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Nikon Coolpix S9400 Review

Daniel Bell reviews the Nikon Coolpix S9400, a compact camera with 18x optical zoom.

|  Nikon Coolpix S9400 in Compact Cameras
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Nikon Coolpix S9400 Red (4)

The Nikon Coolpix S9400 was announced in January 2013 and has an 18x optical zoom lens, 18.1 megapixel sensor and full HD video recording. It is available in silver, black, red and white for £189.00.

Nikon Coolpix S9400 Red (3)

Nikon Coolpix S9400 Features

The Nikon Coolpix S9400 has an 18.1 megapixel back-illuminated CMOS sensor and 18x optical zoom lens, which is a 35mm equivalent of 25 - 450mm. To help keep your images sharp the camera has lens-shift VR (vibration reduction) and there is Subject Tracking AF for shooting moving subjects.

There are a range of shooting modes including auto mode, which can adjust the camera settings automatically, or you can choose from 19 scene modes. Auto HDR combines two shots at different exposures with just one press of the shutter to create an image with a high dynamic range. Easy Panorama lets you shoot both 360° and 180° panoramas by pressing the shutter and panning either vertically or horizontally.

The smart portrait system has a smile timer to shoot when your subject smiles, blink proof to alert you when someone's eyes were closed and glamour retouch. When you've finished shooting you can edit your pictures using the retouch menu, with effects such as selective colour and cross screen.

Videos are recorded in full 1080p HD with stereo sound and optical zoom is available. You can pause and continue filming and the camera can be connected to a HD TV via a HDMI cable.

Nikon Coolpix S9400 Red (5)

Key Features

  • 18.1 megapixel back-illuminated CMOS sensor
  • 18x optical zoom lens (35mm equiv: 25 - 450mm)
  • Lens-shift VR (vibration reduction)
  • 3.0 inch 614k dot OLED screen
  • Smart portrait system
  • Full 1080p HD movie recording
  • ISO 125 - 3200
  • 5cm minimum focusing distance
  • Auto HDR mode
  • Easy Panorama 360°/180°
  • High-speed 7.5 fps continuous shooting
  • Available in silver, red, white and black
Nikon Coolpix S9400 Red (1)

Nikon Coolpix S9400 Handling

The Nikon Coolpix S9400 has a compact metal body and is pocketable despite having an 18x optical zoom lens. To help grip the camera there is a plastic strip on the front of the camera and rubberised patch on the rear for your right hand thumb.

There is a mode dial on the top of the camera which is placed alongside the on / off button, shutter release and zoom rocker. Buttons on the rear include movie record, playback, menu and delete as well as a rotating wheel for cycling through the camera menus. This can also be pressed to allow you to set the flash, self-timer, exposure compensation and macro mode.

The 3 inch OLED screen has a good 614k resolution which is easy to view in all lighting conditions. The menu system is well laid out and easy to navigate. The battery has a CIPA rating of 230, this is fairly short, if you're away for a weekend you may want to consider carrying a spare.

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   0.125 secs
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response   0.3 secs
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response   0.4 secs
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo   1.6 secs
Shot to Shot without Flash   1.4 secs
Shot to Shot with Flash   2.5 secs
Continuous Shooting H   6.7 fps
Continuous Shooting L   2.0 fps
Continuous Shooting H: 120 fps   122.5 fps
Continuous Shooting H: 60 fps   60 fps

The continuous shooting H mode is limited to 5 shots, continuous shooting L is unlimited, both of which record in full 18.1 megapixel resolution. The 120 fps is restricted to VGA sized images and 60 fps images are limited to 1 megapixel. 

Nikon Coolpix S9400 Red (6)

Nikon Coolpix S9400 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 S9400 Sample Photos

Sample Photos - Images have good colour reproduction and are well exposed. Portrait shots have decent skin tones and are free from red-eye.

Nikon Coolpix S9400 Lens test images

Lens Performance - Images have a decent amount of detail although they are softer in the corners. Purple fringing is kept under control. The lens has a minimum focusing distance of 5cm, this allows you to get close enough for good macro shots.

Nikon Coolpix S9400 ISO test images

ISO Noise Performance - Noise is low at ISO 125, 200 and 400, with images becoming softer at ISO 800. Again, images are softer at ISO 1600, with a little detail lost in places at ISO 3200.

Nikon Coolpix S9400 White-balance test images

White Balance Performance - The auto white balance (AWB) copes well under the incandescent lights, with a similar picture taken when using the incandescent preset. The AWB also performs well under the fluorescent lights, with a colour cast in the image when using the fluorescent preset.

Pano1 | 1/1250 sec | f/3.6 | 5.1 mm | ISO 125
Pano1 | 1/1250 sec | f/3.6 | 5.1 mm | ISO 125

Panorama mode - Panoramas have a good amount of detail and are well stitched together.

Nikon Coolpix S9400 Digital filters

Digital Filters - There are a number of filters to help you take unique and creative photos, we have included a number of examples above.

Video - Below is a video recorded in full 1080p HD. Quality is good and the autofocus does a good job throughout. You can view another video in the ePHOTOzine Youtube page.

Value For Money

The Nikon Coolpix S9400 is available for £189.00. Other cameras to consider with a similar amount of zoom include the Samsung WB250F (18x zoom) at £149.99, Fujfilm FinePix F770 (20x zoom) at £179.99, Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ35 (20x zoom) at £199.00, Sony Cybershot DSC-WX300 (20x zoom) at £260.00 and Canon PowerShot SX280 (20x zoom) at £254.98.

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 S9400 Verdict

The Nikon Coolpix S9500 has a decent set of features and a pocketable metal body. Image quality is good, particularly if you tend to share your images on the web, you can also get acceptable large prints.  We also like the 614k dot resolution screen and up to 7.5 fps continuous shooting at full resolution. If your budget can stretch a little further, the S9500 is very similar but also offers Wi-Fi, GPS and 22x optical zoom.


Nikon Coolpix S9400 Pros

Auto HDR mode
Full 1080p HD video recording
Good amount of zoom in pocketable body
Screen has a good resolution
7.5 fps continuous shooting
Decent image quality

Nikon Coolpix S9400 Cons

Battery life rating is low
Images are soft in the corners
Can spend a little more on the S9500 and get Wi-Fi, GPS and more zoom
360° panoramas don't always work


Nikon Coolpix S9400 Specifications

Max Aperturef/3.4 - f/6.3
35mm equivalent25mm - 450mm
Optical Zoom18x
Image Sensor
Pixels18.1Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)4896
Pixels (H)3672
Sensor TypeBack-lit CMOS (B.S.I.)
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 resolution614k dot
Touch ScreenNo
Min Focus5cm
Focusing modes
  • Autofocus
  • Manual
  • Face Detection
  • AF Tracking
  • Centre
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/1400sec
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
  • Flash
Exposure Comp+/-2
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting7.5fps
Movie modeYes
Video Resolution
  • 1920x1080 FullHD
Video FPS30fps
Stereo SoundYes
Optical Zoom with VideoYes
Other Features
Image StabilisationYes
Card Type
  • SD
  • SDHC
  • SDXC
File Type
  • JPG
Power Source
Battery TypeLithium-Ion
Battery Life (CIPA rating)230shots
Box Contents
Box ContentsCamera Strap, Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL12 (with terminal cover), Audio/video cable EG-CP16, Charging AC Adapter EH-70P, USB Cable UC-E6, ViewNX 2 CD, Reference Manual CD

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Photographs taken using the Nikon Coolpix S9400

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