The only drawback is that the lenses don't seem as sharp as higher-end models; but who would use this to shoot and print 16 x 20 professional pics anyway? Oh, and the 3X zoom is a limit, but not one that I felt uncomfortable with. This camera is becoming an unconscious extension of my seeing, unlike bigger cameras that are always somewhat intrusive.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 20, 2009
Pros: Great vivid photos in good light, excellent design, non-protruding lens, slim and easy to carry.
Cons: Weak flash which is prone to red-eye, movie mode which is good but the sound cuts out a second or two before video stops (I've had a few Nikon point and shoots and they all do this!), can get noisy in low light conditions, slightly slow autofocus.
Overall, I really like the Nikon S52. For a point and shoot with a non-extending lens, I like this the most (I've had Sony DSC-T2 and T77. The Picture Project software is also pretty good for editing photos. Bottom line for me is the great photos it takes. As long as you work within it's limitations (weak flash and not too stellar autofocus), then you'll be very satisfied.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 11, 2009
This is a great point and shoot! I'll be testing out at a concert here in the near future so I can give a more detailed review, but so far I'm loving it! I wouldn't say that this is for serious photographers, but for people on the go that need something small to take great pictures, this is your camera!!! More later!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 23, 2008
I am an amateur photographer and have used my Rebel TI and Digital Rebel for several years. I was looking for a small camera not to replace my Rebels, but to supplement them - something that I could fit in my purse and carry with me. The expert at Wolf Camera sold me the Nikon Coolpix S52 because they were out of the two cameras that I had researched and he said it was exactly what I was looking for - a small, lightweight, good quality camera that was better at high ISO conditions than in telephoto situations.

Unfortunately, what I failed to realize until after I purchased the camera is that the major downfall in the Nikon Coolpix is its speed - or lack thereof. It takes literally a second and a half to take any picture - whether you have red-eye reduction on or not. Considering I take most of my pictures of my pets, my subjects do not exactly understand "don't move". In addition, if you've ever taken pictures of animals, you'd know that they typically don't show red-eye the same way humans do. They have a bright yellow "laser-eye" instead. And while most cameras that I've had have the ability to handle that as well as red-eye, the Nikon Coolpix does not appear to do anything for it.

I have not had a chance to play with most of the functions of the camera, but I do know that if it cannot take pictures a good deal faster than it does, then I will not be able to take the pictures I want to take. As soon as Chistmas is over, I'm taking it back to the store and ordering one of the cameras that I should have gotten to begin with - the Canon Powershot SX110 IS or the Panasonic TZ5.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 7, 2009
Verified Purchase
Got this for my daughter for senior year. She loves it. This camera made a 17 year old happy, need I say more?? I could never figure out how to use it but she did and it gives excellent quality photos. Highly recommend.
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