The Nikon Coolpix S2's performance was generally average, except for its continuous-shooting mode, which was quite good, and its shutter lag under low-contrast lighting, which was poor at 1.8 seconds, even with the focus-assist lamp operating. Under high-contrast lighting, this camera managed to focus and squeeze off shots only 0.6 seconds after the trigger was pulled.
Continuous shooting produced 36 full-resolution images in slightly less than 24 seconds before the camera slowed. Set to 640x480-pixel resolution and maximum compression, the S2 plugged away nonstop for as long as we held down the shutter release. We captured 102 shots in 60 seconds. The S2 also has a multiexposure mode that squeezes 16 thumbnails onto a single image when you want to analyse your golf swing.
The large, brightness-adjustable, 110,000-pixel LCD was usable outdoors under all but the brightest lighting conditions. It offered an acceptable view indoors under dim illumination. Some ghosting was visible, however.
Image quality from the Nikon Coolpix S2 was decent, but not great for a 5-megapixel camera. The exposure system was easily misled by backlighting, prompting us to use the backlighting scene mode and the D-lighting option more than we'd have liked. Images tended to be a little soft, and they showed noticeable blooming and colour bleeding from one area to another.
Colours were generally accurate. We noticed a tendency toward yellowish skin tones, but the preflash red-eye prevention coupled with the software red-eye-removal feature did an excellent job of eliminating glowing pupils. Cyan fringing was rampant around backlit subjects, and noise was often visible, even at lower ISO settings. As with most digital cameras, it was fairly easy to blow out the highlights.
A little barrel distortion made our images curve out near the edges at the wide-angle setting, and some pincushioning at maximum zoom made them curve in.
Edited by Aimee Baldridge
Additional editing by Nick Hide