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The camera is powered by a 730mAh Li-ion battery, which is rather small for a camera with a 3in screen and Wi-Fi capability, but I took well over 200 shots with it on a full charge without any sign of it running out of steam, so this isn’t likely to be a problem. It comes with a neat USB/charger cradle, so it is being charged whenever you connect it to download pictures.
In good light the AF system is acceptably quick, but using the camera indoors revealed that it doesn’t like low light shooting at all. The AF system slows down to around a second even in a daylight-lit room, and in conditions such as a pub or club it becomes very slow, taking nearly twp seconds to achieve focus. The AF illuminator only has a range of about 1.5m at best, so it’s not much use in the dark.
This is a real shame, because the S7c’s one real strength is its high-ISO performance. It has a maximum sensitivity of 1,600 ISO, and can produce usable images at this setting, and even better ones at 800. If only it had a better focusing system it would be ideal for social photography.
Overall picture quality isn’t bad for a snapshot camera, producing plenty of fine detail, and the exposure system copes well with varied lighting. However, it also has a number of weaknesses. The tiny lens produces a lot of spherical distortion at the widest end of the zoom range, but the biggest problem is the automatic white balance system, which is easily confused and produces inconsistent colour reproduction even in bright daylight.
I was also concerned to note visible darkening in the corners of some frames, particularly on wide angle shots at the maximum aperture of f2.8. All in all, another disappointing performance from an expensive Nikon camera.
The Coolpix S7c is another expensive Nikon S-series camera with major handling problems, and also some serious issues with image quality. It is certainly stylish, well made and has a number of clever high-tech features, but these qualities are overshadowed by its many weaknesses. Considering its high price and the stiff competition, the S7c has little to recommend it.
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