Nikon Coolpix S9 Review
Review Date: November 30th 2006
The Nikon Coolpix S9 is a small, slim and stylish digital camera with Nikon's distinctive "wave-surface" design and an all-metal body. Features include a 6 megapixel sensor and 3x optical zoom lens equivalent to 38-114mm, whilst In-Camera Red-Eye Fix, Face-Priority AF and D-Lighting aim to intelligently improve your photographs. The Nikon S9 has a large 2.5 inch LCD screen with 170 degree viewing angle, great for showing off your images to friends and family. The Nikon Coolpix S9 is purely a point and shoot camera, with 15 different scene modes and a Best Shot Selector option which automatically selects either the sharpest image or the best exposed image for you. With a recommended price of £199 / $249 at launch, the Nikon S9 is an attractive looking camera at an attractive price, but is it the right model for you? Carry on reading to find out.
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The Nikon Coolpix S9 has a 6.36 megapixel, 1/2.5 inch CCD which delivers 6.0 effective pixels. There are a range of image sizes (6M* High (2816 x 2112), 6M Normal (2816 x 2112), 3M Normal (2048 x 1536), PC Screen (1024 x 768)l, TV Screen (640 x 480)) which are recorded as JPEGs. The camera's 3x optical zoom lens is equivalent to a 38-114mm lens on a 35mm format camera. The Nikon Coolpix S9 also has a 4x digital zoom. The camera has 24Mb of built-in memory and it also supports SD Memory Cards (not supplied).
The Nikon Coolpix S9 offers an Auto exposure mode, 4 modes with Scene Assist (Portrait, Landscape, Sports, Night portrait) and 11 Scene Modes (Party/Indoor, Beach/Snow, Sunset, Dusk/Dawn, Night landscape, Close up, Museum, Fireworks show, Copy, Back light, Panorama assist). There's a Best Shot Selector option which will choose either the sharpest image or the best exposed image for you. The maximum aperture is f3.5 (wide) – f4.3 (tele) and the shutter speed range is 1/1500 - 2 secs. There are 4 ISO speeds ranging from 64 to 400 and an Auto option. There are 5 different White Balance presets to choose from (Daylight, Incandescent, Fluorescent, Cloudy, and Flash), plus an Auto setting and White Balance Preset. The camera offers exposure compensation in ± 2 in 1/3 EV steps.
The Nikon Coolpix S9 has a normal shooting mode, Self-timer (3 secs. or 10 secs.) and 3 different Continuous modes - Continuous (approx. 1.7fps), Multi-shot 16 (16 images arranged in a grid as part of a single image) and Interval timer shooting (up to 1,800 images at intervals of 30 seconds, 1 minute, 5 minutes, or 10 minutes). There are 5 colour options (standard, vivid, black and white, sepia and cyanotype). D-Lighting is a playback feature which fixes underexposed and backlit images without harming the properly exposed areas of the image, whilst blur warning tells you when a photo will be un-sharp (before you take it). The One-Touch Portrait Button on top of the camera automatically activates In-Camera Red-Eye Fix and Face-Priority AF modes.
The Macro setting allows you to focus on subjects that are as close as 4cms at the wide-angle lens setting. The camera offers auto-focus and there is an AF assist lamp to help achieve focus in low-light situations. The built-in flash offers 5 different modes (Auto, Auto with Red-eye Reduction (In-Camera Red-Eye Fix), Flash cancel, Anytime flash and Slow sync.) and has a range of 0.25-3.2m (W) and 0.45-2.6m (T). To compose your images, you can use the LCD monitor - there is no optical or electronic viewfinder. The Nikon Coolpix S9 has a 2.5 inch TFT LCD Display which has 153,600 pixels with brightness adjustment and 170-degree wide-angle of view. The Nikon Coolpix S9 supports the DPOF (Digital Print Order Format) and PictBridge printing standards, and it connects to a computer via USB 2.0.
The Nikon Coolpix S9 can record movies at 640 x 480 pixels at 30fps, 320 x 240 pixels at either 30fps or 15fps, or 160 x 120 at 15fps, all with sound. You can also record a Time-lapse movie at 30fps or a Stop-motion movie (both without sound). The length of the video is only limited by the size of the memory card that you are using. The Nikon Coolpix S9's dimensions are 90.5 (W) × 58 (H) × 20.4 mm (D) mm, and it weighs 115g without the battery and storage card fitted. The camera is powered by a Rechargeable Li-ion Battery, which has an approximate battery life of 190 shots. There is a plastic tripod mount in the centre of the bottom of the camera.
Finally, the standard box kit contains a Strap, USB Cable, Audio Video Cable, Rechargeable Li-ion Battery, Battery Charger and PictureProject CD-ROM. Note that you can only store 9 images at the highest quality JPEG setting on the 24Mb built-in memory. You will therefore need to invest in some memory cards to store your images on.
PhotographyBLOG is a member of the DIWA organisation. Our test results for the Nikon Coolpix S9 have been submitted to DIWA for comparison with test results for different samples of the same camera model supplied by other DIWA member sites.