It is clear that the Nikon Coolpix S500 is a typical fully automated compact camera, where for the most part the camera decides in which way the exposure is set and operated. With this, every illusion of a compact format digital camera, which you can adjust to your wishes completely, has been cleared right away. For those who knock at Nikon’s door and is, duly, looking for a typical Nikon compact camera as an alternative for a DSLR camera should turn around and have a look at the Coolpix P5000. Nevertheless, I don’t mean to take the creativeness away from Nikon’s compact top model. The intelligently built-in software of the camera offers a lot of convenience and with the right application you will be able to take nicely creative photos.
Nikon S500 - Vibration Reduction System
The presence of an image stabilizer offers a great advantage. The so-called Vibration Reduction (VR) system gives the photographer additional margin to use the full zoom range in bad exposure situations, with a strongly reduced chance to blurry pictures. In practice, this means nearly carefree photographing without having to worry if the shutter speed was sufficient etc. The image stabilizing system guarantees an accurate result and besides quality also gives a lot of users’ convenience.
Nikon Coolpix S500 - Optical range
I mentioned this before and I am repeating it again; the optical zoom range of the Nikon Coolpix S500. Although you may call 3x an average range, it is strongly differing from some of the competing top model compact cameras. Furthermore, a 35mm wide-angle is respectable, but I prefer a 28mm lens. Nevertheless, the range is sufficient for picture taking in and around the house and during the vacation. The Nikkor lens is of an excellent quality and gives constant quality throughout the full range. In wide-angle, there is a bit of distortion, but zooming in lightly will make this disappear immediately. Under extreme situations and situations rich of contrast there is a matter of chromatic aberration, but I don’t see this as a big issue.
Nikon Coolpix S500 - Image quality
The Nikon S500 camera focuses precisely and accurately. In normal mode, the focal distance is set at 50cm; the macro mode decreases the distance to nearly 15cm, which is a bit disappointing. Especially from a Nikon camera I expect a clearly shorter focus distance in macro mode. Macro has actually always been Nikon’s showpiece. The pictures look fine and are rich in detail. The color reproduction is good and natural. Colors with the Nikon Coolpix S500 lean a little to the cool side and I would prefer a little more spirit. This is a personal taste and something that can be altered easily in Photoshop or any other photo-editing program.
Nikon S500 - ISO values & Noise
ISO and noise have been the talk of the town for years and it seems like this will not be any different the coming time. The Nikon S500 likewise; a camera with an option to set the ISO ranges from 50 up to 2000 ISO. Online as well as in the writing press there has been written about it sufficiently, but let me just say that the producer’s marketing people would like to see high ISO values, while the camera’s engineers rather bend towards lower ISO values, for the sake of higher quality.
Therefore, I hope that 2000 ISO is not a compromise between the two parties. If so, I don’t even want to experience the camera that is going to be the result if the marketing section receives full power of decision. After the many pictures that have been taken with the Nikon S500, I can conclude that 50 up to 200 ISO is of a fine quality, 400 ISO is already visibly affected by the feared noise and everything above that should be used purely out of necessity. Unless you like photo’s that have little to no detail because of the internal noise reduction.
Nikon Coolpix S500 - Dynamic range
The camera's dynamic range is tested extensively while photographing under extreme sunny occasions and situations rich in contrast with strong shadows. The first thing that stands out quickly is the parts with color shifting where entirely no detail can be found whatsoever. Under the circumstances in which I have been using the Nikon Coolpix S500, it can be foreseen that certain compositions have a dynamic range that is too large for a camera like the Nikon S500. Note this; this is not something typical for Nikon, but rather a characteristic for nearly all digital cameras. The photos I took show a few examples of color shifting. There isn't a direct camera related solution for this. The experienced photographer will be able to increase the dynamic range by means of HDR software.
Nikon Coolpix S500 digital compact camera
The total image quality of the Nikon Coolpix S500 camera is a reason to be pleased. The automatic white balance seldom goes wrong unless with strongly dominating artificial lighting. The ample amount of pre-programmed scenes attends to the needed creativity, even though this is still something that is mainly done by the camera itself. The results all look just fine, and it actually comes down to the fact that the camera does what it needs to do. The power, which the Nikon Coolpix S500 has, is actually its simplicity. Simplicity in operation, simplicity in handling the camera; with as a result photos that look like you meant them to look. From a photographer's viewpoint it might seem a bit boring, and indeed with the S500, Nikon truly kept digital photography very simple. Nevertheless, the camera is full with the latest camera techniques. You may rightfully say that Nikon has managed to let you experience a technically superior little camera with low impediment.