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Nikon CoolPix S560 - Nikon CoolPix S560

By Cliff Smith

Reviewed:

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  • Recommended by TR
Nikon CoolPix S560

Summary

Our Score:

9

The S560 is quite a brisk performer too. It starts up in a little over two seconds, and in single shot mode and maximum image quality it can maintain a shot-to-shot time of approximately 2.2 seconds, although it is a little quicker over the first five shots. Unfortunately the continuous shooting mode is nowhere near as polished as the rest of the camera's features; it shoots at irregular intervals, and there is no audio cue to tell you when it is taking a picture. It can manage about 1.3 seconds per frame, but to be honest it's hard to tell accurately. The Best Shot Selector mode operates in much the same way, but it does appear to work, taking up to ten shots while the shutter is pressed and then saving the sharpest.

One perennial problem for Nikon compacts has always been the slow autofocus system, but I'm happy to report that some work appears to have been done in this area, and the AF system on the S560 is noticeably quicker than on previous models. It's still a bit slower than some of its rivals, but not embarrassingly so. Low light performance is excellent, focusing reliably even in very dark conditions, with a good AF assist lamp that has a useful range of at least three metres.

The S560 also scores highly on image quality, although it does have a couple of minor issues. The lens is good, producing relatively little barrel distortion and no chromatic aberration, however it isn't as sharp as some rivals. Dynamic range could also be better, but it's no worse than most other 10MP compacts, burning out highlights to preserve shadow detail.

Where the S560 scores most highly though is in noise control. It is one of the few compact cameras I've seen that can produce good quality shots at 1600 ISO, with visible fine detail and virtually perfect colour rendition. 2000 ISO is a little scrappy but still usable, and even the 3MP 3200 ISO setting is far from useless. I don't know what Nikon has done to produce these results, but they need to keep doing it. The S560 has the easily best high-ISO image quality of any recent compact that I've tested, even beating the Fuji F40fd.

Verdict

Although it isn't without a couple of niggling faults, the Nikon CoolPIx S560 is a very pleasing camera to use. It has excellent handling, superior build quality, good performance and image quality, and is small, light and robust enough to take anywhere. Where it really shines though is in its outstanding high-ISO picture quality. For £160 it is excellent value for money.

RafflesNH

October 16, 2008, 4:35 pm

Someone's been burning the midnight oil again! No chromatic aberration? Take another look at that last shot in 'Details and Lens Performance' section. I see <del>red</del> purple! ;-)

Cliff Smith

October 16, 2008, 7:21 pm

Looking at it again you're right, there is a tiny hint of CA in the corner of the frame, although it's barely noticeable and far less obvious than most similar cameras. Nonetheless I've updated the caption accordingly. I've also updated the detail pictures with new ones taken at the lowest compression setting.

PK Son

October 16, 2008, 10:04 pm

wow! sounds pretty nice! I need a simple point and shoot, and this might be it! (I'm a Nikon fan, so it's even better)

Clovis

October 17, 2008, 12:28 am

Despite the good job on NR, the over-dense sensor still suffers from a rather limited dynamic range.I wish we could see the same potted plant picture with the F40fd, to be able to compare that aspect too, not only NR. Any pointers on that,Cliff?

JimmyDee

October 17, 2008, 9:22 pm

Bigger sensors are coming - remember 4/3rd micro?

Simon Hall

November 13, 2008, 6:44 pm

I have just ordered on of these based on this good review. I shall let you all know how good it is when it arrives.


S.

Rhea

November 15, 2008, 7:04 pm

I purchased Nikon Coolpix S560 last month and as I was going on a vacation I hoped for some great photos. When I downloaded the photos on my computer after my vacation, I was horrified to learn that despite all the features like portrait, night photos, auto and the sizes that I had carefully selected and used while taking the photos,99% of the photos were grainy and not at all sharp. I have used a Canon Ixus for the last five years and that produced better results every time. I am very disppointed that despiate all the great features like smile, face detection, and blink= built in Nikon S560 with its 10 megapixels, it fails misreably at the basic features- it cannot take sharp digital photographs. I will be returning my camera to the supplier.

Simon Hall

November 15, 2008, 11:12 pm

After having owned my New camera for 3 days I have a few more comments to add. Overall it is a very good camera although it does have a few annoying "features".


It is not the most idiot proof camera I have used and needs careful setting up if decent photo's are to be achieved.


One basic flaw is that if ISO speeds much over 100 are used the photo's do come out very grainy. If anything less is used indoors the photo's appear dark. In practice if the camera is used in Auto ISO mode the camera usually selects ISO 400 for indoor shots which results in grainy photo's and lots of noise. I disagree with the review of this camera where it mentions that the camera has good noise control, I find it pretty bad in this respect and worse than my previous Lumix FS5 Panasonic.


It would be far better if the camera selected slower shutter speeds in lower light conditions rather that up the ISO as then better shots would be easier to achieve, but it doesn't. if the ISO is fixed low the shots come out too dark.





Photo's taken outdoors with good light do appear excellent though, with good detail and sharpness.





Overall I am happy with the camera, but it does require careful use in order to get good results. As a simple point and shoot it leaves a lot to be desired.





Simon.



Adrian Ellis

November 17, 2008, 11:24 pm

i have this camera and although it is not quite as good as the ixus 970 it's 1/2 the price and amazingly gd every 1 should have this camera!!!! o and if you live in the south of england get it from a kodak shop it's 𧵍.99 + a free case and 1gb memory card

Matt Madson

November 24, 2008, 11:44 pm

So, I'm no camera techinical junkie, so I really don't get a lot of stuff here.


I am left asking one very layman question.





Is the time between when you hit the button {With no flash} and when the camera actually snaps the shot short? Thats really important to you average photo-taker -- seeing as we're not all "photographers"--, because we all want the shot from when we hit the button! NOT two seconds later!

Simon Hall

November 26, 2008, 2:45 pm

I would estimates that it takes about half a second between pressing the button and it taking the shot. This is to allow the camera to focus etc.


If you press the shutter button halfway to focus before hand, then press the shutter fully when you wish to take a photo the shutter will release pretty much straight away.

Matt Madson

November 26, 2008, 10:26 pm

So I just bought the s550, and I was wondering if you feel like the difference between it and the s560 is worth spending the extra money.


I just bought the s550 for around $160, and I have a feeling that the differences aren't worth the money. Would you agree?


Also! Thank you for answer my post!

Simon Hall

November 27, 2008, 1:24 am

No problems mate. I can't really say if the s560 is much better than the s550 though as I have never used one. If I knew what I knew now though I would probably buy a Canon Ixus 90S, I am ever so slightly dissapoinetd with the Image quality of my s560.

TheSecretName

December 10, 2008, 6:42 pm

Why do Nikon insist on using the Coolpix brand in the UK. No doubt 'COOLPIX' looks um, cool, to kanji-accustomed eyes but to mine in sucks. As a Nikon DSLR owner I've much love for the brand, but their compacts could try harder.

Betty Smyth

December 12, 2008, 8:36 pm

This is the worst camera I have ever used. The pictures are blurry and the camera picks up all the light and in the background. I would not get the S560.

Simon Hall

December 26, 2008, 1:45 am

After having lived with this camera for a few more weeks I thought I would share a few more comments. I recently took this camera on holiday with me where most of my shots were outdoors. These shots came out very well, nice and clear with very good vivid colours. However I have also used the camera indoors, and to be honest I am very dissapointed with its indoor performance. The camera very rarely focuses correctly indoors, and the face detection also very rarely works, even with the focus assist lamp on the focusing indoors is is very dissapointing. Also if you leave the camera set to auto ISO it usually selects 400ISO which results in further reductions of image quality. If you set the ISO lower manually then the photo's come out too dark.


The problem is also more of an issue as they look fine on the LCD screen, and you only notice the pictures are poor until you connect to the PC or print them out.


If there is a bright area of light on indoor shots such as a window, the light from the window also bleeds across the other portions of the photo completely ruining it.





So in summary, the more I use this camera the less I like it. I am probably going to sell it and buy something else. I certaily would not give it 9 out of 10 like this review did. I would give it probably 5 out of 10.

Lyn82

January 21, 2009, 4:04 am

I got this camera for Christmas and HATE it! Almost every indoor picture will be noisey. I had a cheap camera from Wal-Mart that cost me under $100.00 and was only an 8 MP and took pictures a thousand times better than this coolpix. If you are outside and there is natural light beware if it can reflect anywhere in to your picture...you will end up with a rainbow. Complete waste of money!!!!!

okocakaya

March 14, 2009, 11:16 pm

@Cliff...


(I couldnt find a way to send u this messege so I am posting it here hope u will see this and answer it)


My question is very simple... In the features table, there is a property called manual focus. If it is "Yes" then I think it gives me the ability to zoom in however and whenever I want right? I am between two models right now. Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS7 vs. Nikon CoolPix S560. In the properties of panasonic it is stated as there is no manual focus and I couldnt understand why. I know it can auto focus but not a single person in this world wouldnt want to adjust the zoom time to time by their will. I am kindda confused at this point. I completely believe the sincerity of your work although some other people think that you are getting money from the manufactures. I also wanna thank you for your efforts for this site. It is awesome.


Looking for your answer...

Mohan 2

August 29, 2009, 9:26 pm

Hi All,





I purchased Nikon Coolpix s560 on business tour in Beijing. It is the worst camera I have ever come across and not at all expected from Peoople like Nikon.





Nothing works properly, despite choosing appropriate modes or even in auto mode. The worst part is color reproduction and image stabilization. There will no single photo that is not blurred even by least. AF is extreemly poor. finally battery lasts only for about 50 to 60 shots contrary to claims of 160 shots.





I will rather use my sons toy camera to NIkon coolpix s560.

Ron Mitchell

December 29, 2009, 1:19 am

I purchased an S560 for my wife having read the review & am horrified by the unbelievably poor performance. Photos are so grainy, I reckon most of the 10Mp are used defining the grain boundaries. Anti-red-eye doesn't work at all.


I bought because I use a D200 & thought the S560 would give my wife better quality shots than her Exilim 4 & 8Mp cameras - it doesn't, it's far worse than the 4Mp.


I'm very disappointed in Cliff Smith's review which clearly cannot be trusted.

Simon Hall

January 9, 2010, 11:37 pm

Just an update from me.


I sold my S560 in the end and bought a Canon Ixus 90IS. The Canon is a far better camera in terms of ease of use, image quality and build.


I have a Nikon D5000 SLR as well and it is great, but Nikon really need to try harder with their compacts.

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