Nikon Coolpix S630 Review

by Jeff Keller, DCRP Founder/Editor

Originally Posted: April 27, 2009

Last Updated: June 8, 2009

The Nikon Coolpix S630 ($279) is a compact, inexpensive point-and-shoot camera with a 7X optical zoom lens, image stabilization, and a 2.7" LCD display. There are more than enough compact cameras on the market now, but only a select few pack this much zoom power. Other notable features include scene auto selection, a sports continuous mode that shoots at 11 fps (at 3 Megapixel), and enhanced face, smile, and blink detection.

Truth be told, I've been underwhelmed with Nikon's compact cameras in recent years. Will the Coolpix S630 break that unfortunate tradition? Find out now in our review!

What's in the Box?

The Coolpix S630 has an average bundle. Here's what you'll find inside its box:

  • The 12.0 effective Megapixel Nikon Coolpix S630 digital camera
  • EN-EL12 lithium-ion rechargeable battery
  • Battery charger
  • Wrist strap
  • USB cable
  • A/V cable
  • CD-ROM featuring Nikon Software Suite
  • 163 page camera manual (printed)

Like most cameras these days, the Coolpix S630 has built-in memory, instead of having a memory card included in the box. The S630 has 44MB of built-in memory which, while a little above average, still doesn't hold many high quality photos (seven, to be exact). That means that you'll want to buy a memory card right away. The Coolpix S630 supports SD and SDHC cards, and I recommend a 2GB card to start with. While buying a "high speed" card isn't a bad idea, you certainly don't need to go overboard.

The Coolpix S630 uses the EN-EL12 lithium-ion battery. This battery packs 3.9 Wh of energy into its plastic shell, which is average for cameras in this class. Now, let's see how the S630's battery life compares to other compact cameras:.

Camera Battery life
(CIPA standard)
Canon PowerShot SD970 IS * 270 shots
Casio Exilim EX-FC100 * 300 shots
Fuji FinePix J250 * 150 shots
Kodak EasyShare M380 310 shots
Nikon Coolpix S630 * 220 shots
Olympus Stylus 7000 * 150 shots
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS15 * 330 shots
Ricoh CX1 * 270 shots
Samsung SL420 * 320 shots
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W290 * 300 shots

* Has image stabilization

Battery life numbers are provided by the manufacturer

The Coolpix S630's closest competitors are the Olympus Stylus 7000 and Ricoh CX1, which offer 7.0X and 7.1X zoom lenses. If I'm not mistaken, the Nikon and the Olympus use the exact same lens. All the other cameras on the above list have 5X lenses. In terms of battery life, the S630 finds itself about 20% below the group average.

I should point out two things about the proprietary batteries used by the Coolpix S630 and all the other cameras in the table above. For one, they're expensive -- a spare EN-EL12 will set you back at least $28. Second, you can't use an off-the-shelf (AA) battery to get you through the day when your rechargeable dies.

When it's time to charge the battery, just pop it into the included charger. It takes around 150 minutes to fully charge the battery. Do note that this charger uses a power cable -- it doesn't plug directly into the wall.

Nikon Coolpix S630 in the hand

As with all compact cameras, the Coolpix S630 has a built-in lens cover, so there's no lens cap to deal with.

There's just one accessory available for the S630, and that's the EH-62F AC adapter (priced from $20).

Nikon Transfer

There are several software products included with the Coolpix S630. The first is Nikon Transfer, which you'll use to transfer photos from the camera to your Mac or PC. You select which photos are to be transferred, where they're going (and whether you want a backup), and you're done. You can also upload photos directly to Nikon's My Picturetown online photo sharing service using this software.

Nikon ViewNX

Once that's done, you'll find yourself in Nikon ViewNX, which you can use for organizing and sharing photos. Here you can the usual thumbnail view, and you can assign photos to various categories, or give them "star" ratings. Naturally, there are tools for printing and e-mailing your photos, as well as uploading them to My Picturetown.

Editing tools include adjustments for exposure, sharpness, contrast, D-Lighting, and more, though you'll want to go to the "View" menu and select "Image Viewer" in order to actually see your changes on something other than the thumbnail.

ArcSoft Panorama Maker 4

Also included with the camera is ArcSoft's Panorama Maker software. You can use this to stitch together several photos into a single panoramic image. Using the S630's panorama assist mode will help ensure that everything's lined up properly.

Nikon includes a detailed and fairly easy-to-read manual with the Coolpix S630. It should answer any question you may have about the camera, without requiring too much work on your part. Documentation for the software bundle is installed onto your computer.