The Haphazard Blog

Photography

Nikon S70 Review

by on Jul.12, 2010, under Photography, Technology

Nikon S70

I’ve been looking for a point and shoot camera that I can use. For the most part, it’s hard for me to keep the camera steady and press the shutter-release button. I thought a touch screen camera would be ideal. I could simply tap the LCD to take a picture. So with that purpose in mind, here are my thoughts on the Nikon S70.

First, if you can use a regular point and shoot camera, don’t get this camera. You can make adjustments to your settings and zoom way faster than you can with this camera. It will generally take noticeably longer to take a picture with this camera than it will with a normal point and click. I’m also not much of a fan of having to slide down the front of the camera to turn it on/expose the lens. It’s fine for the owner, but if you are prone to let other people take pictures with your camera, someone is going to slide that down and rub their finger across the lens.

Moving on to how the camera worked for me. Pretty much the entire back of the camera is a touch LCD screen except for a small part of the far right side, less than 1 cm. I found this means that you have to hold the camera in a way that avoids touching the screen. My preference would’ve been to hold the camera with my right hand and take pictures by touching the LCD with my left. Unfortunately, the way that I hold the camera, my right thumb is constantly touching the screen. So when I’m not hitting the “Home” icon, it will not register any other touches. How I envisioned I could use the camera wasn’t going to work.

I figured out if I had some type of small post connected where the tripod mount was, I could hold the camera with my left hand and work the camera with my right (I’m right handed). I found a simple 3″ long screw (1/4″-20 type) that I screwed into the camera. Now I was getting somewhere. I could hold the camera and take pictures. So, I took it out into the real world to use.

We went to the Museum of World Treasures in Wichita a couple weeks ago. I found that it was difficult to keep the camera steady (I believe I was essentially “balancing” the camera on my left hand and the screw just ensured it did not topple over vs. having a very good grip on it) to get good, level pictures. Also, most things weren’t at the best height for me to take pictures. It was best to be standing, to either get a downward angled picture or “eye level” picture. This limitation isn’t a function of the camera however. Just an observation in general about taking photos.

At the end of the day there were quite a few pictures that were blurry (too much movement when tapping the LCD) and quite a few had this inexplicable yellow tint on them that for some unknown reason would not go away. When the pictures came out right, they were very clear. I have included some samples below (I lowered the resolution, but I feel they convey the overall quality).

I came across one other problem with the camera. When I fully charged it via USB the camera would not turn back on unless I removed and reinserted the battery. This did not happen when I partially charged the camera. I didn’t investigate this much further than that since this camera really didn’t meet my needs. I returned it and will keep looking for something that will work better.

Given what I have learned from this camera I need to keep looking for a touch screen camera, but one that does not have an LCD that covers the entire back of the screen. I think that will be hard to find because if there is nothing there, it’s simply a waste of space. The more likely thing would be to have a camera that has all the buttons, but also allows a user to take a picture by tapping the touchscreen. Other far-fetched ideas would be if yo could partner with a camera manufacture and re-program the button functions and re-assign the shutter release action to another button. This would not make much sense for the vast majority of users. It would really only be for a very tiny percentage of people, but it would enable them to use a camera. A similar concept would be if the camera came with some software that would let the user “program” the controls in a way similar to how video games let you change the control scheme. Ultimately. the improvement in the cameras included with smart phones may have the most promise.

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