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Nikon CoolPix S50c
As I've mentioned before, one of the most problematic issues with digital cameras is that of how to share your pictures. If you're reasonably tech-savvy it isn't much of a problem; you can download, store, edit, print and email your photos with ease. But for those less technologically adept people who are daunted by USB connections, card readers, image editing programs and printer options it isn't so easy. In fact some people never download their photos at all, instead storing them on the camera's memory card, and only ever viewing them on the camera's built-in monitor.
Some camera manufacturers have attempted to address this problem. Kodak has its EasyShare printer docks, and Canon developed the PictBridge system for direct camera to printer connection. Nikon has tried something a bit different though. Starting with the CoolPix P1 it has added WiFi wireless capability to some of its models, designed to make sharing pictures relatively simple.
The latest camera to incorporate this technology is this CoolPix S50c. It is a fairly basic and easy-to-use pocket snapshot camera with a 7.2-megapixel sensor, a corner-mounted non-protruding 3x zoom lens (equiv. 38-114mm), a large 3-inch wide-view monitor and optical image stabilisation. Considering this specification, the S50c might seem alarmingly expensive at nearly £200. The reason for the high price is its built-in WiFi wireless link, which can connect to any home wireless network or public access point, and transmit pictures either as email or by uploading them to a new image-sharing website which Nikon has set up, called My Picturetown, from where your friends can view and download them.
This is a useful approach to picture sharing, because free WiFi internet access is now provided in many public areas in larger cities throughout the world, such as cafés, libraries and airports. As well as this many people now have home networks, with several computers sharing a broadband internet connection via a cheap wireless router. The S50c can log into any of these via a relatively straightforward set-up process, and can send pictures either directly to the My Picturetown site, requiring only an active email address for registration, or to any email address.