Well, well, well. What have we here, Nikon? A sleek, interesting looking camera that boasts a huge 3.5-inch OLED touchscreen at the back. Yes, you read that correctly, an OLED screen. The technology that's permeated our wish lists ever since we clapped eyes on the Sony XEL-1 has made it to a compact digital camera and it's somewhat affordable.
Seriously, are you pulling our leg?
To add to the allure, the S70 has a sliding front cover that only takes up around three-fifths of the camera's front panel. There are several coloured variations of this camera floating around, each with something a bit different to them. A black version screams sophistication, a creamy gold version with a leatherette half panel is more safari, and the version which we received to test, a red number, is simply "Look at me". The real estate at the back is completely taken up by the screen and there's only one physical button on the top, and that's the shutter button.
Sophisticated in textured black. (Credit: Nikon)
Oddly, Nikon has decided to do away with an external battery charger, instead providing an AC adapter that plugs directly into the camera at the base. It's an odd configuration that puzzles us, much like the similar charging configuration on the Samsung ST550. The S70 uses a small Lithium-ion battery that slots in at the base alongside SD/SDHC cards.
Apart from the aforementioned OLED touchscreen, the rest of the S70 is fairly consistent with the current crop of compacts doing the rounds this year. There's the 5x optical zoom (internal) as well as a 28mm wide-angle lens. Fortunately, HD movie recording makes an appearance, at 720p, the megapixel count hits 12.1 and while there's nothing too exciting going on inside with the sensor, with this camera it seems like its external appearance speaks volumes.
One particularly nice touch is the accelerometer that automatically adjusts the menu interface on the screen according to the orientation of the camera. In portrait orientation, the icons and text line up going down the screen, making it easy to select shooting options.
Compared to its main rival, the Samsung ST550, this is how the Nikon stacks up. We also have comparison shots between the two cameras later on under our image quality section.
|Nikon Coolpix S70||Samsung ST550|
|12.1 megapixels||12.2 megapixels|
|5x optical zoom (internal)||4.6x optical zoom (external)|
|3.5-inch OLED touchscreen (288,000 dots)||3.5-inch LCD touchscreen (1,152,000 dots)|
|SD/SDHC cards||microSD/SDHC cards|
|140g (without battery and cards)||165.7g (without battery and cards)|
Shooting modes are standard Nikon fare — easy auto mode relegates all control to the camera, automatic mode gives a bit more control to the photographer, scene modes cover the usual gamut of options from portrait to sports, and movie mode gives the option to choose between HD (720p), VGA (640x480) or 320x240 resolutions.
The screen of the S70 showing the scene mode options. (Credit: CBSi)
The rather peculiar construction of the S70 means that more often than not your digits may be making a starring role in your shots if you're not too careful. A fair amount of adjusting your shooting stance is required to avoid the aforementioned faux pas, so do be aware. Also, the touchscreen by its very nature wants you to fondle it, but it does show up a lot of smears and fingerprints, as well as falling prey to accidental swipes and hand gestures if you're a little too eager with its handling.