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Nikon Coolpix S6500 Review

Daniel Bell reviews the Nikon Coolpix S6500, a compact camera with 12x optical zoom and built-in Wi-Fi.

| Nikon Coolpix S6500 in Compact Cameras
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Nikon Coolpix S6500 Review: Nikon Coolpix S6500 2

The Nikon Coolpix S6500 is a compact camera with a 12x optical zoom lens and built-in Wi-Fi. It comes in silver, black, red, blue, white and orange and is available for around £190.

Nikon Coolpix S6500 Review: Nikon Coolpix S6500 4

Nikon Coolpix S6500 Features

The Nikon Coolpix S6500 has a 16 megapixel back-illuminated CMOS sensor and a 12x optical zoom lens, a 35mm equivalent of 25-300mm. To help keep your images and videos sharp, there is lens-shift (VR) vibration reduction.

When shooting there is auto mode which adjusts the camera settings automatically, as well as 19 scene modes. Other shooting modes include Auto HDR which combines two shots, Easy Panorama 360°/180° and 10 fps high-speed continuous shooting. There is also the smart portrait system which includes a smile timer, blink proof alert and glamour retouch. You can also shoot in 3D, the images can then be displayed on a 3D enabled TV.

When you've finished shooting you can edit your pictures in the retouch menu, which includes selective colour and cross screen. Your pictures can be transferred to a smart phone or tablet using the built-in Wi-Fi. This also allows you to use your mobile device as a remote control.

Videos are recorded in full 1080p HD with stereo sound.

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Key Features

  • 16 megapixel back-illuminated CMOS sensor
  • 12x optical zoom lens (35mm equiv: 25-300mm)
  • Lens-shift (VR) vibration reduction
  • 3.0 inch 460k dot LCD screen
  • Built-in Wi-Fi
  • Full 1080p HD movie recording
  • ISO 125-3200
  • Auto HDR mode
  • Easy Panorama 360°/180°
  • 10 fps high-speed continuous shooting
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Nikon Coolpix S6500 Handling

The S6500 has a small compact metal body, it's fairly lightweight therefore ideal to carry in your pocket. The 3 inch screen has a good resolution at 460k dots and is easy to view in varying lighting conditions. There are a standard set of buttons for a compact camera with an on / off switch, shutter release and zoom rocker on the top. On the rear is a d-pad with an OK button in the middle as well as movie record, scene mode, display, menu and back buttons.

The S6500 has a new and improved menu system, with a neater interface that is easy to navigate. When you take a shot, there is an option which pops up with the preview that allows you to apply a quick effect to your image. There is an extensive choice of options such as pop, toy camera and selective colour.

To make use of the Wi-Fi you need to download the Wireless Mobile Utility app to your smartphone or tablet (iOS or Android). This allows you to use your mobile device to download pictures from the camera to edit and share them. You can also use it as a remote release. A preview appears on your mobile device, you can control the zoom or set a timer. Other information appears on the screen, such as shutter speed, aperture, number of shots left and battery life.

Nikon Coolpix S6500 Review: Nikon Coolpix S6500 App Screenshot 1 Nikon Coolpix S6500 Review: Nikon Coolpix S6500 App Screenshot 2 Nikon Coolpix S6500 Review: Nikon Coolpix S6500 App Screenshot 5

Battery life is rated at 150 shots according to CIPA test results, we were able to take nearly 250 shots before the battery went flat, this also include testing of the Wi-Fi. 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   0.45 secs
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response   0.9 secs
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo   1.45 secs
Shot to Shot without Flash   0.8 secs
Shot to Shot with Flash   2.6 secs
Continuous Shooting H   9.3 fps
Continuous Shooting L   2.1 fps
Continuous Shooting H: 120 fps   122.8 fps
Continuous Shooting H: 60 fps   60.3 fps

Continuous Shooting H and L record at full 16 megapixel resolution. Continuous Shooting H: 120 fps records VGA size images, Continuous Shooting H: 60 fps records at 1 megapixels.

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Nikon Coolpix S6500 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 S6500 Sample Photos

Sample Photos - Images tend to be well exposed with good colour reproduction. Portraits have good skin tones with a slight hint of red-eye when using the flash.

Nikon Coolpix S6500 Lens test images

Lens Performance - The S6500 produces image with a decent amount of detail at both ends of the lens, with softness appearing in the corners and some purple fringing in contrasting areas. The lens has a minimum focusing distance of 8cm although you can still take a decent macro shot from that distance.

Nikon Coolpix S6500 ISO test images

ISO Noise Performance - Images are noise free at ISO 100, with a small increase at ISO 200 and 400. Images become slightly softer at ISO 800. At ISO 1600 there is a slight loss in detail, but it becomes  significant at ISO 3200.

Nikon Coolpix S6500 White-balance test images

White Balance Performance - Under our studio lighting the auto white balance (AWB) performs well, whether it be the fluorescent or incandescent lights. Under the incandescent lights, the incandescent preset also performs well, taking a very similar image when compared to the AWB. The fluorescent preset takes a picture with a magenta cast under our fluorescent lighting.

Nikon Coolpix S6500 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 - Panorama have a decent amount of detail and are well stitched together.

Nikon Coolpix S6500 Digital filters

Digital Filters - When shooting you can use a colour option or one of the digital filters to make your pictures creative and unique.

Video - Below is a video recorded in full 1080p HD. Over on our Youtube page are videos recorded using the optical zoom as well as high-speed at 15 fps, 60 fps and 120 fps.

Value For Money

The Nikon Coolpix S6500 is available for around £190.00. Other cameras with a similar amount of zoom are the Fujifilm FinePix T500 at £111.99, Olympus SH-21 at £116.26, Canon IXUS 500 HS at £129.99, Olympus VR-370 at £129.99 and Ricoh CX6 at £197.99. None of these cameras have built-in Wi-Fi which causes the price to be higher. There are many cameras now available with Wi-Fi, if this is the feature which attracts you the most there is the Canon IXUS 240 HS at £152.00, Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ5 at £109.99 and Nikon Coolpix S800c at £222.70. There are also Wi-Fi memory cards from Transcend and Eye-Fi.

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 S6500 Verdict

If the S6500 is appealing to you because of the 12x optical zoom lens there are many cameras available for less with this amount of zoom. If Wi-Fi is a must have for you, then the S6500 is a good option. There's always going to be a premium to pay for a Wi-Fi enabled compact. It is basic - you can transfer pictures from camera to you iOS or Android phone / tablet or use it as a remote release. The battery is rated at just 150 shots, which is disappointing as you'll use a fair amount on the Wi-Fi. Despite a fairly long lens, the camera is pocketable and not too heavy. Image quality is good, you can record at 10 fps and panoramas are well stitched.


Nikon Coolpix S6500 Pros

Built-in Wi-Fi
Available in a good range of colour
Good image quality
Fast continuous shooting
Well stitched panoramas

Nikon Coolpix S6500 Cons

8cm minimum focusing distance not ideal for macro shots
Poor battery life rating
Focus speed is a little sluggish


Nikon Coolpix S6500 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 ScreenNo
Min Focus8cm
Focusing modes
  • Autofocus
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/4000sec
Shutter speeds longest4sec
Bulb modeNo Data
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Scene modes
  • A
  • Centre-weighted - Average
  • Spot
  • M
ISO sensitivity125 - 3200
White balance
  • Auto
  • Manual
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Cloudy
  • Incandescent
  • Fluorescent
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 TypeOne Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL19
Battery Life (CIPA rating)150shots
Box Contents
Box ContentsCamera Strap, Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL19 (with battery case), Charging AC Adapter EH-70P, USB Cable UC-E6, Audio Video Cable EG-CP16, ViewNX 2 CD

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Photographs taken using the Nikon Coolpix S6500

BLOOMINGSunset along the Cape Fear RiverLovely SouthportTreasure It !!CastleRemainsa windswept dogAutumnal Dartmoor RiverDartmoor rainbowLandscape

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