I already mentioned this in my preface, for me personally, the camera’s appearance is not really striking. It looks nice, is provided with a nicely brushed front side, but it all seems too familiar; it is like I am holding a camera from a few years back. On the other hand, this is only the appearance and this feature is easily to be forgotten when working with the camera. The housing’s material feels slightly smooth to the touch, but still offers sufficient grip. Any form of a grip is lacking in the rectangular design, but there is no space for it anyway or it would prevent the compact outline. The presence of an optical image stabilization aids in the stability while photographing out of hand.
Nikon Coolpix S500 - Camera lens
When looking at the Nikon Coolpix S500 from the front, the first thing I notice is the small optical zoom lens with a 3x range. It’s a pity Nikon did not choose to start the wide angle with 28mm; we have to settle for a 35mm range. The brightness of the lens is only average with its f/2.8-f4.7. On the top left of the zoom lens is the sensor for light metering and straight above the lens we can find the built-in flash. Such a location often guarantees the infamous red eyes; however, these are eliminated automatically by means of Nikon’s internal retouch system. Three miniature holes make the microphone. Additionally, a large striking sticker makes it clear to us that we’re really holding a 7.1 Megapixel camera.
Nikon Coolpix S500 - Release button
On top of the digital compact camera, the amount of buttons has remained quite limited. I only count four buttons, including the release button; this makes everything nicely synoptic. The release button is rectangular and rather large in format. The button lies under the finger well and knows a fine tangible pressure point. A small, distinctively designed, and in the housing descended button, takes care of switching on or off, while a green lighting LED provides the indication. Nearly in the middle of the top, a small speaker has been placed. Completely to the left, we see a button for the built-in face detection function and a button for the image stabilizer.
Nikon S500 - Lithium Ion EN-EL10 battery
Both sides are smooth and, except for connection for USB and A/V and a little eyelet for the belt, have no function. The Nikon Coolpix S500 gets its energy from a small, ultra thin Lithium Ion battery. The EN-EL10 battery has a 3.7V 740mAh capacity.
The battery can only be placed in the bottom of the camera one way; this is handy. The battery is kept in place nicely by a security pin. In the same compartment is room for a Secure Digital or SDHC flash memory card. The compartment is closed off by a plastic flap and has a nice finish. Almost completely on the corner, a space has been found for a universal plastic tripod.
Nikon Coolpix S500 - 2.5 inch LCD monitor
When looking at the backside of the Nikon S500 compact camera, we will see that also with Nikon, the optical viewfinder has perished definitely. In return for that, the photographer receives a large 2.5-inch LCD monitor, with which you can capably and synoptically define a composition or review the recordings. In glaring sunlight, it remains a little difficult to see everything clearly on the screen, but in practice this is not an issue. The small format buttons are striking with the Nikon Coolpix S500. In itself, I don't have problems to adapt to the minimizing, but my fingers remain the same format nevertheless. Because the buttons on the backside of the camera are quite close to the round multi-control button, the chance of pressing this button accidentally when pressing one of the four surrounding buttons is rather big. In practice this may result in having to press the same button a few times. Pressing the button with the end of your fingernail offers a solution, but I'm not sure if this is a very elegant solution.
Nikon Coolpix S500 - Compact solid housing
The Nikon Coolpix S500 is a compact engineered digital camera with a synoptic classification of the buttons. The camera lies in the hand well and will quickly find a place in the inside pocket or the pocket of your trousers. The housing feels solid and gives a feeling of quality quickly.