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Nikon Coolpix S9500 Review

Daniel Bell reviews the Nikon Coolpix S9500, a digital compact camera with built-in Wi-Fi and 22x optical zoom.

|  Nikon Coolpix S9500 in Compact Cameras
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Nikon Coolpix S9500

The Nikon Coolpx S9500 is a Wi-Fi enabled camera which also has a 22x optical zoom lens, GPS and electronic compass. All of these features suggest it will make an ideal travel camera, particularly as it is small enough to carry in your pocket. It is available in silver, black, red and brown for around £250.

Nikon Coolpix S9500

Nikon Coolpix S9500 Features

The Nikon Coolpix S9500 has an 18 megapixel back-illuminated CMOS sensor and 22x optical zoom lens, which is a 35mm equivalent of 25-550mm. To help take the sharpest pictures possible, there is lens-shift VR (vibration reduction). You can record 5 frame at 7.5 fps and subject tracking AF captures sharp shots of moving objects.

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.

Other features include built-in Wi-Fi, with allows you to transfer images to a mobile device for sharing on social media sites, and GPS to geotag your images. When you've finished shooting your pictures, you can edit them using the retouch menu. This includes filters such as selective colour and cross screen.

Videos are recorded in full 1080p HD with stereo sound and lens-shift vibration reduction. Autofocus and optical zoom are also available during recording, with the HDMI connector allowing you to connect the camera to a HDTV.

Nikon Coolpix S9500

Key Features

  • 18 megapixel back-illuminated CMOS sensor
  • 22x optical zoom lens (35mm equiv: 25-550 mm)
  • Lens-shift VR (vibration reduction)
  • 3.0 inch 614k-dot OLED screen
  • Built-in Wi-Fi
  • Full 1080p HD movie recording
  • ISO 125-3200
  • 5cm minimum focusing distance
  • Built-in Global Positioning System (GPS)
  • Auto HDR mode
  • Smart portrait system
  • Easy Panorama 360°/180°
  • 7.5 fps high-speed continuous shooting
  • Available in black, bronze, silver and red
Nikon Coolpix S9500

Nikon Coolpix S9500 Handling

The S9500 has a remarkably small and lightweight body, considering it has a long lens, Wi-Fi and GPS, as these features tend to add considerable weight to a camera. It has a metal body, a groove on the front to aid grip and a rubber patch on the rear where your thumb sits.

To select your desired shooting mode there is a mode dial on the top, this sits alongside the shutter release, zoom rocker and on / off switch. Buttons on the rear include movie record, playback, menu and delete. There is also a rotating wheel which can also be pressed to give access to the self-timer, flash, exposure compensation and focus mode.

Also on the rear is the 3 inch OLED screen, which has a good resolution of 610k dots and is bright and clear. The menu system is new for Nikon's latest range of Coolpix cameras and is easy to navigate.

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 S9500 App Screenshot 2 Nikon Coolpix S9500 App Screenshot 1 Nikon Coolpix S9500 App Screenshot 3

Battery life is rated at 230 shots according to CIPA test results, this is OK and should last a steady day of shooting, although it you regularly use the Wi-Fi and GPS, a spare might just come in very handy.

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   0.175 secs
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response   0.35 secs
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response   0.5 secs
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo   1.55 secs
Shot to Shot without Flash   1.3 secs
Shot to Shot with Flash   1.6 secs
Continuous Shooting H   6.8 fps
Continuous Shooting L   2.0 fps
Continuous Shooting H: 120 fps   112 fps
Continuous Shooting H: 60 fps   66.7 fps

The continuous shooting H and L modes record at full 18 megapixel resolution, with the 120 fps mode
limited to VGA sized images and 60 fps mode limited to 1 megapixel.

Nikon Coolpix S9500

Nikon Coolpix S9500 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 S9500 Sample Photos

Sample Photos - Images are well exposed and have good colour reproduction, with pleasant blues and greesn in our landscape shot. Portraits have good skin tones and are free of red-eye.

Nikon Coolpix S9500 Lens test images

Lens Performance - Detail is good in the centre of images but they are much softer in the corners, particularly on the right edge, and there is a little purple fringing in contrasting areas. The lens has a minimum focusing distance of 5cm which allows you to get close for a decent macro shot.

Nikon Coolpix S9500 ISO test images

ISO Noise Performance - Noise is low at ISO 125 and 200 with an increase in noise causing the images to lose a little sharpness at ISO 400. Images become softer still, with detail lost at ISO 800 and more so at ISO 1600. This again worsens at ISO 3200, causing a very soft image, but for sharing on the web they are fine.

Nikon Coolpix S9500 White-balance test images

White Balance Performance - Under the incandescent lights in our studio, the auto white balance (AWB) performs well, with a very similar image produced when using the incandescent preset. Under the fluorescent lights, the AWB again performs well, with the fluorescent creating an image with a colour cast.

180 Panorama | 1/2000 sec | f/3.6 | 5.1 mm | ISO 125
180 Panorama | 1/2000 sec | f/3.6 | 5.1 mm | ISO 125

Panorama mode - Panoramas have a decent amount of detail and are generally stitched together well, although the above example does have a slight alignment problem. We struggled to take full 360° panoramas, there was typically a black bar on one side as it failed to shoot the full 360° angle.

Nikon Coolpix S9500 Digital filters

Digital Filters - There are a number of special effects that can be applied when shooting, with examples above. You can edit your pictures after shooting, via the retouch menu, where you can add filters etc.

Video - Below is a video recorded in full 1080p HD. You can also use the optical zoom during recording, an example of which can be seen on the ePHOTOzine Youtube page. You'll also find videos shots at 8x, 4x, 2x and 0.5x to create super slow and fast motion videos.

Value For Money

The Nikon Coolpix S9500 is available for £249.99. Other pocketable cameras to consider with a similar anount of zoom are the Sony Cybershot-HX20V GPS at £233.40, Olympus SH-50 at £249.99, Sony Cybershot DSC-WX300 (Wi-Fi) at £280.00, Canon PowerShot SX280 HS (Wi-Fi & GPS) at £299.99, Fujifilm FinePix F900EXR (Wi-Fi) for £309.99 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ40 (Wi-Fi) at £309.99.

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 S9500 Verdict

If you're looking for a travel camera, but prefer one which you can carry in your pocket, the Nikon Coolpix S9500 is worthy of consideration. It has a versatile 22x optical zoom lens, ideal for landscapes and zooming in for close-ups. The GPS lets you geotag your images and then you can then share them to a mobile device using the Wi-Fi for editing and uploading to Facebook etc. Image quality isn't perfect, but it's good enough and the camera is available for a very fair price.

  The Nikon Coolpix S9500 packs a good range of features for a travel camera at a very reasonable price.    

Nikon Coolpix S9500 Pros

Built-in Wi-Fi and GPS
Lots of zoom in a pocketable body
Decent image quality
Good value for money
Full 1080p HD video recording
7.5 fps continuous shooting

Nikon Coolpix S9500 Cons

Battery life rating is low
Images are soft in the corners
360° panoramas don't always work


Nikon Coolpix S9500 Specifications

Max Aperturef/3.4 - f/6.3
35mm equivalent25mm - 550mm
Optical Zoom22x
Image Sensor
Pixels18.1Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)4896
Pixels (H)3672
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 resolution614,000 dots
Touch ScreenNo
Min Focus5cm
Focusing modes
  • Autofocus
  • Manual
  • Face Detection
  • AF Tracking
  • Centre
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
  • Flash
Exposure Comp+/-2
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting7.5fps
Movie modeYes
Video Resolution
  • 1920x1080 FullHD
  • 1280x720 HD 720p
  • 640x480 VGA
  • 320x240 QVGA
Video FPS30
Stereo SoundNo
Optical Zoom with VideoNo
Other Features
Image StabilisationYes
Card Type
  • SD
  • SDHC
  • SDXC
File Type
  • JPG
Power Source
Battery TypeOne Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL12
Battery Life (CIPA rating)230shots
Box Contents
Box ContentsCamera Strap, Audio/video cable EG-CP16, Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL12 (with terminal cover), 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 S9500

sunsetStreet PlayerSky line offshoreRed sky at night shepherds delightGone fishing BrazilFolkestone sunsetWater LillyHanging around.

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