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Nikon Coolpix S6400 Digital Camera Review

Daniel Bell gives his verdict on the Nikon Coolpix S6400 digital compact camera.

| Nikon COOLPIX S6400 in Compact Cameras
Nikon Coolpix S6400 Digital Camera Review: Nikon Coolpix S6400 (2)

The Nikon Coolpix S6400 is a stylish compact camera with a 16 megpixel sensor and 12x optical zoom. It is available in blue, purple, red, silver and black for £214.00.

Nikon Coolpix S6400 Digital Camera Review: Nikon Coolpix S6400 (1)

Nikon Coolpix S6400 Features

The S6400 has a 16 megapixel back-illuminated CMOS sensor and 12x optical zoom lens, which is a 35mm equivalent of 25-300mm, with ED glass to help deliver superior sharpness and colour. To aid sharpness there is lens-shift vibration reduction, ISO up to 3200 and motion detection to compensate for camera and subject movement. The Intelligent AF Control System automatically sets the best focus method for your subject.

As well as auto mode which sets the camera settings for you there are 20 scene modes. You can take 360° and 180° panoramas, either vertically or horizontally and there is also a 3D shooting mode for playback on 3D-capable TV's and computers. High-speed continuous shooting is available at seven fps for up to a maximum of seven shots. When you've finished shooting you can add effects to your pictures through playback, including toy camera, cross process, selective colour and painting.

Videos are recorded at full 1080p with stereo sound and optical zoom. There is also a pause function so you can pause and continue recording with the camera creating just one movie file.
Nikon Coolpix S6400 Digital Camera Review: Nikon Coolpix S6400 (4)

Key Features

  • Back-illuminated 16 megapixel CMOS sensor
  • Nikkor 12x optical zoom lens (35mm equiv: 25-300mm) with ED glass
  • Lens-shift Vibration Reduction
  • 3.0 inch 460k-dot LCD touch screen
  • Intelligent AF Control System
  • Full 1080p HD video recording
  • ISO 125 - 3200
  • 10cm minimum focusing distance
  • 7fps high-speed continuous shooting
  • Easy Panorama 360°/180°
  • Available in blue, purple, red, silver and black
Nikon Coolpix S6400 Digital Camera Review: Nikon Coolpix S6400 (6)

Nikon Coolpix S6400 Handling

The S6400 has a compact body with a metal front and is small enough to carry in your pocket. The rear of the camera is mostly filled with the 3 inch LCD which is bright and clear, whilst being easy to view in varying lighting conditions. The touch screen is also extremely responsive, with a lot of the camera settings changed via the screen rather than a button. On the top of the camera is the on/off button with shutter release and zoom rocker. At a slight angle is the video record button, with the playback and mode select buttons on the rear.

Battery life is rated at a disappointing 160 shots according to CIPA test results, we were able to take exactly 160 shots before the battery went flat. We took a number of shots to test the camera's responsiveness, from switch on to first photo, shot to shot, focusing speed etc. We take a number of shots and then use the average to ensure accurate and consistent tests, making it easy to compare with other cameras.

Shutter Response   0.1 secs
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response   0.25 secs
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response   0.8 secs
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo   2.2 secs
Shot to Shot without Flash   0.9 secs
Shot to Shot with Flash   4.4 secs
Continuous Shooting H   12 fps
Continuous Shooting L   2.1 fps
Continuous Shooting H: 120 fps   120 fps
Continuous Shooting H: 60 fps   60 fps

Nikon say the camera can manage 7 fps in continuous shooting, but we managed 12 fps! The 120 fps and 60 fps modes record at VGA and 1 megapixel respectively.

Nikon Coolpix S6400 Digital Camera Review: Nikon Coolpix S6400 (5)

Nikon Coolpix S6400 Performance

Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.

Nikon COOLPIX S6400 Sample Photos

Sample Photos - The S6400 takes images that are well exposed and have excellent colour reproduction. Portrait shots have pleasant skin tones and are free of red-eye. Pet portrait mode automatically switches to continuous shooting to improve your chances of taking a sharp shot of your pet.

Nikon COOLPIX S6400 Lens test images

Lens Performance - Images have a decent amount of detail when shooting at either end of the lens, although they are a little softer in the corners. Purple fringing is well controlled in contrasting areas. The lens has a minimum focusing distance of 10cm, but this doesn't stop it from being able to take a good macro shot.

Nikon COOLPIX S6400 ISO test images

ISO Noise Performance - Noise is low at ISO 125 and 200 with a little appearing at ISO 400. Images lose a little detail and become softer at ISO 800 with a number of black dots reducing image quality at ISO 1600. The highest setting of ISO 3200 sees a very noisy image taken, with the black dots becoming more evident. Colours are still reproduced well when viewing them at a smaller size, so even at the highest ISO setting, the images will be fine for sharing on the web.

Nikon COOLPIX S6400 White-balance test images

White Balance Performance - Under the incandescent lights in our studio, performance is good whether using the AWB setting or incandescent preset. Under the fluorescent lighting, the AWB setting takes the better picture, with the fluorescent preset having a slight magenta cast.

Nikon Coolpix S6400 Digital Camera Review: Panorama | 1/1000 sec | f/3.2 | 5.3 mm | ISO 125
Panorama | 1/1000 sec | f/3.2 | 5.3 mm | ISO 125

Panorama mode - Panoramas are well stitched together but detail isn't all that good when you view them full size - they are best for sharing on the web.

Nikon COOLPIX S6400 Other sample images

Above are a range of shots taken with some of the scene modes available.

Nikon COOLPIX S6400 Digital filters

Digital Filters - There are a number of special effects available, with examples of each above. Images can be edited in playback with options including quick retouch, d-lighting, stretch, perspective control and glamour retouch.

Video - Below is a video recorded in full 1080p HD. Quality is good, you can also use optical zoom during recording, an example of which can be seen on the ePHOTOzine Youtube Page.

Value For Money

The Nikon Coolpix S6400 is available for £214.00. Below are a number of cameras with a similar amount of zoom.

Nikon Coolpix S6400 Digital Camera Review: Nikon Coolpix S6400 Digital Camera Review: Nikon Coolpix S6400 Digital Camera Review: Nikon Coolpix S6400 Digital Camera Review: Nikon Coolpix S6400 Digital Camera Review:
Olympus SH-21 Olympus SH-25MR Nikon Coolpix S8200 Ricoh CX6 Canon IXUS 510 HS
£109.95 £139.95 £179.00 £201.29 £219.95

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.

Nikon Coolpix S6400 Verdict

The Nikon Coolpix S6400 packs a fast rate of high-speed shooting and decent image quality into a compact camera. It also has a decent optical zoom range, with a responsive touch screen and is available in a good range of colours. We think it's a little highly priced, particularly as a spare battery is almost certain to be a must with a life expectancy of just 160 shots per charge. Overall, it's a decent camera, but the competition is strong and there are other cameras worth checking before purchasing.

Nikon Coolpix S6400 Pros

Fast high-speed shooting
Decent image quality
Responsive touch screen
Compact solid body
Available in a good range of colours
Two-year warranty

Nikon Coolpix S6400 Cons

Minimum focusing distance is 10cm
Battery life is poor
Quite expensive


Nikon COOLPIX S6400 Specifications

Max Aperturef/3.1 - f/6.5
35mm equivalent25mm - 300mm
Optical Zoom12x
Image Sensor
Pixels16Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)4608
Pixels (H)3456
Sensor TypeCMOS
Sensor Size1/2.3 inch
Sensor Size (width)No Data
Sensor Size (height)No Data
Aspect Ratio
  • 4:3
  • 16:9
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor3in
Screen resolution460,000 dots
Touch ScreenYes
Min Focus10cm
Focusing modes
  • Autofocus
  • Manual
  • Face Detection
  • Centre
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/4000sec
Shutter speeds longest4sec
Bulb modeNo Data
Exp modes
  • Scene modes
  • A
  • Centre-weighted - Average
  • Spot
ISO sensitivity125 - 1600
White balance
  • Auto
  • Manual
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Cloudy
  • Incandescent
  • Fluorescent
  • Flash
Exposure Comp+/-2
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting10fps
Movie modeYes
Video Resolution
  • 1920x1080 FullHD
  • 1280x720 HD 720p
Video FPS30
Stereo SoundYes
Optical Zoom with VideoYes
Other Features
Image StabilisationYes
Card Type
  • SD
  • SDHC
  • SDXC
File Type
  • JPG
Power Source
Battery TypeRechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL19
Battery Life (CIPA rating)160shots
Box Contents
Box ContentsCamera Strap, Stylus TP-1, Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL19 (with battery case), Charging AC Adapter EH-69P, USB Cable UC-E6, Audio Video Cable EG-CP16, ViewNX 2 CD, Reference Manual CD

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capers626 Avatar
30 Dec 2012 8:22PM
Great review - shame about the short battery life (160 shots). In the write up , the following is mentioned: "Videos are recorded at full 1080p with stereo sound and optical zoom", but then in the detailed specifications it says 'no' to stereo sound.
YoBellzaa Avatar
31 Dec 2012 7:03AM
Good spot, I've updated the spec table.

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