A fast and responsive point and shoot that's ready when you are!
I made another review of my Coolpix P340 a couple months ago. I still use that camera all the time and I'm still very happy with its performance. But one thing about the P340 is limiting. That's its zoom range. Its the trade off you have to expect for having a very fast f1.8 max aperture at 24mm. However the overall image quality and feature set of the P340 more then make up for that. Now on to my review of the Coolpix S9600.
Like the title says this camera is fast! (I'm using class 10 SDHC cards). Its actually faster then my P340 in its overall operation. Its DSLR fast when it comes to accessing menus and when shooting video. You don't have to wait for anything. The camera just does its thing with out delay. The image quality while not as good as my P340 is very good for a Point and shoot camera like this. You get nice detail, great dynamic range and noise is well controlled.
The zoom range on this camera is impressive. It manages to have great image quality from wide to full telephoto zoom. The loss of detail at full zoom is minimal. When using digital zoom you will loose detail but its much better then older the point and shoots I had in the past.
The wifi works as it should. Just like my P340. Only the live feed being transmitted to my smart phone seems to be smoother on this S9600 compared to my P340. You also get the same 55~60 foot range to work with.
The rear screen is bright clear and detailed. The resolution is lower compared to my P340 921k vs 460k but its not really noticeable. Both of these cameras have anti reflective coatings on the screens which really does improve the visibility during the day.
As for the cameras features. You get just enough control with the S9600 to allow you some control over your images. The camera does a great job in auto mode though so I really have no problems just leaving everything up to the camera. You get a tone of special effects and scene modes to play around with. Most of which you can apply to your videos as well.
The video that the S9600 produces is very good. You get a good amount of detail and color. Noise is well controlled compared to my S8200. Nikon has done a very good job of getting rid of most of the noise when shooting video indoors. My S8200 while a good performer in low light really isn't as good as the S9600. The sound quality on the S9600 also seems to be a bit deeper with less hiss.
The camera is very well made and solid. The front of the camera is made out of metal while the back is plastic. This S9600 is very easy to hold and has a secure grip. I have plenty of room for my hand when holding this camera. The buttons feel solid and they are well placed.
The popup flash on the S9600 pops up when you need it to and can be pushed back down when you don't need it anymore. It stays down to unlike the flash on my old S8200.
If you own an S8200 this camera is an upgrade. The S9600 does everything the S8200 does but better and faster. Plus the panorama mode actually works on this model. The S8200 had an annoying delay after you stopped shooting video. This camera doesn't, as soon as you press the record button again to stop recording the camera is almost immediately ready to start taking pictures again. The auto focus is also allot faster and more reliable to.
So why did I buy the S9600 over the S9700? Well for one thing the flash mechanism on the S9700 put me off. It seemed to be a bit flimsy to me. The size of the S9600 is also another winner to me. Its both slimmer and smaller. Its about the same size as my P340 but slimmer. So basically the S9600 easy fits in my pocket. I also don't really need or want manual modes with a camera like this. When I need a super zoom point and shoot I don't want to think about playing with exposure settings I just want to take my picture and move on to my next subject.
When I want to play around with exposure settings and be more creative then I'll take out my P340. You have access to all your basic exposure modes with a press of a button with the P340.
I have included some images to show the S9600's ability's. The cameras fast responsiveness allowed me to take a picture of a jumping spider when I had the chance to. The camera focused on what I wanted and was able to get the shot. So in that regard its just as good as my P340! You do need to have the AF system setup properly to get a shot like that (This is true of all cameras). This is where experience comes in to play.
I included a telephoto shot taken at maximum optical zoom. One shot showing the S9600's dynamic range. Like all cameras you have to adjust the files that expose for indoor and outdoor lighting a bit to get out all the extra detail. That shot isn't an HDR (which this camera does have, its under the backlighting mode on the command wheel). Finally a macro of an outdoor pillow.
July 6, 2014
Cheaply made, poor feature design
I have owned several Nikon point-and-shoot (CoolPix E8700) and DSLR (D90, D7000) cameras over the years and this falls far short of the quality I have come to associate with Nikon. This camera is built from lightweight plastic, feels cheap and fragile, and all of the movable parts including battery compartment door and USB/HDMI cover feel like they will break after just a few uses.
Regarding usage, the flash pops up inconveniently right where your left finger holds the camera for stability. The so-called WiFi capability provides its own WiFi access point for other devices to reach in and grab pictures and will not allow the camera to connect to your own WiFi network to auto-upload pictures.
Regarding reliability, the first camera I bought wouldn't turn on until I removed/reinserted the battery each time. Many reviewers complain of this as well as issues with the lens getting stuck over time. I would avoid this camera and any others made by Nikon in this style. It is unfortunate what Nikon has lost in terms of quality and design in their point-and-shoot camera line.
July 19, 2015
Not so good.
Camera was defective out of the box. Since we started using the camera it keeps shutting off. Then it will not turn back on unless you take the battery out and put it back in. It was passed the 15 days to return to the retailer. The camera is being shipped back to be repaired. We have a new addition to the family and it would have been great to have this camera to take photos of her. First Nikon Product. Not Happy.
May 5, 2015
Poor light meter, broken lens cover, less than 1-year old
I purchased this camera to replace my S8200, which took amazing pictures. I'm very disappointed with this new version recommended by Nikon. The light meter is terrible - it either saturates dark pictures with white highlights or drastically darkens lighter pictures. I'm having to constantly adjust the exposure and focus to get the correct values. Plus the lens shutter/cover broke 4 months into use, making it hard to keep the lens clean. Waste of money.
February 15, 2015
Not a good buy at all
I bought this twice and both time it was a mistake! My first time I used this camera was during a part installation. This installation was only going to happen only once and I wanted to capture all the moments. This camera doesn't turn back on after you switch it off. I had to take out the battery and turn it on again. This kept happening over and over again. You can't turn this off and expect it to turn on again. You have to wait like a minute or two. So I returned the camera.
The zoom is good, but it will not focus. It's not intelligent at all. The camera doesn't know how to focus on objects. I tried the closeup scene, even played around with different focus settings. It's just a bad camera. It will not focus when zoomed in. I had to take the picture zoomed out. It will not focus no matter what you do.
Please DO NOT buy this camera. It has a lot of problems and fixes they still need to work on. I would NOT recommend it.
January 22, 2015