The Nikon S50c is a compact, 7.2-megapixel camera. It offers an interesting option for getting photos out of the camera: built-in Wi-Fi support. This could be a slick and quick way to e-mail photos or post them on Flickr. However, accessible connections are limited to either free hotspots unencumbered by click here pages or T-Mobile hotspots accessible via a pre-paid subscription. Using a hotspot can require a fair amount of configuration, too, via the camera's innovative -- but touchy -- rotating dial/switch.

In our tests, the camera scored Good ratings across the board, although image quality was surprisingly weak for a Nikon product -- fuzzy details and washed-out highlights were common. But Nikon does provide some slick in-camera tools for retouching, including one that nicely balances light and dark areas.


The camera's scratch-prone plastic case didn't inspire a lot of confidence, however. And be wary of the power button: we found it alarmingly easy to switch on the camera by accident, and thus reduce its already modest battery life of 350 shots per charge -- the lowest in a recent round-up of compact, point-and-shoot cameras. Samsung's NV11 scored highest, coming in at 1,233 shots per charge.


If they had been more thoughtfully implemented, the Nikon Coolpix S50c's Wi-Fi features might have been enough to compensate for its undistinguished image quality and ease of use. As it is, you're probably better off choosing a more capable shooter and bringing a tiny memory card reader or viewer with you when you travel.