Nikon Coolpix S3300 Digital Camera Review$139.00
Ease of Use
- Automatic Features
- Buttons & Dials
- Effects, Filters, and Scene Modes
- Instruction Manual
The so-called "Auto mode" is actually what we would normally consider Program Auto, and although we appreciate the extra flexibility, it may be confusing to rank novices. Smart Portrait is the closest thing to a fully automatic mode, but this setting is really geared exclusively toward portrait photography, leaving out all other potential subjects.
Buttons & Dials
All buttons on the rear panel are small and of only mediocre quality. Legibility may also be a problem for some, the labels are etched into the buttons and aren't colored, so you may need to squint or tilt the camera to figure out what you're doing. This is especially true in darker environments. The layout is fairly simple though, anyone who's handled a camera in the past should have no trouble making the transition.
Effects, Filters, and Scene Modes
An extensive list of scene modes may be accessed from the appropriate button on the rear panel. These include Landscape, Sports, Beach, Snow, Sunset, and many more. On a separate position in the same menu, a few digital filters are available, including Soft, Nostalgic sepia, High-contrast monochrome, High key, Low key, and Selective color.
Menu design isn't perfect. This is a tab-based system, but they're arranged vertically, so quick navigation with the zoom lever isn't possible. All navigation is therefore accomplished exclusively with the tiny directional pad. The interface isn't very responsive either, swapping tabs or modes causes a half-second lag. That's no so bad if you never adjust any settings, but users interested in detail may eventually become annoyed by the delay.
The S3300 ships with an unhelpful printed "Quick Start Guide," which we ignored in favor of the full manual contained on an included CD-ROM. The longer manual was very thorough, and we never came across a necessary bit of information that wasn't available somewhere.