Nikon Coolpix S9900 Digital Camera Review
Nikon's latest pocket companion is competent, but who is it for?
By the Numbers
Taken solely by its performance alone, this is a very forgettable camera. Despite having a couple decent features, performancewise... it's not all that exciting. It gets the job done, provided you shoot without using the longest parts of the zoom.
Color & White Balance
Color accuracy is decent, if a little oversaturated for the most part. We measured a ∆C 00 (saturation corrected) error of 2.58, with an overall saturation of 114.9%.
That's not too bad, and most won't really have many feelings about the oversaturation other than "cool looking photo!"
White balance is a bit trickier, with notable errors in fluorescent lighting and tungsten lighting. Though errors never really top 800 kelvin, you will notice a green hue to your shots in fluorescent lights, and an orange one in incandescent lights.
But the real trouble here is that it takes a good long while for the camera to catch up to new lighting conditions, and it can sometimes lead to really huge errors in white balance where there shouldn't be any.
Sharpness is okay... until the maximum aperture crosses f/6. Beyond that point, it takes a nosedive due to diffraction limiting.
That issue in conjunction with extremely aggressive noise reduction means that your shots will look blotchy and ill-defined the more you zoom. It's a common problem with travel zooms, but it's particularly pronounced on this model. I'd be willing to give it a pass if it didn't also use between 10-27% software edge enhancement.
Noise is a problem, but not because it stains your shots—it's a problem because the camera goes hog wild in seeking it and destroying it. We mentioned that sharpness takes a hit due to the noise reduction algorithm, but it's really a sight to behold.
Because of this, we never measured more than 2% noise at any one time, but the noise reduction will leave a bad taste in your mouth.
Video is decent considering what the S9900 is. In bright light, it's able to resolve about 575 line pairs per picture height (LP/PH), while only resolving about 400 in low light (60 lux).
The best quality you can muster with the S9900 is the same old 1080/30p you've probably been using for years now. There's nothing wrong with that, but many point and shoots in this price bracket have started offering better. Motion is relatively smooth, and frequency interference isn't all that bad.
You may notice some artifacting in high-contrast edges, but that's about it. The low sharpness is easily the most notable thing about the video.
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