The Nikon Coolpix S4000 fits nicely into this week’s reviews of relatively inexpensive point-and-shoot cameras. It is one of the smallest cameras in its class, at .8 inches thick, 2.2 inches tall and a mere 4.65 ounces. Inside that it packs 12 megapixels, a 4x Nikkor zoom that starts at 28mm (equivalent), a 3-inch LCD touch screen that takes up nearly the entire back of the camera, Nikon’s Vibration Reduction (aka VR, their name for image stabilization) and HD video.
The touch screen has a good anti-glare coating, works pretty well in bright sunlight, even better in shade or indoors, and resists fingerprints.
The tiny size is great for seniors who don’t want to lug around a heavy camera, but it is small enough to be hard to hold manipulate some of the buttons if your fingers aren’t nimble enough. The on/off button is miniscule and requires some good dexterity to turn it on. The touch screen works well and takes the place of many buttons, not only cleaning up the design of the camera, but also providing an intuitive way to control the camera. It works very well in even the most basic setting, figuring out the scene and setting the camera for the best picture. There is no way to set full manual aperture and shutter speed.
It has advanced features, like face detection (for up to 12 faces at a time) to set exposure and focus optimally, and even a smile timer, to automatically catch people who smile too quickly for even a sports photographer to capture. Red Eye reduction shoots two pictures with flash, and combines them before saving as one. A tiny bit less annoying than the multiple flashes before the real picture that often make someone blink.
Sensitivity up to ISO 3200 allows higher shutter speeds in low light to still handle action when needed. Picture quality isn’t stellar at 3200, but having a crunchy picture is usually better than no picture at all. At lower ISOs, the picture quality is as you’d expect from a Nikon Coolpix, very good.
The video it shoots is 720p HD at 24 frames per second. It looks fairly movie-like at that frame rate. There is no HDMI out, so if you want to watch the videos, it has to be either on the back of the camera or you first have to transfer them to your computer.
The Nikon Coolpix S4000 can be purchased from Bel Air Camera.
Read our Senior-Friendly Guide to Digital Cameras.