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Nikon Coolpix S02 Review

Daniel Bell reviews the Nikon Coolpix S02, an ultra-compact camera with a 3x optical zoom and full 1080p HD video recording.

| Nikon COOLPIX S02 in Compact Cameras

Nikon Coolpix S02 Review: Nikon Coolpix S02 (6)

The Nikon Coolpix S02 was announced in August 2013 and is an update to the S01. It is an ultra-compact camera with 3x optical zoom, full 1080p HD video recording and a 13 megapixel sensor. It's available in silver, white, blue and pink for £106.

Nikon Coolpix S02 Review: Nikon Coolpix S02 (5)

Nikon Coolpix S02 Features

The Nikon Coolpis S02 has a 13.2 megapixel CMOS sensor and a 3x optical zoom which is a 35mm equivalent of 30-90mm. To reduce blur there is motion detection blur reduction.

Picture taking is easy, the scene auto selector automatically adjusts the camera setting for the detected scene. There are also hand-held night scene and backlit scene HDR modes where multiple shots are combined into a single image. To help you take creative photos there are a number of special effects and filters such as toy camera and miniature effect.

Videos are recorded in full 1080p HD with stereo sound, you can connect the camera to a HD TV via a HDMI cable. 

Nikon Coolpix S02 Review: Nikon Coolpix S02 (7)

Key Features

  • 13.2 megapixel CMOS sensor
  • 3x optical zoom (35mm equiv: 30-90mm)
  • Motion detection blur reduction
  • 2.7 inch 230k dot touch screen
  • 7.3Gb internal memory
  • Full 1080p HD video recording with stereo sound
  • ISO 125-1600
  • 5cm minimum focusing distance
  • Filters and effects
  • Available in silver, white, blue and pink
Nikon Coolpix S02 Review: Nikon Coolpix S02 (9)

Nikon Coolpix S02 Handling

The S02 is noticeably smaller than your average compact camera, but stands out, particularly the pink model we are using for this review. It has a metal body, meaning it's less likely to get scratched in your bag or pocket.

The touch screen is bigger on this updated model and has a 230k dot resolution. When operating the camera via the touch screen, it is very responsive. Some of the icons are a little small, so sometimes you may accidentally press the wrong option. There is a home button on the back of the camera, as well as playback and on / off switches at the top, as well as the zoom rocker and shutter release.

The menu system is simple to navigate, the camera is designed to be easy to use and this is reflected in the straightforward menu. If you prefer, you can customise the menu, allowing you to change the short cut button which appears in the bottom left of the screen. You're not able to use a memory card with the S02, instead there is ample 7.3Gb of internal memory, you transfer your pictures and videos via the USB cable. The camera will also charge while connected.

Battery life is rated at 190 shots according to CIPA test results. You'll need to make sure the camera is regularly charged as you're not able to use a spare. We took a number of shots to test the camera's responsiveness, from switch on to first photo, shot to shot, focusing speed etc. We take a number of shots and then use the average to ensure accurate and consistent tests, making it easy to compare with other cameras.

Shutter Response   0.125 secs
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response   0.5 secs
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response   0.5 secs
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo   1.6 secs
Shot to Shot without Flash   1.2 secs
Shot to Shot with Flash   2.6 secs

There are no continuous shooting modes available.

Nikon Coolpix S02 Review: Nikon Coolpix S02 (4)

Nikon Coolpix S02 Performance

Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.

Nikon COOLPIX S02 Sample Photos

Sample Photos - Images are well exposed with good colour reproduction. When shooting portraits, the S02 doesn't enhance portrait shots, but are free of red-eye when using the flash.

Nikon COOLPIX S02 Lens test images

Lens Performance - Detail is OK in the centre of the images, but they are softer around the edges and the corners. Purple fringing is an issue in contrasting areas. The lens has a minimum focusing distance of 5cm, with a decent macro shot possible, particularly if you zoom in a touch.

Nikon COOLPIX S02 ISO test images

ISO Noise Performance - You can't manually set the ISO, but you'll find shots taken at various ISO's throughout this article. Noise is low at ISO 125 and 200, and steadily increases at ISO 400 and 800, but image quality is OK, with sharp images taken. At ISO 1600, image quality is significantly reduced, with soft images produced.

Nikon COOLPIX S02 White-balance test images

White Balance Performance - You're not able to change the white balance manually so you are relying on the Auto White Balance (AWB) to get it right. Under the incandescent lights there is a slight colour cast, but under the fluorescent lights the AWB performs perfectly.

Nikon COOLPIX S02 Digital filters

Digital Filters - There are a few special effects which can be used when shooting, above you'll find an example of each one.

Video - Below is a video recorded in full 1080p HD. Quality is decent, there's no optical zoom available but you can use digital zoom.

Value For Money

The Nikon Coolpix S02 is available for around £107. You can get cheaper cameras with more zoom and extra megapixels, but the S02 has 7.3Gb of internal memory. For more cameras, read our top 11 best budget cameras article.

You'll also need to buy a memory card and a case or bag to keep your camera safe and protected - have a look at our complete guide to camera bags.

Nikon Coolpix S02 Verdict

The Nikon Coolpix S02 is designed to be used when out with friends etc. It's small enough to carry around in your pocket or bag and you'd barely even know it was there. Smart phone users aren't likely to see much of an appeal though as you can't upload to the web straight away - if there was built-in Wi-Fi then it would be a fantastic camera for those who want to upload their pictures onto Facebook before they get home. The camera is made of metal, looks stylish and comes in a number of colours.


Nikon Coolpix S02 Pros

Extremely small camera
Metal body
Plenty of built-in memory
Easy to use
Touch screen is responsive

Nikon Coolpix S02 Cons

You can get much cheaper budget cameras
Short battery life
No built-in Wi-Fi


Nikon COOLPIX S02 Specifications

Max Aperturef/3.3 - f/5.9
35mm equivalent29mm - 87mm
Optical Zoom3x
Image Sensor
Pixels13Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)4160
Pixels (H)3120
Sensor TypeCMOS
Sensor Size1/2.9 inch
Sensor Size (width)No Data
Sensor Size (height)No Data
Aspect Ratio
  • 4:3
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor2.7in
Screen resolution230k dots
Touch ScreenYes
Min Focus5cm
Focusing modes
  • Autofocus
  • Manual
  • Face Detection
  • Centre
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/2000sec
Shutter speeds longest1sec
Bulb modeNo
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Centre-weighted - Average
  • Spot
ISO sensitivity125 - 1600
White balance
  • Auto
Exposure Comp+/-2
Shooting Options
Continuous shootingNo Data
Movie modeYes
Video Resolution
  • 1280x720 HD 720p
  • 640x480 VGA
  • 1920x1080 FullHD
Video FPS30
Stereo SoundNo
Optical Zoom with VideoNo
Other Features
Image StabilisationNo
Card Type
  • Internal
File Type
  • JPG
Power Source
Battery TypeBuilt-in rechargeable Li-ion battery
Battery Life (CIPA rating)190shots
Box Contents
Box ContentsCamera Strap, Charging AC Adapter EH-69P, USB Cable UC-E16

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