Nikon Coolpix S630 Digital Camera Review$279.99
The Nikon S630 has very good noise levels, especially at higher ISOs. Image noise is the speckling that occurs across an image, especially at high ISO. Many point-and-shoot cameras use automatic noise reduction software to reduce this, which in turn can lead to images looking smeared. We test noise by shooting our ColorChecker chart at every full resolution ISO, under two different light levels (60 and 3000 lux), and use Imatest to measure the amount of noise in the image. More on how we test noise.
There are two interesting observations from our testing. First, noise levels are substantially worse under low light conditions at low ISOs. Second, the noise reduction software obviously kicks in at ISO 400.
The S630 remains consistently lower than just about every other camera in our comparison group, and that consistently low image noise gives it a significantly higher score than the other tested cameras.
At full resolution, the S630 has a good range of ISOs, from 64-1600. The camera can be bumped up to 3200 or 6400, but the resolution is reduced down to three megapixels at these extended-range settings. In addition to the usual auto ISO mode, there are two fixed-range auto ISO settings, one for ISO 64-200, one for ISO 64-400.
NOTE: The images above are not used in our testing or scoring, but are included here to show real-world examples of the differences between cameras at the various ISO settings.