To help us provide you with free impartial advice, we may earn a commission if you buy through links on our site. Learn more

Nikon CoolPix S640 review

Nikon CoolPix S640
Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £172
inc VAT

Impressively fast to switch on and focus but not so nippy from then on. Otherwise, it’s an unremarkable, slightly overpriced camera.


1/2.33in 12.0-megapixel sensor, 5.0x zoom (28-140mm equivalent), 110g

With its 12-megapixel sensor, 5x zoom lens and 2.7in screen, the S640 risks blending in with countless other mid-price compact cameras. Not every compact claims start-up and autofocus performance to rival a digital SLR, though.

We measured a fraction over one second between switching on and capturing a photo. SLRs often manage half that, but it’s still a fine achievement. Autofocus times were even more impressive, with just 0.2 to 0.4 seconds at the wide-angle end of the zoom. It took up to a second at the telephoto end in low light, but this is undoubtedly an extremely responsive camera.

Our admiration wore off when we tried to take quick successions of shots. There was around 2.3 seconds between frames, but sometimes the camera kept us waiting for up to seven seconds. Continuous shooting ran at a pedestrian 0.8fps. This is a fast camera for those who like to snap on the spur of the moment, but not for those who like to take lots of photos quickly and pick the best one later.

Otherwise, there’s very little to distinguish the S640 from other 12-megapixel ultra-compacts, many of which cost around £40 less. We like how the navigation pad doubles as a wheel for quickly adjusting settings, but the controls are limited, with no manual exposure or focus options. Video capture is poor, with a basic 640×480 resolution, no optical zoom function and terrible sound quality.

Our image quality tests revealed sharp focus and reasonable colour reproduction, although sunlit faces came out rather pink. Noise made subtle details appear a little scrappy in outdoor shots and obliterated all details in low light shots. We also found that the speed of the autofocus sometimes came at the expense of accuracy, with a few shots coming out slightly softer than the lens was capable of.

The S640’s responsive performance is welcome, but for image quality there’s no contest between this and Fujifilm’s F200EXR.

Basic Specifications

Rating ***
CCD effective megapixels 12.0 megapixels
CCD size 1/2.33in
Viewfinder none
Viewfinder magnification, coverage N/A
LCD screen size 2.7in
LCD screen resolution 230,000 pixels
Articulated screen No
Live view Yes
Optical zoom 5.0x
Zoom 35mm equivalent 28-140mm
Image stabilisation optical, sensor shift
Maximum image resolution 4,000×3,000
Maximum movie resolution 640×480
Movie frame rate at max quality 30fps
File formats JPEG; AVI (M-JPEG)


Memory slot SDHC
Mermory supplied 45MB internal
Battery type Li-ion
Battery Life (tested) 270 shots
Connectivity USB, AV
HDMI output resolution N/A
Body material aluminium
Lens mount N/A
Focal length multiplier 5.6x
Kit lens model name N/A
Accessories USB and AV cables
Weight 110g
Size 55x91x21mm

Buying Information

Warranty two years RTB
Price £172

Camera Controls

Exposure modes auto
Shutter speed auto
Aperture range f/2.7 (wide) to f/6.6 (tele)
ISO range (at full resolution) 100 to 6400
Exposure compensation +/-2 EV
White balance auto, 5 presets, manual
Additional image controls none
Manual focus No
Closest macro focus 1cm
Auto-focus modes multi, centre, spot, face detect
Metering modes multi, centre-weighted, face detect
Flash auto, forced, suppressed, slow synchro, red-eye reduction
Drive modes single, continuous, self-timer, multi-shot