воскресенье, 14 августа 2016 г.

Nikon Coolpix S2900 - Twenty Megapixels of Disappointment

TL;DR - overmarketed piece of four letters, think before you buy.

The Megapixels

The camera can make up to 5152*3864 pixel shots which gets you about 19,9 megapixels so 20 megapixels claim is fair until you look at the image.

You shoot, download the picture to a computer, open it and zoom to one hundred percent. The image is all covered in noise and JPEG compression artifacts (even in 5152*3864-STAR quality mode) and you will never use that one hundred percent zoomed image unless you're either an idiot or write a camera review because a one hundred percent zoomed image is really ugly and whoever has to see it in its entirety will hate you.

So you downscale the image four times each dimension and get  decent looking image but its size is now 1288*966 pixels which gets you 1,244 megapixels.

The camera can make 20 megapixels shots which have to be downscaled to 1,244 megapixels before they look decent. Oookay, but that's not what I expect from a 20 megapixels camera, isn't that clear?

Performance - Series Shooting

This result is for a Class 10 speed memory card so noone claims the card is slow.

You point, you zoom and you press The Button. The camera makes the shot and gets unresponsive for up to EIGHT SECONDS and for that time you cannot shoot, you cannot change camera settings and you cannot even zoom.

The camera has "sport" mode for shooting moving stuff, you know. That moving stuff is snails - for anything that moves faster you will only make one shot and then the subject just goes away before the camera gets responsive again.

Even when you shoot still stuff the camera is so slow that it's annoying. You shoot, you want to zoom in and shoot again but you have to WAIT, WAIT, WAIT, WAIT, WAIT and that's really annoying.

Performance - Single Shots

It takes up to one second for the camera to focus. So when you shoot moving stuff there's good chance you miss the right moment. You have to press the button about one second in advance and then maybe you're lucky and the camera focuses and shoots at the right moment and then you WAIT, WAIT, WAIT and you never have a second chance.

Performance - Warmup

It takes up to five seconds between you press the "turn on" button and the camera is ready to do anything. So if there's anything interesting suddenly happening near you there're good chance you don't have time to grab the camera and make any use of it.

Performance - NOT Intuitive

While you're WAITING you'd like to know when the camera is ready. The camera is ready once the two square brackets (the "crosshair") has appeared. So you shoot, "the crosshair" disappears, the camera DOES SOMETHING FOREVER, then "the crosshair" appears again and the camera gets responsive.

This is not explained in the manual. This ALL CAPS ANNOYING. You shoot, you rotate the zoom wheel but nothing happens because the camera is unresponsive and you have no idea why.

When you get the "wait for the crosshair" thing it gets a bit better - you move from hating the camera and trying to not smash the camera against a stone wall to just hating the camera.

The current interface is a piece of CRAP. The camera should display a clear "I'm busy" indication while it's "busy", not misteryously hide "the crosshair". This should be explained in the manual.


The camera has a ton of modes. That's it. With all the picture quality and performance problems those modes could be reduced to perhaps five - room, night outside, macro, landscape and "moving stuff". That would make the menu much simpler and the camera much more useful anyway.

Panorama Assist

Even in 20 megapixels quality mode the panorama height is up to 928 pixels high. Panorama software sometimes fails and then either you get a "cannot craft a panorama" message or  a distorted image. It kind of works.

Video Recording

It kind of works. The video lenght is limited to 30 minutes for lower resolution and to 10 minutes for higher resolution. No matter how much space you have on your memory card - you cannot film a movie longer than 30 minutes at once. Filming ends, then you can start filming again - for up to 30 more minutes. This is big time annoying.

Voice Recording

You use video recording to record voice. This is plain stupid. It can record video with sound but it cannot record sound alone.

Charge Level Indication

This is just insane. The camera displays a "full battery" symbol until the battery is almost discharged and once it's almost discharged it displays "a nearly empty battery" symbol. No "three bars" or "five bars" indication - just "I don't know/I know I'm discharged" indication. It's like a cheap electric shaver. VERY ANNOYING.

Charging/Interface Cable

A USB cable with some proprietary connector on camera side is used. It's usual USB-A on one side and some proprietary stuff on the other side. The is absolute evil. Lose or break the cable and you now have to look for replacement instead of buying a cheap cable at the nearest mall. It should be USB Micro or USB-B on camera side.

Charging while Shooting or Filming

This doesn't exist. Once you connect the camera to a USB port or the charger it won't shoot or film. IT WILL NOT. This means you cannot connect an external battery and continue shooting. Either you charge or you shoot. There's no combination of those.

Video Calls

Sure you cannot use the camera for video calls. You connect it to a USB port - and it retracts the lens and shuts down. Your video call is not going to happen.



The Charger and the Charger Uglifier

The charger is slim and compact and so neat ... if you plan to use the USA style flat prongs outlets. The charger dimensions are 53*53*22 millimeters AND the plug contacts rotate inwards and hide inside the casing until you need them. Very slim but that's only if you use the USA style flat prongs outlets.

If you happen to be anywhere like Europe you gonna need an adapter which comes with the charger. To attach the adapter you rotate the contacts so that they extend out of the casing, then "plug" the charger into the adapter and the adapter firmly attaches to the charger. It's now 53*53*67 millimeters and plug contacts no longer fold into the charger and it's VERY UGLY and fragile and takes a lot of space and no longer fits anywhere small.

Once you attached the adapter you gonna need a major effort to remove it before you go to a region with USA style outlets.

So it's not really a charger adapter, it's a charger uglifier. With the aglifier attached the charger is really ugly so the uglifier does its job perfectly. Of all the stuff which you find in the box the charger uglifier is the clear winner.

Bonus. The Manual

Absolutely do read the manual. It's full of excellent humour.

Did you know you should not touch moving parts of the lens and otherwise you might get injured? A 911 call: "My camera lens attacked me!!!".

Did you know that when you "delete" images from a memory card the data does not really disappear and can be recovered quite easily? Sure you did. Do you know how to address that? The manual says you should take shots of something like clear sky to fill the empty space of the card entirely. A 32 gigabytes card holds about three thousand shots with "the best quality" (the ugly noisy shots full of JPEG artifacts each taking up to eight megabytes but who cares). With about five seconds per shot you need about four hours of series shooting to fill a 32 gigabytes card. Btw you can make about three hundred shots on a single battery charge so you have to also charge the battery ten times. That'll be a nice weekend.

The manual even confirms that removing the charger uglifier is a major challenge. Thank you.

Conclusion or Something