The nuts and bolts of the COOLPIX S2600 are thus – the camera, which at time of review was available for around £80 on a high street near you, features a 14MP 1/2.3in CCD sensor, combined with a 5x NIKKOR optical zoom covering a focal range of 26-130mm in equivalent terms.
The S2600’s 5x optical zoom offers a minimum focus range of just 10cm in macro mode, although in regular shooting modes this increases to around 50cm. The lens itself also features Nikon's own image stabilisation technology for sharp images throughout the zoom range, although unfortunately it's of the electronic (i.e - automatic sensitivity raising) kind rather than optical.
The aforementioned 14MP sensor outputs images at a resolution of 4320 x 3240 pixels and features various settings with which you can downscale this output. The S2600 offers a standard ISO range of between 80 and 1600, which is extendable up to ISO 3200 at a reduced resolution.
When a compact enters the market at the lower end of the price scale, as is the case with the Nikon S2600, it’s normally fair to make certain assumptions about who it’s aimed at; normally it’s the entry-level shooter, and this is arguably the case with the S2600. The camera is lacking in any manual shooting modes, or modes that offer any real advanced controls over settings for that matter.
The compact boasts a scene auto selector setting which automatically chooses from 18 ‘optimised’ on-camera scene modes to select the best one for your chosen subject.
Despite being an entry-level offering, however, a few features normally seen on more expensive compacts have managed to work their way down on to the S2600. For example, the S2600 sports Nikon’s EXPEED C2 image processing engine, which aids general shooting speed and, Nikon claims, image quality. The compact also features motion detection which will alerts the photographer to camera shake in advance of capturing blurry images. Finally, the S2600 also features subject tracking AF which you can assign to a target and it will subsequently follow through a scene.
Although these more high-end features are welcome, they are clearly more the exception than the rule, and signs of the S2600’s bargain nature are evident elsewhere on the body. For example, the LCD screen on the rear of the camera measures in at 2.7in – smaller than a lot of similarly priced compacts – and features a less-than-impressive resolution of 230k-dots.
Another area in which the S2600 fails to impress is in its video capture functionality. It’s now fairly common, if not standard, for all digital cameras new to the market to offer HD video capture at a full 1080p HD resolution. Unfortunately this isn’t the case with the S2600, as it only features video capture at the lesser resolution of 720p.
Concessions made for price may soon appear in the specification of the S2600, but with regards to design said concessions aren’t as readily evident. The compact is certainly slim and pocketable, measuring in at a little over 19mm at its thickest point and tipping the scales at just 120g with both battery and memory card included. The fashion conscious amongst you will also be pleased to hear that the S2600 is available in seven eye-popping colours, including fetching shades of pink and purple.
As well as being strikingly slim, the S2600 features a body erring on the minimal end of the scale. The rear of the camera houses a DPAD control area for access to basic camera functions alongside several other shooting mode adjustment controls, while a dedicated button is also present for one-touch activation of the camera’s HD movie capture. Outside of these buttons, there’s little else to the S2600 and although the slim design and minimal button layout is eye-catching, it certainly doesn’t feel like the sturdiest camera on the market.