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The Nikon Coolpix S3500 is the update to the S3300 which has an increased resolution and more optical zoom. It is available in red, black, silver, purple, orange, pink for £88.11.
As well as auto mode there are 18 scene modes. There is a smart portrait mode which includes smile timer, blink proof, skin softening and red-eye fix. The S3500 has subject tracking AF to keep your subject in focus even when it is moving about. When you have finished shooting you can edit your pictures in the retouch menu which has a range of filter effects, including selective colour, fisheye and miniature.
Videos can be recorded in 720p HD.
- 20 megapixel CCD image sensor
- 7x optical zoom lens (35mm equiv: 26-182mm)
- Lens-shift VR (vibration reduction)
- 2.7 inch 230k LCD screen
- Smart portrait system
- 720p HD video recording
- ISO 80 - 3200
- 5cm minimum focusing distance
- 1.1 fps continuous shooting
- Available in red, black, silver, purple, orange, pink
The S3500 has an extremely compact, metal body, easily small and light enough for you to carry in your pocket when out with friends. Nikon have managed to increase the optical zoom while not increasing the size and weight of the camera by much. It doesn't offer much in the way of a grip, although there is a dotted area for your right thumb on the rear.
The screen is small at 2.7 inch, with a low 230k dot resolution which was a little tricky to see in bright conditions. The buttons are typical for a compact camera, with a dedicated video record button on the rear of the camera. Other buttons include scene mode, playback, menu and delete as well as a d-pad for cycling through the menus. This also gives access to the self-timer, flash, exposure compensation and macro mode.
The menu system on the S3500 is easy to understand and navigate. The battery has a CIPA rating of 220 shots, which should be enough for a day of shooting. We tested the cameras performance at focusing, shutter response, shot-to-shot time, continuous shooting etc. and have posted the results below. To test this we took 6 or more shots and calculated the average, so that consistent results were produced.
|Shutter Response||0.175 secs|
|Wide - Focus / Shutter Response||0.5 secs|
|Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response||0.55 secs|
|Switch on Time to Taking a Photo||2.75 secs|
|Shot to Shot without Flash||4.6 secs|
|Shot to Shot with Flash||6.4 secs|
|Continuous Shooting||0.9 fps|
Continuous shooting mode records images at full 20.1 megapixel resolution. The S3500 is slow from shot-to-shot.
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Nikon Coolpix S3500 Sample Photos
Portrait | 1/60 sec | f/4.7 | 14.3 mm | ISO 200
Hall Pincushion | 1/500 sec | f/3.9 | 7.2 mm | ISO 80
Into Sun | 1/200 sec | f/11.0 | 4.7 mm | ISO 80
Pet Portrait | 1/250 sec | f/4.7 | 14.3 mm | ISO 360
Sample Photos - Images are well exposed and have good colour reproduction. Portraits are free from red-eye when using the flash and have good skin tones.
Nikon Coolpix S3500 Lens test images
Wide | 1/800 sec | f/3.4 | 4.7 mm | ISO 80
Full Zoom | 1/320 sec | f/6.4 | 32.9 mm | ISO 80
Digital Zoom | 1/160 sec | f/6.4 | 131.6 mm | ISO 80
Macro | 1/200 sec | f/3.4 | 4.7 mm | ISO 80
Lens Performance - Images have a decent amount of detail at both ends of the lens, with a good control over purple fringing, although pincushion distortion is visible in some shots. The lens has a minimum focusing distance of 5cm which allows you to get close enough for decent macro shots.
Nikon Coolpix S3500 ISO test images
1/4 sec | f/4.9 | 16.4 mm | ISO 80
1/5 sec | f/4.9 | 16.4 mm | ISO 100
1/10 sec | f/4.9 | 16.4 mm | ISO 200
1/20 sec | f/4.9 | 16.4 mm | ISO 400
1/40 sec | f/4.9 | 16.4 mm | ISO 800
1/80 sec | f/4.9 | 16.4 mm | ISO 1600
1/160 sec | f/4.9 | 16.4 mm | ISO 3200
ISO Noise Performance - Noise is low at ISO 80, 100 and 200, with images becoming softer at ISO 200. Noise increases slightly at ISO 400 and again so ISO 800 but image quality isn't overly affected. ISO 1600 see a loss of detail, particularly in the corners of some of the squares in our test chart. Noise increases at ISO 3200, but image size is restricted to just 4 megapixels.
Nikon Coolpix S3500 White-balance test images
AWB preset - incandescent lighting | 1/15 sec | f/3.9 | 7.2 mm | ISO 100
Incandescent preset - incandescent lighting | 1/15 sec | f/3.9 | 7.2 mm | ISO 100
AWB preset - fluorescent lighting | 0.5 sec | f/3.9 | 7.2 mm | ISO 100
Fluorescent preset - fluorescent lighting | 0.5 sec | f/3.9 | 7.2 mm | ISO 100
White Balance Performance - The Auto White Balance (AWB) performs well under the incandescent lights, with the incandescent preset taking a very similar image. Under the fluorescent lights, again the AWB performs well, with the fluorescent preset taking an image with a magenta cast.
Nikon Coolpix S3500 Digital filters
Colour Select | 1/250 sec | f/3.4 | 4.7 mm | ISO 140
Digital Filter - Cross Process 1 | 1/500 sec | f/3.4 | 4.7 mm | ISO 80
Digital Filter - Cross Process 2 | 1/400 sec | f/3.4 | 4.7 mm | ISO 80
Digital Filter - Cross Process 3 | 1/400 sec | f/3.4 | 4.7 mm | ISO 80
Digital Filter - Cross Process 4 | 1/400 sec | f/3.4 | 4.7 mm | ISO 80
Digital Filter - High Contrast Monochrome | 1/640 sec | f/3.4 | 4.7 mm | ISO 80
Digital Filter - High Key | 1/640 sec | f/3.4 | 4.7 mm | ISO 80
Digital Filter - Low Key | 1/1250 sec | f/3.4 | 4.7 mm | ISO 80
Digital Filter - Painting | 1/500 sec | f/3.4 | 4.7 mm | ISO 80
Digital Filter - Pop | 1/640 sec | f/3.4 | 4.7 mm | ISO 80
Digital Filter - Selective Colour | 1/640 sec | f/3.4 | 4.7 mm | ISO 80
Digital Filter - Sepia | 1/1000 sec | f/3.4 | 4.7 mm | ISO 80
Digital Filter - Soft | 1/1250 sec | f/3.4 | 4.7 mm | ISO 80
Digital Filter - Super Vivid | 1/500 sec | f/3.4 | 4.7 mm | ISO 80
Digital Filter - Toy Camera Effect 1 | 1/500 sec | f/3.4 | 4.7 mm | ISO 80
Digital Filter - Toy Camera Effect 2 | 1/400 sec | f/3.4 | 4.7 mm | ISO 80
Digital Filters - The S3500 has a good range of filters to use to help take more creative pictures, with a number of examples above.
Video - Below is a video recorded in 720p HD. Optical zoom is not available while recording videos, instead you can see digital zoom in the video below.
Value For MoneyThe Nikon Coolpix S3500 is currently available for around £88.11. There are many other budget cameras available, most of which tend to be limited to 5x optical zoom, including the Fujifilm FinePix AX650 at £49.99, Olympus VG-180 at £69.59, Canon PowerShot A1300 at £57.42, Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS50 at £73.85, Samsung ST72 at £85.36 and Sony Cybershot DSC-W710 at £78.00. There are a couple of cameras with 8x zoom at a reasonable price, the Canon IXUS 132 at £95.50 and Sony Cybershot DSC-WX60 at £129.49.
You'll also need to buy a memory card and a case or bag to keep your camera safe and protected - have a look at our complete guide to camera bags.
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Nikon Coolpix S3500 ProsImage quality has improved on the S3300
7x optical zoom
Good colour reproduction
Available at a reasonable price
Good AWB performance
Camera comes in lots of different colours
Lots of digital filters and effects
Nikon Coolpix S3500 ConsBattery life is quite short
Optical zoom not available in video
Video recording isn't full HD
|VALUE FOR MONEY|
Nikon Coolpix S3500 Specifications
|Max Aperture||f/3.4 - f/6.4|
|35mm equivalent||26mm - 182mm|
|CCD pixels||20Mp (Megapixels)|
|Sensor Size||1/2.3 inch|
|Sensor Size (width)||No Data|
|Sensor Size (height)||No Data|
|Screen resolution||230k dot|
|Shutter speeds shortest||1/2000sec|
|Shutter speeds longest||4sec|
|ISO sensitivity||80 - 3200|
|Optical Zoom with Video||No|
|Battery Type||Lithium Ion|
|Box Contents||Camera Strap, Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL19 (with battery case), Charging AC Adapter EH-70P, USB Cable UC-E6, ViewNX 2 CD-ROM, Reference Manual (CD-ROM)|