Nikon Coolpix S9400 Review

April 8, 2013 | Mark Goldstein |

Image Quality

All of the sample images in this review were taken using the 18 megapixel Fine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 6.5Mb.

Although the S9400 pushes the boat out in terms of the available focal length, happily it doesn't over-reach itself. We managed to get very usable results shooting at its extremities. Especially impressive, given that this is a point and shoot model aimed at the general user rather than amateur enthusiast. Too many times with rival travel zooms two or three shots are required to get a sharply focused image in daylight when shooting handheld at maximum 450mm equivalent telephoto – but that wasn't the case here.

Yes there's softening of detail to limit the appearance of image noise at ISO 800 and above, but we can live with that. At ISO 1600 it's only really shadow detail that is taking on the tell-tale sandy appearance, and only if enlarging sections to scrutinize closely. At the maximum setting of ISO 3200 there's a more obvious smoothing/softened effect compared with the previous images. Overall though the S9400 has delivered a very respectable ISO performance for a sub £300 camera.

So the S9400 is reliably consistent, even if, to nitpick, we noticed marginal corner softening at extreme 25mm equivalent wideangle settings. As with just about every other pocket digital compact, purple fringing occasionally also makes an appearance in images with areas of high contrast. Otherwise colours veer towards the naturalistic.


There are 6 ISO settings available on the Nikon Coolpix S9400. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting.

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 S9400's 18x zoom lens offers a very versatile focal range, as demonstrated by the examples below.




Here are two 100% crops which have been Saved as Web - Quality 50 in Photoshop. The right-hand image has had some sharpening applied in Photoshop. The out-of-the camera images are soft at the default sharpening setting and benefit from some further sharpening in a program like Adobe Photoshop. Unfortunately you can't change the in-camera sharpening level.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)


File Quality

The Nikon Coolpix S9400 has 2 different image quality settings available, with Fine being the highest quality option. Here are some 100% crops which show the quality of the various options, with the file size shown in brackets.

18M Fine (7.38Mb) (100% Crop) 18M Normal (3.66Mb) (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations

The Nikon Coolpix S9400 handled chromatic aberrations fairly well during the review, with some purple fringing present around the edges of objects in certain high-contrast situations, as shown in the examples below.

Chromatic Aberrations 1 (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations 2 (100% Crop)


The Nikon Coolpix S9400 offers a Macro setting that allows you to focus on a subject that is 4cms away from the camera when the lens is set to wide-angle. The first image shows how close you can get to the subject (in this case a compact flash card). The second image is a 100% crop.


Macro (100% Crop)


The flash settings on the Nikon Coolpix S9400 are Auto, Auto/Red-eye Reduction, Off, On and Slow Sync./Red-eye Reduction. These shots of a white coloured wall were taken at a distance of 1.5m.

Forced Off - Wide Angle (25mm)

Forced On - Wide Angle (25mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

Forced Off - Telephoto (450mm)

Forced On - Telephoto (450mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

And here are some portrait shots. As you can see, neither the On or the Auto/Red-eye Reduction settings caused any significant red-eye.


On (100% Crop)

Auto/Red-eye Reduction

Auto/Red-eye Reduction (100% Crop)


The Nikon Coolpix S9400's maximum shutter speed is 4 seconds in the Fireworks scene mode, which is not great news if you're seriously interested in night photography. The shot below was taken using a shutter speed of 1 second at ISO 125.


Night (100% Crop)

Vibration Reduction

Vibration Reduction is Nikon's name for anti-shake, which in the S9400 works via a lens-shift mechanism. To test this, we took 2 handheld shots of the same subject with the same settings. The first shot was taken with anti shake turned off, the second with it turned on. Here are some 100% crops of the images to show the results. As you can see, with anti shake turned on, the images are much sharper than with anti shake turned off.

Shutter Speed / Focal Length

Anti Shake Off (100% Crop)

Anti Shake On (100% Crop)

1/40th / 25mm
1/13th / 450mm

Special Effects

The Nikon Coolpix S9400 offers a number of special effects that you can preview before taking the shot.




Nostalgic Sepia

High-contrast Monochrome


High Key

Low Key


Selective Color