Price When Reviewed: 255
There’s nothing especially innovative about Nikon’s Coolpix 3700, but for a simple, well-designed point-&-shoot, it’s a decent package. Its long, narrow shape means that the camera fits easily into a pocket, and its silver-metallic case has a solid, durable feel. Nikon has kept the controls simple for quick, snapshot photography, and the 3700 isn’t for people who want full manual control.
Luckily, this camera performs well in full-auto mode. Compared to point-&-shoot cameras we’ve tested recently, the 3700 earned very good overall photo-quality scores, especially for colour and exposure accuracy. Its image sharpness was mediocre – possibly a consequence of its relatively low 3.2-megapixel maximum resolution.
The 3700 is ideal for novice and intermediate digital photographers, and the controls are neatly organized. A mode dial lets you switch among full-automatic, semi-manual, movie mode, and scene-assist shooting. Like most of Nikon’s recent point-&-shoot cameras, this model has an excessive number of scene settings – 15 altogether. Some of the more esoteric ones include Museum and Fireworks. However, the Coolpix 3700 does not have framing templates in the viewfinder to help with shot composition. This feature was found in Nikon’s Coolpix 3100, and non-photographers would find them helpful.
Nikon has kept the 3700’s menus easy to navigate, relatively simple, and – thanks to the text labels – easy to decipher. In full-auto mode, your only menu option is to change the camera’s resolution. In semi-manual mode, you get more fine-tuning controls, such as white balance (with calibration), continuous-shooting mode, and image sharpening. However, the camera doesn’t offer the ability to change the aperture or shutter speed manually.
Shooting with the 3700 is relatively smooth and fast. The camera’s boot-up time is around three seconds, and there is minimal lag between when the shutter is pressed and when the camera fires. The 3x optical zoom felt smooth. Battery life is surprisingly good, given the camera’s tiny rechargeable battery. It lasted for over 360 shots, or about two hours. The Coolpix 3700 is only sold through Dixons, but it’s worth being harangued about extended warranties for.