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When you think of Nikon you probably think of the long history of expensive high-performance film and digital SLRs for which the company is justly famous, but in fact a large proportion of Nikon's output has always been relatively inexpensive compact cameras, a tradition it has maintained in the digital era. One relatively new development however is Nikon's recent move into the slim ultra-compact market, with cameras such as the rather nice Coolpix S500 and today's review subject, the CoolPix S200.
Launched at the same time as the S500 and sharing a similar 7.1MP, 3x zoom, 2.5-in monitor specification, the S200 is nonetheless a very different camera. Where the S500 is replete with advanced technology and designer style, and aimed squarely at Canon's market-leading IXUS range, the S200 is aimed somewhat lower, taking on cameras such as the Pentax Optio M30 (£99), Olympus FE-230 (£99) Samsung L700 (£114), and the Casio EX-Z75 (£149). The S200 went on sale in March at £199, but it is currently available for as little as £123, which makes it fairly competitive on price.
But what do you get for your money? At first glance the S200 looks very much like almost every other slim ultra-compact, in fact if you were to remove the brand logos it would be hard to distinguish it from any one of several competing models. The body is all metal, but is aluminium rather than steel, which at least makes it light, just 125g minus battery or card. Measuring only 18.5mm thick it is one of the slimmest cameras on the market, 0.5mm thicker than the Pentax M30 but thinner than either the Casio Z75 or Olympus FE-230. As usual with Nikon cameras the build quality is flawless, and despite its low weight and skinny profile the camera feels solidly put together.
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