Nikon Coolpix S6900 Review

November 6, 2014 | Gavin Stoker |
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Image Quality

All of the sample images in this review were taken using the 16 megapixel Fine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 6Mb.

The Nikon Coolpix S6900 handles close-up pictures particularly well thanks to its ability to let you get ultra close to a subject – as near as 2cm – so that whatever you’re focusing on really fills the frame. Colours are natural rather than overly saturated, but on days with bright blue skies, as we enjoyed on a couple of our testing days, we were very pleased with the results.

Minor quibbles elsewhere include instances of visible purple pixel fringing between areas of high contrast and also, as mentioned in the main body of text, corner detail visibly softening at the very widest angle lens settings. Both of these issues are only really noticeable if you’re actually looking for ‘problems’ however.

In terms of shooting in lower light and towards the higher end of the manually selectable ISO range, with light sensitivity running up to an initially modest-sounding ISO6400, it’s worth remembering that this Nikon only fields a 1/2.3-inch sensor. Thus it’s no surprise to witness some visible softness across the frame at ISO1600 – even if noise/grain is kept reasonably well in check.

At ISO3200 detail is softening still, while at top whack ISO6400 we’re almost looking at an image that appears as if it is being viewed through the frosted glass of a bathroom shower cubicle. This is a roundabout way of saying that ideally we’d stick at ISO800, rising to ISO1600 if particularly pushed in order to get the most capable results from this Coolpix.

Noise

The Nikon Coolpix S6900 has seven sensitivity settings ranging from ISO125 to ISO6400 at full resolution.

ISO 125 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

iso125.jpg iso200.jpg
   

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

iso400.jpg iso800.jpg
   

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

iso1600.jpg iso3200.jpg
   

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

 
iso6400.jpg  

Focal Range

The S6900’s 12x zoom lens achieves a maximum wide-angle focal length equivalent to 25mm, and is capable of a telephoto reach of 300mm (in 35mm-camera terms).

25mm

300mm

focal_range1.jpg focal_range2.jpg

Sharpening

Here are two 100% crops - the right-hand image has had some sharpening applied in Photoshop. The out-of-the camera images from the Nikon Coolpix S6900 are slightly soft at the default sharpening setting and benefit from some further sharpening in a program like Adobe Photoshop. You can alternatively change the in-camera sharpening level to suit your tastes.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

sharpen1.jpg sharpen1a.jpg
   
sharpen2.jpg sharpen2a.jpg

Chromatic Aberrations

Given the range of the zoom lens, the Nikon Coolpix S6900 shows some purple fringing, with limited effects in areas of high contrast as shown in the examples below.

Chromatic Aberrations 1 (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations 2 (100% Crop)

chromatic1.jpg chromatic2.jpg

Macro

The S6900’s lens will focus as close as 2cm from a subject, however depth of field becomes very shallow at this extremely close distance.

Macro

Macro (100% Crop)

macro1.jpg macro1a.jpg

Flash

The S6900’s built-in flash has four settings: Auto, Auto with red-eye reduction, Fill flash & Slow sync. Shooting a white surface from a distance of 1.5m, the flash provides even coverage with the lens zoomed in, though some vignetting is visible in the wide-angle shot.

Whether the flash is set to standard Auto mode – or Auto with red-eye reduction – the camera successfully avoids any trace of red-eye.

Flash Off - Wide Angle (25mm)

Flash On - Wide Angle (25mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64
   

Flash Off - Telephoto (300mm)

Flash On - Telephoto (300mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

And here are a couple of portrait shots. As you can see, neither the Fill Flash or the Auto with Red-eye reduction options caused any amount of red-eye.

Flash On

Flash On (100% Crop)
flash_on.jpg flash_on1.jpg
   

Red Eye Reduction

Red Eye Reduction (100% Crop)

flash_redeye.jpg flash_redeye1.jpg

Vibration Reduction

Holding a camera steady at or near the 300mm-equivalent focal length the S6900 is something of is a tall order. Luckily Vibration Reduction saves the day and ensures shots like this stay crisp.

Shutter Speed / Focal Length

Anti Shake Off (100% Crop)

Anti Shake On (100% Crop)
1/5th sec / 256mm antishake1.jpg antishake1a.jpg

Night

Night photography is easy with the Night Landscape mode, which works whether you’re shooting hand-held or on a tripod.

Night Night (100% Crop)
night1.jpg night1a.jpg

Backlighting

This setting automatically captures two exposures of a high-contrast scene to record shadow and highlight detail separately, then merges them into a single HDR image.

HDR Off

HDR On
hdr_off.jpg hdr_on.jpg

Special Effects

The S6900 offers thirteen colour effects, all of which are previewed live. Your options are: Soft, Nostalgic sepia, High-contrast monochrome, High key, Low key, Selective colour, Pop, Super vivid, Painting, Toy camera effect 1, Toy camera effect 2, Cross process & Mirror.

Soft

Sepia
effects_01.jpg effects_02.jpg
   

Monochrome

High Key

effects_03.jpg effects_04.jpg
   

Low Key

Selective Color

effects_05.jpg effects_06.jpg
   

Pop

Vivid

effects_07.jpg effects_08.jpg
   

Painting

Toy Camera 1

effects_09.jpg effects_10.jpg
   

Toy Camera 2

Cross Process

effects_11.jpg effects_12.jpg
   

Mirror

 
effects_13.jpg  

Easy Panorama

Easy Panorama just requires you to pan the camera whilst it captures and stitches the images into either a 180 or 360-degree panorama.

Easy Panorama
panorama.jpg