Nikon Coolpix S2500 Review

May 27, 2011 | Matt Grayson | Rating star Rating star Rating star Rating star


As part of the S series, the Nikon Coolpix S2500 is a slimline digital compact camera with 12 megapixels. Designed to be stylish (hence the S) its 20mm body houses a 4x optical zoom and it comes in a variety of colours from standard silver to black, red and pink. Costing around £99.99 / €116.00, the Nikon Coolpix S2500 is aimed at the entry level crowd that want the camera to do everything but also want it to look good. Other features that the camera boasts are 4 different types of anti-blur, a smart portrait system, the EXPEED C2 processor, subject tracking AF and 17 different scene modes to handle pretty much every scenario you might find yourself in.

Ease of Use

So have Nikon put style over functionality? Well, despite such a slim body, the S2500 has a 4x optical zoom lens fitted to it. Interestingly, even though it has an ED lens element fitted, Nikon haven't listed in on the front of the lens barrel in the same way that they do on other cameras. The Extra low Dispersion lens element is a symbol of excellent lens build quality so it's surprising that it's not mentioned.

Because of the slim depth of the S2500, most of the controls are located on the back of the camera next to the 2.7 inch LCD screen. In fact, all that you'll find on the top is the power button and shutter release with a zoom rocker wrapped around it.

Nikon have opted for a dedicated switch between playback and shooting which is annoying if, like us, you use multiple cameras that can come out of playback simply by half pressing the shutter release button. On a Nikon you have to press the green camera button, which is actually very intelligent. It means you have to know that you're going into the shooting mode instead of pressing it by accident. Unfortunately, you can't have your finger at the ready on the shutter button if you need to react quickly. When you're in the shooting mode, this green camera button doubles up as a mode selector scrolling through auto mode, scene selection, smart portrait, subject tracking AF and video mode.

Nikon Coolpix S3100 Nikon Coolpix S3100
Front Rear

The smart portrait mode uses a variety of functions to ensure you get the perfect portrait, such as blink detection, smile shutter release that takes a picture for you when the person in the shot smiles and an in-camera red eye fix. This means pictures of precious family members will be blink, red eye and grumpiness free.

The subject tracking AF system will start working when you lock focus on your subject by pressing the OK button on the back which is a bit weird but you soon get used to it. The focus lock will then stay on the same subject regardless of whether they move or you move. If they leave the frame then you lose the lock, but otherwise it works very well.

The internal menu is simple and easy to use in the standard Nikon colours of grey and yellow. There are two tabs, one for shooting options and one for camera set up which is recognised by the spanner icon. To switch tabs, simply press left then up and down to decide where you want to go.

Nikon Coolpix S3100 Nikon Coolpix S3100
Side Top

The Nikon Coolpix S2500 takes a dedicated lithium ion battery and comes with a charger as well in the box. It goes in the bottom of the camera and shares its space with the SD/SDHC and SDXC memory card. If you're unfamiliar with the designations of memory card, SD stands for Secure Digital which is due to the small locking switch on the side. This switch prevents anyone from erasing pictures when it's flicked down. It's a bit like pushing those tabs in on an old VHS tape.

SDHC is simply Secure Digital High Capacity and has capacities over 2Gb in size. They have a maximum capacity of 32Gb. SDXC is the newest format and has only been around for about a year, though talked about for much longer. It has a theoretical maximum capacity so far of up to 2Tb (2048Gb). That's a ridiculous amount of information and you'd never fill it with this camera alone. Should you forget any memory cards, the camera does have an internal memory but it's only 16Mb.

The back of the Coolpix S2500 is dominated by the 2.7 inch LCD screen which isn't very big by today's standards with 3 inch screens becoming more common but it goes to show exactly how small this camera is. Nikon have also listed the resolution of the screen in dots. Each dot represents a primary colour of red, green and blue that makes up each pixel on the screen, therefore there are three dots to a pixel. This means the screen has a resolution of 76,666 pixels.

Nikon Coolpix S3100 Nikon Coolpix S3100
Rear Memory Card Slot / Battery Compartment

Even though the screen takes up a large portion of the back of the S2500, there's enough space for a small thumb pad when you're not using the buttons. The OK button will set any changes you make in the menu system and around it are four options on a pad which doubles up as a navigation pad in the menu. Pressing up will bring up the flash options and you can enjoy from a small selection of auto, red eye reduction, forced on, off and a slow synchro.

Pressing right allows you to adjust the exposure with the 2 stop exposure compensation which is useful if your main subject is a bit too dark or bright, you can force the aperture to open or close allowing more or less light in. If you press down you get the macro mode which will stay on until you press down again to switch it off, which I like. To the left is the self timer which unusually does switch itself off after every shot. But then, if you did forget to switch it off, it means you don't miss that vital picture while it counts down from ten.

In the box, you get the basic accessories to ensure that you can start shooting from the off. That means you get a battery, wrist strap, download cable and View NX2 software. The plug for charging uses the USB lead as the cable which means the camera can also charge off of a computer. View NX2 is Nikon's dedicated software program for importing images onto your computer before performing basic editing, tagging filing and sharing. There's little that Nikon offer in the way of additional accessories, the only different items are an AC adapter and a dedicated battery charger. We would only really recommend these items if you need them, for example if your included charger breaks.

Image Quality

All of the sample images in this Review were taken using the 12 megapixel Fine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 5Mb.

We found the sample shots taken with the Nikon Coolpix S2500 to be very nice. They show nice colours, they're sharp and clear. Noise is controlled nicely up until ISO400 where it takes a dramatic turn for the worse. Primary colours are saturated nicely, especially reds. Sky blue also comes out nicely while brighter colours such as yellow doesn't get any interference from any other colours. Earthy colours such as brown and forest greens also look good, while on the other hand, subtle colours and mono tones are also recorded realistically.


The Nikon Coolpix S2500 has sensitivity settings ranging from ISO 80 to ISO 3200 at full resolution. At low ISO there's no evidence of noise but the image does start to smooth out at ISO200 which shows that noise reduction has kicked in. Still, it does a good job because it can't be seen. Towards the mid levels, coloured specks start to interfere with darker areas and more of the image is smoothed out. Noise becomes more aggressive at ISO800 with harsh purple blobs kicking into the mid-range colours. At the higher levels there's definite colour discolouration all over the picture making subjects lose their potency and this becomes even more so at ISO3200.

ISO 80 (100% Crop)

ISO 100 (100% Crop)


ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)


ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)


ISO 3200 (100% Crop)



Images straight out of the camera are pretty sharp but do benefit from sharpening in an editing suite such as Photoshop. We used Adobe Photoshop CS4 for this test and the standard setting was enough to give the pictures that little bit extra.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)


Focal Range

With a 4x optical zoom, the focal rage of the Nikon Coolpix S2500 is 27-108mm in 35mm terms. The zoom motor is fast, responsive and goes in 8 steps.



File Quality

There are two 12 megapixel settings on the Nikon Coolpix S2500 digital compact camera. The top one has a star next to it and compresses less meaning a larger file size. In fact a typical image at this setting is 5-6Mb. In our test knocking it down to the 12 megapixel setting without the star produced images of around 3Mb.



Chromatic Aberrations

In a bid to reduce chromatic aberration, or colour fringing, Nikon fit an ED lens element to their cameras which is a great idea. It's designed to reduce the problems associated with colour fringing and in most cases it works well. Sometimes it's easy to get mixed up with colour fringing and lens flare. In most cases, the lens copes well with colour fringing but there are severe instances where it fails.

Example 1 (100% Crop)


The macro facility of the Nikon Coolpix S2500 has a close focusing distance of 8cm. We did get occasions where the camera would confirm focus but was blatantly out of focus.

Macro Shot

100% Crop


There are 5 flash modes on the Nikon Coolpix S2500 and they're accessed by pressing up on the navigation pad on the back of the camera.  They are auto flash, flash with red-eye, forced off, forced on and slow synchro.

Flash Off - Wide Angle (26mm)

Flash On - Wide Angle (26mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

Flash Off - Telephoto (130mm)

Flash On - Telephoto (130mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

When shooting portraits, there's a mild amount of red-eye circling the catchlight in auto flash mode. Switching over to the red-eye reduction reduced it a little.

Flash On

Flash On (100% Crop)

Red Eye Reduction

Red Eye Reduction (100% Crop)


There's no aperture or shutter speed control on the S2500, so the only thing we could do to test the long exposure is to reduce the sensitivity to ISO80. At this setting, we could only get a 1 second exposure but it does look nice.

Night Shot

Night Shot (100% Crop)


Anti-shake on the Nikon Coolpix S2500 is completely automated, there's no on or off button. The only way we could control it was using the ISO to steady the image.


Off (100% Crop)



On (100% Crop)

Backlighting Mode

The S2500's Backlighting mode expands the dynamic range of the image, as shown below.



Sample Images

This is a selection of sample images from the Nikon Coolpix S2500 camera, which were all taken using the 12 megapixel Fine JPEG setting. The thumbnails below link to the full-sized versions, which have not been altered in any way.

Sample Movie & Video

This is a sample movie at the highest quality setting of 640x480 pixels at 30 frames per second. Please note that this 29 second movie is 37.2Mb in size.

Product Images

Nikon Coolpix S2500

Front of the Camera

Nikon Coolpix S2500

Isometric View

Nikon Coolpix S2500

Isometric View

Nikon Coolpix S2500

Rear of the Camera / Shooting Mode

Nikon Coolpix S2500

Rear of the Camera / Shooting Menu

Nikon Coolpix S2500

Rear of the Camera / Playback Menu

Nikon Coolpix S2500

Top of the Camera

Nikon Coolpix S2500

Rear of the Camera

Nikon Coolpix S2500

Memory Card Slot / Battery Compartment


The Nikon Coolpix S2500 costs less than £100 so for the money, the image quality is very good. It's pretty to look at fits perfectly in your pocket. Teenagers will find the slim design attractive and anyone who isn't photographically minded will also be able to get on with the camera.

Build wise, the S2500 is a mixture of plastic and metal and while the actual camera feels solid enough, the battery door is flimsy and the plastic tripod bush will wear down if it's used a lot. Image quality is surprisingly good for a camera at this price with good noise control, little chromatic aberration and good colour rendition.

Looking at the Coolpix S2500, because it's so sleek it's understandable to think that it should have a lot more features and be a lot more expensive. There are interesting features on the camera, though, such as the subject tracking AF and quick retouch in the playback menu.

A slightly larger zoom would be beneficial but that would mean a play off on size and that's part of the S2500's appeal. It's a sexy, stylish number that's perfect for holidays and days or nights out. If you're in the market for a sub-£100 camera that's small enough to tuck away and takes nice pictures, then take a look at the Nikon Coolpix S2500.

4 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Design 4
Features 4
Ease-of-use 4.5
Image quality 4
Value for money 4.5

Review Roundup

Reviews of the Nikon Coolpix S2500 from around the web. »

Nikon Coolpix S2500 Digital Camera Review - Daniel Bell reviews the Nikon Coolpix S2500, which has a 12Mp sensor, a 4x optical zoom lens and is available for under £100.
Read the full review » »

The Nikon Coolpix S2500 costs only £90, so you can't expect perfection. But this compact camera is small, easy to use, and offers pretty impressive performance and features for the price.
Read the full review » »

There are more cameras available around the £100-mark than ever before, but how does Nikon's latest S-series compact compare?
Read the full review »


*1 Based on CIPA industry standard for measuring life of camera batteries. Measured at 23°C; zoom adjusted with each shot,
built-in flash fired with every other shot, image mode set to Normal.
*2 Not compatible with Multi Media Cards (MMC).
*3 Setting is available only for image sizes of 3M (2048 x 1536) or smaller.
*4 Method of noting dimensions and weight is in accordance with CIPA DCG-005-2009 guideline.
*5 In case of using four AA Energizer(r) Ultimate Lithium batteries.
*6 In case of using two AA Energizer(r) Ultimate Lithium batteries.
Effective pixels 12.0 million pixels
Image sensor Type: 1/2.3-in. type interline-transfer CCD; Color filter array: RGB filter; Total pixels: Approx. 12.39 million pixels; Recording pixels:Approx. 12.00 million pixels (4000 x 3000)
Lens Optical 4x zoom, NIKKOR lens; Focal length: 4.9-19.6mm (35mm [135] format equivalent to 27-108 mm); Aperture: f/3.2-5.9; Lens construction: 6 elements in 5 groups (# ED glass element)
Focus range (from lens) Normal shooting: approx. 50 cm (1 ft. 8 in.) to infinity (at wide-angle setting), approx. 50 cm (1 ft. 8 in.) to infinity (at telephoto setting); Macro close-up mode: approx. 8 cm (3.2 in.) to infinity (at closest focus distance), approx. 50 cm (1 ft. 8 in.) to infinity (at telephoto setting)
Monitor Size: 6.7. cm (2.7-in.); Number of dots: Approx. 230k-dot; Type:TFT LCD monitor; (Acrylic) cover: Anti-reflection coating, no protective cover
Storage media Internal memory (approx. 16 MB), SD/SDHC/SDXC memory card *2
Vibration Reduction (VR) Electronic type; Other blur-reduction functions: Motion Detection (conventional type), BSS (Best Shot Selector)
ISO sensitivity ISO 80, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200 (4000 x 3000), Auto (ISO 80 to 1600), Fix range auto (ISO 80 to 400, ISO 80 to 800)
Interface Hi-Speed USB/PictBridge
Power Sources Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL19 (700 mAh), AC Adapter EH-62G (option)
Battery life *1 Approx. 220 frames with EN-EL19
Dimensions (WxHxD) Approx. 93.1 x 57.1 x 20.0 mm/3.7 x 2.3 x 0.8 in. (excluding projections) *4
Weight Approx. 117 g/4.2 oz. (including battery and SD memory card) *4
Movie VGA: 640 x 480 (30 fps), QVGA: 320 x 240 (30 fps)
Supplied accessories Camera Strap AN-CP19 Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL19 Charging AC Adapter EH-69P USB Cable UC-E6 Audio Video Cable EG-CP14 ViewNX 2 CD-ROM
Optional accessories Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL19 Charging AC Adapter EH-69P Battery Charger MH-66 AC Adaptor EH-62G USB Cable UC-E6 Audio Video Cable EG-CP14

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