Nikon S9500 Digital Pocket Camera review
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Old 03-10-2013   #1
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Default Nikon S9500 Digital Pocket Camera review

Here's my youtube review of the new Nikon S9500 - 550 mm effective zoom.

Nikon S9500 18 mp 550 mm zoom Pocket Digital Camera Review by Dale - YouTube

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Old 03-18-2013   #2
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Default Re: Nikon S9500 Digital Pocket Camera review

And the text review:

The S9500 is the perfect size and feel for a pocket camera. It looks to be all plastic, but the type of plastic and the quality of the build makes it look and feel like the best small cameras made these days. Startup time is about one second, and going from minimum zoom to maximum zoom takes about two seconds. Image quality is OK for a camera with a 1/2.33-type sensor, but certain details like hair, or a bird's feathers in a low-contrast part of the bird's body may be smeared somewhat. This is apparently caused by the noise reduction software in the camera, which can't be turned down or off. Pocket cameras that have much larger sensors (and consequently much less zoom) can often produce a better image with less noise, but you have to give up the long zoom, or put up with a much larger camera.

Using the S9500 is easy enough, since the menus and controls are pretty well common to most pocket cameras these days. I especially like the separate video button, which has saved me from a lot of missed opportunities. There are a few nitpicks I have with the S9500: I would like to have Spot Focus as an option on the menu, and I would like to have the option to adjust the amount of noise reduction, in case I wanted to do noise reduction on the computer with extra software.

Shooting still photos are not much of a problem in good light, because the shutter speed will be high enough and the image stabilizer will help out. If you use a tripod, or place the camera on a solid object so that there is no camera movement at all, you have to remember to turn the image stabilizer off or the images taken will not be sharp and clear. Many of the comments I've seen about blurry images on this type of camera could be due to using the camera on a tripod or placing it on a firm surface, and forgetting to turn the image stabilizer off. Then of course, you have to remember to turn it back on.

The S9500's long 550mm effective zoom (focal length) is the key feature here, and even very expensive cameras cannot match the S9500's image quality with subjects such as small birds at a distance, unless those expensive cameras also have a long focal length lens - nearly as long as the S9500 in any case. Where the S9500 differs most from expensive cameras with large sensors (DSLRs mostly) is in wide angle photos, where the lens is zoomed all the way out (i.e. 25mm effective focal length, with the zoom lever pushed toward the 'W' position). Wide angle photos of landscapes, especially with foliage, will show a great deal of smearing. Wide angle photos of large groups of people will show smearing and digital 'Artifacts' on people's faces when the image is viewed at full size on a computer or printed. A camera such as the Nikon Coolpix 'A' will do a much better job with wide angle photos because its sensor is about 15 times larger.

Battery life with the S9500 is rated about average for a pocket camera, which I find is good enough for about three hours of use in the local parks, shooting 100 to 300 photos. How many photos you get on a battery charge depends on how many you shoot close together. If you have the camera on most of the time and keep it activated, and take very few shots, the battery will still run down in a few hours due to the LCD screen, to the image stabilizer, and other electronic features that are active when the camera is active. If you don't want to run out of power when you're out shooting photos, you should get a second battery (never, ever get anything except a genuine Nikon battery) and make sure both are charged up before heading out.

I gave the Nikon S9500 five stars because even though it's not perfect, in fact it's a very good camera - the best pocket zoom camera I know of, and a bargain I believe at the standard price. If a person learns to use the S9500 properly, accounting for its particular features and requirements, they should get excellent photos that in many cases would compete with photos from high-priced DSLR's.
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Last edited by dalethorn; 03-18-2013 at 01:37 PM.. Reason: Formatting
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Old 04-23-2013   #3
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Default Re: Nikon S9500 Digital Pocket Camera review

NOTE: My Nikon S9500 fell off of my chair onto the floor at home and immediately broke - the lens would no longer retract. I've dropped Canons and Panasonics a hundred times, observing big dents in the lens barrels and bodies, yet they still worked OK. The Nikon S9500 didn't have a scratch on it, yet malfunctioned anyway. I've heard about this problem with other users, but was surprise at how fragile this camera is. I sent it back to Nikon and they want $150 USD to fix it, so I will have to absorb the $350 loss and let them keep it (no point in paying to fix something that fragile that will just break again).


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