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Nikon S6300 First Impressions Review$199.95
The S6300 makes use of through-the-lens contrast detection autofocus, utilizing the image sensor as a de facto autofocus sensor. As with most contrast detection systems the camera struggle to find a peak contrast in low light, resulting in focus hunting. The camera features a built-in AF lamp to combat this, but it has limited success. The camera has 99 focus points that it can focus on, with the option to utilize center, face-detection, manual, or subject tracking AF methods. There's also a macro mode for use when focusing close in on subjects.
Exposure & Metering
The S6300 uses a 256-segment matrix metering system, with camera focusing on center-weighted brightness. There's not much control over exposure methods, though the camera does account for subject movement to keep shutter speed higher. The camera doesn't have much ability to compensate for extremes in brightness, with a limited shutter speed range of 1 to 1/2000th of a second (4 second max in fireworks mode).
The camera has a maximum aperture range of f/3.2-5.8, though the only way the camera limits brightness is with an electronically controlled ND filter that blocks off light, resulting in a difference of only -2 EV at most. The camera does feature an exposure compensation function that offers some measure of control, though it's a standard +/- 2 stop compensation in 1/3-step increments.
ISO is primarily control automatically on the S6300, though users can select a whole-stop value within the camera's ISO range of 125-3200. The user can also simply let the camera select an appropriate ISO setting automatically, with the option to set a fixed range auto setting that sets a maximum ISO of 400 or 800 in-camera.
The S6300 includes five preset white balance values that the user can select, with the option to capture a white balance value manually or let the camera detect color temperature automatically. The in-camera presets are very standard, with options for daylight, cloudy, shade, incandescent, fluorescent, and flash.
The 10x optical zoom lens on the S6300 features Nikon's vibration reduction technology, utilizing a shifting lens element that compensates for camera shake. That's very important with a 10x optical zoom lens (though not as crucial as with the S9300's 18x optical zoom), though Nikon does not release information on the system's efficacy. We'll have to get the S6300 back into our labs before we can make any pronouncements on its capability to handle camera shake.
As with other sub-$200 point-and-shoots, the S6300 comes with a number of in-camera image effects and scene modes for the user to choose from. The camera has a grand total of 20 in-camera scene modes (in addition to full automatic and program auto exposure modes), including: back light, bech, close up, copy, dusk/dawn, fireworks show, food, landscape, museum, night landscape, night portrait, panorama assist, party/indoor, pet portrait, portrait, scene auto selector, snow, sports, sunset, and 3D photography.
The S6300 also has a number of in-camera editing effects, including soft shot, nostalgia sepia, high contrast monochrome, high key, low key, and selective color. These effects can also be applied at image capture, if you know what effect you want beforehand.