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Nikon Coolpix 2200 Digital Camera Review
Introduction: The Nikon Coolpix 2200 is a compact 2MP digital camera with a 3x Nikkor optical zoom lens (4.7 - 14.1mm equivalent to 36mm - 108mm on a 35mm camera), and a 1.6" Colour TFT screen. The camera comes with a 14.5mb of built in memory, and can be upgraded with an additional SD card. The camera takes two AA batteries. The camera also records 640x480 and 320x240 videos at 15fps without sound. The camera has a number of scene modes to make it easier to use. The camera has an RRP of £149 but can be bought for 100 from ebuyer.com in the UK, and $149 from amazon.com in the US. The camera is compact with a size and weight as follows: Dimensions: 88 x 65 x 38 mm (3.5 x 2.6 x 1.5 in). Weight: 140g (without batteries or recording media).

The camera offers average value for money - being fairly competitively priced for a compact 2mp, 3x optical zoom digital camera, it is one of the cheapest Nikon digital cameras available.

Nikon have this to say about the camera:

"Digital Simplicity. The COOLPIX 2200, compact and lightweight digital camera, designed not only for newcomers to digital photography, but also for more experienced users looking for a digital camera with easy operations."

You can find out more about the Nikon Coolpix 2200 at Nikon's website.

The Camera: It's compact and made out of shiney silver plastic.


Front - Camera off. Built in lens-cover - Flash, optical viewfinder, self-timer lamp.


Front - Camera on, lens extended.


Back - the 1.6" TFT screen, Mode dial, 4-way controller, Enter button in the middle, playback button, zoom control, menu button, delete button. Optical viewfinder.


Top - on/off, shutter release. Beeper hole.


Bottom, under the camera is the tripod mount which is in the middle of the camera, and the battery compartment.


Left Side (from back) - USB/Video out connection.


On this side is the strap holder, and memory compartment.

Size Comparison: Compared to a Pentax PC-550 35mm automatic, this camera is quite a lot smaller than the Pentax.


There is an optical viewfinder above the lens.


Size comparison next to the Konica Minolta Dimage X31.


Size comparison

Specifications / Features:

  • Compact size and lightweight body with easy to hold grip design
  • High image quality with 2.0 Effective Megapixels
  • 3x optical Zoom-Nikkor lens
  • 4x Digital zoom
  • VGA / 320x240 15fps video mode without sound
  • 5 Colour Options including standard, vivid, black-and-white, sepia and cyanotype colors.
  • 15 pre-set Scene Modes including 4 with Scene Assistance function offer more flexibility and point-and-shoot simplicity
  • 14.5MB internal memory offers always ready picture-storage and fast two-way copying of stored images
  • Compatible with various types of rechargeable and disposable batteries

Full Specifications can be found on the Nikon site.

Box Contents:

  • Digital Camera
  • Hand strap
  • USB cable
  • Audio Video Cable
  • Video cable
  • Nikon View software
  • 2x AA alkaline batteries LR6.

Average box contents - it's a shame no case is included as standard.

Features / Options: The camera mode is selected using the mode dial: the modes are: Photo, Scene, Portrait, Landscape, Action, Night, Setup, Video

Starting in Photo mode, pressing the menu button brings up the screen shown above - the available options are: Image mode (2M* High, 2M Normal, PC (1024), TV (640)), Auto-White-Balance (Auto, Custom, Various presets), Exposure (+/- 2), Continuous shooting, BSS (Best Shot Selector - this lets you take a number of photos, and the camera will automatically keep the sharpest picture), Colour Options (standard, vivid, black and white, sepia, cyanotype).

In scene mode the menu options are: Party, Beach/Snow, Sunset, Dusk/Dawn, Night landscape, close-up, museum, fireworks show, copy, back light, panorama assist, and image size.
In portrait mode the menu options are: Portrait, Left, right, close-up, couple, portrait figure, and image size.
In landscape mode the menu options are: Normal landscape, scenic view, architecture, group right, group left, and image size.
In action (sports) mode the menu options are: Sports, sport spectator, sport composite, and image size.
In night portrait mode the menu options are: Night portrait, left, right, close-up, couple, portrait figure and image size.
The setup options are: Welcome screen, Date, Monitor settings, date imprint, brightness, sound settings, blur warning, auto off, format memory, language, usb, video mode, reset all, battery type, firmware version.
In movie mode the menu options are: TV (640), Small (320) and Smaller size (160).

Playback mode is discussed later.

Picture Size / Quality: The camera takes the following size pictures / and the following number of images will fit in the built-in 14.5mb memory: (an extra memory card is recommended)

Size: Number of Photos Stored / Quality / (Average file size)
    High Normal
2mp (1600 x 1200)   15 (900kb) 29 (450kb)
1mp (1024 x 768)   - 61 (220kb)
VGA (640 x 480)   - 132 (100kb)
Movie 640x480/15fps   27seconds  
Movie 320x240/15fps   54seconds  

You can't fit very many images on the provided 14.5mb memory - a larger memory card is definitely recommended, unless you want to use the lower megapixel settings and higher compression levels. There is a average choice of image size and compression levels available, although no RAW or TIFF mode.

Speed, ease of use: The camera is easy to use, fairly quick to switch on and fairly quick to take photos, the dial on the back of the camera makes it easy to switch between the different modes. The screen updates are quick and smooth. The camera speed in use, seems quick when taking a photo, and shot to shot time is quite good, even when using flash. The camera is quite compact, and fairly easily fits into pockets. The menus are very easy to pick up and use, and the modes are easy to access, the menus seem quick enough. The continuous shooting mode is quite quick as well.

Buttons: (Feel, placement, labels, etc) The buttons are easy to use, in a good position and there seem to be just the right amount of buttons, not too many - perhaps one too few. The buttons feel good, they are also labelled well. The mode dial on the back is good.

The buttons on the back of the camera quickly give you access to: Macro, Flash, Self timer / Continuous (is in a menu), Modes, Wide/Telephoto zoom, Enter in the middle of the 4-way controller. On the top is the On/Off button and the shutter button. My only complaint is that the display options are hidden in the setup menu, meaning you have to go to setup every time you want to change the amount of information displayed on screen, I think it would have been better if there was a display button.

Battery usage: Battery life seems okay - but as with all digital cameras high power rechargable batteries such as 2000+ mAh Ni-MH are highly recommended.


LCD display in photo mode: Mode, Focusing lock, internal memory, Macro Focus, Image size (bottom left), Flash setting (bottom middle), pictures remaining (bottom right). Battery life only appears on screen when it is low.

LCD display in photo mode: The screen is quite clear, and updates very smoothly - the colours appear accurate. The screen shows how many remaining photos you can take with the available memory, as well as current mode etc, although unfortunately the camera does not show aperture / shutter speed and there is no live histogram. The camera occassionally displays 'ISO' when the camera is using a higher ISO setting due to low light conditions.

Playback mode: Scrolling through the photos is very quick. The zoom can be used up to 10x. The playback zoom is very quick. Playback menu options are: Print set, Slide show, delete, protect, auto-transfer, small pic. There is no histogram.

Image Quality: Here are some sample photos/video(s) taken in various settings, such as Inside, Noise, Outside, Zoom, Macro, Movie to demonstrate the quality of pictures taken and also show different features of the camera. Full size (and medium size) versions of these photos, plus more photos are available in the gallery!

Inside:

Heather and Flower 2 people Ste and Chris

Inside: The camera has quite a powerful flash, and copes well with group photos. Red eye was noticable on some photos of people - Good accurate, realistic colours and details, pleasing skin colours. Some of the images are slightly soft - but this isn't a major issue on this camera.

Noise: Noise generally is a bad thing - it removes detail, and gives a grainy effect over the image. With digital cameras noise can be a real problem as digital camera noise is often made out of blue, red or green dots. As the ISO setting increases, pictures tend to have more noise.

The camera simply has an Automatic mode for ISO levels, meaning that you can not choose the ISO setting, and in low-light conditions the camera will automatically choose the most appropriate ISO setting - luckily it will warn you when it is going to use a higher ISO setting by displaying 'ISO' on screen. I managed to get the camera to take the following images by using flash on one of the pictures and turning the flash off on the second picture.


Noise test picture (Flash off / on)

ISO50 - 100% ISO200 - 100%

Noise levels at ISO50 are very low - which means you get very smooth images. ISO200 still displays fairly acceptable noise levels (just).

Outside:

Sugi and Neil Unisys Building Nissan 350Z

Again very good colour, they are accurate colours with low noise, I didn't notice jpeg artifacts in the images. Images are a tiny bit soft, and could do with a sharpen. The first two photos were taken at the same time / day as the photos of the same subject in the Konica Minolta Dimage X31 Review / Gallery.

Zoom: This camera has a 3x Optical zoom and a built in 4x Digital zoom - in the case of this camera the digital zoom basically takes a smaller area of the photo and enlarges it using software blurring the image so that it is not pixellated. Generally it's best to avoid using digital zoom as it degrades the quality of the image and, often, better results can be obtained by using a photo package such as Adobe Photoshop. I've included examples below simply to show what these features do.

Wide-angle 3x Optical zoom Full 3x Optical + 4x Digital

The digital zoom doesn't show you on screen how much magnification you are using numerically. It is quite quick. When using the optical zoom, it's quite quiet, and fairly quick, it has about 16 steps between wide and telephoto. The amount of optical zoom isn't displayed on screen numerically, the amount is simply displayed with a bar.

Other Image Quality issues: Chromatic Aberrations / Purple Fringing was noticable in some of the photos taken with this camera, for example the picture of me and heather inside (inside, middle picture), and in the 3x optical zoom clock picture, 100% crops from these have been shown below.

Purple edge Pruple reflection

Macro: When this camera is in macro mode, the lens is at full wide angle, and you can't zoom in - The camera can focus down to 3cm in macro mode, in wide-angle.

Macro - Timex Watch (wide-angle) Actual Pixels (100%)
Macro - Printed Text (flash on) Actual Pixels (100%)

The macro mode is very good. You can use the flash in macro mode - the camera does a very good job of toning down the flash - most recent cameras tested managed to blow out all highlight detail taking a similar photo of flat eric. Colour and detail is very good.

Movie: 640 x 480 - 15fps, 320x240 - 15fps without sound - you can use the digital zoom whilst recording a video, you can also zoom in using the optical / digital zoom before you start recording. The movie is recorded as a .MOV file. Length is limited only by the size of the memory card.


Jamie and the Magic Torch - Download 320x240/15fps movie
Click here. (right click, save target as, 2.5mb MOV) (saved as Zip file)

The quality of the movie(s) is good - 640 x 480 is good especially as the length is unlimited, but unfortunately the camera doesn't record sound with the videos. The movies can be a bit noisy in poor lighting.

Conclusion

Image: Image quality is good - the images have accurate and pleasing colour, and good detail although images could do with a slight sharpen, unfortunately there is no option to increase sharpness in camera. Images have fairly low noise. There is some purple fringing, but it doesn't appear to be a major problem. Image compression doesn't seem to cause jpeg artifacts, and there is an okay range of image sizes and compression options. The macro mode is very good. The flash didn't cause problems when the subject was close. Auto white balance and metering seemed to be fairly good. The movie mode is good although limited by not being able to record sound.

Everything else (the camera as a whole): The camera is compact, and stylish. The screen updates smoothly and is clear. The camera is easy to use, the menu systems being easy to use. The 3x optical zoom is good. Camera handling, button layout and design are good. The camera speed is good in use and has a quick zoom, shot to shot time is also quick. The built-in scene modes, best shot selector, and panorama mode help make this camera easier to use as well. I really like the Best Shot Selector on this camera, as it makes sure you get the sharpest pictures. Custom white balance is also a useful feature to have.

Alternative digital cameras around £100 (there aren't very many 2mp digital cameras left, so the following are all 3mp digital cameras): Yakumo Mega Image 37 (85), Pentax Optio 33L (105 from ebuyer.com - with swivel screen), Olympus C-310 (100), C-360 (130), Nikon Coolpix 3200 (125), Canon Powershot A400 (£110 - read my review), Canon Powershot A75 (150), Kodak Easyshare DX6340 (4x Optical zoom, 135), CX7330 (118), Konica Minolta Dimage X31 (117 - read my review), Fuji Finepix A330 (119). Check amazon.co.uk / kelkoo.co.uk or amazon.com for the latest prices.

Summary: The Nikon Coolpix 2200 is one of the cheapest Nikon digital cameras currently available. It has a clear 1.6" colour screen, and records videos without sound. The camera is compact and easy to use, more compact than most budget digital cameras. Image quality is very good, with good detail, good colour, and low noise, although with some image softness and some purple fringing. The movie mode is fairly average, recording unlimited 640 x 480, 15fps movies without sound. The camera is very easy to use, and has some nice features such as scene modes, Best Shot Selector, and panorama mode. For around 100 (UK) $149 (US) from Ebuyer / Amazon this camera offers average value for money, especially as 3mp, 3x optical zoom digital cameras can be bought for the same price. Overall, for someone looking for an easy to use, compact and stylish camera I would recommend this camera, especially if you can buy it cheaply.

What I like:

  • Good image quality
  • Small compact camera
  • Easy to use
  • Very good macro mode
  • Good (VGA) movie mode
  • Custom White balance
  • Good performance and speed.

What I don't like:

  • No ISO settings (these are all automatic)
  • No on-screen aperture / shutter speed.
  • Slightly pricey for a 2mp/3x optical zoom digital camera
  • No sound on videos
  • Some purple fringing

Remember to have a look at the full size (and medium size) versions of these photos in the gallery!