In fact, apart from its long zoom range and high resolution, the S630 is a bit lacking in other areas as well. The camera has three basic shooting modes, the main one being a full Auto setting in which all the menu functions are available, although these don’t amount to much. It has a wide array of image size and quality options, but since high-capacity memory cards are so cheap most of these are pretty redundant. It has the usual array of white balance options, and ISO settings from 64 to 6400, although the two highest settings are restricted to 2048 x 1536 (3MP). It has only two metering options, matrix or centre-weighted; no spot metering. The drive options include continuous shooting and Nikon’s usual Best Shot Selector feature, as well as a not-terribly-useful 16-shot mosaic and a slightly-more-useful interval timer.
Colour adjustment options are very limited, with only vivid colour, sepia, cyanotype (a blue tint), black and white and a low-saturation “pastel” setting on offer. There are a few AF mode options including face priority and a manual focus point selection, and the AF can be switched from single to full-time, although obviously this will have an impact on battery duration.
Most of these menu options are disabled in the other two shooting modes. These include the Scene mode, which offers the usual selection of scene programs for things like portrait, landscape, beach and snow, sunset etcetera, as well as a Scene Auto Selector, which chooses the scene program automatically with a fair degree of reliability. Most of the menu options are disabled in Scene mode.
The third shooting mode offer a further three choices. The first is a high-speed Sport Continuous mode, which shoots at an impressive-sounding 11 frames a second, but only for twenty frames, and only at a maximum resolution of three megapixels. I guess this is another of those “analyze your golf swing” features that some camera manufacturers seem to think we’re all crying out for.
The second is a High Sensitivity setting, supposedly to reduce blur, but all it does is set the ISO to 800, which you can do through the main menu anyway. The S630 also has a Motion Detection feature in Auto mode which bumps up the ISO to increase shutter speed. Along with the Best Shot Selector and the actual mechanical VR, it gives Nikon’s ever-creative marketing department a new number to print in the brochure: “4x anti blur”. It’s not ”quite” a lie…
The final option is the smile-detection auto-shutter, which incorporates a “blink proof” setting that is supposed to prevent the camera from taking a photo if the subject is blinking, although I have to say that I found both these two settings to be very unreliable.
The S630 does offer a few extra features in playback mode, including D-lighting contrast correction for boosting shadow detail, and an Quick Retouch function that will attempt to improve contrast and saturation. I tried both of these features, and I wasn’t massively impressed with the results.