Nikon S7c - Save your money

[img_assist|nid=333|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=180|height=180]Based on reviews I found online, I purchased a Nikon S7c digital camera.

Yes, I already have a Nikon D70, but I wanted something small Betsy or I could carry around without looking like complete geeks, and her 2-megapixel Nikon CoolPix 2500 has seen better days. Plus, the S7c had a killer feature - it could connect to any WiFi access point, and happily blast its images out over the intArweb to any email inbox.

Coupled with a little Drupal hackery, I figured this would be a cool way to post photos on our sites remotely, with no computer involved.

Oh, but it was not to be. It turns out this little Nikon is one of the worst designed cameras I've ever encountered.

There were a few immediate annoyances:

Connections. While S7c comes with a regular USB cable, the only way to connect it to a computer is by way of a small plastic dock. This is also the only way to charge the camera. Going anywhere? better make sure you bring the dock, the USB cable with the bulky ferrite donut on the end, and the two-piece power cord/brick assembly.

Menus. The interface to this thing was incredibly obtuse, and written partially in [w:Engrish]. How do I turn on the damn WiFi? Hell, how do I set the damn date?

But the worst part:

I hate manuals. I don't use them. But for the life of me, I could not figure out how to enable the WiFi features. I just kept getting "Profile not registered" when I tried to connect to my home AP, which it could clearly see. So I crack open the 100 page manual printed on onion skin.

It tells me that I have to attach the camera to my computer and use the Wireless Setup application.

Ok, fine.

But the aforementioned application doesn't seem to exist on either of the disks that came in the box. I go to Nikon's site and try and find the software. I download version 1.1 (though the search engine says there's a version 2.0 out there somewhere, I never find it). In the fine print: Requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 (powerPC only). Great. That's not going to work so well on my Intel MacBook, now is it.

I search some more and finally found software that would let me configure the profile the camera was bitching about. At least I thought so, but it turns out that didn't work either.

Apparently, you have go through this setup process for each access point you want to connect to. And then sacrifice a chicken over the thing to get it to work. I didn't have a chicken, so I'm sending the thing back.


This really, really blows.