Nikon Coolpix S9500 Review

Camera Reviews Featured Nikon Point and Shoot

Nikon Coolpix S9500 Review: Image Quality

Nikon Coolpix S9500 Flower Sample Photo

Nikon Coolpix S9500 Flower Sample Photo

Nikon Coolpix S9500 Studio Sample Photos
Nikon Coolpix S9500 Studio Sample Photos

The Nikon Coolpix S9500 has excellent image quality across a range of scenes – from people, flowers and fast-moving kites on a breezy day at the beach to sunsets and after-dark exposures. Auto exposure metering and exposure are great and color balance seems neutral – neither under – nor oversaturated. I did note some noise at higher ISOs and also frequently observed lens flare, but no more than you’d see from comparable point-and-shoot cameras. Based on my photos and our studio tests, the S9500 is perfectly useable up to ISO 1600. Even ISO 3200 is ok in a pinch, although high ISO photos do look a bit soft and noisy. But below ISO 1600 the image quality is very good for a pocket camera.

My iPhone 4S and old Panasonic TZ4 pocket superzoom simply don’t hold a candle next to the image quality offered by the Nikon S9500. For comparison, I used all three to photograph a rose bush on a sunny day in the backyard. The contrasty image challenged all three cameras, but the Nikon offered significantly more detail in fine areas. On the iPhone, a closed rosebud is a white-hot blur; on the Nikon, it’s perfectly exposed and each “hair” is detailed. (The TZ4 is somewhere in between.)

Nikon Coolpix S9500 Compared to iPhone

Nikon Coolpix S9500 Compared to iPhone 4S & Older P&S

The iPhone camera is astoundingly good for a phone and certainly will suffice for average scenes shared on Facebook or even printed as snapshots. But for tough lighting, zoom or large prints, you can’t beat a real camera. The iPhone especially struggles with high or low lighting, such as bright sunny days on the water and landscapes after dusk. And I won’t even use the iPhone’s digital zoom because the quality is so poor. Digital zoom is no replacement for real, optical zoom.

Nikon Coolpix S9500 - Beach Sunset Silhouette

Nikon Coolpix S9500 – Beach Sunset Silhouette

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