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Nikon Coolpix S3600 Review

Daniel Bell reviews the Nikon Coolpix S3600 - a very compact camera with a 20.1 megapixel sensor and 8x optical zoom.

| Nikon Coolpix S3600 in Compact Cameras
BUY NOW NIKON Coolpix S3600

Nikon Coolpix S3600 Review: Nikon Coolpix S3600 Silver (5)

The Nikon Coolpix S3600 was announced in January 2014 and is a compact camera with 8x optical zoom. It also has a 20.1 megapixel sensor, retouch menu and a range of digital filters which can be used on your pictures before and after shooting. It is available in blue, pink, red, black, silver and pink lineart for around £110.

Nikon Coolpix S3600 Review: Nikon Coolpix S3600 Silver (2)

Nikon Coolpix S3600 Features

The Nikon Coolpix S3600 has a 20.1 megapixel CCD sensor and a 8x optical zoom lens, which is a 35mm equivalent of 25-200mm. To help take sharper shots there is optical image stabilisation. When shooting moving objects you can use Target Finding AF which identifies and focuses on your subject.

The Scene Auto Selector automatically optimises the camera settings for the detected scene, or you can choose your own from 18 scene modes. There is the Smart Portrait System which includes Smile Timer, Blink Proof alerting and Red-Eye Fix. After shooting your portraits they can be enhanced using Advanced Glamour Retouch, which includes 12 retouch effects such as add make-up and hide eye-bags. You can also edit your images via the Retouch menu with 32 quick effects, which includes Selective Colour.

Videos are recorded in 720p HD.

Nikon Coolpix S3600 Review: Nikon Coolpix S3600 Silver (8)

Key Features

  • 20.1 megapixel CCD sensor
  • 8x optical zoom lens (35mm equiv: 25-200mm)
  • Optical image stabilisation
  • 2.7 inch 230k LCD screen
  • Retouch menu
  • 720p HD video recording
  • ISO 80-1600 (ISO 3200 available when using Auto mode)
  • 2cm minimum focusing distance
  • Smart Portrait System
  • Advanced Glamour Retouch
  • Available in blue, pink, red, black, silver and pink lineart
Nikon Coolpix S3600 Review: Nikon Coolpix S3600 Silver (7)

Nikon Coolpix S3600 Handling

The Nikon Coolpix S3600 has a compact, pocketable body with a metal front. To aid grip there is a number of dots on the rear where your right hand thumb sits. On top of the camera is the on / off button, alongside the zoom rocker and shutter release. On the rear are movie record, mode, playback, menu and delete buttons as well as a d-pad for cycling through the menus. The d-pad also gives quick access to the flash, exposure compensation, macro and self-timer.

Also on the rear is the 2.7 inch screen which has a low 230k dot resolution, but does have an anti-reflective coating, making it easy to see even in bright sunlight. There is quite a lot of space around the screen, so it's possible Nikon could have used a 3 inch one instead. The menu system is simple and easy to navigate.

Battery life is rated at 220 shots according to Nikon / CIPA standards, which is decent for a budget compact camera. 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   0.175 secs
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response   0.55 secs
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response   0.6 secs
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo   1.5 secs
Shot to Shot without Flash   1.3 secs
Shot to Shot with Flash   4.5 secs
Continuous Shooting H   0.7 fps slows after 3 shots

When using the flash, it does take a little time to charge, so will slow you down between shots. Continuous shooting records in full 20.1 megapixel resolution, but does slow down after just three shots.

Nikon Coolpix S3600 Review: Nikon Coolpix S3600 Silver (1)

Nikon Coolpix S3600 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 S3600 Sample Photos

Sample Photos - Images have good colour reproduction and are well exposed. The portrait mode takes images with very soft skin and decent tones, with only the slightest hint of red-eye when using the flash. Images in low light aren't overly impressive, our example images has a red tone to it.

Nikon Coolpix S3600 Lens test images

Lens Performance - Images have a reasonable amount of detail at both ends of the lens, although they are clearly softer in the corners. There is a hint of purple fringing in contrasting areas, although it's quite hard to spot unless you view the images full size. The lens has a minimum focusing distance of just 2cm which allows you to take a good macro shot.

Nikon Coolpix S3600 ISO test images

ISO Noise Performance - Images are low in noise at ISO 80, 100 and 200. Noise isn't an issue at ISO 400, but images do become a little soft at ISO 800. Images are very soft at ISO 1600 and at ISO 3200 image size is limited to 4 megapixels.

Nikon Coolpix S3600 White-balance test images

White Balance Performance - Under the incandescent lights the Auto White Balance (AWB) performs well, the incandescent preset performs slightly better though. Under the fluorescent lights the AWB performs excellently, with the fluorescent preset taking an image with a clear colour cast.

Nikon Coolpix S3600 Digital filters

Digital Filters - The S3600 comes with a range of special effects for creative shots - we have included examples of each of above.

Video - Below is a video recorded in 720p HD. Quality is good and when using the optical zoom there is no sound of the lens movement picked up by the microphone.

Value For Money

The Nikon Coolpix S3600 is available for around £110. Other cameras with 8x optical zoom include the Canon IXUS 132 at £69.99 and the Sony Cyber-Shot WX60 at £106.99. With a little more zoom are the Fujifilm FinePix T500 at £74.99, the Panasonic LUMIX DMC-SZ8 at £139.00 and the Sony Cyber-Shot WX200 at £131.99.

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 S3600 Verdict

The Nikon Coolpix S3600 is a budget camera with a decent amount of optical zoom and is available in a number of appealing colours. Images quality is fine for sharing on the web, with good colour reproduction. The Glamour Retouch mode lets you take decent portrait shots, so this is an ideal camera for taking pictures when you're out with friends.


Nikon Coolpix S3600 Pros

Available in a number of colours
Good range of special effects
2cm minimum focusing distance
Decent image quality

Nikon Coolpix S3600 Cons

Continuous shooting slows after 3 shots
Clear barrel distortion
Short battery life


Nikon Coolpix S3600 Specifications

Max Aperturef/3.4 - f/6.4
35mm equivalent25mm - 200mm
Optical Zoom8x
Image Sensor
Pixels20Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)5152
Pixels (H)3864
Sensor TypeCCD
Sensor Size1/2.3 inch
Sensor Size (width)No Data
Sensor Size (height)No Data
Aspect Ratio
  • 4:3
  • 16:9
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor2.7in
Screen resolution230k dot
Touch ScreenNo
Min Focus5cm
Focusing modes
  • Manual
  • Face Detection
  • AF Tracking
  • Centre
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/2000sec
Shutter speeds longest4sec
Bulb modeNo
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Scene modes
  • A
  • Centre-weighted - Average
  • Spot
ISO sensitivity80 - 3200
White balance
  • Auto
  • Manual
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Cloudy
  • Incandescent
  • Fluorescent
  • Flash
Exposure Comp+/-2
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting1.1fps
Movie modeYes
Video Resolution
  • 1280x720 HD 720p
Video FPS30p
Stereo SoundNo
Optical Zoom with VideoNo
Other Features
Image StabilisationYes
Card Type
  • SD
  • SDHC
  • SDXC
File Type
  • JPG
Power Source
Battery TypeLithium Ion
Battery Life (CIPA rating)220shots
Box Contents
Box ContentsCamera Strap, Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL19 (with battery case), Charging AC Adapter EH-70P, USB Cable UC-E6, ViewNX 2 CD-ROM, Reference Manual (CD-ROM)

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Photographs taken using the Nikon Coolpix S3600

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