Nikon Coolpix S5200 Review

April 10, 2013 | Matt Grayson |

Image Quality

All images were taken at the maximum resolution setting which produced images around 7.6Mb in size. There's a 16 megapixel setting that has a lower compression rating and will record images at around 3.72Mb. This could be useful if you're struggling for space, but runs the danger of losing fine detail in the pictures.


We had our suspicions from previous reviews and from the sample pictures we took throughout the test, that the ISO test wasn't going to be good. Even at ISO 125 there's evidence of salt and pepper noise. Granted, it's at 100% magnification and arguably won't be noticed at normal viewing distance. Edge definition is also a little dicey but the good news is that at ISO 200, the quality doesn't get any worse.

By ISO 400 we can see that noise reduction software is doing some work by smudging out what would be sharp lines and the beginnings of the “painted” look are appearing. ISO 800 shows large black spots appear in the mid-tones and shadow areas. It's interesting to note at this stage that there's a distinct lack of colour noise on these pictures. That's not to say it's not there, but by ISO 1600, it's normally a lot more evident.

The final setting on the ISO scale is ISO 3200. Now, while edge definition has broken down and there's black spots all over the picture and colour noise has even decided to turn up; after a decidedly shaky start, the end result of the S5200 ISO test is very good indeed, when you compare it to other digital compact cameras in a similar price bracket.

ISO 125 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)


ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)


ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

Focal Range

The Nikon Coolpix has a 6x optical zoom. On the camera, that works out at 4.6-27.6mm, but we tend to compare it to 35mm which would be 26-156mm. By today's standards, that's a modest zoom. The zoom on the S5200 wobbles on the screen when operated.




Normally we discover on Nikon digital compacts that adding a simple sharpen using an editing suite such as Adobe Photoshop does nothing except maybe exacerbate the noise. However, on the S5200 we found that adding some sharpening increased the quality of the shots.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)


Chromatic Aberrations

Chromatic aberrations aren't that much of a problem on the S5200. We found evidence of it in high contrast areas and at the edges of the frame, but it's a lot lower than on other cameras in this class.

Chromatic Aberrations 1 (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations 2 (100% Crop)


Close focusing on the Nikon Coolpix S5200 is 5cm at wide-angle setting. That's pretty standard for a camera at this price point. Images are sharp, though but barrel distortion is certainly noticeable.


Macro (100% Crop)


Light collection through the lens is even whether you're at wide-angle or full zoom. There's a slight amount of vignetting at wide-angle which disappears when zoomed in. Using flash adds a little extra light to the centre of the frame and balances it out at full zoom.

Flash Off - Wide Angle (26mm)

Flash On - Wide Angle (26mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

Flash Off - Telephoto (156mm)

Flash On - Telephoto (156mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

We couldn't get any red-eye even without switching on the red-eye reduction feature, so we couldn't test it properly.

Flash On

Flash On (100% Crop)

Red-eye Reduction

Red-eye Reduction (100% Crop)


For the night test, we took a picture using the camera's Night scene in the Mode menu as well as a picture using the Auto feature. In Auto, we could set the ISO to a lower setting for a smoother image. However, the downside is that the maximum shutter speed we can use is 1 second. In this scenario it caused an under exposed image. The Night scene image is exposed much better but has used an ISO 800 sensitivity setting, so it's a lot noisier.

Night Auto

Night Auto (100% Crop)


Night Scene

Night Scene (100% Crop)