Nikon Coolpix S32 perfect 'toy' to take to beach
WITH its big buttons and bright colours, Nikon's Coolpix S32 waterproof camera could be the perfect "toy" for the kids to take to the beach this summer.
Priced at well under $150, it's the sort of camera you could even afford to lose. It's certainly a better option than getting your new iPhone wet trying to capture those moments when your son or daughter catches their first wave.
But I must say, my first impressions of the S32 weren't great.
I took it for a "swim" across a local river, recording photos and video along the way.
Then I was trying to capture some underwater shots in a fast-moving current, near the sandbank.
I must have got some sand or grit in the camera, possibly, as the video button suddenly could not be pushed down.
About half an hour later the problem seemed to resolve itself after swimming around in deeper waters.
Another swim across the river, this time with my 10-year-old son, proved a much more unpleasant experience. But I can't blame the camera for that.
We noticed some jellyfish in the water, obviously coming in from where our local river meets the sea.
We even managed to get a couple of good photographs and video of them.
The problem going back was the jellyfish decided to get a close-up look of my son's leg. Painful.
But it made for some good photos later on after some emergency ice treatment.
But back to the camera.
The Nikon S32 features a 3X optical zoom and 13.2 megapixel resolution. So it is a basic camera by today's standards.
A larger zoom would certainly not go astray but for the price, you can't expect everything.
The camera can go underwater up to 10 metres and handle drops of up to 1.5 metres.
You can even take in the snow.
What I particularly liked about it, especially when using it in the water, was the oversized buttons.
You have one on the left with a big red dot for taking video and one on the right for taking photos.
It will shoot full HD 1080 videos with stereo sound.
The Nikon S32 has a very simple-to-use menu system with colour coded buttons to make changing photo settings and playback of photos and videos a breeze.
But it is very much a point and shoot camera designed for any amateur, particularly children, to use.
There are also some fun features built in, so you can take photos fisheye, mirror, cartoon and toy camera mode, as well as with special summer-size fun frames.
The smart portrait system activates features designed to get more flattering family pictures, including face priority auto focus, skin softening, smile timer and others.
The compact camera features a low-light image sensor so you can capture good photos underwater or outside at night, without having to use a flash.
When your subject is moving fast, motion detection automatically kicks in and selects a faster shutter speed and higher ISO (light sensitivity) to help you get better photos.
For under $150, the Nikon S32 is certainly worth a look.
But it's probably a good idea to check out some options in a slightly higher price range if you are looking for something with a bit more quality and durability.
As well as Nikon, Sony, Panasonic, Ricoh, Canon, Olympus and even Fuji have some really good cameras in this price range and above.