A few days ago, I compiled a mini description of budget Kodak cameras; not that I have sympathies for the company or the guys endorsed me in exchange for something; I just wanted to send out a kind reminder to my readers. That’s all.

Close up shot of a Coffee cup and Chocolate bars

Today, with the same objective in mind, I am going to write about budget Nikon cameras. Nikon is well known all over the world; photography enthusiasts love a quality product, but if there is one thing that people can hardly locate these days, it is a cheap camera with decent, or high quality, results. This is what I am aiming for today – a round of Nikon Coolpix series cameras which have been lying under the doormat at online retailers’ websites.

Cheap Nikon Coolpix budget cameras for Entry to Mid level photographers:

The following cameras weren’t exactly labeled “cheap” when they were first introduced. Some of them were pretty expensive back in their days. However, today, the market price has dropped – so you can expect the same quality of results for a competitive price. (I added the video below just to show that these cameras are as good as a DSLR in the right hands)

Also, I am advocating the use of cameras in the context of photography because some of you might be able to buy smartphones within the same price range. Smartphones come with a wide range of high end cameras, but in the end, it is not “real” photography. While it is true that these handheld gadgets make it easier to shoot objects, their primary purpose will always come off as a solid communication device; not a photography product.

  • Nikon Coolpix S6000 for Intermediate Level Users:

Price: $199.0 for Brand New

I may have mentioned a side note about owning a Nikon Coolpix S3100 camera, but let me tell you that the S6000 is much better. In fact, when you compare these two devices, the price difference really justifies for the S6000; the results are crispier, the ISO and transition is smooth, and etc. Plus, if you know how to handle your environment and set up a proper location for photo sessions, you can get a lot more from this camera.

Simple design and color variation makes this camera a nice birthday gift for minors

The first time they introduced the Nikon S6000 CoolPix, it was available for $250. After a few years, the camera’s price dropped by 50 bucks only, to which I think that its performance and demand was so high that Nikon really didn’t offer that much of a discount. The other thing is that if you are planning to buy this camera as a “used” device, Amazon is offering a pretty decent price range.

From anything between $60 – $75 range, the S6000 comes as a used camera with variation in accessories. Some of the 3rd party sellers are selling it with complete accessories; some models and accessories are intact but the box is a little damage, while others are selling it without original packaging. Nonetheless, this camera can be summed up as:

  • Amazingly fast shooting performance. There are literally no wait times during photo storage sessions.
  • 720p true HD video recording.
  • 14.2 MP camera lens.
  • Image auto stabilization settings come through intelligent Nikon Coolpix S6000 4 way VR calibration tool.
  • Photos are soft and give a professional studio like effect.
  • 10x zoom makes it easy to Auto Focus on the subject.

In the end, the Coolpix S6000 more like a ‘Mini Me’ version of a professional camera. The body has the same rectangular look as that of the S8000 Coolpix series; the only thing that you need to look out for is the flash bulb on the extreme top left side of the camera. Unknowingly, you could be blocking the flash without even having a clue about it.

I don’t normally use flash because it tends to bring out too much light when sometimes it is not needed. In fact, I use normal environmental light for my subjects. In conclusion, this camera is recommended to anyone who is looking to take fine quality headshots, black and white close-ups, nature photos, pets and etc.

The Nikon Coolpix S6000 features Scene Auto Selector option. The camera is not smart enough to automatically determine the theme of the objects that you are about to shoot. For instance, if there is a party at your house, the camera’s “Auto Scene Selector” mode will probably identify it as beach or sports, depending on light exposure and everything.

On the contrary, there is a nice range of preset scenes in this camera for you to select from. I have tried “Food” for taking Pancake photos and etc.; it all blends in really nice with great results. Play with Nikon Coolpix S6000 settings a little bit and try different snaps. You will eventually get the general idea about how to properly operate it.

  • Nikon Coolpix S5100 is reasonably priced and gives satisfactory results:

Price: $119.0 for Brand New

Next up on the stop, I have the Nikon Coolpix S5100 camera. It is a perfect Holiday gift for little girls because of the various colors it is available in. The purple color, the pink one and blue; they all make me want to keep this camera in my possession.

Still shot of the Nikon S5100 camera from Amazon sales page

The S5100 Coolpix is a “point and shoot” category pocket camera. Mind it, when I say “point and shoot”, it means that a wide range of features are not available in this camera. Nikon basically just wanted the this camera to be a go-to device for people who want reference photography.

Maybe, you are a digital artist and you rely on nature photo shoots, or perhaps museum photos for your ongoing fantasy si-fi-ish project, the S5100 Coolpix will do just fine.

The S6000 is pretty much a standard camera

In the U.K. when Nikon released this camera, it was available for £140 (more or less); pretty expensive by my standards. Today, with a price drop, I can safely recommend it to any entry level photographer or a professional digital artist.

The S5100 is a nice addition to the Coolpix lineup that boasts of 720p video recording, 12.2 MP lens and 5X Digital Zoom-in Mode.

Nikon made the S5100 through a combination of metal and plastic. The end result is lightweight device that gives a solid feeling. Here’s a little set back: the internal memory is just 32Mb.

You are definitely going to need SanDisk series high capacity MicroSD memory to be able to store photos and videos in bulk. As mentioned a little earlier, the shooting modes in Nikon Coolpix S5100 are automated; you won’t have to put in a lot of effort. There are various options to help you switch back and forth between portrait, mosaic, panorama and landscape options.

Key features of this camera can be highlighted as a). The skin softener mode, and b). The Smile timer; both of these options can add up to exceptional quality results from time to time. For budget conscious folks, or the ones who are just looking for a great gift for their grand daughter who happens to be an aspiring photographer, the Nikon Coolpix S5100 is a perfect match.

  • Nikon Coolpix S4000 comes with above average features at the cost of nice user friendly theme:

Price: $95.99 for Brand New

This camera is an average category device; think of the Facebook party style pics or Instagram selfies and cat photos. Yes, there are times when the Red eye effect takes over and people caption the photos as “demonic possession.” Still, despite of a few rough edges, the Nikon Coolpix S4000 is a good camera.

Unboxing one of the Nikon Coolpix S01 cameras

In summation, the pros for Nikon S4000 would be:

  • An extremely low light performance. It is better than the rival cams within the same price range.
  • Very high resolution
  • 3 Inch 460 Dot LCD Screen
  • Soft images that don’t require touchups from Adobe Photoshop or anything.

Cnet Staff members gave a 3.5 out of 5 rating to this camera. Their conclusion was, “The Nikon Coolpix S4000 can deliver good images and a mostly satisfying touch-screen experience at a sub-$200 price point, but it requires a few compromises.”

My verdict is no different; I happened to get this camera from a friend. Tried it for a few hours and doled out this mini review by basing it my personal experience. The Nikon Coolpix S4000 has a thin body, slightly a hair fickle larger that a MinoHD cam.

My test model was Plum, though there are Pink, Black, Golden Champagne and other colors available. Things always seem a bit interesting when I am learning the ropes with a new gadget in my hand. Finally, when it came time to transfer the photos to a PC/Mac, I simply attached the provided USB cable’s one end to the Nikon Coolpix S4000 micro USB port and the other end to my laptop’s regular USB 2.0 port.

  • Nikon Coolpix L110 is perfect for wide range ISO photos:

Price: $339 for Brand New

If you’re looking for a 4:3 Aspect Ratio camera, which is not too expensive, the Nikon Coolpix L110 is the right product. The brand new unit is available from anywhere between $300 – $350. The used unit is available within a price range of $80 – $140 at Amazon.

The Elitest of the Coolpix Class L110 Nikon

Moving on to the good stuff about the L110, the maximum image resolution you can expect from this camera is 4000X3000 Px; It is more than enough if you ask me. I had a friend who bought this camera a few years ago, but the most he used it for was shooting food objects. Eventually it got boring and the camera sits somewhere in his cupboard.

I think that his Nikon Coolpix L110 could have been put to a better use. I did use that camera for a day or two and found out that it is great for almost close to DSLR level photography. In addition to its superior resolution, this device has a 15 X zoom feature.

Some of the customer submitted photos taken with the L110

Flower photo shot through Macro mode in L110 Nikon Coolpix

Living room photo in sports mode shows vertical banding

Old door close up shot

Blue dragonfly Female - Shot with a Nikon L110

At full zoom, obviously the object appears a little distorted. I tried this technique with various light settings and put the camera on Auto Focus; some of the shots came out without any distortion. It means that you have to take other factors into account while shooting close ups. And I have to admit that you need a very good camera tripod stand for zoomed photos; the slightest jerky movements can distort the image.

Take a look at Nikon Coolpix specs:

Coolpix L110 Specs at a glance

Closing thoughts:

Budget cameras are available everywhere. The only gripe with the variety factor is a person’s inability to finally choose the right camera. Nikon may not be your favorite company, but I have had great experience over the last few years with it. Feel free to share your experience or write to me about your camera in the comments section below, or techguy@infinarium.com . Have a great day.