Nikon Coolpix S50c

The Nikon S50c is a compact, 7.2-megapixel camera. It offers an interesting option for getting photos out of the camera: built-in Wi-Fi support. This could be a slick and quick way to e-mail photos or post them on Flickr. However, accessible connections are limited to either free hotspots unencumbered by click here pages or T-Mobile hotspots accessible via a pre-paid subscription. Using a hotspot can require a fair amount of configuration, too, via the camera’s innovative—but touchy—rotating dial/switch.

In Macworld jury tests, the camera scored Good ratings across the board, although image quality was surprisingly weak for a Nikon product—fuzzy details and washed-out highlights were common. But Nikon does provide some slick in-camera tools for retouching, including one that nicely balances light and dark areas.

The camera’s scratch-prone plastic case didn’t inspire a lot of confidence, however. And be wary of the power button: we found it alarmingly easy to switch on the camera by accident, and thus reduce its already modest battery life of 350 shots per charge—the lowest in a recent round-up of compact, point-and-shoot cameras. (Samsung’s NV11 (   ) scored highest, coming in at 1,233 shots per charge.)

Macworld’s buying advice

If they had been more thoughtfully implemented, the Nikon Coolpix S50c’s Wi-Fi features might have been enough to compensate for its undistinguished image quality and ease of use. As it is, you’re probably better off choosing a more capable shooter and bringing a tiny memory card reader or viewer with you when you travel.

performance

Image quality Good
Color quality Good
Flash quality Good
Battery life 347 shots on single charge

Scale = Superior, Very Good, Good, Fair, and Poor.

How we tested: The image-quality rating of the camera is based upon a panel of judges’ opinions in five categories: exposure, color, sharpness, distortion, and overall. Battery life testers follow a precise script, including shots with and without flash, until the battery dies.

specifications

Resolution 7.2 megapixels
Zoom/focal length (35mm equivalent) 3x/38mm-114mm
Battery type Lithium ion
Media slots SD
Size (width x height x depth, in inches) 3.8 x 2.3 x 0.8
Weight (in ounces) 4.4

[ David Becker is a writer and photographer based in San Francisco who regularly writes about personal technology, gadgets, and travel. ]

Nikon Coolpix S50c

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