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In futurist literature there is a rather silly concept called the "singularity", and people who write about such things for a living are terribly excited by it. The idea is that the pace of technological innovation is accelerating at such a rate that we will soon arrive at a point where advances as great as the invention of powered flight, the atom bomb or semiconductor electronics are happening every few seconds, at which point presumably we all disappear in a puff of glowing blue smoke and ascend to some sort of technological Nirvana, where we can sit and play with our mobile phones and digital watches for the rest of eternity.
While I can't think of many things I'd enjoy less, it looks like Nikon has wholeheartedly embraced the notion, because just four months after reviewing the CoolPix S550, I have before me its successor, the unsurprisingly named S560. Like the S550, this brand new model is a 10-megapixel ultra-compact with a 5x zoom lens, but it adds a number of interesting new features to the formula, including a 2.7-inch wide-view monitor, and more importantly a sensor-shift image stabilisation system, replacing the less effective electronic stabilisation of the previous model. The S560 is, so Nikon claims, the smallest camera in its class to sport all of these features.
Nikon's S-series of premium ultra-compacts now stands at an impressive 19 models, including 12 of the front-lens triple digit models such as the S560. I'm sure it's just a coincidence, but there are also 12 models in Canon's popular IXUS range, with which the S-series is in direct competition. The closest match for the S560 is the IXUS 970 IS, which also has a 5x zoom lens, 10MP sensor and image stabilisation, although it only has a 2.5-inch monitor. The 970 IS is also around £210, while the S560 is a bit of a bargain at only £160.
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