Nikon Coolpix S8
It’s really quite convenient to have the official Nikon dealer a few doors down the hallway. With my newfound clout as GG in Mint, Himanshu from Inter Foto trots over whenever the latest shiny stuff from Nikon arrives. A few days ago, he generously loaned me the just-launched Nikon Coolpix S8 compact to try out.
A svelte 20mm thick at its widest, Nikon’s 7.1-megapixel Coolpix S8 will slip comfortably into your jacket pocket, and is a very stylish and sophisticated camera. Clad in a metal body with a semi-matt finish, the front has a sensuous curve on one side to accommodate your fingers when you’re shooting, and the Nikkor ED 3x optical zoom lens (35mm to 105mm film equivalent) sits in the top corner of the camera body. A 2.5-inch, high-resolution LCD covers two-thirds of the camera’s rear panel, leaving little room for the button controls, most of which are tiny. No viewfinder is provided.
The largest control is the ‘rotary multi-selector’, which you can press and also rotate to select the flash, macro and self-timer controls. When selecting items from the menu, pressing the zoom toggle to the right calls up a help screen with details of the current setting. The shutter release, power button, zoom toggle and D-Lighting/One-touch Portrait button are located on the top panel and they, too, are tiny and a tad difficult to operate. A special ‘anti-shake’ mode can be accessed via the multi-selector. It combines an electronic detector with the Best Shot Selector function and also boosts sensitivity and shutter speeds. However, shots taken in the ‘anti-shake’ mode showed higher levels of noise than expected, probably as a direct result of the ISO-boosting system. Fifteen-scene modes are also available.
Not bad. But, to be honest, what I really wanted to lay my grubby little digits on is the Nikon Coolpix S7C. The first generation of Wi-Fi-equipped cameras (Nikon’s included) were a little lame. About all they had to offer was the ability to send images to your computer sans cables. With this second-gen model, Nikon gets it all right: It’s the first camera of its kind that can send pictures over email via any open network.
Unfortunately, Himanshu tells me that the customs guys get all suspicious when they see anything with Wi-Fi printed on it and, hence, it’s quite difficult to land a consignment of the S7C. But he’s a dilligent fellow, so I’m pretty sure that any day now there will be a knock on my door and Himanshu will be standing there with the Coolpix S7C for me ready to test drive. Watch this space.
Nikon Coolpix S8: Rs22,900, 1GB SD card free. Unit sourced from Inter Foto India, www.interfoto.in
How can you stand out from the crowd? Well, you could jabber loudly into that ridiculous new Bluetooth headset attached to your ear while waiting at the check-in line at the airport, simultaneously yelling at your intern and gesticulating like an idiot. Or, you could go to your friendly neighbourhood smuggler and pick up a sleek new Japanese model not yet available in India.
Another option: Go old school. In the mid-1990s, Motorola released StarTac, a cellphone with a revolutionary clamshell design, taking the world by surprise. Years later, it became a staple in Motorola’s product portfolio everywhere when everyone decided to become a flip phone fanatic. A vintage Motorola StarTac in great condition can set you apart from the hoi polloi.
Another classic is the Nokia 8110, aka the banana phone, which you may remember as the most emotive cast member of The Matrix. Thanks to the product placement in the movie, the 8110 has become a cult classic.
My favourite oldie, but goodie, however, is the Nokia 7110 slider phone that snapped open with a press of a button. Launched in 2000, it was one of the first phones to feature WAP and the now familiar predictive typing, not to mention the hours you could rack up playing Snake II and Racket.
All of these phones have been, sadly, removed from the Motorola and Nokia production lines. But, sometimes being hip requires a little legwork. For the adventurous shopper, hunt them out at Chor Bazaar in Mumbai, Lajpat Nagar in Delhi or Bombay Bazaar in Chennai. Or scan websites like eBay for these stylish throwbacks.
The Motorola StarTac, Nokia 8110 and Nokia 7110 will all cost you under Rs2,000.
Write to Harsh Man Rai at firstname.lastname@example.org