On Thursday I took a look at the Nikon CoolPix S560, a neat little 10-megapixel ultra-compact offering a lot of features and quality for a very reasonable £160. Today I'm trying out another of Nikon's S-series cameras launched at the same time, the CoolPix S610c. While it shares the same 10-megapixel resolution as its stablemate, in other respects it has a very different specification, featuring a 4x zoom lens with a 28mm-equivalent wide angle, a three-inch LCD monitor and built-in Wi-Fi connectivity for uploading pictures directly to the internet.
Of course such advanced technology doesn't come cheap, but even considering that the S610c is an expensive camera. It's currently selling for a hefty £270, considerably more than most other comparable cameras. The Sony Cyber-shot W-170 is around £160, the Panasonic FX37 is under £190, the Canon IXUS 970 IS is now down to under £200. While none of these models have wireless internet connectivity, one has to consider if that feature is sufficiently useful to warrant spending so much more money. There is a non-Wi-Fi version, the S610, available for around £195, which may be more suitable for some users.
While there have been a number of previous Wi-Fi capable cameras, the S610c is the first to use the new Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) protocol, which is supposed to be an easier way for inexperienced users to connect securely to a home wireless network. Having tried the camera on my own home network, it is indeed quite easy to use, requiring only the input of my security WEP password before detecting and connecting very quickly. Included on the software CD is a utility to set up an account and connect with Nikon's online picture sharing service My Picturetown. Once the camera has been registered on the site uploading pictures to the 2GB of free storage space is relatively straightforward. It was however very slow. I have an 802.11g wireless router and a 10MB cable broadband connection and it was still taking around 1 minute 20 seconds to upload each picture. If you've got a hundred holiday snaps you want to share you're going to be sitting in that cybercafé for a very long time.