Photokina 2006 saw the arrival of a raft of new Nikons, and one of the most interesting is this, the Coolpix S10. Carrying the torch for the companies swivel body/lens cameras, the S10 features a neat and curvaceous body style that makes it very distinctive indeed. Pocket-lint managed to get a brief hands on with the camera.

The handling is very nice indeed, the curvy design making the camera sit neatly in the hand and making the camera very nice to hold and use. The camera has a 6-megapixel sensor featuring Nikon’s version of CCD shift anti shake and a 10x optical zoom lens that provides a focal length range of between 38mm and 380mm.

Other key kit includes a feature rolled across many new cameras launched at Photokina, Face Priority AF, which automatically detects and follows peoples faces in the frame ensuring focus is always set to the face it’s tracking.

Increased light sensitivity (to ISO 800) combined with the new CCD-shift Vibration Reduction system means the camera is very flexible on lower lighting conditions. The camera’s swivel design allows you to shoot at angles or get perspectives on shots not normally achievable and the large 170-degree viewing angle on the large 2.5-inch colour LCD makes it even easier to use as you can peer at the screen from practically anywhere.

Some of Nikon’s in camera technologies find there way into the S10 and include in camera redeye fix and D-Lighting that can rescue images that are underexposed or with bleached out backlit backgrounds. There’s some additional entertainment value provided by Pictmotion, a feature that quickly lets you combine still images, movies, sound and background styles (all in camera) for mini audiovisual shows displayed on the camera’s screen.

Handling as hinted at earlier, very nice indeed, at least it seems to be given the relatively short time I had playing with the camera. With the cameras “closed”, the top plate includes the on/off, shutter release and zoom buttons as well as the lens and accompanying built-in flash unit.

The top of the lens unit houses the VR on/off button and the Face priority AF control as well, making them easy and quick to use. Meanwhile, the back plate hosts the large screen, a four-way joystick style control for scrolling etc and the menu, delete, mode and shooting or playback buttons. All these are simply laid out across the top of the screen and simple to use. Menus are straightforward and simple to understand.

Basic shooting options include the usual array of subject program modes for instance there’s landscape, portrait, night scene and a sports mode. Best Shot Selector (BSS) is built in where the camera chooses the best image from a series and keeps just that one, as is a multi-shot mode that can take 16 continuous images at 1.6fps.

Price when reviewed:

First Impressions

The Nikon Coolpix S10 follows in the footsteps of some very good and award-winning predecessors (the Coolpix 900 and 950 come immediately to mind) that give a tough act to follow.

However, the new wavy design and styling, the simple layout and neat additions to the controls such as VR make the S10 a tempting looking machine. Pricing was pitched around £349 at Photokina making it look a tad pricey but otherwise, and until I get to test one properly, the swivel bodied fraternity is going to have to wait to find just how well the S10 performs.