The 7.1-megapixel Nikon Coolpix S500 features a 3x zoom, Vibration Reduction and 15 scene modes.
Nikon’s First IXUS Beater?
When it’s come to stylish, metal-bodied compacts, Nikon has never quite delivered cameras that match Canon’s IXUS line in the ‘sexy’ stakes. But will this change with the introduction of the Coolpix S500?
Inside the metallic casing of the S500 lies a 7.1MP sensor, while the front houses a 3x optical zoom lens covering a modest 35-105mm zoom range, with a lens-shift Vibration Reduction system similar to that seen in some of Nikon’s SLR lenses.
An ISO 50-2000 range looks set to keep you shooting in all lighting conditions, while 15 scene modes, plus automatic shooting won’t make image capture too demanding.
When it comes to style, the newcomer is an outright winner, from its gleaming stainless steel case to the novel turn-and-press multi-selector on the back. The 2.5in LCD monitor gives a decent view of your scenes thanks to its anti-reflection coating, but we’re not so impressed with the narrow vertical viewing angle – viewed from above or below the image quickly disappears. There are no complaints with the camera’s performance though, with a near-instant start-up, a brisk AF system and fast image processing.
Even exposures, a consistently accurate automatic white balance and well-saturated, sharp images set a positive tone for the Coolpix S500, though highlights tend to blow quite easily. At 300ppi the 7.1MP sensor gives a 26x20cm print and if you stick to this there are no problems with noise up to ISO 400. Above that, softness and coloured noise start to creep in.
The Nikon Coolpix S500 looks great and delivers images that match. A worthy IXUS rival.