Nikon Coolpix S5200 review

Ben Pitt
9 Apr 2013
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
inc VAT

A good set of features, but rivals offer superior image quality



1/2.3in 16.0-megapixel sensor, 6.0x zoom (26-156mm equivalent), 146g

The S5200 is a point-and-shoot camera with Wi-Fi and a 6x zoom lens. That's a little shorter than the 10x zooms in rivals such as the Canon Ixus 255 HS, Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ9 and Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-WX200 - all of which we've reviewed over the last couple of months. However, Nikon's camera is also a little cheaper.

Nikon Coolpix S5200

There's no sign of cost-cutting in its slim, stylish metal body or its 3in LCD screen. The lack of an orientation sensor is annoying, though – portrait-shaped photos must be rotated manually.

The controls are straightforward, with a dedicated button to access scene presets and another for exposure compensation. There's no quick menu for other photographic options, but the main shooting menu only has eight entries so it's easy to find the setting you want. This kind of camera is likely to be left on fully automatic settings, but the ability to move the autofocus point is an unexpected treat.

A Quick Effects function offers to apply a creative effect directly after capture, with 30 effects available such as Pop, Super vivid, Toy camera and Cross Process. This might appeal to some people but we found it an annoying distraction that got in the way of taking the next photo. After disabling it in the menu, shot-to-shot performance jumped from 3.8 to 0.8 seconds.

Nikon Coolpix S5200

There are lots of continuous modes to choose from, including a 10fps mode that lasted for six frames, plus 1.5fps shooting that kept going for 17 frames before slowing to 1fps. Battery performance is worrying, though, quoted at 160 shots or just 25 minutes of video. Rival cameras manage 220 shots, and we criticised that for being too little. Using the Wi-Fi functions will reduce battery life even further.

These Wi-Fi functions are surprisingly hard to find. While other cameras have a dedicated Wi-Fi button, here it appears on the third page of the configuration menu. The Wi-Fi functions are less numerous than elsewhere, too, with communication limited to iOS and Android smartphones and tablets – there's no option to transfer photos across a home Wi-Fi network to a PC or online services.

Nikon Coolpix S5200

Browsing photos and videos on the camera via the Android app

We reckon smartphone support is far more useful, though. The remote control mode showed a responsive live preview in the app, although control is limited to the shutter release, zoom and self-timer. Full-resolution photos are transferred to the device directly after capture, which slows things down a little, but there's an option to turn this off. Browsing the camera's memory card from the app was a slick experience, with full-screen previews appearing quickly and the ability to transfer batches of photos. The Android app let us transfer videos as well as photos, but this wasn't possible with the iOS app.