Pros: Lots of cool features, portability, price and durability.
Cons: The antishake mode can make it a little slow.
The Nikon Coolpix S3300: It can survive a total immersion in olive oil and still work!
James Paul Zaworski
Yes, it’s true! You can temporarily submerge this camera in a bowl of olive oil, and it will still work! Okay, let me back up a bit to tell the story.
I gave my older Nikon Coolpix S3100 to my girlfriend last summer before I went back home to the states for a visit. This left me without pocket digital mini, and so I went shopping at the local Walmart, and ended up picking up the Nikon Coolpix S3300 for about $106 plus tax. It is silver, and it has all the functions, and more, and was priced even less expensively than the previous model in the series. (It follows the general trend in electronics: smaller, cheaper, more sophisticated/better).
I took about one thousand photos with it and brought it back toMacauwith me, for my second year of teaching at a university here. These days, with the convenience of portable digital cameras like this, I take oodles and oodles of pictures everywhere: at work, when I’m out and about on the street, traveling to Zhuhai orHong Kong, and even while cooking.
That’s where the “test” of this camera really came to the fore. I was cooking, and taking photos as I did so, recording step by step for a blog and a power point presentation (I sometimes teach a cooking class for my students), and would take a picture, then continue cooking, do another step, take another picture, etc. During that time, and unknown to me right away, the camera slipped off my coffee maker into a bowl of olive oil!
I fished it out and tried to dry it out as much as possible. The cool thing is, it still works!!! The only residual effect on the camera is a bit of oil that smudges the 2.7 inch LCD display, which is pretty minor in relation to what happened to the camera.
Now, it is on to the review. Firstly, let’s talk about the specifications for this camera, and then I’ll go point by point about what I like, and what I don’t like about this camera (before the olive oil incident, of course).
Resolution (In megapixels).
16 MP (Megapixels) indicates pretty high resolution for a pocket digital camera. It means more opportunities to take crisp, clear pictures with this camera. It also means a lot of space will be used up rather quickly on the storage flash chip that one uses with this. This can be overcome by adjusting the resolution of the pictures one is taking in the menu and control functions (discussed later).
As with its predecessor, the Nikon S3300 has a 2.7 inch liquid crystal display on the back of the camera, where one can view what one is photographing, and then later view the photo (or movie). It is also the place by which one can access the various menus and adjustments that are again the quality features of this camera.
Lens and Optical Zoom.
The Nikkor 6x wide optical zoom also has a 4x digital zoom, and the lens is a 4:6-23.0 mm, 1:3.2-6.5 quality lens. Sure, you can’t take a picture of a goose flying in V-formation overhead as they migrate, but you can take pictures of most things that you could get with a 50 mm lens from the old SLR cameras. I have found it to be very useful in many situations except wildlife photography, shooting pictures of Jupiter, and spying into peoples apartments a la the film “Rear Window”.
The lens itself is always on auto-focus, so you don’t have to mess with it manually. Image resolutions (you can set these manually) go up to 4608 x 3456, but can be adjusted lower to save space on your memory chip.
Flash and Memory Card and Internal Storage.
The flash is auto. The memory card is SD, but not included with the camera. Internal storage is limited to 42 MB (megabytes), which amounts to something like 10-14 photos, depending on the resolution settings.
Buttons, Menu and Other Settings.
The camera can take high definition (HD) movies, and the upper right button in the corner is the movie button. The camera has a microphone built in on the lower left hand side of the front of the camera.
The on button is small and is to the left of the shutter button, which is on the right top of the camera.
On the back of the camera, there are five more buttons on the right hand back side. These are from top left, the scene button, where one can set mode, portrait typoe, smart portrait and subject tracking. The upper right button is the play button, and it also has four submenus: play, favorite pictures, autosort and listing by date.
The center button is really five buttons, four that surround an “OK” button that enters the information. Going clockwise from the top, that button is for flash (auto, flash, no flash, etc. The next button is for exposure compensation, giving more or less light (opening the aperture of the lens more or constricting it); the bottom button is for “macro mode”, on or off, and the left button is for the timer, 2 seconds or 10 seconds or “timer off” selections.
On the bottom left there is a menu for:
a) image mode where one can set various resolutions
b) white balance
d) ISO sensitivity
e) Color options
f) AF area mode
g) Autofocus mode
h) Antishake mode
Another menu is for movies that has three movie options.
The last menu is the setup menu, and it has the following sub-menus:
a) digital zoom (on or off)
b) sound settings
c) auto turn off (in minutes)
d) card format
e) language options
f) video mode
g) charge by computer (there is a USB cord that allows one to connect to the computer, USB 2.0)
What I Like About the Nikon S3300.
I love how this camera fits in my pocket! Size is mostly a blessing, because you can always drop the whole thing in olive oil if you aren’t careful!
Ease of use.
Point and shoot on auto mode, and the camera pretty much does the rest. Even if you shake, if the camera is set on antishake mode, it will compensate for your Parkinson’s or nervousness or even the wind.
I really love being able to switch between the “portrait types” under the ‘scene; function button! There are something like 16 scene settings, from museum (no flash), night, night portrait, food, close up, landscape, portrait, to black and white type settings, along with “auto”. These can really make the difference when trying to take the “right” picture. The drawback is that the time spent navigating the menu to get the right setting can allow you to lose the chance for the shot you want!
I forgot to mention it has a rechargeable lithium ion battery, which makes it great for travel. The accessories that come with it are not only a USB connector cord, but also an adapter that will let you put the USB into it, and then into the outlet on the wall. You can also charge from the computer’s USB as well.
Resilience and durability.
As mentioned before, I’ve dropped this sucker into a vat of olive oil, and it remained submerged for at least ten minutes. It emerged largely unscathed, but with a blob of oil embedded in the LCD view finder.
I’ve even dropped it on the sidewalk, with no ill effects.
I paid something in the neighborhood of $100 for this camera in July, 2012. You can pick it up now for even less.
What I Don’t Like About the Nikon S3300 Coolpix.
The antishake mode gives considerable lag time between pictures and menu functions!
The S3100 didn’t have this function, nor this problem. I have found this to be an irritant on the S3300, as sometimes I want to take pictures in quick succession, and with this mode on all the time, the lag time sucks.
As mentioned before with the olive oil, the small size of this camera can be a blessing or a curse. It’s also easily dropped or easily lost. It easily slips off things into bowls of olive oil, and that can suck.
All in all, the Nikon Coolpix S3300 is quite a nice little pocket camera that is chocked full of functions and features, is nicely priced, and can remain durable and resilient, even when dropped in olive oil (not recommended).